Have you met Bec Tuplin?
So essentially you launched your business in the midst of an international health pandemic and it flourished! Why do you think your launch was so successful?
The foundation of what I offer is based on convenience – I provide something that you can’t just go to your standard shop and buy. Over Mother’s Day, I partnered with 7 other local businesses to create a Love Local box made of up items from all of our business – this really took off because people wanted something unique and were so keen to be able to support local and small businesses during these difficult times.
Your grazing boxes are stocked with mostly local products. Can you tell us why collaborating with local businesses is so important to you?
I love nothing better than being able to source a unique product that has been made with love and where you know the money you are investing in your purchase is going straight back in to the pockets of a business owner and supporting them to sustain and grow. We are so lucky that we live in such a diverse country, with so much talent and so many locally produced items on offer – its important to me to be able to play a part in promoting and showcasing products to people who may not have otherwise discovered them.
Your Mothers Day ‘High Tea Box’ options went gangbusters with 65 orders in just two weeks not long after your launch. Can you tell us how the boxes and products that you offer are a little different to what's on the market from your usual catering box company?
I don’t just offer your standard grazing box, I offer other options that are not your usual like “High Tea in a Box” and our popular “Pavlova Grazing Box” and nearly every single one of my grazing box ranges comes in options to cater for gluten or lactose intolerances, something that is not readily available in your usual catering boxes. I have a coeliac husband and I know all too well how frustrating and isolating it can be when you go to a BBQ or dinner and have to sit and watch everyone else have a “chip and dip” or indulge in dessert when you can’t. I want to overcome that by not only providing options for those with intolerances, but by making these tasty, using ingredients and products that I myself have either made or enjoy eating.
I’m gluten free and I absolutely love, love ,love that you cater for gluten and dairy intolerances. Do you know much about your target markets and work backwards to fulfil their needs?
Yes. My catering boxes are absolutely targeted to certain markets where I think there are gaps. My soon to be released gift boxes are targeted towards a range of markets – there are beautiful newborn baby boxes that have beautiful, luxe products from Australian small businesses that I would have loved when I was new mum but could never find, I have cocktail gift boxes that showcase gins from Tasmania, and small laneway bars in Melbourne – something that you wont find a lot of in Qld. Our creativity line aims to be a one-stop shop where you could come and purchase a variety of experiences – make your own candles, macrame, stitch kits, earrings – but once again all these products are specifically sourced to fit a certain market type. For me it has really been about trying to think about where there are gaps in things being offered that I could plug.
You’re obviously a very creative person and after a huge career change have your goals for both life and or your career changed? Do you have any planned goals?
Absolutely. One of things I have lacked over the past few years is work life balance. I have worked in an industry that required a lot of me and I really feel like this opportunity has presented itself to me at a time when my kids are still young and I can better cherish my time with them. My goal is to be able to get the business to a state where I can operate it flexibly around our lifestyle, and not have to go back to working for someone else.
We hear so often about the phrase ‘work-life balance’ especially as working mothers. How can you compare going from working absolutely huge hours to working from home -although with a thriving new business the hours are still potentially huge? Is there anything that you love or are finding difficult?
As much as I love my kids and want the opportunity to spend more time with them, I’m not sure I had planned that to be 24/7 as both their mum and full-time teacher so juggling the demands of a new business during an enforced home-schooling period has certainly had its days!!! The thing I love most is the sense that I am doing this for me and my family now, rather than that sense of working yourself to the bone for the benefit of a big corporate.
As a mum, business owner (and partner?) what do you do for ‘self care’ or what do you enjoy outside of work?
I’ve recently re-joined a gym that I loved but never had time for in my last job – they’ve gone online during COVID so I make sure I commit to at least 3 sessions a week with them. This situation has also really highlighted for me how much of a social person I am – I can think of nothing better than entertaining friends at home, or a night out sipping cocktails with girlfriends. Even though I am a mum, wife and all those other roles, it’s also really important for my mental wellbeing that I make time to be just me and do things that make me feel fulfilled.
