If you haven’t been to an escape room yet, add it to your summer bucket list! Two years ago, Melissa Eapen and Emma Rochon brought the unique fun to Kingston and called it Improbable Escapes. Whether you are looking for a teambuilding experience, a night out with friends full of laughter…or if you are ready to bring out your competitive side and show your family some razor sharp problem solving skills, an escape room challenge is where it’s at! And did you know you can rent a pop-up escape room? That is what my workplace did and it was an absolute BLAST! In fact, some even booked at Improbable Escapes for the very next day, they had been bitten by the escape room bug!
Tell us about how Improbable Escapes came to be?
Myself and Emma worked in the escape room industry, and wanted to create our own thing! We traveled through different major cities trying to figure out the best city for us, and we fell in love with Kingston!
As an entrepreneur, sometimes you know when you’ve “got something,” did you have that feeling with this venture?
Not at all! We were fresh out of university/college and thought it was the perfect point to start a business, because at least if we flopped, we could carry on quickly. We were obviously hoping we wouldn’t flop, but we took off so much faster than we ever imagined to!
How have you grown since opening day?
Our growth rate is actually a bit insane. It was just myself and my business partner (Emma) when we started, but we quickly grew and started hiring on more staff. Since 2015, we’ve been exponentially growing and currently have a team of 14 people! Our team ranges from game developers, to set designers, to marketing professionals, and more. We now have a great partnership with Parks Canada and have some awesome games in awesome places – i.e. Murney Tower!
I know you have a new escape challenge, it’s so unique and sounds like an absolute blast! What are the details?
Catch Me Outside is a very non-traditional escape “room.” Typically escape rooms keep you confined to a room, but this experience will take you around downtown Kingston! The game will be for teams of 2-8 players, and will run either rain or shine. Within an hour, you have to complete all puzzles and get to the designated end point. The game will run through to the fall, so book fast so you’ll have an opportunity to play! The back story is: “Your great grandfather has passed away leaving you an inheritance. You have been given specific instructions to go and visit the family lawyer, G. Dempster, to find out about it. Upon arriving at the lawyer’s office, your lawyer explains, “as you know, your great grandfather loved puzzles, and has set up quite the quest for you to claim your inheritance” he then hands you a backpack and wishes you luck. So, you set out on your quest, but things aren’t always as easy as they appear. ”
I had so much fun running your pop-op jail escape challenge at my workplace! It was quite enjoyable watching my co-workers give it their all, but it was so hard not to scream out clues to them! Do you find many make one simple mistake that throws their whole game off? Are clues ever offered?
We always offer clues and hints for our experiences! We want our players to be in control. Often teams don’t communicate well, and that would be their downfall. Either they don’t listen to some people’s ideas, or they don’t communicate that they have all of the puzzle pieces. Not communicating is the one mistake that can result in you not escaping!
Anyone try to cheat?
Yes! We have players that try to hack and bypass locks. But trust us, it’s not as fun OR satisfying. We want you to actually experience the puzzles! 😉
Would this be a good idea for a first date?
For a date night in general, heck yes. For a first date… heck no. They’re so awkward. People don’t want to step on top of anyone’s toes, and they don’t want to offend anyone so they’re too awkwardly nice and they don’t progress well. Don’t do an escape room for a first date. It’s just awkward.
What is the record for the fastest escape of one of your current room?
Escaped in 22 minutes! They were definitely super sleuths. 90%+ of our players escape within the last 5 minutes.
I know you have your hands in other exciting endeavours Melissa! Have you always had an entrepreneurial spirit?
Funny enough, recently I was asked when I was first entrepreneurial and I had no idea! I sold my art at a young age, but I don’t think I ever considered myself an entrepreneur. I think I just get bored really easily, and want to find new things to occupy my time! My time is now awfully full with Improbable Escapes, The Kingston Collective, and HIPSTORY, so I don’t think I’ll be adding anything onto the pile anytime soon!
Can you describe the vibe of women entrepreneurs in Kingston right now?
#communityovercompetition Women in Kingston rise each other up and support each other (at least in my experience). Those that try to compete seem to just disappear and fail. Find your tribe and stick with it – they’ll help you get to places you would never think possible!
Last question, and just for fun, tell us a goofy moment that happened at Improbable Escapes…anyone get you guys snorting with laughter?
Drunk people. are. the. worst. DON’T DO AN ESCAPE ROOM DRUNK! It’s just horrible. Let’s just say they often get scared and pee themselves. Doesn’t make us laugh at the time, but afterwards, it’s quite entertaining 😉
Melissa, Emma and the entire Improbable Escapes crew are so dedicated to providing a seriously kickass experience, and know their fans want more! So just when you think they have enough going on for one season….they come out with yet ANOTHER GAME! Hinted at in an announcement yesterday, Improbable Escapes will be opening another game this month! It will be a seasonal limited edition game running until the end of September, call NOW for pre-bookings….I dare you!