We talked to Ilya Talanov, CEO at EcoDecor about how they create puzzles and Escape rooms and here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Ilya Talanov: Fortunately, we are all fine and safe. Covid-19 did not touch us. But a lot of friends, colleagues, and people around have had issues with Covid-19.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded EcoDecor.
Ilya Talanov: I founded EcoDecor company in 2013. We produce puzzles and props for the Escape Room industry. We work worldwide. My hobby transformed into a full cycle production company. So, my main role is to coordinate and motivate my teammates.
How does EcoDecor innovate?
Ilya Talanov: We are in the production industry, so our main goal is to keep quality at the highest level but with a constant reduction of costs. Our innovation is providing better products (with better decoration, with better software, with more effects) for the same price.
And production process, especially when your work from one big project to another project and when every single project is different, we always try to make better: from woodworking perspective and electronics/ software as well.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Ilya Talanov: Most of our clients (Escape room owners) were closed for some time. Even now, the future is blurry for the Escape room industry. Some clients closed all future projects and upgrades, some of the slow down the upgrades. My business has a direct dependency on that, so the effect was terrible from March 2020 to June 2020.
Starting from Dec 2019, we are developing our portable products (portable escape games). Portable products allow our clients to deliver games (with escape room theme and background) directly to clients. Even if your location is closed, you still have a chance to generate some income. This portable direction is significantly developing right now.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Ilya Talanov: Unfortunately, due to a drop in demand, I said goodbye to some of my colleagues, but core teammates are with me. We also changed the location — space is -10% smaller, but 20% cheaper.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Ilya Talanov: Personally, I use one skill: “keep calm and carry on.”
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Ilya Talanov: Our colleagues (I don’t like word competitors”) are in the same situation. We are playing on one field. We will continue to develop new products for the entertainment industry.
Your final thoughts?
Ilya Talanov: Covid-19 is another challenge for 1-2 years. In general, business is one big challenge, so Covid-19 is just a new milestone that we must overcome.