How have you felt through isolation and having to home school your children and balance work? Obviously it has been such a difficult time for so many.
In one word – challenged! My mum and sister are both teachers so I thought I had an appreciation of how valuable teachers are but this experience has certainly taken that appreciation to a renewed level!! With a 5 year old that can’t yet read, I’ve had to learn to adjust my expectations – there are some days where if an order needs to go out, my kids are going to spend more time on their screens than I’d otherwise like but you just have to deal with that as a reality.
Do you have a daily routine or certain habits that make your day easier as a busy woman? Or any tips from when you had to work really long hours to make life easier?
Online grocery shopping is my saviour, and I always do a Sunday cook-up for the week. I feel like I am behind the 8 ball if I need to meal plan and cook on the go, so each week I plan the meals we are going to eat, shop for those and do as much meal prep for them as possible on Sunday. The ideal is to reach dinner time and be able to pull a prepared meal from the fridge where all I’ll have to do is spend 20 mins or so cooking some veggies, rice, pasta etc to go with it.
Do you have a favourite book or podcast recommendation that you would like to share?
I must admit I am not much of a podcaster. I have recently found a renewed love of reading to relax (thanks to joining a book club) and am currently loving The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. It almost feels like this book was written for me at this point of my life!
Navigating digital marketing as a start up can be overwhelming. How did you develop your initial business and marketing strategies?
Initially this was very on-the-go in response to really just needing to get a business model up and running that would allow me to deal with all my orders. I have a business degree so a lot of what I am doing feels quite natural to me but I know my limitations and when to bring in the experts – I am now working with a graphic designer, IT consultant and have social media help as these are all areas where I just don’t have the level of expertise or time to invest in on my own.
Boxed by Becky had such a successful start which was likely contributed to by building a great reputation through word of mouth. How important is customer service and feedback to your business? How do you think you were able to build such a strong reputation straight out of the gate?
Customer service is, and will be, the key to my business’s success. I am a service driven business and you know what they say - if a customer is unhappy they are likely going to tell at least 15 people. If I can have a customer tell at least 15 people that they love my product instead then I am going to organically grow just on this alone! People who know me know that I am someone who won’t cut corners and that I value quality - that is reflected in what I do and offer.
How does social media play a role in your business?
Social media is key in being able to readily promote my products and grow my client base. 95% of my Mother’s Day orders originated from social media. I must admit it is not something that I am great at and I am getting lots of coaching and help. The challenge for me is learning to adequately capture an audience and my message in a culture where people are inclined to scroll and scroll.
Speaking to other women who may feel stuck in a 9-5 job or have been a stay at home parent for a while now and want a change or even a side hustle, would you have any words of wisdom to offer?
The last few years have made me realise that my kids are only going to be this age for such a brief period of time and I really want to look back and feel like I made the most of it. My side hustle started small and I kept chipping away at it until it is what it is now – start small but dream big, you never know what you might be able to achieve!
Do you have a mentor or someone who inspires you?
I am the youngest of 3 girls (yes my por dad ha ha) with 2 super-driven, determined and successful older sisters who inspire me every single day. Throughout my whole life, but especially now, they have been my cheerleaders, my support, my sounding boards and although it pisses me off at times they are not afraid to pull me in to line or tell me what they really think. I couldn’t ask for much more than that!!
What are your fave accounts to follow on Instagram?
I’m actually slightly obsessed with cookie decorating so I feel like my feed is full of cookies. My all time fave account to obsess over is arloscookies.
If you could look back and talk to 18 year old Bec and say anything to her, what would it be?
My 18 year old self worked at McDonald’s whilst going to uni – at that stage I was doing a Catering Management course, not long after I changed to major in HR as I didn’t want to work in hospitality for the rest of my life. I’d say “girl put down the Big Macs and pay more attention to that catering course cause one day you are going to be drawing upon all that knowledge to build an empire”
You can follow Bec story on her website or by checker her out on Instagram @boxedbybecky