Children’s birthday parties are already becoming a serious business opportunity for many. Let’s start with India’s population of 1.2 billion. At 30% urban population, this comes to 360 million. 30% is in the age-group of 0-14 years, which brings us to a potential 108 million children’s birthday parties in urban India every year. There is no doubt that this is a serious market opportunity. Add to this that parents are willing to go the extra mile to make their child’s party unique – something that all the other kids and their parents will talk about. Cashing in on this opportunity, with a value proposition of trust, safety and professional service is Jumporee – India’s first exclusive kids bounce-house rental company.
Jumporee’s founder Sudha Sundaravaradan, an MBA graduate from US ,worked as a product analyst at bank of New York Mellon Corporation before relocating to India. Sharing her motivation for launching Jumporee, Sudha says, “I wanted to create something unique and saw an opportunity in this area where today there is lack of focus on safety and professional service..”
The idea for the venture came to Sudha when she rented a bounce-house for her own kids’ birthday party from a local player. As per Sudha, “The bounce-house was dirty and the staff from the rental company didn’t really bother to supervise the children, making it very unsafe.” After this experience, Sudha realised that there was a genuine gap and opportunity for a professional player that would focus on cleanliness and safety. After working on her idea for almost 2 years, Sudha launched Jumporee in January 2012. Over the last 12 months, they have completed 125 parties and have entertained over 10,000 children in Bangalore, Madurai, Coimbatore and Hosur. Jumporee’s business so far has come only through referrals and its website.
Reflecting on her first customer, Sudha shares, “Kids could not have enough of the bouncy – they didn’t want to eat or go home. Following that, I got enquiries for more parties and some people even suggested that we could increase our price given the level of service we offered.” Jumporee now offers a wide variety of inflatables, including castles, bouncies, slides and obstacles. Emphasising on safety, Sudha mentions, “We disinfect our bouncies before and after every event and all our inflatables conform to US and European Standards with regard to safety. Also, we have obtained advanced certification from the Safe Inflatable Operators Training Institute in USA for safe operations.”
Jumporee is still serving only the Bangalore market and on rare instances out of state markets. In the short term, Sudha plans to triple the number of parties that they cater to. Next year, Sudha plans to franchise her model for expanding pan India.. When asked about the possibility of other players entering this market, Sudha was quite candid – “Right now, our company enjoys the first entry privilege but that can change soon. There is the threat of someone copying our model, hence we are constantly working to improve our service.” Brand, reputation for safety (especially when it comes to children)& value for money could be a major advantage for Jumporee.
As a woman, Sudha had to really overcome several challenges. Initial reactions to the idea of a woman running a rental business dominated by men, were very pessimistic. It was also difficult to convince initial customers to pay a premium for Jumporee’s services. Customers now know Jumporee’s services and are increasingly willing to move their party dates to book the jumpy if it is not available on a particular day. This brand recognition could serve Jumporee well in the long run.
Through this period, Sudha credits her husband for being her advisor, critique, guide and supporter and her employees for understanding her vision of creating a safe and clean party zones successfully each and every time.
Sudha also has some solid advice for other women looking to get into business – “Never lose hope and always believe in yourself and your idea. Do proper research and learn the core things by doing extensive research before getting into anything. Every time someone critiques your idea, take that as a challenge and work hard to make impossible possible.”