Former classmates a great network

Justin Hales’ success story began when nostalgia for the family holidays of his youth in Kurri Kurri drove him to create an Airbnb-style online disruptor for the caravan holiday market. The idea came to him after he decided that buying a caravan to relive his family holidays was not a viable option.

This led to him creating Camplify, a business that offers people a way to rent out their caravans when they are not using them to those who don’t own caravans. It’s great for those who want to experience the joys of a caravan holiday in an affordable way, so it’s a win-win for both owners and renters!

Camplify today enables people to rent not only caravans but also motorhomes and campervans.

How did your Catholic education help you in starting up and/or running your business?

For me my education provided me with lots of great skills for the business work. Key to my education was the foundational understanding of being able to know how to effectively learn, discover new concept, and teach myself continuous self-improvement. Also important in the business world - and a skill learned firmly in school - was how to effectively work in a team, both through classroom activities, and on the sports fields.

That said, one of the most important things for me has been the network of business professionals I have in the Newcastle region. From solicitors and graphic designers to property developers, my former classmates provide a great network for me to work with in the business community.

Which Catholic schools did you attend? Do you still have strong connections with classmates and/or teachers today?

St Patrick’s Primary School and All Saints College High School, Maitland. I’m still in contact with most of my classmates from primary and high school, and I'm close with a handful of lifelong friends from high school. Some of my teachers have in fact become my customers in my business which is a nice connection. 

Why did your parents choose Catholic schools for you?

My family is from a strong catholic upbringing, with multi-generations attending Catholic Schools. We have a strong family belief in the morals, ethics, and ethos taught at Catholic schools. All Saints College (St Joseph’s) is the school my grandmother, mother, myself, and my sister have all attended. My parents are also teachers and have dedicated a combined total of 90 years of service to Catholic Schools. So fair to say we are supporters. 

What does Easter mean to you?

Easter is a time for thought and reflection. As a Catholic, for me the Easter festival is a celebration of new life, and lots of time with family in these celebrations. From the seafood and service start of Good Friday to the Easter Sunday Mass and roast lunch, it is a great time in the Hales household. It is also the busiest time of the year for our business as Easter is prime camping time.  

What advice would you have for people who want to camp at Easter?

First, book early! Easter is one of the busiest times of year to head out camping. RVs and camping spots fill up quickly. So if you miss out this year be sure to book for next year in advance. Second, Easter is the best climate for camping there is. The days are warm, and the nights are starting to cool, but the water is still warm enough to enjoy a dip. Not only that, but Easter is a great time of the year for fishing, the ultimate Catholic pastime. 

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Brittany Gonzalez

Brittany Gonzalez is a Marketing and Communications Co-ordinator for Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

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