Operate & Optimise
“The only way is up!”
Make your FEC even more challenging with the climbing walls of Clip 'n Climb
Do you know Clip 'n Climb? ELI Play has recently become one of the European distributors of this international market leader in fun climbing. Tiphaine Lazard, Leisure Product Manager at Clip 'n Climb, talks about the roots and ambitions of the organisation, and how they want to reach new heights together with ELI Play.
Clip 'n Climb was founded in 2004 by entertainment entrepreneur John Targett and Tim Wethey, designer of climbing walls. At the beginning of 2017, the New Zealand company became an integral part of the French climbing wall specialist Entre-Prises (since 1985), the world market leader in tailor-made solutions for climbing.
Tiphaine Lazard, what is your background?
"I studied sports marketing in France and the US. After my master's degree, I worked in the surfing industry for four years. I've been working for Clip 'n Climb since 2015 and since then I've fallen in love with the brand and the fun it gives to climbing. The leisure industry cannot be compared with any other industry. What we do is not regular business but show business. That's a big difference.”
What exactly does Clip 'n Climb do?
"From the moment the first business opened in New Zealand, Clip 'n Climb changed indoor climbing. The new concept was a combination of theme park and climbing attractions, relaxing and challenging for all ages. The name Clip 'n Climb actually says it all: you clip yourself in place and you climb - it's that simple. Thanks to the TruBlue automatic fuse system, you don't need a climbing partner. This makes indoor climbing to a height of about ten metres attractive for a very large audience - it has been possible since 4 years".
Climbing makes everyone happy: the climber who overcomes his challenge and the entrepreneur.
Seriously, is it really that easy?
"Whereas indoor climbing used to be seen as a very specialised, technical sport, we have made it an accessible, relaxing activity. Anyone, regardless of age or skill, can compete with themselves or others, in a pleasant and stimulating environment. Clip 'n Climb has in fact created a new market, which has grown considerably since 2010. We now have 215 climbing installations worldwide. And the end is not yet in sight!
What does climbing add to playgrounds?
"We built the Clip 'n Climb brand from the belief that it will make everyone happy: the climber who overcomes his challenges, and the entrepreneur who can earn a living with it. In most indoor playgrounds, Clip 'n Climb climbing equipment is a new addition to the range. Aimed at entertainment, daring, freedom, optimism, physical strength and thoughtfulness. These values apply to climbers and the people who invest in them - indoors and outdoors.
Clip 'n Climb
What are the most important developments in this market?
"Technology is of course an important part of our industry. But the biggest challenge for playgrounds is to make children move. Interactivity for the Z generation (children born between 1995 and 2010 - ed. ) is something natural and something they expect everywhere. That's why we're about to introduce Clip 'n Score: a system that allows you to capture and share your performance. Climbers can easily see if they are making progress and compare their performance with other climbers. The system is non-contact and almost invisibly built in, so you won't notice anything during climbing: you can fully focus on climbing while the technique records your results. ”
What is your connection with ELI Play?
"We have known each other for a few years and have spoken to each other a lot at trade fairs and at their headquarters in the Netherlands. We do not make products together, but we do set up projects together: ELI Play shows their first designs and then we align our products. This way we can be sure that everything works well and safely. We have already completed several projects together in Austria and made designs and quotations for other countries.”
Safety is always a hot item; how strict are the rules for you?
"Clip 'n Climb installations are seen as climbing constructions. Therefore, our facilities must comply with the European standard for climbing walls, EN 12572. As a buyer, manager and visitor you know that a Clip 'n Climb installation is a quality product and safe to use. For entrepreneurs in the entertainment and leisure world, this is of great value, because customers are increasingly looking at safety".
How do you make sure you stay ahead of the competition?
"We always focus on quality and innovation: we have been the first in this industry with a number of things. Clip 'n Climb currently offers more than forty different challenges, based on agility, difficulty and guts. The climbing walls have different shapes and vivid colours and are made of materials that are sturdy and safe. The different degrees of difficulty challenge climbers at every attempt to move forward. ”
What about the competition?
"As the market leader, we are constantly being copied. Famous challenges of ours - such as the Stairway to Heaven or the Leap of Faith - are now also featured in the catalogues of almost all our competitors. We are the innovators; the rest is following us. This is common when you create a new market. But now that the market is more or less certain, we are not just giving away our innovations and pursuing a patent and copyright strategy to ensure that we can continue to deliver unique products to our customers. ”
What are your plans for the future?
"The year 2018 was a year of considerable further growth. So far we have opened 49 centres in 17 different countries. We are working on five countries: Portugal, Brazil, Poland, Oman and Denmark. We will soon be opening 44 ongoing projects. The end is not yet in sight. New: in April 2019 we will unveil our largest Clip 'n Climb - in Ipswich - with 32 obstacles. We are clearly still in a serious upward trend - the only way is up! ”