Harwyn’s Managing Director, Jason Fremder, reveals his ideas and inspiration behind the pod that is changing the approach to work/life balance. As the Australian design landscape changes, the Harwyn pod continues to revolutionise the home office.
What inspired you to create Harwyn?
After the birth of my first daughter, I found it difficult to maintain a solid focus on business with kids playing close by. The home office just didn’t work anymore. I was left with a couple of choices: rent an office or find another solution. I needed a Harwyn, something that could let me work from home but give me the home/office separation without the travel time. I like my gadgets and sleek design so I wanted something that would fit my tastes.
What gaps did you identify in the market?
There were plenty of offerings, from your basic shed through to garden offices, but there didn’t appear to be an offering that complimented my taste for sleek design. I wanted to offer a product that could be advertised or uttered in the same sentence as an Audi, an iPhone and Mona Museum without seeming out of place.
How long did it take from initial concept to bring the Harwyn to fruition?
The idea came to me from the back seat of my 4WD in late 2012. From there, things moved very quickly. I put together a business plan while conducting market research, and architect Selwyn Blackstone assembled an incredible set of designs based on the brief. By July 2013, we had our first prototype.
What has been the biggest challenge in the process so far?
It’s always fascinating to me that in as short as six weeks from first hearing about us, people have a Harwyn pod in their garden! The challenge in that scenario is reaching a wider audience in Australia. We get in front of potential customers through very targeted advertising and marketing undertakings, and have now found our footing.
Why is a Harwyn the ultimate solution to achieving a work/life balance?
Everyone can relate to having a moment where we need to knuckle down and focus. But not all of us have the luxury of enjoying a study as part of the house. With a Harwyn, stepping outside and into a separate space, completely detached from the house, creates a clear line of demarcation between where home life ends and work life begins. We have clients that have an office space in the house, but have recognised that a Harwyn offers a more professional setup for their work requirements. It frees up their entire house for leisure activities, which is what the home is for.
What has been the overall response to Harwyn?
We get many enquiries, have a growing client list and the future is looking incredible. I recently made a call to update my household insurance policy. The agent asked about my business, so I told him to open up the Harwyn homepage. He was so excited that he couldn’t help but move off his script and tell me how ahead of its time he thought Harwyn was! That’s the type of reaction we get over and over from people learning about Harwyn for the first time.