Energetic Kids lead to Kiwiplay business

Photography: Jenna Young

Kiwiplay was first established in Hamilton in 2013. It is about supplying high quality natural based products to encourage children to play outside and enjoy the fresh air.  It is about helping the community when possible and standing behind their products 100%. We spoke to Amy Cummins, the managing director, to hear a little more of their story. 

The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
When my eldest was 3, he climbed over our six-foot-high (the real estate ad read “secure for children and pets”) fence, butt naked on a hot Canterbury summer’s day, and ran to the corner of our street, ready to cross the busy road. I was in the garden at the time, doing some overdue weeding and I could hear this voice calling “Mum, Mum”. It took me a minute or two to realise it was coming from outside our section…

I had to calm myself down enough not to chase after him. He would have thought it was a game and run away from me. Most likely across the road!

At the age of 3-and-a-half, he climbed Cave Rock in Sumner, Christchurch by himself while I was feeding number 2. I had no idea where he had disappeared to and it took me a very distressing 20 minutes (seemed like hours) to find him with the help of some lovely locals.

Surely there was a better way to keep at least one of the boys occupied while there were other jobs to do and while there was still a baby to look after? Surely I could find something else for him to climb?

The Launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
With two very active boys, a corporate background in sourcing, quality control and product development I decided it was time to dedicate my loyalty disposition to my family and to my own business. Two and a half years ago I found a business that matched my own values and which I felt I could add further value to. My husband and I bought Kiwiplay.

The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
Fundamentally we believe in encouraging our kids to play outdoors. To keep them off the technology as much as possible – especially when they are small – and to encourage them to physically challenge themselves. These physical challenges become mental challenges and every step overcome gives them more confidence in themselves.

I have found that our customer base already knows this and fully relates to this. They just struggle with time (as so many of us do) and we are lucky in this day and age that we have so much available to us from markets all round the world that was not available to us a generation ago.

Our core products, the playground kitsets, are a saviour for many parents. They have all the key activities that kids love and it’s all in one set. Plus they look fabulous so they are not going to ruin the look of a carefully planned landscape area. In fact they add to it.

There is also the safety factor with these sets and the use of natural timbers. They are designed with engineering know how to make sure each element is stable and each part has safety built into it. We love the use of natural timber products.

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