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Profile: Enigma Escapes

Article by TEN Staff November 23, 2016 Profile


Whether you test your skills in a 1920s speakeasy, onboard a pirate ship or in deep space, Enigma Escapes sets the scene for an unforgettable adventure - one that tests your logic, patience and teamwork.

The company's live escape games put teams made up of family, friends or coworkers in theme rooms, where they solve a series of puzzles and codes to make a successful "escape."

Laura and Allan Hawkins launched the company in January 2015, along with their daughter Shea Kosokowsky. Rounding out the family business, their son Shaun and daughter-in-law Kaleigh Gray are also shareholders.

""We blended a lot of our strengths to be able to create the business," says Laura, who draws on her background in graphic design to bring creative flair to the rooms.

Shea contributes her knowledge as a psychiatric nursing student and Allan, a clinical psychologist, used his expertise to develop a corporate session rooted in team-building psychology to tie in with the escape-room experience.

Right now, they offer five rooms that transport participants to a different time and place. One room creates the sense of being in a tent in Africa searching for a mysterious jewel in the 1930s. In another, teams look for the kingpin of an organized crime syndicate during Prohibition. Other rooms mimic the experience of being trapped in a magic lamp by an evil genie, hurtling in a spaceship towards a black hole or being held captive on a pirate ship.

Three more themes are currently in the works, although the details remain a mystery for now. In addition to their local offerings, the business has partnered with a group called Escape Hour to launch a Calgary-based project. The fun-loving family is also opening an escape room inside a shopping mall in Mexico City.

As well, they have created a modular turnkey room that is proving popular with entrepreneurs across North America. When clients purchase the room, they receive everything they need to set up their own adventure: Walls, floors, furniture, lighting, puzzles and videos. So far, these modular units have popped up in Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, Oregon, Michigan, New Jersey and Georgia.

Laura says several more initiatives are in the works, and the family is enjoying bringing this brand of entertainment to an ever-increasing audience. Although escape rooms are relatively new to North America, they're popular overseas. "We first ran into the business two years ago in Europe. We played it and loved it. We recognized that there's a lack of things here for adults to do for entertainment," Laura says.

"When you play an escape room, it's a social activity that everyone can do together, whether it's a team of family, friends or co-workers. We recognized it as being something super fun." Adults love the challenge of making a great escape, and kids can also participate, as long as their parents join them in the room - which isn't really locked.

"It's really nice when kids and parents work together. Oftentimes, they don't have dedicated time with their parents that's really enjoyable," Laura says. "Sometimes they can have grandparents in there as well and that's really fun. It's also something for adults to do with their adult children. It's really filling a void in entertainment for a lot of people."

For more information on Enigma Escapes, visit: http://www.enigmaescapes.com

Want to meet Laura and her team? You'll find them at a TEN Event