Inflatable Bouncer Business

Mom and Pop Business or a Global Shift.

Inflatable bouncer Business, such as moonwalks, obstacle courses, etc, they are all just a bunch of sewn up vinyl airbags. When inflated with an air blower, it will take on a specific shape and move into that child’s imagination.

When Inflatable Bouncer Business came onto the mainstream market in the 1980s, very few companies were involved. It was just a handful of companies who were pioneering the way into the party rental supply market.

Families had not heard of this new birthday concept. In contrast, they could rent an inflatable moonwalk or obstacle course for their backyard birthday party only for a few hours or half a day.

It took some time to educate families on this new fun-filled activity. Leaving the scene was the old “pin the tail” on the donkey and the mature “egg on a spoon” race. Families now had the opportunity to bring an actual carnival activity to their very own back yard.

Excitement was building

As one family got hold of this new activity, the excitement spread through word of mouth. Mothers told the mothers of the other children how this new moonwalk activity, not only kept the children laughing and jumping with joy, but it also found out that it was an excellent aerobic activity that helps burn off that extra stored up energy. Then in the evening of that day, the children were fast asleep since burning off that excess energy. The parents were happy. What an added benefit all around.

The pioneering inflatable companies grew over the years, generating a good income. They approached the inflatable manufacturer’s requesting bigger and more diverse shapes as families wanted to rent a new inflatable design and shape for their next party.

Inflatable manufacturers realized that the hot ticket they were holding in their hands started to challenge each other by inventing new shapes and designs. They could now draw the attention of the party supply, rental companies business.

The Party Rental Business Grows

As friends of the party supply rental business noticed that there was a strong ability to make good money renting out inflatable moonwalks and obstacle courses, they too contacted the manufacturers to purchase a “party business” package. Add to this market, now another rental business, far up and running to meet the hot demand of the mothers and families that want this service.

The manufacturers saw they had a second hot ticket. Sell to the party rental supply channel. Notice that other people want into this new hot market. They further understood that this was a huge up and coming opportunity to increase their sales by encouraging the “new” business startup model.

Manufacturer’s started advertising in trade shows and trade magazines. Mom and pops operations began looking for an added income. It was a perfect, part-time weekend business. It could be a full-time venture just by adding more inventory to meet the party rental demand.

Rental companies have grown by leaps and bounds. Families have continued to rent inflatable moonwalks and obstacle courses. Manufacturers have flourished, and even due to the demand, new manufacturers have come onto the scene, pushing their unique designs. This whirlwind of activity continued to grow and expand over the ’90s and into the new millennium. Was this an ever-lasting growth model with no end in sight, or was this the cause, in part, of a global shift?

Corporate Rentals Growing

The growth pattern of the Inflatable moonwalk and inflatable obstacle course business was staggering over twenty years. Not only did thousands of inflatable moonwalk rental companies pop up over the years, but also so did the manufacturing base along with it. It was a self-feeding frenzy as more rental companies needed more manufacturer support. More manufacturers needed more rental companies to sustain sales figures and bottom lines.

Competition in both sectors, the rental market, and the manufacturer market, was heating up. The rental companies were beginning to feel the effects of having several rental companies in the same town. The manufacturers were feeling the effects at trade shows as they started to compete with each other for the sales to rental companies.

In the rental markets, business was good. In earlier times, one company would have a vast territory encompassing several cities or towns. Then it boiled down to one company, one city, and before long, others would notice the demand for these rental services. When seeing manufacturers would charge under 20K investment for a startup business. Before you know it, several rental companies were up and running in that same city, all competing for that family dollar.

For the manufacturers, the same path was their destiny. In the early days (1980’s) there were a handful of pioneers. These were the innovators. With skilled hands and sharp designing techniques, they were able to carve out of flat stock vinyl, a beautiful shape inflatable bouncer funhouse, with all the trimmings to capture any child’s imagination.

Demand for Inflatables Is Growing

As these pioneers grew to meet the demand, they hired good people that had good creativity and skilled hands. These skills were the basics of inflatable design since no actual training formality for this industry was available. All these new employees had to learn the skill of inflatable building from their pioneering mentors. Much time and energy was the investment in teaching this new inflatable building skill into each employee.

As the demand increased, the manufacturer warehouses filled up, and orders were bouncing out the door, literally. Employees, learning the skills, found reasons not to be happy and took the liberty to leave the company. They then turned around, leased a building, purchased sewing machines, and became a manufacturer themselves offering their inflatables to the hot growing rental market sector.

A New Boom, A New Direction

During the first ten years of this 20-year boom, Inflatable moonwalk rental companies soared. Many companies expanded their rental offerings by entering into the corporate market, which held company picnics every year along with Christmas parties and organizational challenges. Many of these rental companies added specialty items to their offering list. They, therefore, became huge party rental supply companies with warehouses full of inflatable amusement rides. Rental companies morphed from mom and pop part-time to full-time companies and now into corporate entities with full-time employees and warehouse staff. It was now a time that the number, 1 million or more, was being used to describe sales figures for these rental companies.

Again manufacturers were following the same path. Ironically, they were also creating the road while at the same time. By designing and building these more prominent and more extravagant inflatable’s, it helped fuel the corporate rentals as corporations wanted bigger and better inflatable’s ever year. So the rental companies were forced to purchase the next big thing. It was a win-win situation or rather a virtual partnership that was unexpected, created between the rental company and the manufacturer.

