LAUNCH Spotlight: Sofia Mimendi & Emily Bruns: Aclipse Campervans

Get to know Sofia Mimendi & Emily Bruns of Aclipse Campervans from our Summer 2021 LAUNCH Cohort!

What exactly is your business?  

We rent campervans – We help people deepen their connections with others and nature by providing a unique travel experience. We’ve custom built a cozy homebase on wheels and equipped it with all of the essentials so you can pick up and go. We have thoughtfully designed a campervan to take your road trip to the next level. We believe that travel, and the outdoors, can bring new perspective, appreciation, and increase a person’s happiness. By renting a campervan, we help you make the memories of a lifetime. 

How did you come up with your business idea?  

Sofia and I met while training for a marathon. We became fast friends over our love to travel, explore, and spend time outside. Sofia, being new to camping, and myself, being an avid camper, we both loved the idea of campervans. We were both at a point in our lives to start a new challenge and put our energy into something we loved. 

How did you find out about Aviatra?  

All of my adult life, I have been an art teacher and though I could run a classroom, I didn’t know anything about running a business. Sofia went to school for business, but hadn’t run her own and knew nothing about the rental industry, so I reached out to the Score Mentorship program. After a few sessions, they suggested we apply. 

What is your inspiration?  

Sofia and I share a strong passion for the environment. We believe by helping people get out into the parks, and the wilderness, they will connect, appreciate, and help protect our environment. Sofia and I also believe life is about meaningful experiences, connecting with others and yourself. We have been super lucky to use the van and have some really amazing adventures! Really, experiences we will never forget.   

What has been your biggest accomplishment with your business so far?  

Last year was a WILD ride! We went from, shelter in place and all bookings were canceled, to self-contained campervan was the only way people felt comfortable traveling. We couldn’t keep up with demand. It couldn’t be more fulfilling to provide something that could help people last year. We are very grateful.  

What was the most valuable thing you gained from your experience with Aviatra?  

It is still early, but so far, I really appreciate the community. Getting to talk to and hear about other women who are passionate about what they are doing. Everyone is different, and brings unique perspective and knowledge to problems we all share as new business owners. 

What was the biggest challenge you faced when starting your business?  

Going from being a teacher all my life to starting a business is a steep learning curve. COVID accelerated our business, but also that learning curve. We went all in with our time, finances, and energy. Everything we had we put into the business. Now we want to continue to grow, take it to the next level but, like most start-up businesses, we need funding. 

Any advice for future Aviatras?  

Definitely set aside time to digest everything. It is a lot of info and it can be overwhelming. I try to take in as much as I can during class then I set aside time later to think about how I can apply it specifically to our business.