No one could be more serendipitous in business than Jason Sim. The 32 year old confesses that he never thought that he would be making a living out of child’s play acting as the managing director of Playpoint – a company that provides high quality playgrounds to various establishments.
Sim stumbled upon this business idea when he was working for a trading firm that provided playground materials from Kompan, a Danish company. This role saw him boosting the sales of the brand, which puts him in close contact with the Danish principals themselves. This must have impressed them so much that they offered him to be their sole distributor. “I was very surprised. Then it hit me – such opportunities don’t come knocking twice. Yes there is a risk, but in life there’s always a risk. I decided to take a chance and take that leap,” he reveals.
This is a move backed by research. The diligent entrepreneur saw the tremendous potential that the Kompan brand had for the Singapore market. A forward thinking brand, Kompan had reinvented the method of play and had established itself in the European and American markets. “Back then, when we started in 2001, the playground trend was changing from wood-based materials to metal and plastic ones, which were more suitable for our humid weather.” Sim explains.
His foresight proved to be accurate. The move into the new materials was so fast and furious that it has propelled Playpoint to stupendous heights. One of the more notable projects that Sim’s company has taken is the massive playground at the Singapore Zoo.
This, however, was not without challenge.
When Playpoint started out, Sim roped in his friends Wayne Chua and Charles Tay as his business partners. But being young put them at a disadvantage – potential clients were doubtful of the life span of the company.
“We had to convince them that we were here to stay. At Playpoint, my partners and I each play different roles that complement each other. We speak our minds and this strengthens the foundation of our company. We have the interest, the passion and the drive to succeed,” Sim shares. This earnestness has since won Playpoint numerous architects, property developers and even private clients over.
Even so, there was one more person that Sim had to spend a considerable amount of time trying to convince – his own mother. “She is a traditional woman and was worried that it might not work out for me. At some point she was trying to talk me out of it,” Sim shares. He stood his ground and with the success Playpoint is showing today, he has proven himself well.
Not bad at all for a kid who grew up in the concrete and sand playgrounds of the 1980s. “Those playgrounds back then were not safe at all, were they?” Sim says with a chuckle. “I remember climbing up the concrete structures at the playground and sometimes eve the roof just to keep myself amused. I’m happy that we have been instrumental in helping the local playground scene move away from that.”
Today, a favourite part of his job is to create playgrounds that he, himself, would like to play. After all, he tells us that to design the best playgrounds, one ultimately has to be a kid at heart. His youthful approach ha scored the company the sole distributorship rights to other playground equipment brands like Bigtoys, Metalco and Sonic Architecture.
Now that Playpoint has arguably created a majority of Singapore’s playgrounds, Sim is extending his reach beyond our shores.
Sim has since worked on projects in the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia. He has offices in the first 2 countries and is slated to open his Malaysia office soon.
“With our expansion, we have reliable personnel to help us with the work load. In comparison to when we first started, I now have more time to map out the future of Playpoint, look at the bigger picture,” he reveals.
This bigger picture includes the company’s corporate social responsibility initiative – Playpoint Gives Back. This sees the company donating at least two sets of Kompan playgrounds to children’s charities yearly. Their most recent donation was to APSN Katong School (Association for Persons with Special Needs). “We felt that it was time to give back to the community and enable underprivileged kids to enjoy a good playground,” he says with a smile.