Few months after the first COVID-19 case was discovered in Indonesia, it seems that people have begun to adapt to the situation. The community has begun to consider work from home as the new normal. Business too, you can begin to find your favorite yoga teacher teaching classes online.
However, what about the indoor climbing gym business?
Hmm, wait a minute. Do you even know that there is an indoor climbing gym in Jakarta? Okay, let’s dig deeper about this.
At the end of 2019, a breakthrough was made by the Indoclimb team. They build a climbing gym in downtown Jakarta, precisely at the FX Sudirman mall. Imagine how cool is it? There is a 17,5-meter-wall in the middle of the mall. Now, fathers can wait for their wife and children who are shopping while watching people climb the wall. Indoclimb gives Jakartans fresh, fun, and also challenging sports choices.
But as “The COVID-19 storm” hits, this newly opened business has to close temporarily like other businesses. Can Indoclimb survive?
Few days ago, The Redpoint team successfully interviewed one of Indoclimb's founders, Renata Valenza. We talked about how Indoclimb kept going in the middle of the current situation. Let's find out, guys.
Credit Photo : Rendi Firmansyah (@rendiaconk)
As a regular person who doesn’t know well about climbing, but is interested in it, personally I think Indoclimb brings joy and excitement to society. But, actually what is Indoclimb’s meaning for you as a founder?
Renata (R): Indoclimb is an achievement as well as an initial step. We started Indoclimb as a small climbing community. We had to move places to practice and now we can practice in a bigger place, even inside the mall, in the center of Jakarta. It takes effort to get the permission. Now our climbing gym can accommodate around 200 people per day. Therefore, I consider Indoclimb as an achievement.
However, Indoclimb is also an initial step to introduce Indonesian people, especially Jakartans about climbing sports. We still have a long way to go. This has just reached the stage of introducing climbing to new people, providing a new training ground for people who have been routinely climbing abroad, to people who want to look for new alternative sports in Jakarta.
But, is everyone have to try climbing?
R: Oh people don't have to try climbing. But in fact, mostly after first trying climbing, people will ask for more and more. Because this sport is super fun and challenging at the same time.
It looks easy at first, but you can burn a lot of calories when you try it. To keep people who have tried climbing for the first time is one of the challenges for Indoclimb. We don’t want people to stop trying.
On the other hand, climbing is a social sport. You will definitely meet new people, get acquainted, and maybe will become a gym buddy. We see that Indonesia has a huge potential in terms of indoor climbing gym business.
After Indoclimb was launched, what was the most challenging problem that you guys have to overcome?
R: There aren’t big challenges yet. We are in the process of enlarging our community. Many foreigners, like Swedish or Japanese, regularly climb in Indoclimb. Our own team is also bigger and stronger.
We are also adapting from a community that was previously small and easier to organized into a larger climbing gym facility. Of course we cannot stay in the same place and we must move forward. We must be able to introduce the new Indoclimb to the wider community.
Climbing is a community-based sport. So, what impact can Indoclimb bring to climbing communities especially in Jakarta?
R: A climbing gym at Jakarta itself has become a contribution to the climbing community. We are very serious in making our wall climbing designs so people can get super satisfying experiences when climbing on our walls. Climbers on any level can enjoy it.
Compared to other sports communities, such as running, the climbing community is still very small. I hope that with the Indoclimb, there will be a new climbing community in Jakarta.
How do you want Indoclimb to be seen in the society?
R: For now, Indoclimb must be known as a climbing gym. People must know that now they can climb in our place. With the time, the community will definitely be formed from day to day interactions in our place.
IndoClimb VS COVID-19 pandemic
After the soft opening on March 9th, how do you see people’s enthusiasm before COVID-19? Did it go as plan?
R: People are very enthusiastic about Indoclimb. Starting from the trial session, pre-membership program, and soft opening, about 70 percent of our new members actually come from people outside our community.
And then suddenly this COVID-19 hit us, how bad actually it is for you guys? Does it change your whole marketing plans?
R: This COVID-19 pandemic hit us so hard because we had to stop completely for several months. However, we voluntarily closed our climbing gym when the issue of COVID-19 was just beginning to spread in Jakarta. As the face of the first indoor climbing gym in Jakarta, we have to look at this situation in terms of the community as well, not only in terms of business.
This pandemic hit us so bad, but we are okay.
"However, we voluntarily closed our climbing gym when the issue of COVID-19 was just beginning to spread in Jakarta."
How about the marketing plans?
R: Some marketing plans are being freeze. We also postponed several events such as climbing trips to Laos, Malaysia and Jogjakarta. When we can move again, we will immediately execute those plans. On the other hand, we also have a number of new strategies that we haven't been able to tell at this time.
I know you guys created some training videos back then in Instagram and YouTube. Does it work? So, what are you guys doing for now?
R: We made the video to accommodate climbers who might be disappointed because they couldn't climb on the gym. Climbers have to keep their bodies fit. However, we feel this climbing sport is unique, we can't just make training videos like bootcamp, zumba, or yoga. Because, you really can’t train without the wall.
Let say that we have to stay at home for at least next two months, what the best plan can you think to stay engaging with your user and attract new market?
R: We want to make higher quality video content on YouTube and Instagram in terms of content and video quality. We are looking for content that is serious, but also fun to do. We already have 200 subscribers on YouTube, so we want to accommodate our subscribers with these contents.
Have you ever imagined making a new business idea to adapt? For example bringing wall climbing to home.
R: We thought of doing some innovations to adapt. We’ll see it later. We also continue to monitor the situation of climbing gyms abroad and will probably learn from them.
How about your team’s condition?
R: We still have regular meetings and interact via chat groups. Our team remains solid and can't wait to get back to work again.
"We want to make higher quality video content on YouTube and Instagram in terms of content and video quality."
IndoClimb’s next move
Wise man said that there is always blessing in disguise, what can Indoclimb learn about this situation?
R: This pandemic taught people about the importance of healthiness and the pleasure of staying active. We can't wait to get people to climb outdoors.
How do you know people will still be enthusiastic about climbing on your wall after this pandemic is over?
R: People can't wait to do activities outside the house. Even now, people are breaking the policy to stay home. So I think, after the Indoclimb is reopened, people will come. We will need to make regulation for healthy concerns.
What’s Indoclimb's next plan? Do you have something cool to offer after this pandemic situation for us or just running business as usual?
R: For now, we still have to run in survival mode. We have to push our brain and work hard to stay in the game. This situation may last until 2021 and start the "new normal" in 2022, so we are preparing a long-term plan. We also miss meeting our climbing buddy and of course, we prepare some new plans for all of you.
We can feel Renata's optimism and enthusiasm. Indoclimb definitely will survive this pandemic and come back stronger. It’s only a glitch on their plan. Keep hanging on the wall, guys!
Words : Arya Dharmaputra (@dharmaputra_arya)
Editor : Jerry Marvin (@jerrymavr)