The BOUNCE business concept is springing into action as the business grows and develops from it’s launch in 2015. We catch up with Shaun and Nicolle to learn more about their start-up.
Shaun Strydom and Nicolle Weir have known each other for close on 20 years where they developed a strong professional bond while working together at Deloitte. Since leaving Deloitte they often joked about getting together again in some form of business opportunity and after discussing the opportunity with BOUNCE it was clear that this was the one….
Entrepreneur caught up with Shaun and Nicolle to ask them about BOUNCE INC.
Truth be told when we initially got presented the opportunity we did not fully appreciate the concept as in many respects it was foreign to ourselves and the SA market. It took many discussions and eventually a visit to one of the international BOUNCE venues where we were blown away by the concept and overall professional setup.
BOUNCE is such a unique business that offers a healthy, fun and an accessible adrenaline rush to pretty much anyone and everyone.
Ultimately, we are ourselves quite discerning when it comes to professionalism and service and as parents we are both very sensitive to identifying quality offerings for families in the market.
Following lots of due diligence into BOUNCE and other similar businesses around the world it was clear that BOUNCE was the leading Brand and organisation in this category.
What lessons have you learnt in the first year of Bounce?
Part of what we loved about the BOUNCE Brand was our ability to recruit young and often inexperienced staff and give them opportunities to grow and develop, specifically as youth employment is a huge need in SA. We initially battled to keep up with the amount of people streaming in through our front door – you can train staff in a “classroom” environment but nothing really prepares you for those first few weeks when the public are bubbling over with excitement and all they want to do is BOUNCE.
We are very proud to say that the team has really stepped up and we continually get compliments from customers around the level of service from our staff – it’s something that we are passionate about and we will continue to keep driving a customer centric business. Our staff also have fantastic international opportunities to work at other BOUNCE venues around the world.
Did you ever expect Bounce to be as well received by the South African public as it has been
It is fair to say that the build up to our opening on 12 June 2015 had its share of sleepless nights and sweaty palms.
- What were we thinking?
- This huge investment!
- Our reputations?!
- A new Brand and a totally new concept and the first of its kind in Africa!
- Would this work?
On the day that we opened, our doors were almost pushed over with kids and families streaming into bounce. It was, to say the least, a very emotional and humbling moment.
We never expected the Brand and response from SA to be so overwhelming and it continues to grow as people from all over SA are calling for BOUNCE to come to their city or area – we are very grateful for this, as ultimately, this business is for all South African’s. Continuing to deliver on the BOUNCE experience and staying ahead in the market is what gets us out of bed every day.
Where to from here…Launching Menlyn Maine and Fourways. What is your vision for the company?
We will be launching 2 more venues in Gauteng this year – one in Johannesburg and the other one in Pretoria area. These venues will include some new innovations and surprises for our customers. Our plan is to open a BOUNCE in all major cities in SA as part of our initial rollout plan including KZN, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, Polokwane, Mpumalanga which are already in motion.
There are a lot of competing trampoline parks that are emerging now, how do you feel about this?
It is great to see the market being opened up following our launch and believe this will assist in stimulating and educating the market on the many benefits of Trampolining.
Our primary concern however with other operators is that they are not necessarily following the world’s leading safety standards in terms of design, equipment, safety padding and training of staff. This could have a negative outcome for a new growing industry if profit is put ahead of safety.
It is for this reason that we welcome the fact that the South African Gymnastics Federation is busy implementing a South African Trampoline Parks Association whereby membership will be based on meeting stringent safety standards. They are looking to adopt the Australian Trampoline Park Association (ATPA) Standards which are considered the most stringent in the world. We are obviously very excited by this move as BOUNCE already complies with these strict standards in every aspect from design, equipment, padding, operations and training of staff. Furthermore we are very proud of our first year safety record which is well below the ATPA average rate of 2 significant injuries per 10 000 jumpers.
We will work towards educating our customers to ensure they appreciate the importance of a trampoline park that meets strict safety standards and it will also give us the opportunity to differentiate ourselves from our competitors in the market.
Who is your target market?
The best part about BOUNCE is it doesn’t matter if you’re under 5 or an action sports junkie in training – you’re never too old or too young to have an awesome time.
The benefits of Trampolining are universal and therefore our target market is very broad although we have specific programs designed for each customer segment and age category.
BOUNCE is packed with lots of things to do with kids and the family; it takes the rush of getting airborne and adds a bunch of new dimensions – from aerial maneuvers to slam dunking, wall running and dodgeball warfare.
What are some of the unexpected challenges of running this sort of business?
One of the biggest initial challenges in bringing BOUNCE to South Africa was finding the right premises in the ideal node at a price that makes commercial sense. You need a landlord to take a risk on a new concept and new Brand and a very large space.
Subsequent to opening our doors and as the BOUNCE Brand has gained popularity within South Africa, property is no longer a challenge however the challenge now is not chasing every opportunity but to be discerning about where and how many BOUNCE venues we roll out within South Africa.
We believe the greatest on-going challenge will be ensuring our staff remain at the top of their game and are well trained both from a safety and a customer service perspective. We believe that this will be the secret to differentiating us from our competitors along with our innovative new offerings that we will be introducing into our new venues.
See more on BOUNCE on the website: www.bounceinc.co.za.