Geneva Long

Founder and CEO | Bowlus

What It Takes to Restart a Luxury RV Brand, with Bowlus Founder and CEO Geneva Long

Bowlus created the ultra-luxury travel-trailer segment with a premium RV featuring modern technology encased in a 1934-era art deco design. CEO Geneva Long reimagined the original 1930s brand to feature technology in the way of heated floors, Wi-Fi, and lithium-iron battery power for up to two weeks of “off-grid” electricity, among other comforts. Bowlus creates luxury products to enhance people’s lives by offering the highest-quality craftsmanship—closer to the yacht industry than the RV industry. They also have a bespoke program and history of limited edition products, including the new Terra Firma Limited Edition, which features enhancements such as complex air and water filtration systems and pet-friendly accoutrements.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business? 

Running a business often means your days are filled with unexpected events that make every day memorable. However, probably one of my favorite days was being named to Forbes 30 under 30. It was a delightful surprise and a complete honor to be recognized for the innovations we have created at Bowlus to lead a billion-dollar industry. It really is a testament that you should make your business what you want and lead accordingly.

The interior of the new Bowlus Terra Firma Limited Edition.

What success habits did you pick up early on to get ahead?

One habit that makes me more productive is staying focused. I like to have daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonal goals. I know it doesn’t sound terribly exciting, but it makes the difference to being productive. I also like to leave some time for thinking. It isn’t always productive, but you simply never know when you can foster a creative idea.

You are incredibly accomplished in your career and we all know that doesn’t come without mistakes and failures. Tell us about one of those times. How do you handle setbacks and learn from failure?

Some of my biggest challenges in this business have been related to hiring for key positions and delegating for projects. Often projects and expectations are moving targets so finding the right person who can handle that type of environment is really important. I’ve had to learn how to motivate people to see a longer runway in their careers and spend the time to ensure the fit is just right. As tempting as it is sometimes to just “do it myself,” I know the business will thrive in the long term with the right approach.

Bowlus Founder and CEO Geneva Long.

What advice would you give to 20-somethings looking for ways to make a valuable impact on society and culture through entrepreneurship?  

Only take advice from those you respect. There is no shortage of advice coming at you when you are starting a business. While some of it may be exceptional, for the most part I’ve found it too general to be useful. Although it may be delivered as well-meaning, it usually isn’t specific enough to be really applicable to your concept. So use your time wisely and only seek counsel from those you believe will move your business forward. Although this seems obvious, it is amazing how others can influence your thinking.

What one product or service have you invested in lately that changed your life?

Zapier integrations. Open API is the future. I love this tool for connecting and automating repetitive tasks that I can easily build myself without coding or developer time.