Teardrop Camper Builder in Voluntary Administration

Article by · January 13, 2018 ·

A Queensland manufacturer of custom teardrop campers, Gidget Retro Teardrop Campers Pty Ltd, has entered voluntary administration due to insolvency of the company (see the notice here). An email to customers says the manufacturing has ceased and that expected delivery dates of orders are no longer applicable. It also says that the company’s finances are being assessed and options for the future explored.

According to Tracy Leigh, founder of the Lemons Caravans in Aus Facebook group, the company may have been trading insolvent for a number of months. She alleges in an email seen by ROAM that many customers who had paid deposits stand to lose that money, and that many of them were coerced into paying them to jump the waiting list for campers. She also alleges that many customers waited years for campers to be built, and only received refunds on deposits after approaching Fair Trading for help.

Gidget Teardrop Campers began in 2012 and is described on its website as being the invention of Glenn Wills and his partner Christine Bree. The company is said to have done 90,000km of testing on its prototype before putting it into production from a small warehouse in Brisbane in 2014. The company also has an operation in the USA, although a notice on the gidgetusa,com.au website says sales are on hold as the Australian operation tries to clear a backlog of orders.

Gidget has appointed the firm Worrells Solvency & Forensic Accountants as administrators through this process. Customers with concerns should contact gidget@worrells.net.au for further information. Gidget has been contacted for comment and is yet to respond.

See Also
Kimberley Kampers enters voluntary administration
Elite Caravans investigates $1,000,000 embezzellment
Lotus Caravans drops Legal Action against Lemons Caravan founder – fight continues

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About Brendan Batty

ROAM's fearless editor, Brendan's most often found searching for the next best campsite, or fixing his caravan so it will make it to just one more.

18 Comments

  • comment-avatar

    Paul T

    I was with the company during its very early origins, from memory about the 4th one in, and it was rather obvious to me that while the marketing side of things was going ahead leaps and bounds, the production side of things was crippled due to very poor decisions constantly being made by the owner. In a nut shell, I felt he was totally incapable of even starting to meet demand as he was still treating every unit being built as a prototype, he still wasn’t anywhere near being able to produce in any sort of quantity. To make matters worse, he was ridiculously obstinate when it came to listening to sound advice. The company actually lasted about a year longer than I had predicted.

  • comment-avatar

    A company operating like a pyramid scheme was always going to fail at some point . For the last 12-18 months they have been reliant on deposits from new customers to fund the construction of units ordered and paid for up to 2 years prior
    Combined with the general lies and bullying behaviour by management towards customers and it’s no wonder they have a appalling reputation on social media
    Hopefully QOFT and ASIC will investigate this matter which will see around 70 or more customers lose $millions
    ( most customers had paid a minimum 40% deposit with many having paid in full

  • comment-avatar

    Daryl

    Pauls comment above. Saying he was number 4… more like number 7… and thanks to paul and his idea to make fibreglass parts without gelcoat in the moulds first. Well i can tell you. As you were not around to fix them. Pinholes galore. And 7 pods had to be primed and reprimed thanks to your so called expertize brain fart…. not to mention the noosa roof was made too short you worked on prior to moulding… a example of one of large setbacks that cost Gidget Paul

  • comment-avatar

    Paul T

    Yes, I remember this bloke another limited skilled fellow , couldn’t tell him anything. Having structures 4 aeroskills, and pretty good knowledge of composites and the like, Daryl’s silly comment above does not amaze me even a little, typical Gidget attitude of blaming everyone else, and not accepting responsibility. I think from memory Daryl’s experience in building recreational vehicles was limited to carrying out general fibreglass duties as a fibreglass worker at a truck sleeper cab business a couple of doors down. And yes it was actually number 4 I worked on the completion of at first. Please get your facts correct mate, the business failed solely because of attitudes like yours and the owners, closed, unskilled minds, totally unwilling to accept good advice and ideas. Absolute disgrace as far as I’m concerned, a potentially good exciting business stuffed up right from the start due to inexperienced people, management and staff, complete lack of understanding of how to actually producing the product, nowhere even near ready to produce the product when demand started to take off. What a waste. What arrogant stupidity.

