BRENTON Miller was a stressed derivatives trader in London in 2015 when he realised his "great job" was taking a toll.
"I was enjoying it less and I came home and said to my wife, 'I've had enough, it's killing me, and no longer slowly," says Mr Miller, who spent his youth in Newcastle and studied commerce and law at the University of Newcastle.
Quitting his job, Mr Miller went to a camper van "converter" in search of a luxury vehicle for travel with his family, settling on a VW Transporter T6 he named Connie. She transported the Millers through 18 countries, racking up about 25,000 kilometres, before they returned to Newcastle.
When Connie was eventually reunited with the family, Mr Miller says she was part of his inspiration to found Camper Envy, a company that specialises in converting VW Transporter vans into bespoke luxury camper vans.
"Everywhere we went, people wanted to look inside, and were saying, 'You can't get that quality here," he recalls. "I did my research and they were right. There was no one doing that top end product here."
After a year of research and setting up a supply chain for quality parts in Europe, Mr Miller now works full-time converting the latest in VW Transporter for clients seeking luxury design in travel: "We provide an option for those that don't want something that is basically an evolution of a 30-year-old product," he says.
Mr Miller says every aspect of his conversions are superior, from the SCA roof sourced from Germany which has a slatted roof bed, high scissor lift and panoramic roof canvas, to French-made seats which are "the safest on the market, crash tested to destruction."
He says the choice offered to "personalise" their interiors is extensive, from stone-like acrylic benches in more than 80 finishes to cabinetry ply in more than 500 finishes.
Carrying up to six people, the vans cost between $40,000 and $70,000 depending on the model, then about $50,000 to convert.
Mr Miller has sold a few vans and has two others in production. He can personally fit out 10 vans a year but plans to expand.
The son of a carpenter admits he is obsessive with the design of his vans, which he says can be used for daily transport and camping.
"Camping in its general format takes time and effort. With the van I can come home on a Friday night and half an hour later we are gone, our toiletries and cooking gear is in there, so we just grab our clothes and stop at the shops for food," he says, adding: "When we first got the van, my first daughter crawled into bed with me and she's like, 'You're not camping, this is luxury."
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