Online toy store ready to flourish in rural Whangārei
Thomas Online is a one-stop-shop that takes the stress out of shopping for licenced character toys. They stock an extensive range that includes Thomas & Friends (obviously), Disney, Paw Patrol, Barbie, Hello Kitty, Harry Potter, Sesame Street, Crayola, Hot Wheels, Mickey Mouse and a whole lot more.
Kylie began her business ownership journey 5 years ago and like a lot of Mums juggling a business and raising a family she says “It can be really lonely, especially when you are balancing work hours around raising a young family. I moved into business ownership from a “corporate” background working for several large retail outlets so I had a really good understanding of the retail sector. I wanted to build a business that allows me the flexibility to work around raising our two kids. It’s always been my goal to build a long-term business though, it’s not just a hobby for me!”
Kylie started working with Growth Advisors from our Business, Innovation & Growth team shortly after she started the business. Her initial focus was on putting in the groundwork to get her systems and processes organised whilst she grew her customer base and product range organically. She says “It’s been great to have someone to bounce ideas off who knows business and can act as a sounding board. For me that’s been such a valuable part of my relationship with the team at Northland Inc.”
“I know what it’s like for Mums when they are trying desperately to find a certain licensed character toy that their child has fallen in love with. The big brand stores usually just stock the 5 most popular products from a range, so I saw an opportunity to carry a more extensive range and take the stress out of the search." - Kylie
Now that she has the operational part of the business working well, she has switched her focus to identify what her next steps are to expand the business and what resources are available to help her with her digital marketing, particularly around Google Ads and SEO for her website.
“Having someone to talk to about your business - who respects you and treats you like a business owner and not just a Mum with a hobby - has made a huge difference to my business journey”. ~ Kylie
Emma Rankin, Growth Advisor says “Kylie is a great example of a business who is making really good use of the funding available to her through the Regional Business Partnership. She has used funding to help her with developing her marketing strategy and is now underway with another project to improve her digital promotions”.
- As well as the name “Thomas” featuring in her business name, it’s also the name of her eldest son!
- Her amazingly supportive husband gets up at 4am every day to pack the orders she has picked ready for the courier before he heads off to his day job
- They are onto their 3rd house in five years, each time outgoing the room available to store stock.