*As seen in The Logbook. Cover Image.
ALWAYS TRUST AN INNOVATIVE IDEA.
Ryan Duarte, co-founder of Glo Domes is on a mission to help people like you and me get themselves out of the rat-race and develop reliable streams of passive income. While unique accommodations on Airbnb and glamping sites are increasingly popular, to offer something different that can still produce a healthy revenue stream is a challenge for those developers who are just starting out.
For them, Glo Domes will be a breath of fresh air.
The Glo Dome is a geodesic dome that is easy to assemble, sturdy and secure and magnificently versatile. Including air conditioning and heating each Glo Dome provides maximum comfort within the spacious interior. And, thanks to its organic yet futuristic aesthetic it can be decorated and styled however a site owner chooses. This allows a site owner to determine their unique appeal without relying solely on their choice of accommodation.
Glamping site owners have to be selective with what tents or units they are going to be using. Yurts, lodges, igloos and wigwams are popular but quite permanent and once they are erected it can be expensive to move them. Glo Domes however, have been designed to offer mobile-permanence. A team of four could assemble one in eight hours and take it down just as fast. The entire structure can be moved in the back of a pick-truck and each one comes with a five-year full replacement guarantee.
THE VALUE OF WORKING IN THE SHADOW
Founders Ryan Duarte and Chirag Patel were very specific with what they wanted to offer when they launched Glo Domes. They were also very much aware of what the competition was doing and what they were up against. In America there are already a handful of very established businesses producing domes for the glamping industry who believe that they have the market monopolised.
Whereas, many people would have looked at the shadow cast by these companies and felt intimidated by it, Ryan and Chirag made full use of this shade to see what gaps in the market were shining through.
“No business begins as the biggest in the industry,” Ryan points out, “We were able to assess what these companies were doing right for their customers and where they were letting their customers down. Then we designed our business around a foundation of offering a top service and filling those gaps. At this point we don’t need to be the biggest, we want the happiest customers and to grow on that.”
HOW IT BEGAN
Ryan Duarte is a serial entrepreneur who spent the first half of his professional life striving to create enough passive income to support himself and his family. He owns a software company that has patented a number of protocols, a laundromat, organic agricultural farms in norther California and a hay brokering company that he runs through his horse farm called Bitteroot Valley Paso Fino Horse Farm. He is a man always open to new ideas and drawn to creative opportunities, relishing the chance to work with like-minded people.
“I attend mastermind sessions,” he explains, “It’s a great place to openly discuss ideas with other business people, there we can have a proper look at these ideas and reveal the good ones that can be used, the bad ones that need to be developed and the potential failures we need to dodge.”
It was actually at one of these sessions that he met his business partner Chirag Patel who works in the finance industry and owns a hedge fund. Ryan describes him as a straight talking, down-the-line business man who’s not afraid to speak his mind and call a spade a spade.
“It’s thanks to him that we’re not selling Glo Domes at some expensive time-share-esque luncheons seminars for business people and retirees on a beach.” Ryan says.
He goes on to say that he believes it is important to have a business partner who doesn’t care about your feelings or how precious you might be about a certain idea. At the same time, not being automatically dismissive is just as important, being willing to hear every idea fully to see if there is any value there. These sorts of business people are rare to come by and should be treasured.
The pair of them met in August 2017 and Glo Domes has been going since January 2018. They have geared up the production side and sold a handful of units with an average sale of $21,500. So far, these sales have been to American business people who initially bought their Glo Domes with the intention of using them professionally.
“However,” Ryan says, “We later discovered that they liked their Glo Domes so much that they’re now using them at their homes instead. Some of these have been for hunting or fishing cabins and others have been for home extensions for their leisure activities. One customer ended up using it so that his son, who hadn’t moved out of the house yet, could at least move out into the garden and have a place of his own.”
It is early days for Glo Domes but the impression they’ve made is quite tangible and the future is going to be very exciting and busy. Right now, the business partners are totally focused on development and sales.
