How Australian Simon Ogilvie turned a fortuitous business encounter into Bounce Inc – Singapore’s fifth (and newest) trampoline park – a haven of sweaty, healthy fun, for young and old….
By Katie Roberts; Photography Michael Bernabe
“Before I knew it, I was sitting in the dusty shell of a concrete cave with a hard hat on, poring over building plans and talking about the intricacies of air-conditioning ducting! My immediate thought was, ‘How did I find myself here?’” says Simon Ogilvie as he recollects the enormous construction project he managed, which became Bounce. Simon, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Bounce Singapore, knows every inch of the 24,000 square feet of eye-wateringly expensive real estate in the heart of Orchard Road that opened in June last year.
More than 12 months of relentless work (Simon admits it was a steep learning curve) followed the decision to establish Bounce here in April 2015, but he is quick to acknowledge that the park is based on the Bounce global concept and that he had the parent group’s guiding expertise. Bounce Inc was founded in Australia in 2012, and has expanded into 20 outlets in eight countries. In Singapore, finding the perfect location was the most challenging and important aspect. “The warehouse-style criteria is tough: you need a large space with high ceilings, no columns and with the correct land zoning. Plus, it had to be easy to get to with good access to public transport,” says Simon. So, when he stumbled on the old cinema and online gaming venue in Level 9 of the Cathay Cineleisure building, he was thrilled.
And despite the hot and dusty hours spent overseeing work during the three-month construction phase, the transformation has been worth every minute. “With careful design we slotted in the reception, café, party rooms and X-Park into the areas with lower ceiling heights; the main floor, where the ceilings are in excess of nine metres in height , is perfect for trampolines,” he says. “At the time, we didn’t know about the perfectly framed view of Marina Bay Sands because the windows were boarded up. It was an amazing moment when the hoarding was removed; now, it’s a tranquil space for people to drink their coffee.”
Speaking of coffee, Simon is passionate about the beverage – “it’s the Melbourne in me,” he says with a laugh. “I want people to enjoy a good cup of coffee when they come here. As a parent coming to sit and watch their kids bounce, that’s what I would want,” he says. He sources his beans from Australian roaster Toby’s Estate, and his staff are trained to handle the espresso machine, too.
With a background in sales and marketing, Simon moved to Singapore eight years ago with his wife and two children for what he expected would be the typical two- or three-year stint. But like so many expats he ended up finding new opportunities, and has stayed much longer than expected.
You won’t see Simon bouncing around on the trampolines often though – he leaves his staff to enjoy and supervise the fun on the floor instead. “I’m really proud of the team we’ve put together. The response from 600 eager applicants for just 70 positions in the initial recruitment drive was overwhelming, and I’m pleased to say we’ve retained most of those staff because it’s a cool place to work. Everyone is having fun and providing an awesome experience for our guests, and in the safest possible way. Ability on a trampoline is not important; it’s attitude, passion and being good with people that counts.”
Bounce is the most recent entrant in a growing market; why is trampolining becoming so popular? “Wherever you go, it has many advantages: it’s an all-weather activity carried out in air-conditioning, it promotes fun and fitness, and it’s easy to come and go as you please. For us, it’s about offering something fresh and different to other parks, and in a convenient location.” Plus, Simon adds, the trampoline-themed parties have been a huge success. “The kids love the fun and the preferential treatment, and it’s easy for the parents because everything is taken care of. At the end of the day, they pick up the presents and walk out with their happy child. As a parent, I’d say you can’t get better than that!”
Bounce trampoline sessions run in 60-minute blocks on the hour for anyone aged three years and above. Look out for birthday parties, fitness sessions and loads of family fun.
#09-01 Cathay Cineleisure
8 Grange Road