  • comment-avatar

    Paul T

    I forgot to mention Daryl, qualified Automotive Bus, Truck and Trailer with over 40 years experience in manufacturing, prototyping, jig design and implementation, composites, ferrous and non ferrous metal fabrication, mig, tig and arc welding, over 4 decades experience applying spray coatings of all make ups and textures including aircraft interior coatings, design of recreational vehicles, construction of recreational vehicles, construction of light aircraft wings and the parts included and so forth.
    So Daryl your credentials would be….
    And your credentials Daryl are…

  • comment-avatar

    Daryl

    Ill tell you paul the 2 steves (fibreglassers) started before me. Thats 2. Then there was Gordo the welder. Thats 3. Al and Darren were in assembly, thats 5. Then Brad the cabnet maker thats 6. Then i started. So im number 7…. then Victor the electrician. Number 8… then john the cabnet maker started. So we are up to 9. Then Brad left. And you (paul started) so you were number 10 hired…. and you have no idea what ive done in the past as i didnt talk to you… anyone who has anything to do with fibreglass and hand lay up knows the dramas that would be involved in manafacturing parts without gelcoat and then trying to paint them afterwards. Something your so called trade quallifications let you down badly on… ive done a hell of a lot more with fibreglass than you could even fathum. And you were worth more than anyone else there ( your words to glen when you asked for a pay rise ( same day you got fired)… and was also planned prior to you aproched Glen for your pay raise lmfao . I dont care one bit what your qualified as Paul. Because it certianly didnt show in your work knollege.

  • comment-avatar

    Darren

    Ok first it was
    1 wayne
    2 brad
    3 darren
    4 damien
    5 steve
    6 alan
    7 gordon
    8 steven
    9 john
    10 daryl
    11 paul
    12 colin
    13 adam
    14 scott
    15 sean
    16 mike
    17 wazza
    18 chris
    19 tai
    20 andrew
    21 ryan
    22 jamie
    And I’m sure there are plenty others, doesn’t matter there are alot more names of customers who are now without their warranties, hard earned cash or their gidgets because the twit at the top was too arrogant and hostile towards customers. Think of the customers that didn’t get anything for their long wait and the person who allowed the people who paid upfront to jump the cue and get theirs before those who were next.

  • comment-avatar

    Darren

    And yes paul worked on number 4 for customer copely if my records are correct light blue dark blue guards

  • comment-avatar

    Paul T

    Knowledge Daryl, knowledge, twit.
    A lot of people lost a hell of a lot of money due to ignorance, incompetence, lack of business skills, inadequately skilled workers under Glenns spell, terrible procrastination from Glenn, some workers having inferiority complexes therefore possessing closed minds, poor use of those who could actually help solve the problems, and so on and so on.
    Once again, your formal training Daryl, any at all…?

  • comment-avatar

    Paul T

    On a serious note is there any way this business can be resurrected, or has it been damaged so far that it’s not possible. I know if I had excess funds available I would go for a re birth so to speak. Cleaned out of all previous management, dedicated intelligent skilled workers put in place, clever, simple production systems put in place and a cautious, mature marketing drive, there is still a good market worldwide, money and brains, it ain’t rocket science.

  • comment-avatar

    Daryl

    I dont have to answer my Qualifications to you Paul. And i wouldnt work for you in a blue moon.. But I have done more in the fibreglass industry over many a year including owning my own buisness within the industry for a good part. If you really insist.. you saying im unskilled. You are so wrong. I would never make a FRP part without applying gelcoat in the mould On a part i know would be painted afterwards… you comment was “why are we spending money on gelcoat when we are painting them” Ill tell you Paul. You may learn something… “from a unskilled worker” your words lmfao.
    You gelcoat parts because it gives the fibreglass a smooth finish. And gives you a surface that can be blocked sanded down to eliminate ripples, Glass print through, defects in the mould surface that carry onto the part and srinkage in the resin just for starters, Along with eliminating smallpin holes. And air bubbles in the Resin that you will allways get with any hand lay up method. I dont care how good a fibreglasser/compisate technician you are, you will allways get air entraped in the resin with hand layup. Gelcoat allso helps protect the mould you use to make the parts from as gelcoat is less dammaging to the mould finish and release ajents compared to straight resin… but if you are as good as you think you are. you should of known this info allready…

  • comment-avatar

    Paul T

    Good o Daryl, I forgot to mention that to the company who used to produce the FRP fuel tanks for the aircraft company, blemish free, (regulations of course), without gelcoat as the pilot had to be able to visually reference the fuel quantity at all times. If I were you, I’d be a bit more concerned with finding employment, Australian Aerospace perhaps, I’m sure that that they would welcome someone with such incredible composites skills. Go away mate, learn, broaden your horizons,…if possible.

