I am the dinosaur within the Entre-Prises group (The parent organisation for Clip ‘n Climb)! I joined Entre-Prises in the UK back in 1997 when it was operating out of the old laundry room in a Yorkshire stately home!
For many years my focus was towards developing the sales of Entre-Prises’ artificial climbing walls. To be part of a new revolution within climbing, and sport in general, was truly exciting as the company was at the forefront of the development of this new sporting discipline. I like to think that the direct work I did during those years in the UK helped, in some small part, to get climbing established as an Olympic sport.
In 2010 I travelled to New Zealand to review and potentially acquire the selling rights for a new product that I was convinced had an important role in the climbing wall world – The TruBlue Autobelay.
During my discussions with the developers of the TruBlue my attention was directed to something very different – the world’s first Clip ‘n Climb centre in Christchurch. I was instantly mesmerised.
What I was seeing before me was completely different to the climbing facilities that I had been focussed upon for so many years. Not only was the look and feel of each of the climbing challenges novel and head turning but the type of engagement of the youngsters I witnessed was probably the biggest surprise. Each one of them were clearing having a fantastic time. Unlike conventional climbing walls where the focus is on serious training and development, here at the Clip ‘n Climb centre the focus was all upon fun. Everyone was enthusiastically climbing everything. I was witnessing a vertical playground. Shouting, screaming, laughing, running and group photos were the order of the day.
When I sat down with John Targett, the founder, he explained the business model. One-hour sessions, advanced online bookings to drive full capacity and staffing requirements, birthday parties etc all added up to me.
When I returned to Europe I presented Clip ‘n Climb to the Entre-Prises board. The lights switched on in everyone’s minds and I was given the approval to negotiate for the rights to Clip ‘n Climb in Europe and the US.
With an agreement in place to not only sell but also to manufacture I then focussed on the establishment of the first showcase centre. This was built in Exeter in the southwest of England. The centre rapidly established itself as the ‘go to’ facility for all youngsters in the region and our marketing team started to ensure that prospective investors were becoming increasingly aware of this new exciting fun climbing concept. Since then, there has been no looking back – there are now almost 350 Clip ‘n Climb centres established around the world.
In 2013 I joined Entre-Prises International headquarters in France. Over recent years I have been focussing on the Eastern European and Middle Eastern markets. These are markets that have huge potential for leisure growth, and I am enjoying the challenge of gently and persuasively placing Clip ‘n Climb in front of every potential investor.
I love to share my enthusiasm that I have for Clip ‘n Climb with others. As I recognise that a prospective client shares my eagerness, it is a joy to follow the journey together and get another Clip ‘n Climb facility established.
I try to answer the questions just before they are asked! There are many things to consider when establishing a Clip ‘n Climb facility. The initial investment is high, so understandably an investor wants, and needs, to be fully reassured. I cover everything: designs, prices, costs, operating practices, building considerations, customer experience, marketing, business plans etc. And I maintain this level of support and involvement right through the process – for as long as I can be useful.
FUN!, safe and head turning.
Only a small proportion of Clip ‘n Climb facilities are ‘standalone’. In most cases they are located amongst other attractions eg climbing centres, FEC’s, trampoline parks, ice skating rinks, bowling alleys, soft play facilities etc.
Visitors enjoy participating in a number of fun activities at the same site. This is something that operators and developers understand. Clip ‘n Climb is perfectly complimented with other fun and thrill-seeking indoor activities. The Fun Spot range of trampoline parks, ropes courses, zip lines, ninja courses and soft play when incorporated with Clip ‘n Climb provides for the very best, and certainly the most appealing, Family Entertainment Centres.
My focus is now primarily centred around the development of Clip ‘n Climb and Fun Spot across the Middle East. Our products really suit the demands of the markets across the Middle East. In general terms, the high temperatures often preclude young people from following adventurous activities outdoors. This has been a difficulty for parents and children alike and has fuelled a propensity towards inactive leisure eg computer gaming, watching TV and shopping mall browsing. Clip ‘n Climb and Fun Spot’s adventurous trampoline park range provide the perfect antidote: a controlled and safe indoor environment for young people to challenge themselves in a truly healthy and energetic experience.
Everyone I speak to across the Middle East quickly becomes excited about the possibilities. This is a great joy for me as I travel around the Middle East countries – I never have to convince a prospective entrepreneur or operator of the merits of Clip ‘n Climb or Fun Spot. The challenge is, as ever, to find the right location or building.
If you are located in the Middle East and looking for a healthy investment, contact him for further discussion!