- A sweltering Stellenbosch summer, with no access to the beach because of lockdown, sparked an idea for a portable pool.
- A big plastic container or harvest bin, traditionally used to carry wine grapes, was filled with cold water, offering a reprieve from the heatwave.
- What started as a plan to cool down the kids has now turned into a business, with almost 20 Binlaanie portable pools sold in less than eight months.
- The pools, starting from R7,860, are especially popular with families with limited space.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
A Cape Town heatwave, the coronavirus-induced lockdown, and the sight of wine grapes being transported after harvest sparked an idea for an affordable portable pool. Now the rest of South Africa wants in.
Being stuck indoors during the height of lockdown in 2020 was a miserable experience for many South Africans. Add in scorching weather conditions – with no pool of cool water in sight – and it became downright unbearable.
That's the exact predicament Dan Golder found himself in, living in a security estate in Stellenbosch, with limited space in the garden, and having already received exorbitant quotes to build a small splash pool.
With the hot summer sun beating down on Stellenbosch, wine farms in the region were finishing the last of their grape harvests. The picked grapes are piled into large plastic containers – or harvest bins – attached to tractors. During harvest time, typically between January and April, these big blue bins become part of Stellenbosch's scenery.
"We were sitting here during lockdown, sweating, I think it was a 42-degree day," Golder tells Business Insider South Africa.
"We put two and two together and were like 'why don’t we just get the [bin] liner?' We'll fill it up with water and then put it in a crate. We added some plumbing and it's just rolled on from there."
What started as a cheap and easy way for Golder, his wife, and kids to cool down during the summer heatwave soon attracted attention from friends and neighbours. Golder secured a patent, for fitting the wine industry's harvest bin into a robust wooden crate with wheels, and sold the first unit in July 2021.
Binlaanie Portable Pools, which is promoted almost entirely through social media channels like Facebook and Instagram, has sold almost 20 units in less than eight months, helped along by recent record-breaking temperatures across the Western Cape.
While all the sales are currently centred on Cape Town and its surrounds, Golder says that interest from Gauteng is growing, although transporting the portable pools across the country isn't a simple or inexpensive task.
The portable pools are around 1.3 metres by 1.1 metres in size and can hold up to 880 litres of water, although 600 litres will do when taking displacement into account. The plastic liners, around 600mm deep, come in two colour variations: black or blue.
The "Duklaanie" pool has wheels and can be moved around while full of water. It costs R9,830. The "Mainlaanie" doesn't have wheels and costs R7,860.
Both the Duklaanie and Mainlaanie pools come complete with lid, portable pump, filter, hoses, and hose clamps.
"It's definitely getting a lot of interest from people who have that lock-up-and-go lifestyle and people with kids," says Golder.
"Because it is family driven, it's nice to just get in and have a quick dip and the kids love it."
The interest in Binlaanie is intrinsically tied to summer and the need for families – especially those with limited space – to cool down. But that business is seasonal and capturing the winter market is Golder's next challenge. He aims to do this by introducing Binlaanie as a viable hot pool, with its own self-heating system.
"We were using submersible heaters throughout winter last year," says Golder.
"I think once we can offer the Binlaanie as a unit that can be heated up as well… we're going to hit another market. Hopefully by winter we'll have our own heating system designed [and] it is something we're working on."