  • comment-avatar

    Paul T

    I guess it’s a matter of doing the sums initially, approaching the customers who stand to lose so much, working with them to find a resolution that all parties can work with, and formulating a smart efficient workable plan of attack. I’ve been in a very similar situation before with a company in the ’90 s, they pretty much started in a similar way, didn’t plan for demand and stumbled along for quite a while. A company was called Skyfox Aviation, a great little product, good demand, well marketed, produced around 170 odd aircraft in the end, finally ruined by poor management and pretty much killed off. Only difference is they didn’t rip off customers at all, unlike this tosser, they just didn’t understand how to get ahead. Whilst I feel there still maybe some crappy design problems which slow up production processes with the vehicle, I just don’t know if they progressed in that department at all, it would still be great to get it running as it should be run. There is still good future demand for these things, all around the globe, especially if the purchase process is made to be a memorable experience, something special. The Gidget is like the Skyfox, a good product to initially get the company going, perhaps for a few years, enough to put it in position which would enable it blossom into something really cool and great.

  • comment-avatar

    Paul T

    I found it interesting to read on the ABC news website that Mr Wills blamed delays in production on the loss of staff, driven away by cyberbullying from disgruntled customers. Typical Mr Wills, just plain oblivious to reality. I guess I would like to point out that I did admire the motivation and creative talents and skills that his partner Christine had, I have no idea on what her role was in the destruction of the company though.
    I also noticed that the business may be sold as a going concern. I’ve little doubt this could be a successful business, but only if it’s handled with care and managed super efficiently. I would dearly like to talk to anybody who is interested in seeing this enterprise operate properly, and who is in or is able to fund such. I would meet with anyone genuinely interested, I have something to offer that has the potential to help expand this business quite substantially. It is the reason Mr Wills employed me in the first place, his partner was there as well at the time, and her first word was “Wow”.
    I’m a pretty typical no nonsense type of person, but I do know what it takes to get an enterprise like this operating as a well tuned machine, just don’t have the funds.

  • comment-avatar

    Bobby long

    Paul is a useless wombat , can talk the talk but can’t build anything, couldn’t catch a fish in a fish bowl ,did more on his knees under glens desk then actually work ,, and still got fired

  • comment-avatar

    Trish N

    This has been very entertaining 🙂
    I’m one of the disappointed customers. Paid my deposit in August 2016, after one of their ‘annual sale’ prices.
    I’d been following the Gidget story for the previous year, was in love with the idea of the product (the video) and was regularly checking their fabulous website!
    At that time, their manufacturing process was about to launch and they expected to be up to delivering ‘so many extra’ Gidgets a week! And I’d have my delivery within 6 months, but perhaps even 4 months if the promise of the new process proved out!
    When they asked for ‘full payment’ to fund ongoing improvements, with the chance to jump the queue, my husband and I went ‘We’ve already given you over $10,000! That’s a huge investment in something with no delivery date. Who’d be stupid enough to pay in full?’ So luckily, we’ve only lost our deposit.
    However, I do feel for Glenn and Christine. I (of course) haven’t met them. But they clearly had a dream to build a beautiful product, it became famous too soon for their abilities, and with the ease of sharing information nowadays the message got out. And you can see (with some sympathy) how they’d see potential orders, and not want to knock them back. Even if they weren’t quite ready! Yes, I’m assuming they’re not natural born crooks! 🙂
    But what is really disappointing are the ABC news stories saying they communicated with the Insolvency people at Worrell in mid-2016 – which is before we’d even put our order in. So they were concerned already, and still taking orders. That is wrong!
    It seems a beautiful and compact touring trailer. It would be wonderful if the Gidget got off the ground commercially. But even if someone bought the business as a going concern, I assume that deposits paid could not be honoured. And therefore, we wouldn’t pursue a purchase.

  • comment-avatar

    Paul T

    It would be good for sure but a product like the Gidget needs to be built in a pulse like system which means any new owner/investor would have to have a clear understanding of time and motion and also need to be able to implement standardized work practises, or at least consult with an SME on the subject. And that would need to be understood at all levels. The other problem I saw straight up was that to achieve the numbers they needed in order to keep up with demand, they didn’t have anywhere near the space they really required, certain parts of the manufacturing process should of been carried out elsewhere. While I definitely feel for the people who lost all their money, I can’t help but feel contempt for Glenn, he had a fantastic opportunity that he himself blew through his own doing. By the way if any more members of the Gidget elite crack unit the “ID”, that is the “Intelligence Division” wish to comment about my terrible character or lack of credibility, knock yourselves out, yawnnnn.

  • comment-avatar

    Emear lind

    Woo hoo! I’m a gidget Noosa owner who spends more time rectifying dodgy design and workmanship than towing the bloody thing. Great idea but built cheap and dodgy. I could begin to make a list of rectification I’ve done but too busy fixing the ongoing list. Clearly no quality control used by this company.


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