We interview Louise Jones from Arctic Cabins Ltd, the Barbecue Cabin manufacturer and retailer
With Christmas just around the corner we could not give you a more festive interview than with a company whose product has its roots firmly in Arctic Lapland.
Company founder Gareth Parkinson had become a frequent visitor to Finland since meeting his wife, whose family live there. On one particular trip in 2003 Gareth had the vision to bring these beautiful, yet functional cabins to the UK. After initially importing the cabins over from Finland, Gareth saw the potential to interpret this concept in the UK and manufacture and sell their own take on the Finnish classic.
The barbecue cabins have a colourful history and tradition as they were originally the living quarters of the nomadic Sami Reindeer herds people. The team at Arctic Cabins have evolved this concept in the UK to make the cabins a space solution for a range of people and events.
Arctic Cabins are the only manufacturers of the sloping walled cabins in the UK and their success to date shows this is more than just a trend, but is a cool lifestyle choice…
How would you describe the products that you make?
An all year round space that is cosy, sociable, relaxing, atmospheric, fun, warm, unique and versatile.
Our buildings are timber structures with a central barbecue, they solve the issue of the Great British weather and gives us the luxury of spending time with family and friends in a warm, cosy, exotic Lapland atmosphere just steps from home.
Once inside, the cabins are deceptively spacious. They come in a range of sizes; a typical garden cabin seats 15 and sleeps 3, whilst the large cabin seats 40 and sleeps 6 and tends to be used for more commercial uses for example, shooting lodges and camping barns.
In which part of Britain do you manufacture your products?
Everything is manufactured in Ilkeston, Derbyshire in the Midlands.
Why did you decide to manufacture this brand in Britain?
There are a couple of reasons. One is that we wanted to change the design of the cabins slightly. A lot of the imported cabins have straight walls and all our buildings have sloping walls, which give more space, they look nice and have a more comfortable sitting position. Also, we have complete control on quality. None of our cabins leave our factory without having been thoroughly checked. We are very proud of the quality and offer a 10 year manufacturers guarantee.
Who makes your products, are they all made by your factory or are some things outsourced?
The actual cabins are handmade at our factory in Derbyshire. It typically takes two dedicated craftsmen a whole day to build a standard cabin. We do not make the windows, these are handmade by another UK company that is based in Long Eaton, Nottinghamshire. Our barbecues are imported from Polar Metalli in Finland. We are the only supplier of these barbecues in the UK.
Where do you source your raw materials from?
All the timber we use is seasoned redwood, sourced from sustainable sources in Scandinavian countries where the climate is colder. Timber that is grown in colder climates will grow slower than in warmer ones. Timber that has been grown slower will have a higher density due to its grain being much closer together. This means that the timber is less susceptible to the weather and knotholes, warping and splitting – it is a better quality timber effectively.
Who buys your cabins? Anyone we might know?
2014 has been our busiest year. There is a whole range of people that buy them, we have families that buy them, some choosing a cabin over a conservatory and couples buy them as a cost retreat. They are very sociable buildings so they are great for anyone who likes parties, entertaining and get togethers. Every cabin has extendable benches that are surprisingly comfy for sleeping on and a medium sized cabin sleeps 3. We have sold lots to glamping sites and businesses who use them for corporate events, we’ve even sold some to schools. The buildings are very versatile. This week we have installed one for the chef Aldo Zilli!