Tumble & Roll is an Australian educational toy store. They offer a range of toys to inspire creativity and aid in the cognitive development for toddlers and young children alike. The company founder Simone saw the positive effects gained by her own son when playing with some of his toys and games that were designed to inspire learning, and decided to fill a void in the market and help other young parents give their children a better head start in life. Take a look at the huge range of toys at Tumble & Roll’s online store. We’re lucky enough to have the chance to speak with Simone today about how she came to be involved in the educational game and toy industry.
Hi Simone, welcome to the offices of Shape Your World today, we’re happy to meet you. Tell us, what was the inspiration for opening Tumble & Roll?
I had been looking at different business opportunities for a number of years without any real conviction for what type of business I really wanted. Before starting up Tumble & Roll I considered various franchise opportunities, purchasing an existing business, as well as various work from home opportunities but none of these quite hit the mark. It was through my extensive searching for toys for my own son that I started to get a sense that I could make a contribution to this niche market. What appeals to me about these toys is that they encourage a more focused, thoughtful, interaction with toys and encourage children to use their imaginations and creativity as well as developing problem solving skills. Additionally, we have found that keeping a child engaged with educational games and toys works well to defuse some of the relentless pressure and demand for toys fueled by the hype, commercialization and merchandising which perpetuates from toy releases associated with popular movies or TV shows.
Has running an toy company helped you develop a better relationship with our own child?
Running this business has involved a fair bit of home research and trying out different toys and observing how my son interacts with them, how much time he spends playing with them, and how much enjoyment he gets from them. From this perspective we have spent a lot of time discovering and exploring toys together. I believe that this business and my passion for toys has been conducive to quality one on one time with my son which has benefited our relationship greatly.
How has your life changed since starting Tumble & Roll and what opportunities do you envision for yourself as a business owner?
Well my life now is an even bigger juggling act than ever before. I have an extremely busy life, running a business as well as another part time job and running a home. I believe my own business can eventually give me the opportunity for flexible working arrangements which I can do from and around home and fit in well with family commitments. You start to think differently when you own your own business. It can push you outside your comfort zone. I am a big believer that any business is built on a lot of face-to-face networking and relationship building. Even though this is partially an e-commerce business you need to get out there and do a lot of face-to-face marketing. As a business owner you have also got the responsibility of making decisions and opportunity to determine the direction the business takes.
Have you had any challenges or difficulties running the business and how did you overcome them?
The challenge with any startup is that you’re the manager, bookkeeper, receptionist, store man, marketing person – the whole lot. It’s important to realise early on where your expertise lies and where you need to outsource certain jobs to consultants and specialist support and then find a good team of people to work with to undertake the tasks you can’t do well yourself. Time and Money are also two other factors which many people underestimate when starting up a business. The amount of work required is about 10 times more than you would imagine and the amount of investment required can be considerable more than what you may initially budget for. Overcoming these has involved in generally adapting to the work load involved and tightening the financial belt to allow for the extra fund which are needed for the business.
How have you managed to balance your recreational time with your busy work schedule?
I try and pack as much work in during the week and any spare time I get over the weekend. We always seem to have a lot on at the weekends so I try and avoid doing too much work during the weekends. My working hours during the week though are long and I am often up late at night working well after my son has gone to bed.
Where do you hope to see your business going in the next few years?
We are currently in start-up phase, however we hope we can grow this into a successful full-time business which will allow me to work from and close to home. There are possibilities for extending the product range or changing the product mix. We have just started doing Educational Toy Parties and we would also like to see this side off the business taking off and hopefully adding on more consultants to broaden the areas to which we can provide this service .
We wish you all the best for the running of Tumble & Roll in finding enough recreational time to yourself and your son, away from your busy work schedule. We’ll have to catch up in sometime in the future to see how things are going. I’m sure our readers today have learned a lot about the trials and tribulations of starting up a new business, thank you for sharing your story with us here today.