Have you ever been so frustrated that you wanted to smash and break objects around you? Have you ever experienced the relief after you break something to let your stress out? This is exactly what the crazy minds behind The Smash Room wanted you to enjoy. The CEO and Co-founder of The Smash Room – Ibrahim Abudyak, tells us exactly how it all began. Further, he even shares how this could be one of the most unique and lucrative franchise businesses in today’s stressful world.
Having founded the 1st ever rage room concept in the Middle East, we knew early on that we wanted to franchise the brand. Our vision was to have 40 “The Smash Rooms” in a span of 5 years. As a matter of fact, when we were just starting out, The Smash Room started gaining traction not only in the region but also in countries such as the UK and the US. It is a unique concept that we felt would be a wasted opportunity to not franchise the brand.
The idea for The Smash Room was inspired by a difficult time in mine and my co-founder’s lives. Hiba was dealing with the loss of her grandmother, while I was going through a divorce. This was a time when the traditional, more peaceful mechanisms of coping just weren’t cutting it. So, Hiba took old junk into the backyard and smashed it to bits, and it made her feel massively better. Right then, came that lightbulb moment. This is a freaking good idea! She then pitched the idea to me, and together we immediately went to work to make it happen. Almost 3 years later, and The Smash Room grows stronger year after year.
The brand name came intuitively from the word “smash” and from research about similar concepts. My co-founder and I wanted to play with words. We had a lot of fun with it and actually modeled the rest of the branding, down to the package names, around the word “smash.”
We wanted to create something really bold and unique, with an attitude that would truly represent the brand and the experience. We thought the design with the baseball bats crossed together was really cool, then we opted for bold fonts and colors. It’s simple yet it delivers the point across.
What makes The Smash Room different from others in the world (specifically those in Western countries) is the way we keep going beyond what is expected of a typical rage room. Time and time again, we have pioneered a lot of business concepts that others have followed suit. We get many inquiries about the way we operate from rage rooms around the world, and our unique business concepts have been replicated on more than one occasion, not to mention the nature of the activity, The Smash Room has the highest standard for safety among its competitors. We view The Smash Room as a safe, no-judgment zone for people from all walks of life.
Definitely someone who is very enthusiastic about the brand, someone who loves it inside and out and has possibly tried the experience, whether it be at The Smash Room or somewhere else. We also look for someone who has an open mind, an entrepreneurial spirit, and someone who wants to create something really unique and different, as opposed to doing it the safe way.
We expect this to happen in under 3 years.
As an entrepreneur, challenges come by tenfold. Every hurdle you pass seems more difficult than the last, and that’s the reality of it. Personally, the global pandemic was truly one of the most challenging times for me and my team. Having had to close down for almost 3 months, The Smash Room had zero income and the way we overcame that was coming out with the SmashBox, which is the region’s first-ever smash-at-home kit. We sold over 70 boxes and even had the item listed on a leading e-commerce website.
Ironically, the global pandemic also turned out to be when I got inspired to achieve more. I founded 2 businesses during the pandemic and managed to have The Smash Room slowly recover from 3 months of closure. Proud to say that this achievement was done in cooperation with my amazing team and we have so much more planned in the future for the brand.
My business day starts with breakfast in the morning for me and my cat. Then I go ahead and get ready. I usually start my day with physical activity— whether that’s the gym or swimming class. After my morning routine, I get to work either at The Smash Room or I work out at cafes. My work location depends on how my schedule looks that day, whether I have meetings or not. In the evening, I try to get some more exercise in such as jogging or going for a walk in my neighborhood or go out with my friends. Some evenings, I also have coaching calls with clients. My week is varied and I like to believe I’ve mastered the art of work-life integration.
Definitely signing our first franchise agreement. It felt like the beginning of something really big for us!
My co-founder and I set our sights on having 40 franchises in the next 5 years. Not even 2 years into it, we had our 1st ever franchise. We were well on our way to our 3rd one, however, due to the global pandemic, it fell through and understandably so. We expect things to take off hopefully this year once the market opens back up.
Look into the entertainment concepts, not just food and beverage. Look into things that are unique, different kinds of entertainment— things that people are looking for. The pandemic has proven the importance of having variety and the importance of offering alternatives for people to have fun and release their stress in controlled and safe environments. There are many ways to do that and The Smash Room is just one of them. Just be open-minded to different concepts and give them a chance. Look out for concepts that come out of this region, specifically from Dubai, instead of just taking brand names out from Western countries.
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