Everything was good. Profits were growing, corporations were renting, and manufacturing was expanding, until life as we know it, changed. Sept 11, 2001. For the inflatable moonwalk business, this was about to change also.

A New Growth Pattern

The Inflatable moonwalk and inflatable obstacle course business were staggering over the course of twenty years. Not only did thousands of inflatable moonwalk rental companies pop up over the years, but also so did the manufacturing base along with it. It was a self-feeding frenzy as more rental companies needed more manufacturer support and more manufacturers needed more rental companies to sustain sales figures and bottom lines.

Competition in both sectors, the rental market and the manufacturer market, was heating up. The rental companies were beginning to feel the effects of having several rental companies in the same town. The manufacturers were feeling the effects at trade shows as they started to compete with each other for the sales to rental companies.

In the rental markets, business was good. In earlier times, one company would have a huge territory encompassing several cities or towns. Then it boiled down to one company per city and before long, others would notice the demand for these rental services and upon seeing the manufacturer ads would make the under 20K investment and therefore before you know it, several rental companies were up and running in that same city all competing for that family dollar.

For the Manufacturers

The same path was their destiny. In the early days (1980’s) there were a handful of pioneers. These were the innovators, with there skilled hands and sharp designing techniques, were able to carve out of flat-rolled vinyl a beautiful shape inflatable bouncer funhouse, with all the trimmings to capture any child’s imagination.

As these pioneers grew to meet the demand, they hired good people that had good creativity and skilled hands. These skills were needed since no actual training formality for the inflatable building was available. All these new employees had to learn the skill of inflatable building from their pioneering mentors. Much time and energy to teach this new inflatable building skill were invested in each employee.

As the demand increased, the manufacturer warehouses filled up and orders were bouncing out the door, literally. Employees, after learning the skills, found reasons to not be happy and took the liberty to leave the company. They then turned around, leased a building, purchased sewing machines and became a manufacturer themselves offering their inflatables to the hot growing rental market sector.

During the first 10 years of this 20-year boom, Inflatable moonwalk rental companies soared. Many companies expanded their rental offerings by entering into the corporate market which held company picnics every year along with Christmas parties and corporate challenges. Many of these rental companies added specialty items to their offering list and therefore became huge party rental supply companies with warehouses full of inflatable amusement rides. Rental companies morphed from mom and pop part-time to full-time companies and now into corporate entities with full-time employees and warehouse staff. This was now a time that the number, 1 million or more, was being used to describe sales figures for these rental companies.

The Fueling Corporate Market

Again manufacturers were following the same path. Ironically, they were also creating the path at the same time since by designing and building these bigger and more extravagant inflatable’s, it actually helped fuel the corporate rentals as corporations wanted bigger and better inflatable’s ever year. So the rental companies were actually forced to purchase the next big thing. This was definitely a win-win situation or rather a virtual partnership that was unexpectedly created between the rental company and the manufacturer.

Everything was good. Profits were growing, corporations were renting, and manufacturing was expanding, until life as we know it, changed. Sept 11, 2001. For the inflatable moonwalk business, this was about to change also.

Inflatable Bouncer Business Becomes China Business

Now since the disaster of 9-11, All businesses across the free world had ceased! All parties, events and sports came to a halt. Inflatable water parks had not entered the scene yet! It was a time for all to reflect on their own lives. Life had become something more important than just fun and games. To see a hockey game for instance and see a fight, “break” out. It just seemed so childish to what the world was experiencing! There were more important issues than having little grudges over a piece of rubber!

As the Dust settled and the acceptance of life as it is, we all marched forward and began to pull our lives back in order.

Companies began to come back to life. Events and promotions gathered some steam to try and come back to enjoying life. We had to move on! And we did. However, one gentleman from the USA who was manufacturing gathered some extra thoughts on the bouncer business of inflatables during the rest period.

He decided to venture to China and make some connections to factories there. Now China factories weren’t involved with inflatables like in the USA. They were vinyl type factories making toys, and raincoats etc. And ultimately this would be the future of inflatable water parks. More to come on this!

As the year progress and now a year since the tower disaster, the next round of inflatable exhibitions for all manufacturers was about to open their doors! Rental companies and buyers from around the country gathered to see the new offerings. Everybody was excited to see the industry return to the glory of its short past!

As the show opened, all looks fresh and exciting however a price drop was noticed. That same gentleman who was the USA manufacturer was now showcasing his product made in China and a reduced price. Well, this captured the hearts of many buyers since it was nice to see all the new designs but also come with a reduced price.

This was the news on the floor. Built-in China, but designed with an American style. Everyone was amazed at the quality and the lower price. Things were changing before our eyes and we didn’t see it coming! Other manufacturers were gazing down the aisle ways to gather some information. The rental companies were pleased to see the price reduction as the competition was heated up in the local cities so this was a chance to increase their buying power and get those extra units to get the upper hand on the local competition.

After the show, many of the manufacturers realized that this price drop was a major concern. Many USA based manufacturer’s tried to lower their prices and include some added-value features. But as the year progressed, they found it hard to compete. Therefore, now it had become time for a couple of other major USA manufacturers to decide to investigate this China phenomenon themselves!.

They travelled to China and began to search out other companies that could perform this type of manufacturing. Since the Chinese companies were not experienced, in this type of inflatable, it became necessary for USA companies to partner up with the china factory. They, the USA producer would share technical building procedure’s with the China factory for in exchange for receiving a lower cost! To be continued. Check back for the next Chapter.

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