Welcome to our next interview in our Meet the Maker series where we chat with the artists, creators, makers and business owners behind the brands we partner with at Polly & Co.
Today we take a moment to chat with Megan, the maker behind the brand Second Scout. Megan talks about how she took her every-day parenting challenges of getting her daughter to help pack away, brush her teeth, put pyjamas on, get into bed etc, and came up with the idea of Second Scout; picture-based prompts which not only empowered her daughter, but also saved her sanity as a parent!
Let's chat with Megan!
Tea or coffee? Coffee
Flats or heels? Flats – my 20-something corporate self would be horrified to know this!
Plan everything or go with the flow? Plan everything. E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G!
When I was growing up I wanted to be: A police woman
Describe your ideal Sunday, including breakfast: The kids allowing us to sleep in (!) then out for breakfast in the sunshine. Anything on the menu with haloumi is generally a winner!
A day at the beach with my husband and our girls is always a perfect Sunday, capped off with a few late afternoon drinks at home as we wind down for the week ahead!
Tell us a bit about why you started Second Scout, and what your journey has been?
As many mums do, I started Second Scout based on a need we had for our own family.
We faced the same challenges all parents do with everyday tasks. Getting our eldest daughter to help pack away, brush her teeth, put pyjamas on, bedtime, etc never ran smoothly...despite our best efforts to practice patience amongst the 427 reminders!
As she couldn’t yet read, I created a picture-based prompts which not only empowered her, but saved our sanity as parents!
The aesthetic of my DIY laminated routine chart and labels always bugged me though.
I wanted to create something that I didn’t need to hide away when we had visitors over.
I wanted a simple, paired back design, using quality materials, that wasn’t only practical, but beautiful too.
So, after a change of direction for me leaving my previous corporate career, I went on a mission to create it.
Just over 12 months ago our magnetic timber range hit the shelves. It’s been quite the ride, full of more challenges and triumphs than I could ever imagine.
Where does your inspiration come from when designing your products? What's the end to end process of coming up with a design, to having your design ready to sell to customers?
My inspiration comes from my kids. I know that sounds cliché, but watching the way they use the products and testing new ideas on concepts on them is just the most valuable source of inspiration. I figure if we have a need for something as a family, then surely we aren’t alone and others would benefit from it.
The initial process of creating magnetic timber was by far the most challenging one. I knew exactly what I wanted, and had spent months creating my own prototypes and designs however couldn’t find the right manufacturer to achieve the result I wanted. After countless suppliers telling me it wasn’t possible (some even laughing at me!) and failed prototypes, I finally found a factory that could make my vision a reality.
Then it was onto creating all of tiles and icons, which sounds pretty straight forward, but actually takes up so much time in the research phase because we love to test all of our icons on little people. What we see in a picture isn’t always what they see, so it’s back to the drawing board quite often!
Then there is the rigorous safety testing and certification we undergo through an independent laboratory to make sure our products are completely safe for kids. Often we’ve had to rethink things at this stage, and re-size or re-engineer to make sure everything is completely safe for children.
Once we’ve got the tick of approval, we then go into the production phase which takes almost 3 months from end to end. This involves the magnet manufacture, packaging design and production, timber assembly, quality control checking and shipping.
What are Second Scout products made of? The tiles contain magnets - are they safe for little ones?
Our magnetic timber range is made from sustainably sourced rubberwood and magnets.
We are parents too, so safety is absolutely paramount for us. We have designed the range to ensure the magnets are complete concealed.
Our products are laboratory tested to comply with Australian Safety standard AS/NZS ISO 8124, European standard EN71 & USA standard ASTM F963-17 and certified for children 3 + years.
What does a typical day look like for you in your business? Do you have a regular routine, or is every day different?
Every day is completely different, especially as I am running the business solo and wearing all of the hats. Generally a typical day would include replying to customers and retailers, packing and sending out orders, social media content creation, website updates, and then there is always the finance side of things (snore!), business development, and working on new and exciting products.
If you had to choose one of your Second Scout Picture Tile packs, which would be your favourite? And why?
It’s hard to pick just one, as I change my mind all the time depending on what ‘phase’ we are going through at home.
At the moment my eldest is in Grade 1, so the Reminders pack makes our mornings soooo much smoother, by giving her the independence to pack her own bag. It includes tiles to prompt her through reminders such as pack her lunch box, hat etc. What parent doesn’t love nagging less?
What’s next for Second Scout? Any exciting new projects or plans in the pipeline?
So many exciting things!! I just wish there was three of me and a money tree so I could actually make them happen sooner! That’s been one huge adjustment I’ve had since switching from the corporate world into self-funded start up life, it’s a lot harder to get things off the ground when there is a limited budget and only you to make things happen! As the business grows though, I’m looking forward to being able to bring on more resources and direct my energy into new innovations and projects. That’s the dream!