I AM IN AWE OF THE MANY INCREDIBLE MUMS OUT THERE, DOING A FAB JOB OF RUNNING THEIR OWN SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES WHILST SIMULTANEOUSLY HOLDING DOWN THE FORT AT HOME. I’M FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO HAVE ‘MET’ MANY OF THESE LADIES ONLINE AND CAN’T WAIT TO INTRODUCE YOU TO SOME NEW FACES AND THEIR AWESOME ENTREPRENEURIAL ENDEAVOURS. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO GET INVOLVED AND HAVE YOUR BUSINESS FEATURED, PLEASE SAY HELLO! [email protected]
This is the second time on The Best Nest for this lovely Mama owned business! Ethan and I reviewed the Ready, Steady, Go! box from My Fun Box back in February, so it’s lovely to have owner Renee back to learn a little bit more about her and her one-of-a-kind subscription based business. I was actually great friends with Renee’s partner Phil w a y back in high school, and though I haven’t seen him in a very long time, it’s been great to be able to reconnect (somewhat) in a weird-internet sort of way! Small New Zealand doing its thing lol.
So, back to business, Renee is one busy, busy lady. She and Phil have two little guys Nate, (3.5 years) and Mitch (18 months). I could stop right there and have to wipe my brow, but these two are a multi-business family. Renee describes it as having their fingers in a few pies……um yes! Renee is a self-employed graphic designer as well as running My Fun Box, whilst Phil works his 9-5, spends evenings working on a business of his own with plans to start another business later in the year.
That’s how it’s done people, hard work xx
Let’s Say hello! to Renee in her own words;
1. How did you evolve into the owner of My Fun Box?
I came across an American company that made really cool kids activity boxes. I contacted them directly asking to be a NZ reseller of their product but they weren’t interested. I asked to buy their product wholesale. Still not interested. I even struggled buying their product online as they wouldn’t accept an NZ address or credit card. I had to get friends in the States to purchase and send a few boxes to me as I really wanted to see that they were like. When they finally arrived I LOVED them and was inspired to create my own version for kiwi parents. Phil and I spent over a year putting numbers together and researching the concept. Once we started talking to friends about the idea we decided it was now or never and to just take the risk and start the business. We launched in December 2014.
2. It’s obviously a fairly creative process getting each activity ready for distribution. How do you bring different ideas to life?
I LOVE Pinterest and that’s where I get inspired! Each box has a different theme so I start there and gather activities related to the theme. Then I choose a couple that excite me, gather the materials and test the activities with Nate. The activity is chosen if it’s relatively easy or straight forward to make and the result is SUPER cool. The next step is getting test boxes together and out to my box testers to make sure the instructions work and there are enough materials etc. And to make sure kids love the activities!
What’s happening with the boys and their interests plays a part as well. For example, the lantern activity is inspired by Nate’s love of Batman and super heros. My Fun Box activities need to have ‘meat’ to them and give kids the opportunity to explore, learn, discover, create etc with mum or dad.
3. No-one talks about the hard days that go with the territory when you’re a Mum with a young family, juggling a business. What do these days look like for you and how do you push through?
The hardest days are when the kids are sick on a daycare/kindy day. Being the primary carer, my work gets put on hold to look after them. I struggle with that because I have limited hours to work and ‘losing time’ makes it hard to catch up or stretches out tasks/goals for progressing both businesses. I’m very lucky to have understanding clients too who are relatively flexible with deadlines. But on these days I tell myself that my main job in life is being Mum to my two amazing boys and when they are sick they need me. Everyone and everything else can wait!
4. Subscription boxes are huge right now! What’s the attraction?
That’s one of the main reasons we decided to go ahead with the business. The subscription business model is HUGE in the States and we knew it was just a matter of time for it to take off in NZ. The American company who inspired My Fun Box is subscription based and has been hugely successful so we modeled our business on theirs.
We want to help parents unlock and nurture their kids creative potential. This isn’t going to happen with one box. And as parents, we all have so much going on that we want easy and convenient solutions.
5. Have there been any surprises along the way as you’ve brought My Fun Box to market?
I thought I would have sold more boxes and subscriptions by now! I’ve also been surprised with comments from few family members and friends about giving up on the business because of it’s lack of sales so far. One friend told me yesterday that he’s impressed with my tenacity with My Fun Box and I replied with ‘I’m not giving up. It’s a great idea and I LOVE it. Things are taking time to get established but it gives me time to get better systems in place and build a GREAT business.’ But I’m one that if someone tells me I can’t do it, I do my damnedest to prove them wrong 🙂
6. What area(s) of business do you consider key to the ongoing success of My Fun Box and how are you pushing forward in this area?
Getting in front of the right target market and building my audience. So the focus at the moment is building relationships with businesses and people who have the same/similar target audience. I’ve been doing a lot of giveaways and co-promotions which has been great in getting the My Fun Box brand out there.
7. What’s ahead for My Fun Box?
We’ve got some cool boxes coming out soon – magic, science and gardening to name a few. We want to expand our offering into party activities and other products. And there’s the possibility of expanding overseas but we’ll see.
I really want to inspire parents to sit down and spend time with their kids, away from the TV, iPad and phones, and create awesome memories together. And I believe that our range of activities will give kids the skills, like problem solving and creative thinking, that will set them up for life.
This week on Say hello! one lucky winner will be able to choose a box from the super cool range at my Fun Box, perfect timing for the School holidays! Head over to Facebook, and follow the instructions on the Say hello! post and get in the draw. Competition closes Sunday 5th July @ 10pm.