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Nathan Lee

Brisbane, SEQ

A desire to locally manufacture a range of play equipment superior to imports was the driving force to start WillPlay. Today, the Bundaberg-based family business is one of Australia's leading makers of commercial playground equipment, and the world beckons.

My name is Nathan Lee, my company name is WillPlay and I live in Brisbane.

WillPlay is a manufacturer of commercial playground and outdoor fitness equipment. The bulk of our customers at the moment are either local councils or schools. We deal a lot with resorts, pubs and clubs.

My background is in industrial manufacturing and manufacturing products from silly things like gate hardware and cattle handling equipment and ended up in playgrounds.

My favourite project is one we did late last year for a developer at a new housing estate on the Gold Coast. It had something for everyone. It was a genuine park that pushed the limits, had some really exciting stuff for older kids, had a lot of items for younger kid, incorporated in-ground trampolines.

I wouldn't swap my job for a 9 to 5 role although we do lots of hours at different times, it's a hell of a lot of fun and it is really enjoyable and pleasurable to see kids playing on our equipment, adults using our fitness equipment at the end of the project.

Beginning as a component maker for outdoor recreation equipment, the decision was made to change direction and manufacture outdoor play equipment sets and sell direct to market. The 2013 Bundaberg floods were the company's first major obstacle when the factory was inundated with water. A dedicated crew of staff, family and friends mounted a clean-up and full production was back within a week.

Since then, sales have grown steadily and WillPlay now sell their outdoor play equipment across Australia. To handle the growth, they've twice relocated to a larger factory, opened a national sales office in Brisbane and increased staff to 15 full time employees. The key to WillPlay's success has been building strong relationships with local councils across the country, predominantly their biggest customer sector. WillPlay have earned a reputation as a proactive Australian full service manufacturer and installer of premium play and fitness equipment. They pride themselves on having industry leading practices and a proven track record of on-time supply and project completion.

WillPlay's growth as a small business has meant they have been able to support other Australian manufacturers and suppliers. A key to their success has been investing in new manufacturing equipment as well as continued product and staff development. Having cemented their position as one of the country's leading manufacturers of outdoor equipment, their next step will be to break into export markets.

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