Limerick company Adventure Swingsets is partnering with retailers around the country to display its range of Irish-made, timber playground equipment to consumers.
The company’s founder Seamus Colfer hopes the strategy will boost sales of the outdoor children’s
range in the run-up to the summer season.
“I am talking to a big hardware store here in Limerick about putting units in their premises. It is good for them, and also good for me as people can come in and see the swingsets. There are also two or three other companies who are interested. We have a pretty good website, but people want to physically see the units before they buy,” he said.
Cutiing production costs
Colfer is cutting production costs and targeting overseas markets to counter the fall in consumer spending at home. He is selling products in Britain through the website of The Play, Fitness and Sport Company in Sheffield. He is also is sourcing lower-cost raw materials from Lithuania.
“Like all businesses, we are facing challenges at the moment. I am trying to get all our costs down as much as possible — we have moved to a smaller workshop from a much larger warehouse,” said Colfer.
“I have had to rethink everything over the last eight or nine months. Through a contact I had here in Limerick, I am looking to use a sawmill [in Lithuania] for the timber. It should work out about half the price. They are also able to pre-cut everything to the dimensions I need.”
The majority of orders for Adventure Swingsets‘ range of playground equipment come from home-owners, but the company also supplies creches, montessori and pre-schools, hospitals, hotels and private developments.
“Our standard model is the Raheen swingset, which is E1,700 delivered and installed anywhere in Ireland. That has a sturdy tower, with a picnic table and benches and safety railings all around,” said Colfer.
“The upper deck tower includes a play area with lookout windows enclosed against the wet weather by a roof. There is a ten-foot slide and an access ladder with safety handgrips. Attached to all that is an eight foot swingbeam with two swings.”
In contrast to what he calls the “flat-pack approach”, Colfer builds all of the equipment in the Adventure Swingsets range from scratch, tailoring designs to the specific needs of his customers.
High quality product
“We have focused on producing a high quality product, which carries a three-year warranty. Our competitors are mostly selling imported flat-pack products. I use heavy four-inch timber posts and inch-thick decking. This means the swingsets are very sturdy and much safer for children. If someone comes in and they want the deck a bit lower and a smaller slide, I can customise it to suit their request,” he said.
Colfer has devised a lower-cost range to appeal to cash-strapped customers, including units priced at less than e1,000.
“From last year, people were on a different track. They were no longer interested in getting bigger pieces. They were only talking about the price. I had to come up with a smaller unit that was still strong and keep the price down,” he said.