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Questions and answers with Graham Bloxham, CEO and founder of EcoTiny tells us a bit about the seed of inspiration, growing EcoTiny, and the perks of pod ownership.

What is EcoTiny?
EcoTiny is a budding company committed to providing you with the ultimate in luxury “tiny house” accommodation. With an emphasis on reducing environmental impact, EcoTiny pods combine big experience with small living, tailored to you, at an affordable rate. EcoTiny pods are portable and off-the-grid, making it easier than ever before to live remotely in New Zealand.

But don’t you own a cooking entertainment company?
I do! I began Social Cooking 7 years ago. Our cooking experience provides a dynamic opportunity for our guests to improve their cooking skills, and our group events such as the MasterChef challenge have earnt us a special place in the corporate team building world. With the success of Social Cooking, I began considering new ventures. There has been an avalanche of interest in sustainable, off-the-grid, eco-living, and now here we are.

Master Chef Graham cooking up a storm in the Social Cooking Kitchen.

What inspired you to start EcoTiny?
I was in Northland. Tucked behind a dusty, unmaintained track flowed a stunning swimming hole backing onto a winery. The sun glistened off the waterfall cascading down the rocks. Only a handful of people knew about this place. This is my oasis, I remember thinking to myself “I wish I could live here.” And then I thought “why can’t I?” I envisioned a small pod building nestled into the landscape. I dreamt of unplugging from my crazy life and taking time to enjoy and explore the landscape. I knew I couldn’t be the only one with this dream, and so then EcoTiny seed was planted.

Where do EcoTiny pods come from?
We build EcoTiny pods at our factory in the Manawatu and then deliver them to their new home, ready for you to move in or start renting out.

So, you won’t be building on my land?
Nope! Once the EcoTiny seed was planted, I cultivated my vision with months of research. I contacted architects, designers, the council, building supply companies, and banks, only to be met with frustration. I asked one company for a quote for a pod and he never responded. One architect I spoke to told me building consent could cost between $7K to $30K, and that was without their fees. The development of our Manawatu factory gives us the freedom to grow our pods so you don’t have to worry about paying resource fees only to wait six months for consent. We take care of all of that for you, leaving you with a pod ready for your chosen landscape. The EcoTiny pod shopping experience is akin to buying a new car. Once you purchase it it’s yours to do whatever you want with.

What makes EcoTiny pods special?
EcoTiny pods are designed to exist within your chosen landscape. Since we build them at our Manawatu factory and deliver them to you, you don’t have to worry about the environmental impact of a construction site. EcoTiny pods are made of a low-cost, high-quality, eco-friendly material and with options for solar panels and a rainwater harvesting system making off-the-grid living more accessible than ever before.

Where to now?
Off the grid, of course! We’re looking at growing a community of people to live in and operate in the tiny house network. With orders coming in, our factory is working hard to build and deliver the first of our off-the-grid habitats, hoping to spread out to 500 EcoTiny pods over the next 3 years.

500?
500! You can tuck an EcoTiny pod away in your favourite hidden spot (the Northland swimming hole is taken). Or you could put it on the edge of a tourist hot spot, rent it out, and cash in on New Zealand’s blooming tourism industry. Or instead of building onto your house, you could plant a pod in your backyard and use it as extra housing. Your pod, your call.

How much are they?
$89,000. For around the same price as a mid-quality car, you will get a fully pimped pod equipped with solar panels, water tanks to harvest rainwater, and a gas system attached to a high-quality shower, with delivery and installation included. It’s like a portable hotel room, waiting for you to move in and add your toys.

What do you mean by “pimped?”
Though EcoTiny pods start as a “blank canvas,” so to speak, you have the option to mod your pod. Add on solar, gas, a compostable toilet, water harvesting, or buy it blank and rent it out. My pod is going to have a designer Andrew Cassels barbecue and a portable cocktail bar that I can roll out onto the deck, all while listening to my kick ass Bluetooth sound system. If you can dream it we can do it. *

*Probably.

Can they be rented out?
Of course! EcoTiny pods are an excellent investment. Live in it, rent it out, or rent it out while you’re not using it! Ask me and I’ll send you a sheet detailing the amazing investment return potential!

Graham in his natural environment.

For questions of your own, contact Graham at gbloxham@gmail.com or on 0275526335.

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