Interview Alexander Girshfeld, eigenaar Indestroom, ’s werelds grootste escaperoombouwer

april 4, 2020 | Interviews | Mike van Hoenselaar

Indestroom de grootste escaperoombouwer ter wereld. Ze produceren kant-en-klare escape rooms en stand-alone gadgets van elke complexiteit en maken ook apparatuur voor musea. Ze produceren 15 escape rooms per maand en verzenden wereldwijd. Op dit moment heeft Indestroom 150 medewerkers wereldwijd die samen al 500 escaperooms gemaakt hebben. Indestroom heeft 50 verschillende thema’s op de plank liggen die ze voor je kunnen maken.

Indestroom, grootste escaperoom bouwer ter wereld

We kijken op Facebook regelmatig de live uitzendingen van Indestroom. Ze laten dan al hun creaties en uitleg van puzzels zien. Leuk om te zien, maar ook leuk om een kijkje in de keuken van zo’n grote escaperoombouwer te krijgen. Daarnaast kennen Alexander en ik elkaar van Up The Game, de grootste escaperoom conferentie van Europa.

We wilde Alexander Girshfeld, medeoprichter Indestroom, graag spreken over het bedrijf en wat ze op dit moment allemaal doen. Alexander is verantwoordelijk voor sales, marketing en klantenservice.

Alexander spreekt geen Nederlands en om zijn antwoorden niet verkeerd te vertalen hebben we er voor gekozen om de vraag en het antwoord letterlijk te plaatsen.

Why the name Indestroom?

Mike: ‘One of the things I wondered for many years already, is the name Indestroom. What does it mean?’

‘IN (in Russian –engineering writes with IN at beginning) DEcorations STR (building in Russian) – rooms. So it’s – Building, Engineering and Decorating rooms.’

Mike: ‘You knew that Indestroom is also something that can easily be pronounced in Dutch?’

Alexander: ‘No, what does it mean?’

Mike: ‘Literally, In the stream. I more see it as going with the flow. Or В потоке in Russian :)’

Alexander: ‘hahahah, nice!’

Why did you start building and designing rooms?

‘First, I was co-owner of a chain of 30 escape rooms. We built and operated rooms in Moscow and other Russian cities. When we realized that we need our own staff to build new rooms for us and repair the rooms, we started the production. So I sold all the rooms and are now 100% Indestroom. First, it was only 50 sqm of production with 6 people in team. In 5 years we have now 40000 sqm full-cycle production. I can’t combine it to do both. But who knows what the future will hold.’

‘We produce not only escape rooms equipment but also we supply equipment for museums and we create customized and unique furniture for kids. We use only eco-friendly materials. We use anti-vandal technologies in every product to prevent breakage as much as possible for our clients.’

How do you respond to the opinion that buying an escape game is not done? Or that it isn’t creative enough if you didn’t build it yourself?

Alexander: ‘You will never create the room by yourself at the same level as if you order it from an experienced supplier. You purchase not only equipment but the expertise in every detail, this will help you to avoid any mistakes. Also. you will save a lot of time. You can make money instead of continuing to build. ‘

Mike: ‘Yes, true. For every month later that you postpone opening your room, it can ‘cost’ you 5000 euro in earnings. 50 bookings per month times 100 euro. Rent and other costs will be added to that. So opening as soon as possible is vital.’

Alexander: ‘Right!’

How long does it take to deliver an escape room?

Alexander: ‘We deliver one of our 50 different escape games in 2 months. And we deliver everything. It is called a turn-key escape room. So when we are done, it is ready to receive players.’

You sell a lot abroad, how do you handle breakage or support?

Alexander: ‘We have a highly professional on-line support. Special engineers who are available 18 hours per day. Also, we created a special wireless system for our escape rooms – all puzzles can be reprogrammed or checked remotely. If there are physical damages – we simply send spare parts by post. But our room has the repair kit with spare parts and electronics if something will happen.’

What are escape rooms you recommend playing? How many did you play?

‘I have played 300+ rooms all over the world, there are so many good rooms in each country, and so many bad once as well. It is hard to recommend one or 2. Sometimes clients can spoil best rooms with bad managing and some can do generation 1 room unforgettable. So all in the hands of the owners.’

Mike: ‘What is your favorite at Indestroom that you build?’

Alexander: ‘Every room for us is like a Child- we honestly love what we do and enjoy every step of it. I really like Magic School and Jungle.’

We hebben op de site van Indestroom wat filmpjes gezocht van de Magic School kamer. Op de website staan echt nog veel meer filmpjes.

What kind of escape room would you like to build if money wasn’t an option?

Alexander: ‘Disney land level rooms with high budget (100k+). That would be a dream.’

Do you think escape rooms will change? Do you see things changing already? What are those things?

‘Let’s talk about this without the coronavirus case. Because at the moment it is terrible in the world of escape rooms worldwide. I suppose that the escape rooms will be more and more technological. Also. rooms are becoming more and more immersive. Players need to feel the whole story as it is another reality.’

How do you handle the corona virus on the company?

‘Escape room in Russia are closed till May and government don’t give any real help. We have fewer orders than in a normal situation. We reduced the working day and we hope that this will end soon. Also, we take new orders with discounts and special payment terms to keep everybody working as much as possible. ‘

Do you have tips for escape entrepreneurs to handle the virus business wise?

‘You can ask your game master to call your customers and sell them certificates for the games in 1-2 months with discounts. Or make at-home games. You are an entrepreneur, so act.’

 

 

 

 

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Mike van Hoenselaar
Eigenaar en blogger op Escape Rooms Nederland. Deed zijn eerste escape room in 2014. Into denkpuzzels, bordspellen, avontuur, is erg creatief en een echte gezelschapsspelfanaat. Grote liefhebber van escape rooms in alle soorten en maten.

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