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Prop Hunt: Sourcing props for your escape room business
So much design and thought goes into an escape room. From the original premise to puzzle logistics to painting and decorating to sourcing props to advertising. With much at stake for the industry, quality props can perfect those finer points and add originality to your customer’s experience.
So where can I buy good props?
If you know which kind of props you want to buy, it can be easy to find the right supplier. Naturally, though, everything depends on budget.
If it’s something specific or expensive, prop rental companies or fancy dress shops could be your best bet. Larger items like furniture, carpets, safes and the like may fit into this category and can sometimes be customised to suit the style of your room. It could also encourage regular room refits if you have items on loan.
If authenticity is your thing, there are many sites out there which sell authentic and genuine props from past films and TV programmes. You may get your hands on something special for a cheaper price at an online auction site like eBay. Having such an heirloom in your room can push your escape room into a new bracket of immersive experience, but be warned. It may come at a price.
Calling out on social media for rare or strange items could do just the trick. People have allsorts stored away in their attics and garages and, with the right nudge, may be willing to part with it for a threepence.
Of course, visiting as many second-hand shops, flea markets, jumble sales, auctions, fairs and sale centres could be more than worth your time. You can often pick out a bargain and add a rustic, shabby/chic or vintage feel that will flourish in your room.
What if the item I want can’t be bought?
There are people out there whose job it is to build, make, create and recreate props. Check on sites like Etsy and Pinterest to establish what it is you need and order away. Handmade shops and designers can often bend to your unique needs if you’re looking for something more specific.
If your prop is particularly difficult to source and you can’t find anybody to make it for you, you may find it easier, cheaper and less time-consuming to build it yourself. You and your team are creative masters, after all!
Done right, a homemade prop can serve its purpose and adds charm to your escape room, especially if customers know the painstaking effort you’ve gone to to ensure they enjoy their experience. Again, though, make sure your props look authentic, don’t look flimsy and can withstand any wear and tear it may be subjected to. If your props aren’t up to scratch, the fourth wall will be broken and that lack of immersion could lead to poor reviews and a loss of business.
Have you got a treasure trove of exotic props? Whether you have or haven’t, we can help with your insurance needs. Just call us on 01524 848506.