The success of an indoor playground: Jérémy Villette’s interviewCharlotte RAMBERT
The positive impact in small towns
Jérémy Villette, manager of Savane Kids in Poilly-Lez-Gien, has always dreamed of creating his own indoor playground… It’s a dream come true, which also has energised the local community!
Dive into the entertaining world of this achievement, while exploring the keys to success for profitable indoor play areas and the steps involved in opening an indoor playground.
Can you introduce yourself and tell us more about your indoor play area project in Poilly-Lez-Gien?
Jérémy Villette: My name is Jeremy Villette and I’m the manager of Savane Kids in Poilly-Lez-Gien.
I wanted to create an indoor playground with a particular theme that was close to my heart, centred on the savannah: my son is a big fan of the it!
Furthermore, after running a leisure centre for 1-12 year-olds, it was a natural progression to work with this age group.
Jérémy Villette: In Poilly-Lez-Gien, there were not a lot of options, nothing specially dedicated to children.
Also, to go out with the leisure centre, we often had to travel 30 to 40 km to find suitable activities.
After a market study, it became clear that there was an unmet demand for soft play areas.
It was really sad because there was a big need, that’s why we started with Play In Business.
How did you discover Play In Business and why did you choose to work with them on your project?
Jérémy Villette: We discovered Play In Business on Facebook, while looking for companies in the indoor playground sector.
What’s more is that they offered exactly what we were looking for in terms of a playground theme: the savannah! We got on really well with Aminata, who was very friendly, and Bertrand Coulomb too.
Tell me about the steps in your collaboration with Play In Business.
Jérémy Villette: We found them on Facebook and emailed them as we were interested in launching this project.
As beginners, we needed more information about profitability, budget and the space we’d found. Especially as we didn’t know what were the procedures.
I had already done a market study, but I needed advice because the project was already well advanced.
Then we had a conversation on the phone, and things fell into place naturally.
The project took just over a year, opening in May.
Financing was very easy, because Poilly-Lez-Gien is a small town and there was already a lot of demand.
The banks were enthusiastic about supporting the project.
In addition, having worked in the local community for over 10 years, made me have the network to make it all work!
How has Savane Kids evolved since it opened?
Jérémy Villette: The development has been very positive. We’ve taken on an extra person, so this explains its success!
We’re getting very good feedback from our customers, and we’re making encouraging progress.
This summer, we were open every day from 10am to 7pm.
However, outside the summer season we’re open every Friday evening. It’s working really well too!
Normally, we welcome around a hundred customers a day, including children and adults. So, we don’t need to advertise or communicate on the social media because that would become difficult to manage.
In May, we simply communicated via the local newspaper, and thanks to word of mouth, it worked really well!
What are the most popular features of your indoor playground?
Jérémy Villette: The ball pool for toddlers aged 1-3 is a huge success.
Everyone wants to go there.
In fact, I’ll have to contact Play In Business to include one in the structure for the older children!
The karting track is also a big success with the kids.
Can you tell us how the creation of your indoor playground has had an impact on the town of Poilly-Lez-Gien?
Jérémy Villette: The impact has been very positive!
I’m no longer the only one to have set up here. There’s now a shop, a restaurant and a bakery.
It’s very positive, because it’s giving a boost to an area that was initially not much developed. Other projects are also on their way in Poilly-Lez-Gien, including the opening of more restaurants!
So it’s very beneficial and ideal for us.
Indoor play parks are often associated with big cities. Can you tell us about the advantages of building this indoor playground in a small town like yours?
Jérémy Villette: In our small town, the scarcity of activities is a huge competitive advantage: we’re the only ones, with no direct competitors.
As I explained earlier, this has also had a very positive impact on the local community.
Which advice would you give to other entrepreneurs thinking of creating an indoor playground in a small town?
Jérémy Villette: I’d tell them to gather up their courage and tell themselves that there are lots of opportunities in small towns.
You shouldn’t be afraid just because the fact that there are fewer inhabitants doesn’t mean the project won’t work – it’s the total opposite!
Finally, would you recommend Play In Business and why?
Jérémy Villette: Absolutely!
They are very professional, always available to answer to our questions and very responsive!