Many overland enthusiasts consider Patriot Camper Overlanding Trailers to be the best in the world. The story of how owner/founder, Justin Montesalvo, became inspired to create the first prototype and ultimately start the business that has led him and his family on a new life journey is all here in this insight-packed episode!
Join Clay as he sits down with Justin at EXPO WEST 2022 to discuss business, overlanding, marriage, family, Covid, and what moving forward looks like for both Patriot Campers and X Overland.
Topics like business culture, leadership, vision, entrepreneurship, business development and the concomitant growth that accompanies it are all pursued in this dynamic dialogue in which both Clay and Justin share the role of host and guest!
Detailed Episode Summary
Part 1 (1:30-6:00) Intro to Justin Montesalvo and Background Behind his relationship with X Overland and Clay Croft: How did Justin Montesalvo, owner and founder of Patriot Campers in Australia, get to know Clay Croft? What was Justin’s experience like at his first Overland Expo and SEMA in the U.S.?
Part 2 (6:00-15:00) The Story Behind Justin Montesalvo and the Founding of Patriot Campers: How did Justin learn to build what many believe to be the best overland camping trailers in the world? Clay and Justin discuss what inspired Justin to build his first camper and how that lead to the successful creation of Patriot Campers in Australia.
Part 3 (15:00-17:30) What are some of the special features found on a Patriot Camper? Justin explains some of the special features found on the Patriot Camper, including the signature wet storage boxes at the back of the trailer and the very well-thought-out kitchen/galley system on board.
Part 4 (17:30-22:00) Beyond Inception: The Evolution of Patriot Campers Beyond the Start-up Phase: Justin discusses the next major phase of growth for Patriot Campers, including ultimately moving his manufacturing site from Brisban to the Gold Coast and getting his wife, Sarah, involved in the business.
Part 5 (22:00-25:30) The Successful Approach to Branding Employed by Patriot Campers: Effective branding is fundamental to a successful business model, and Justin explains his creative approach to branding that was instrumental to Patriot Camper’s success and how his long-term vision connects to his branding. Justin also explains the impact of Covid on his vision for Patriot and how the supply chain and staffing issues continue to affect the industry.
Part 6 (25:30-34:30) Justin Montesalvo’s Love of Business and his Current Role at Patriot: Clay and Justin share their feelings about business and their mutual passion for it. Justin explains his current role as lead visionary for Patriot Campers and how he works with the design and engineering process, as well as the inner-workings of the business and how that’s changed with Patriot’s growth to a much larger scale of business.
Part 7 (34:30-40:00) Entrepreneurship and the Parallels between X Overland and Patriot Campers: Justin reverses the roles of host and guest to ask Clay Croft about Clay’s passion for entrepreneurship, business, and vision for the future of X Overland. Clay also spends some time reflecting on the evolution of X Overland, including the launch of The Overlander Series and The Great Pursuit, Justin’s favorite series!
Part 8 (40:00-41:30) What does the business model of X Overland today? Justin continues to explore questions he has about X Overland and Clay’s current role within the business. The two discuss leadership, the problem with “employee mentality” and the benefit of having a “leadership mentality” among the team’s various stakeholders.
Part 9 (41:30-49:00) The Challenges of Creating a Culture within a Business: Justin pursues the question of how to create a culture within a business and what the most effective culture looks like. Clay shares his current approach to establishing a winning culture at X Overland, and Justin offers his insight that’s come from creating a culture within Patriot Campers.
Part 10 (49:00-53:35) Business is not Easy! Clay and Justin discuss the realities around how hard building and running a successful business really is and how social media often creates a false perception of this. Justin further explains the difficulties of running a manufacturing business during the Covid and post-Covid environment. The two share how much they enjoy discussing business together and reflect on some of their favorite conversations over the years.
Part 11 (53:35-End) The Educational Component of X Overland’s Content and How that Benefits the Overlanding Industry: Justin explores with Clay how X Overland’s educational theme meshes with the messaging of his own products and, beyond that, how XO’s educational pieces benefit the overlanding industry as a whole.