Squoodles owner, Tracy Morgan, recently celebrated ten years in business and, to top it off, her educational resources business won two award categories at the Waipa Networks Business Awards.
“We were finalists in four categories and won the Innovation and Adaption award and the Digital Strategy and E-commerce award. I didn’t think we’d be in with a shot to be honest! It was very surreal and nice to be recognised for the hard work that I put in,” says Squoodles founder and owner Tracy Morgan.
Based in Matangi, Squoodles is an online business selling educational resources to schools, ECEs and New Zealand families.
Tracy started Squoodles ten years ago when her youngest child was six months old, following a conversation at a Mums group that good quality, affordable wooden toys were hard to find. Tracy started importing wooden toys and Squoodles was born. In 2019 the business morphed to sell educational resources for schools and early childhood centres (ECEs), which at the time were being supplied by an Australian company.
Covid transformed the business again. During the first lockdown of 2020 Squoodles was one of the first businesses to receive an exemption from the government to sell educational resources to parents who were suddenly faced with home-schooling.
“Overnight we went from 50 orders a day to 500! It just about killed us but with help from my husband we managed. In April 2020 we did the same turnover that we’d done in the previous financial year! It cemented Squoodles reputation as a supplier of educational resources with schools, ECEs and parents,” says Tracy.
Tracy joined the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce to meet like-minded business owners. It was through these connections that she was recommended Daisy Digital Marketing who referred her to Soda and the Regional Business Partner (RBP) programme.
Squoodles received RBP funding to undergo digital marketing training through Daisy Digital Marketing and the results have been phenomenal.
“Our return on investment (ROI) for social media and Google advertising has increased from 1:1 to 12:1 and our sales have increased by 23 per cent for the past financial year. I’m stoked! These results are completely due to the RBP funding and training I received,” says Tracy.
As part of the training Tracy has monthly strategy meetings with Sarah from Daisy Digital Marketing which she says has been extremely beneficial for building her digital marketing knowledge and skills.
At the moment, Tracy runs the entire Squoodles operations – from packing orders, sourcing new products, dealing with suppliers and customers – but is looking to employ someone in the near future.
She starts her day in her home office at 5.30am so that she can do school drop off and pick up and focus on her three children and husband in the evenings.
Two of Tracy’s personal business rules are that once she starts something on her to-do list she finishes it, and secondly, she only touches emails and pieces of paper once.
Her advice is: “Just do it!”
That’s not to say all her business decisions have succeeded. She’s purchased 100,000 Rainbow Puzzle Balls which failed to sell. Conversely, an online post about a construction plate and cutlery set that she’d purchased for her toddler led to unprecedented demand and Squoodles is now the New Zealand and Australian distributor for the Constructive Eating range.
What does Tracy love most about being a business owner: “I get a real buzz from running my own business and creating something that’s mine. I love sourcing new products and coming up with new ideas and implementing them.”