Mum’s maternity leave snack business makes $1.2 million in first year – Kidspot

by pregnancy journalist

When Tara Low went on maternity leave, she was faced with tough decisions she never expected to have to make.

“Some weeks were so tight financially, I would have to choose between petrol and nappies,” the 33-year-old tells Kidspot.

Tara and husband Dave, who were both nurses at the time, budgeted as much as they could to keep a roof over their heads for their baby boy, Ari.

When her son was just four months, the mum from Wollongong, NSW, returned to working four to five gruelling night shifts each week.

“Ari would go to daycare during the day or be looked after by Dave so I could sleep, so I didn’t see him much then. I love nursing but it’s not family friendly,” she says.

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Tara and her baby boy Ari. Image: Supplied

A clever maternity leave idea was born

Life suddenly took a different direction one day when Tara read online how mums with large families were struggling to feed their kids and needed to buy food in bulk, but didn’t have the means to do so on their own.

So after running a candle-making side-hustle for 12 years, Tara decided to take a big financial risk and use the $5000 she made from selling that business to set up an Australia-wide delivery service for non-perishable snacks.

“I took a huge leap of faith and used $1000 of that to buy my first stock at Costco, $500 from another supplier, then spent $3,500 on a van and then did everything else myself, including the website,” she explains.

Just four weeks later, with a seven-month-old toddler at her heels and a garage full of stock, Tara launched her business, SnackEzy, on February 29 last year, selling items such as Arnott’s Shapes, Tiny Teddies and juice boxes, all just using apps on her phone.

On her first day, she surpassed her wildest expectations, filling 15 orders totalling more than $1,600 solely from promoting her website through word of mouth on Facebook.

“That gave me hope that the business would let me cut down my nursing hours from four to five night shifts to two or three so I could spend more time with Ari,” she says.

Now that’s what we can supplies! Images: Supplied

Tara quit her job in the first week

Little did she know the demand for her service would be so huge that just three days into trading, both she and Dave needed to quit their nursing roles completely just to keep up with orders.

Then just two weeks later on March 17 – as panic buying and lockdowns began at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic – Tara experienced her highest day of sales ever.

“We took $70,000 of orders just in one day,” she says, still shocked.

“It was euphoric but scary and overwhelming at the same time. We were getting so many $600 orders and there were only two of us filling them.”  

With Tara and Dave’s garage overflowing with stock, their modest two-bedroom townhouse was soon bursting at the seams with packaged foods.

“The house was like a maze,” Tara says. “The laundry was full of Milo bars, there would be noodles stacked on the stairs, and the kitchen was covered in boxes. I could barely make a bottle.”

“One day we nearly lost our son. We could not find him anywhere for about 15 minutes. He was behind a big tower of snacks.”  

The frightening incident led Tara and Dave to sign a lease on a warehouse just four weeks into operation.

“It started off as a place to pack orders, now it’s a full-blown shop as well as many people want to come in rather than have it delivered,” the entrepreneurial mum says.

Tara and her hubby can’t believe how successful they’ve become. Image: Supplied

A clever idea making millions

This week the SnackEzy celebrated its first birthday, reaching a whopping turnover of $1.2 million from 5,563 orders.

“Most of the money goes back into the business because we are constantly buying new things to sell,” Tara explains. “We also make a point of helping other local businesses and charities.”

Tara says the key to her success is being able to offer buy-now-and-pay-later options.

“Our business model is based on the fact that a lot of people would love to shop in bulk, but their money only goes so far every payday. One customer who has eight daughters has a $2000 order at the start of each school term and because I offer AfterPay, she has the whole term to pay it off.”

“Another customer buys 12 kilograms of chicken nuggets a week because her 21 year old son has autism spectrum disorder and that’s all he eats. I have real relationships with customers and that means so much to me. We’re a mum and dad team and we look after other mum and dads.”

While business is better than they could have expected, Tara says she now works harder than ever to keep up with its fast pace.

“I’ll work up to 12 hours a day. When I get up, I respond to emails and texts from customers and I’m paying invoices and sorting orders until I go to bed,” she says. “It’s a lot more work than everyone thinks.”

But she wouldn’t trade it for the world, and is grateful every day that she and her husband are able to provide for their 21-month-old little boy while having the flexibility to work around his schedule.

“We drop him off to daycare, go to work and then from 4pm to 7pm, I don’t look at my phone. That’s Ari time. I feel very lucky that I can do that.”

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