Toy story

A GOLD Coast ‘mumpreneur’ has launched an online company that has become the largest Australian retail stockist of the German educational toy brand Mobilo.

Melissa Hoekstra created her online baby store business, Milk for Two in 2006, while pregnant with her son. The store sold baby clothing and accessories, custom T-shirts, bedroom furniture and bed linen, as well as popular educational toy range Mobilo. It proved to be a best-seller and alongside her husband and business partner, changed the name of the store to Supercool Toys.

Focussing on the three to 10-year-old market, Hoekstra has built Supercool Toys into the largest retailer of Mobilo in Australia, offering a selection of buckets, packs and accessories. Sales over January and February were up 500 per cent on the corresponding period last year.

“Over the last few months, we have increased our toy range and sourced some quality products, such as Le Van Toy and Automoblox wooden toys. Most of our new products are not found in major department stores,” she says.

The Supercool Toys site has been given an overhaul and a new identity, following the increasing popularity among parents, grandparents, pre-schools and kindergartens for the educational toy range.

“Plasticant Mobilo is a fantastic educational toy for children as it stimulates their imagination, encourages creativity, assists the development of gross and fine motor skills (including balance, grasping, holding, moving and rolling), turn taking, and provides a self-esteem boost upon the completion of a creation,” says Hoekstra.

The Mobilo range is also frequently used to improve the manual skills and psychological development of handicapped children and is sourced by kindergartens and pre-schools worldwide due to its education value, but difficult for parents to source as it is not stocked in department stores.

“Supercool Toys has also created different Mobilo packages to suit all prices ranges which include accessories to further develop creativity, most of these are exclusive to us,” says Hoekstra.

The company has also set up an interactive component to the site that features children who talk about their Mobilo toys and compare models with other kids.

After completing a bachelor of commerce (marketing and management) degree in Sydney in 1992, Hoekstra quickly gained vast experience in sales and management roles, including Hallmark Cards, as the counter manager for Clinique in a David Jones store and a successful career with Westpac in Brisbane.

She worked her way up to become a team leader for the telephone banking department and achieved the No.1 team in Australia award. Following maternity leave after the birth of her second son, Hoekstra returned to Westpac as a branch manager before resigning in 2007.

Since then, the mum on the run has completed many functions for her online store business, including sales, marketing, training and coaching while also working part-time at Mulpha Sanctuary Cove assisting the CEO, working with tenants, looking after finance, administration and marketing.

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