Funtopia - Yasen Nikolov, CEO
BeTheBoss.ca: What’s the story behind Funtopia?
Yasen Nikolov: Funtopia was created out of a desire to provide a new type of entertainment that would be an alternative to today’s prevalence of physically-passive display entertainment. In 2012 Walltopia group – the world leader in production of climbing walls, see an opportunity to change a current situation by creating a new revolutionary format of adventure parks -Funtopia. Evolving slowly from climbing-oriented parks to multiple attractions under one roof, Funtopia becomes a place offering unforgettable experience to guests of all ages. Because of its simple yet universally attractive formula, the Funtopia concept started spreading to new territories in a very short period of time.
BeTheBoss.ca: What made you decide to create this franchise?
Yasen Nikolov: I always had passion for climbing but I became fully immersed in the climbing industry by working in sales at Walltopia Inc. We, at Walltopia realized that there is a niche, a missing piece in the whole industry – the kids entertainment part of it. Walltopia was already producing climbing walls that were dedicated only to kids and we gradually kept adding interactive pieces and new adventure elements such as ropes course, ninja course, roll glider etc. that made our products increasingly in demand. Benefitting from our experience and knowledge of the industry in more than 50 countries, we felt confident enough to make a breakthrough in the active entertainment. Together with my colleagues, we knew we had the best skills and competence to actually build and manage an active entertainment concept with a unique blend of attractions and activities. Funtopia Franchise is actually a result of finding a perfect formula to keep kids entertained while being active. Extremely happy with the success of the first project in Sofia, Bulgaria, we decided to expand this concept to other territories. I became the general manager of Funtopia in North America.
BeTheBoss.ca: What was your background prior to forming the company?
Yasen Nikolov: After graduating, I have spent some time as a sales person in a rental equipment company and as a manager of a grocery store. I have started working in sales with Walltopia group in 2007. A year later my family and I have decided to move to Canada and I have incorporated Walltopia Canada with Walltopia HQ as partner. It was natural to become a master franchisor for North America as soon as Funtopia concept emerged.
BeTheBoss.ca: Can you tell us a about the (industry) Market?
Yasen Nikolov: The entertainment industry is obviously a huge one. There are a lot of offerings – water parks, trampoline parks, FEC etc. Our specialty is active entertainment, that is to say, we provide entertainment that requires being physically active. This specific section of the industry has exploded in the last few years. Obviously, there is some competition but Funtopia is becoming increasingly popular thanks to its uniqueness. What makes Funtopia exceptional is the special variety of attractions that are carefully selected not only to be entertaining but also challenging on many different levels. While most competitors in the industry base their business model on one type of activity, our idea was to diversify activities and offer attractions that are appealing to all ages and all fitness levels. I want also to put emphasis our exceptional operational knowledge.
BeTheBoss.ca: Could you describe your corporate culture?
Yasen Nikolov: I believe that our slogan sums it up pretty well: Have fun, be active! We truly believe that being active both mentally and physically is the essence of a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, we try to make it as fun as possible. We push this philosophy on absolutely all levels of our company. We encourage all our employees to follow these principles because we are convinced that active people in a fun atmosphere perform the best and also feel good about themselves and their workplace. Knowing that the services that we offer can only be positive and beneficial to people is highly satisfying and this can be felt in our corporate culture. We take great pride in the values that Funtopia is built on: Fun, Active and Safe.
BeTheBoss.ca: Who or what has been your greatest inspiration?
Yasen Nikolov: Our clients – to see kids’ happy faces, to see that parents know that their kids are enjoying themselves in a safe environment, to see whole families taking part in the activities we offer. As I mentioned, it is highly satisfying to know that we are contributing to the well being of people who choose to come at our facilities. This pushes us to always go forward and strive to provide the best possible customer experience.
BeTheBoss.ca: What are the advantages in being a (Franchise Company Name) franchisee?
Yasen Nikolov: Joining the Funtopia family now is being a main protagonist in the revolution of the industry. I think that our concept is increasingly appealing because it goes perfectly well with today’s and tomorrow’s trends. People are looking more and more to find ways to be physically active and stay away from prevailing screen-oriented entertainment. Parents are increasingly interested of providing alternative sources of fun for their kids. Funtopia has all the assets to provide for the needs of the future market. Also, I am convinced that our international experience helped us in being able to provide the best kind of support. We learned how to give people the best possible training and how to adapt to different contexts and deliver best results.
BeTheBoss.ca: What differentiates (Franchise Company Name) from its competitors.
Yasen Nikolov: We created a new type of indoor adventure park, in which guest have a whole experience of what it means to have fun while being active. As I mentioned earlier, competition is predominantly focused on one type of activity per venue. We believe that diversity is the way to go. Combine it with the operation’s knowledge we poses and the result will be Funbeliavable J!
BeTheBoss.ca: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?
Yasen Nikolov: The typical advice to be passionate about what you do is very applicable in my personal experience, so I would definitely say that passion and determination are key factors, you can learn all the rest. Success is the natural outcome if you are passionate about your goals.
BeTheBoss.ca: In your opinion, why do you think that (Franchise Company Name) would be a great opportunity for someone?
Yasen Nikolov: For someone who is looking to be a part of a family-oriented
successful business model, Funtopia is an ideal solution. Our concept really gives the chance to be
part of a revolution in the entertainment industry. I firmly believe that it is
always a good idea to stand with those who think ahead.
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