Koochie Play Systems a trend setter for quality playground equipments
Have you ever thought about the play equipments which your children are exposed to everyday? Are they really safe? There has been lot of news going on about the lead content in the paints used for play equipments in the parks and their hazardous effect. This same thought has led Mr Roben Dass to start with Koochie Play Systems Pvt Ltd.
Speaking about his initiative Roben says: “This was my dream, my baby. I started with a team of just six people, who were curious about the industry.There were times when I observed my son and his friends on the playground, assessing what could be the danger areas. I walked around several parks in Bengaluru and other cities, looking at how we could make this better. I’d see a swing and my mind would begin assessing all the possible danger areas there, which in hindsight was a little disturbing. Our team looked at schools, at residential complexes, talked to several parents about what their expectations were from a playground. This was in 2006, when most of us had not heard of the internationally certified / tested playgrounds that we see in every big residential complex today.”
There was no big research paper we could study on this topic. There was no ‘authority’ we could approach to talk about this. The schools defined ‘playground safety’ as something completely different. He said: “I had divested my earlier ventures and invested the funds in Koochie Play. It was a massive risk, considering that most people did not even know what we were talking about. We had to educate ourselves about what was there and what was needed. Then we had to figure out where to manufacture this equipment we identified state of the art oem facilities in Korea, Taiwan and China and today we have 6 oem units manufacturing for us.In 2014, we started a new range of outdoor fitness equipment, which is currently extremely popular in countries such as Australia all of Europe and Hong Kong.”
Koochie is the only brand in the Indian Sub-Continent to have its products tested and certified in France and Australia by the prestigious EN 1176 certification (the highest safety certification given to playground equipments in Europe) and the AS 4685 & NZS 4486 (Australia & New Zealand’s safety certifications).
The biggest struggle we faced initially (and continue to face even today) was educating people about why we needed standardized, safety-certified equipment for a playground. When we approached our initial clients, the first question they asked was “why should we spend more on these products. It is just for the kids”. And we are still answering that question to every new person today, further stated Mr Roben.
However, there has been a slow change in perception today. Roben says: ‘We work with schools and doctors to help educate people about concepts like ‘age-appropriate playgrounds’ and the hazards of a bad playground. Koochie Play’s products are used by schools, residential condominium apartment and villa complexes, public and municipal parks, clubs, resorts, malls etc. Our products are widely used by the topmost real estate developers & schools in India such as DLF, Hiranandanis, Oberois, Lodhas, India Bulls, Euro Kids, Amity International etc just to mention a few in India. We have completed hundreds of projects right from Cochin down South to Bhutan up North in the Indian sub continent.”
Roben Dass, a serial entrepreneur had started his first venture – a chain of automotive retail shops – at the age of 20 and in addition, owned quite a few more profitable companies, which he sold off in 2006 to consolidate his energy and focus on Koochie Play system. We will most definitely be a market leader globally, in the next five years we are looking at deeper penetration within tier 2 and 3 cities in India and Globally we plan to be in Latin and North Americas and Northern Europe, he further added.