“We were very careful to align ourselves and partner with the best suppliers who could manufacture the different components for the Glo Domes. This meant we could speed up the process of each order to a matter of days and not weeks,” Ryan says, “Customers receive their Glo Domes as a package that can be delivered on a half tonne truck and can be assembled in a matter of hours. We also have a team who can help set up the domes for the site owner if necessary.”
OUT OF THE DOME THINKING
While it is sell, sell, sell at the moment, Ryan is exploring all of the possible uses for the Glo Domes. So far, they know that glamping and boutique stays both locally and internationally are an obvious fit but there are some other areas that he is exploring that have shown great potential.
“The Glo Domes are weather proof and solar powered with heating or cooling apparatus and offer brilliant viewing opportunities,” he says, “Festivals for music, art and travel are an exciting opportunity. It’s easy to picture a Glo Dome at a music festival offering something special for VIP guests and onsite campers. Then there are places like truck stop motels.”
Truck stop motels, servicing the travelling professional as well as the long distance holiday seekers are an important service for anyone travelling long distance by road. Motels and hotels along the way need to find new ways to make themselves attractive and different. People have become far more expectant and discerning when it comes to where they lay their heads. The Glo Domes will offer something unique and special to these motels and truck stops making full use of what open land they may have.
“You can imagine a building such as a motel may have a garden area that is pretty much unused, or a rooftop that has never been visited. With a small investment they could turn these places into profit making areas offering something truly wonderful,” Ryan says.
HOME IN THE DOME
Even if a location is in the middle of a cold snap climate the Glo Domes have been designed for all weather. Each can be fitted with an airlocked aluminum and glass front door to create a location for putting on your winter shoes or taking them off before coming into your cozy Glo Dome.
This last idea could possibly have come from the Glo Dome at Ryan’s home in Montana which the family uses during the all important “Family Time”. This is a designated device-free area where he and his family can spend some quality time together.
“I am a workaholic,” Ryan admits, “If I don’t have a reason to stop, I’ll just keep working. So, I make full use of my Glo Dome because firstly, it gives me time to spend with my kids and my wife. I have two children of 5 and 7, and my wife of 14 years is due to add a third to our family. Secondly, it is a magical place for my children to make memories with their parents.”
His Glo Dome is suitably kitted out as well, with a loft design and a built-in sauna that is as warm as his house, irrespective of the weather outside. And, this gives Ryan the opportunity to stress test the Glo Dome against children, a pregnant wife and the blustery Montana winter.
By November 2019 Ryan aims to have 30-40 affiliate sales people, including the likes of realtors, glamping agencies and independent affiliates and he wants to have sold 365 domes. So, on average, one a day.
He laughs, “Some of our competitors may sell ten times as many as we do,” he says, “But that doesn’t matter, a business runs on happy clients and innovations.”
Their next market innovation, Ryan reveals, is to add full immersion, VR augmented domes to their brand. Here a game or a VR location can be projected onto the inside of the dome effectively creating an entirely different use for them. He says, “There are many immediate uses for this particular innovation and it’s just an example of how far we are pushing the boundaries of what we can use the Glo Domes for.”
Industry standard is 90 day warranty, Glo Domes offer a 5 year full replacement warranty standard.
All Glo Domes also come standard with a split unit AC/Heater mounted to a dolly for easy mobility (are also available without, on request).
As part of their offering they are now offering Glo Domes made of hemp or “Hemp Domes” where the cover is made of PVC coated hemp fabric. For the eco hemp connoisseurs a Glo Dome can solve a host of problems.
Best bang for buck: 1,218sf Glo Dome with 16’ ceilings and insulation, includes passive solar bay window, aluminum and glass locking door, Daikin split unit (whisper quiet ultra-efficient) AC/Heater, deck plans and camouflage net for $20k USD AKA $400/month.