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Playdale Playground: The world’s our playground

By Holly Harrison of in-Cumbria

Kindly reproduced with permission of in-Cumbria Magazine

A leading manufacturer in playground equipment is fast becoming a major player on a worldwide platform.

Playdale Playgrounds, based in Haverthwaite, has left its mark on every corner of the glove with dog-eat-dog ambition to be the best in the market.

“We want to be in 40 countries in the next three years and we’re in 22 at the moment,” says Barry Leahey, sales and marketing director of Playdale. “We’ve already got 450 products but we aim to grow our product line and become world leaders in the playground market.”

The Cumbrian company has enchanted countries all over the glove with its simple attitude to “selling fun.”

“The beauty of what we do is that we sell fun,” explained Mr Leahey. “We work long hours and deliver 60 million smiles globally but it’s a fun product to sell. People always say that we have smiles on our faces.”

With the ability to trace its lineage back to the 1700s, the story of Playdale tells a fabulous tale of pioneering spirit, family entrepreneurship and trading excellence.

Mr Leahey said: ” We started dealing internationally about three years ago, which was a difficult time where most other companies laid off about 30 or 40 per cent of their staff. We didn’t lay of a single member of staff as we felt Playdale was important for the local community.”

In just three years, Playdale has become a top provider in more than 20 countries. It’s secret?

“Quality,” answered Mr Leahey.

“Quality, quality, quality has always been our USP. We make sure that we deliver the best in the market. Quality is just what we do.”

In the past year, Playdale has been recognised by leading government organisations and has been named UKTI Exporting Champion and an ambassador of Global Entrepreneurship Week and the wider Britain is GREAT campaign.

Mr Leahey believes this is a prime opportunity to give something back to the organisation that enabled this Cumbrian business to become world leaders in its industry.

He said: “We had a lot of help from people like UKTI and by agreeing to be an ambassador we are agreeing to help other companies. Playdale will be mentors and we’re already helping other business with their expansion plans. We work with other companies all over the North West and we’re giving something back to the region.”

He added: “UKTI are really good at giving advice. We still work with them and will do so as long as we continue trading in new countries.”

The company was also hailed as Emerging Exporter at the Insider International Trade awards at the end of last year.

Mr. Leahey was thrilled by the award saying: “It’s great for everyone at the company and it’s nice to be recognised for all of the hard work that we put in every day. I have to admit, it was really tense leading up to the presentation of the winners, and when the judges announced our name I was over the moon. We’re a small company based in the Lake District and it just goes to show that with a great team, a clear vision and hard work you really can achieve your goals and succeed on a global scale. The award will take pride of place at Playdale HQ and we will continue to push forward in export. This is just the start; we are all very excited about the future of the company and look forward to creating more exciting playgrounds all over the world.”

Note: Since this article was first written, UKTI has been replaced by DIT.

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