Indonesian expat Rany Moran juggled two small children, a travelling husband and Singapore’s red tape to set up her new business, Amazonia. This enormous five-level children’s play gym and activity centre opened to rave reviews in July. She tells us how it all came about.
What brought you to Singapore?
After we married in November 2005, my husband decided to transfer his job to Singapore, and within four weeks we were living here. I was born in Jakarta and lived there for most of my life so far, but I’ve had stints living in Australia, London and the US.
Why a children’s activity centre?
My background was mainly in running a regional TV station out of Batam, Indonesia, and supporting family building projects in Bali and Jakarta. My interest in children’s activities really started after I became a mother. I realised there was a gap in the market for a business like Amazonia in Singapore. It’s a business where I can work, but still have plenty of time for my children. What’s more, it’s an opportunity for them to have fun and interact with others.
How did you come up with the idea?
Travelling throughout Australia and the US, my husband and I saw fantastic kids’ play centres that we thought would work here. So we pulled in lots of ideas and adapted the concept especially for the Singaporean market.
Did having children of your own help?
My two wonderful boys, Nicholas (4) and Christopher (21 months) have been an enormous influence. We used them as gauges for what kids enjoy, and their input has contributed greatly towards developing a centre where parents and children can interact together.
What has been the best thing about this experience?
The greatest reward is seeing people have a wonderful time. It is all worth it when I see the look on children’s faces as they come into the centre, or when parents come down the slide with their children in their arms and big smiles on their faces!
What hurdles did you face?
It certainly wasn’t all easy. Finding a suitable location was difficult – it had to be central, big and priced right! Dealing with the bureaucratic rules and regulations was challenging, and finding the right employees for a customer-focused business was hard work.
What advice do you have for people setting up a new business?
Do lots of research; find something you are passionate about; believe in yourself and go for it!
What is the best thing about running your own business?
The flexibility, definitely. It’s a dream come true to combine the interests of my children with work, while being able to follow my passion.
Amazonia is 9,500 square feet of air-conditioned space, including:
- a glow-in-the-dark mini-golf course
- Asia’s only spaceball shoot-out room
- a toddler play area and a five-level super play gym with an eight metre wave slide.
- a café serving healthy snacks, meals and drinks.
Amazonia is at Great World City #03-08. For information visit www.amazoniafun.com or call 6235 4522.