Fireside chat with Steve Bulliment
This month we speak to our Research & Innovation Director, Steve, about innovation, sustainability and what he loves about the holiday home industry.
What brought you to Victory?
I love a challenge and Victory offered me just that – even after 20+ years in the industry I still get excited about how much we can achieve. We have the freedom to make changes, to express ourselves and be as innovative as possible. We like open debate and we are honest with each other, investing time, and value, in our people. It’s great, everything is in our hands, we’ve built the team from the ground up and have a great forward-thinking approach to new product development and that is fundamentally what brought me here.
What are the best things about working in holiday homes?
The speed that the industry is growing and evolving. From sustainable ways to build products to the way parks have developed over the years and more recently in response to the staycation boom opportunity. The speed we can adapt at Victory makes us best placed to keep up with the pace of change we see, whether it’s a new consumer demand, a new way to engineer or a new design trend. We’re very agile and never sit still in our quest to design and launch the best holiday homes out there.
What is the biggest challenge in your role?
Looking ahead, predicting the future and being aware of long term environmental factors that are coming into play. We’re constantly pushing ourselves to make sure that sustainability is at the forefront of any new innovation. In fact we’re currently researching and developing new ways of providing renewable, sustainable energy to our holiday homes and lodges. This will mean that our home owners will be able to save on heating their homes. We’re also really looking forward to working with more local suppliers to reduce our carbon footprint further.
Can you give us a sneak peek into what’s next for Novus?
Without giving too much away (wink), our big focus right now is looking for new, more sustainable materials as well as improving on our already effective methods of construction. It makes me proud to hear feedback from our Parks and Dealers about how well received the Novus construction is, and how they see the value in what we’re doing to make holiday homes quite simply, better.
Novus is a living breathing thing at Victory, it’s never ‘finished’ – we constantly strive to make sure that we are always challenging the ‘norm’ to improve our methods of construction and our products.
What’s coming up in 2022 from your team?
We have an ambitious product development schedule ahead of us this year. We’re just putting the finishing touches on our latest lodge – The Franklin – which launches in February and is a real ‘wow’ factor lodge.
The main thing is that when we do put something new out there, it’s built from customer insight while also offering something unique for our Parks.
We’re also looking at what the leisure home of the future could look like which includes sustainable materials and manufacturing methods, new legislation and inspiration from other industries, like hotels.
What is your favourite Victory home and why?
They’re all great but if I had to choose it would have to be the Lakewood. It was the first home that was developed by me and the team so I feel quite sentimental towards it. It is our bestseller and sets the standard for our entire product range which makes me feel incredibly proud.
Are there any new innovations that excite you?
Designing and building the Embla gave us a chance to try something new, and it’s different to anything else in the industry. It proves that we have capabilities beyond the industry norm and highlights the versatility of Victory. For the future, I’m drawn to innovations that help customers diversify their offering, which is something the team and I will consider when creating future homes.
Has the COVID-19 pandemic encouraged more innovation in the industry?
It certainly has – the pandemic has made us aware of how fragile manufacturing industries are. It’s highlighted the importance of sourcing materials locally. I would also love to see the UK manufacture more materials and not rely on overseas suppliers. We have to think more locally, to reduce vulnerability in challenging situations, but to also fundamentally reduce the carbon footprint of the industry at large.
Finally, what do you do in your spare time?
I have a keen interest in climate and meteorology and like to spend my free time observing a weather station I have set up which links to my phone. I like to take part in sea fishing and to keep fit I enjoy long distance running – both of these give me time to think and ponder the latest innovations. I also love to spend time with my grandson and watch Leeds United.