THE LITTLE NEW ZEALAND CAMPING EMPIRE
THE ZEMPIRE STORY
Zempire® is the little New Zealand camping empire built by husband and wife team Richard and Sophie Knauf. From small beginnings, a dedication to smart design and “the last 10%” has seen this Kiwi company quietly build a global community of devoted fans.
New Zealand’s spectacular but often rugged mountains, forests, beaches, rivers and coasts are where we put our designs to the test. Down here at the bottom of the world, the fresh sea breezes, strong UV light and sometimes wild (the locals like to call it “invigorating”) weather are nature’s perfect testing ground. If they can stand up to these conditions, they can thrive anywhere in the world.
Strength and durability are essentials for any great outdoors product - but it’s the dedication to design that makes Zempire® something special. All Zempire® products are meticulously constructed for ease of use, packability, and extra comfort. Every detail is considered. What’s more, they look great and are fun to use.
It’s the little things that matter
Then there’s what we like to call “the last 10%”. These are the design features that elevate a product to something you’ll want to tell your friends about. It might be the way something packs down in lightning fast time, easy-pump “no arguments” air frames for quickly putting up tents, or glow in the dark zip pullers for those middle of the night bathroom visits. We’re continually testing new ideas, and it’s your feedback that keeps us striving to be even better.
Over the last 16 years, the Zempire® team are proud to have built a global network of like-minded distributors and inspired people worldwide to explore, roam and reconnect with a simpler way of life. Zempire® is now one of the fastest-growing camping brands in the world and can be found in New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia and North America.
So, are you ready to join us in the great outdoors? Build your own little empire with our range of products designed for adventure seekers.
Zempire’s Richard Knauf, a Kiwi, grew up skiing and hiking in the rugged central North Island plateau. It’s a beautiful area known for its volcanos, waterfalls, thermal springs - and for being exceptionally hard on gear.
Exploring mountains and ski-fields across the globe later in life, Richard gained an appreciation for the way a well-designed piece of kit could elevate his outdoor experiences.
This passion for truly great gear led to a role in sales and product management for a national outdoor brand. When that company closed, there was only one thing for it. Take a leap and pour those customer insights and product knowledge into a new design-focused camping brand.
Armed with enthusiasm, designs and a spreadsheet, Richard headed to China. There he met Sophie, a manufacturing specialist for the outdoor industry. As they say, the rest is history (if history was made up of a heck of a lot of late nights, hard work and coffee.)
Today, the Zempire® team continue to be on the ground in China each year, working with trusted manufacturing partners and quality checking every single production run.
At our heart, Zempire® is a family business, with Richard and Sophie across every design decision. We’re so fortunate to be doing what we love – thanks for being a part of our journey!
MEET SOME OF OUR TEAM
Our fearless leader and designer extraordinaire. Richard's passion for the outdoors and desire to see more families outside enjoying it drives him to keep finding new ideas and new ways to make camping easier and more accessible. All the suggestions and feedback we receive, at his request, will end up on Richards desk and a part of the planning and consideration for the following season's range.
The real boss and the buffer between incredible ideas and making them happen! Sophie is our connection to our factories and the people that take our innovative designs and make them real! I guess you could call her the gatekeeper and quality controller. Both Richard and Sophie are often found in the factories pitching and putting any new product through the motions.
Constanze is our inhouse designer, so everything you see Zempire has more than likely passed through her creative mind. Product branding and packaging, brochures and flyers, videos and images, advertisements and more. She is often given rough ideas and raw content and somehow turns them into a glorious finished masterpiece. She is also known to be the one behind the camera, capturing the magic from the get-go.
Our Financial Controller with an eye for detail as good as his limited sense of humour! Lachy provides support to our frontline team members so they can focus on giving our Zempire Family an exceptional level of service. Lachy keeps busy by analysing key metrics to find solutions to support the various different functions of our business. With 13 years of service to Zempire, Lachy has done his fair share of heavy lifting so now enjoys keeping his feet under his desk.
A key link between our suppliers and Zempire, Tina is our awesome Logistics Coordinator. Tina keeps very busy to ensure our Zempire products get in the hands of our worldwide Zempire Family! Tina can be found liaising with suppliers, forwarders and warehouse teams to ensure our stock arrives on time. She can speak fluent mandarin which is key for relationship building with suppliers and looks forward to growing with the team at Zempire.
Known to be a master of an excel spreadsheet, Reuben is our Planning & Procurement Manager & can usually be found liaising with various team members to give updates on stock arrivals. He is hugely dedicated to getting the right products to the right places at the right time. A real ‘work smarter’ operator, Reuben is passionate towards improving our processes to become as efficient as possible!
Our Parts and Repairs Coordinator never shys away from rolling up her sleeves both at her desk and when putting up our tents! Krystal can be found assessing our products, warehousing and handling after-sales service enquiries with no issue too big or small to make our customer feel part of our Zempire Family. Krystal is super passionate about our brand and loves the fact Zempire chooses quality over quantity.
Our Skiwi (Scottish Kiwi) Key Account Manager is the link between our retail partners and products. Neil’s passion for sporting challenges keeps him young (at heart) so he has plenty of energy to engage the marketplace with our products, track market trends, tell our story and bring new customers into our Zempire Family. He particularly loves matching the perfect products with the right customers to truly enhance camping experiences!
With a background in tourism, snow and rugby industries, Matt leads our Marketing team. He has a hand in everything from marketing strategy to campaign management, digital marketing, POS, content shoots and packaging. A keen surfer and snowboarder, Matt uses camping to fuel his passion for the outdoors and to create lifelong memories with his daughter.
Our Sales and Logistics Administrator looks after all the orders coming through NZ & Australia (both online & from our many retailers), so she has her hands full! Ashley also answers our customer's enquiries, from anything to do with product information to spare parts. Ash is hugely passionate about strengthening relationships with our retailers and customer and when she’s not smashing out work, she can be found enjoying the outdoors or hitting the hills for a hunt.