1. Explain your business in the time it would take the kettle to boil or drink to be poured
These days everything is digital. That's why the post is a great way to communicate for those special occasions. It’s so much nicer to have something in your hand. But who has time to write a card?
That’s why we built Morse Toad, a deliciously personalized messaging service that allows you to communicate via the medium of chocolate and photography. In a few taps on your device you can write in chocolate, add a photo and note to the card insert, and send to your nearest and dearest. Our boxes will always fit through the letterbox, so no trips to the Post Office.
But why stop at chocolate? Our mission is to take over the card industry, and build the ultimate tangible messaging service. Our products will become as easy to send as any digital communication.
2. Where are you based and why is it a good location for your business?
We are based in Lymington in the New Forest. It is a good location for business because it’s a good location for life. The sea and the New Forest are on our doorstep, and the sun shines more than anywhere else in the UK. As an e-commerce business, our market place is online which affords the luxury of basing ourselves where we have.
3. How did you come up with the idea?
Post-redundancy in 2009, I cycled to Cape Town for the football World Cup. My mum sent me some chocolate as a gesture of support, and perhaps unsurprisingly, it arrived four months later and had seen better days. Despite its state, it brought a tear to my eye, and I realised just how magical it can be to receive something physical in the post.
4. What’s the business model?
We are a direct B2C retailer, selling via our website www.morsetoad.com and some other marketplaces including Not On The High Street and Yumbles. We also sell corporate gifts, wedding favours and are stocked in a few retailers, including Fenwicks.
5. Who are your competitors?
We are an alternative card business, and therefore compete with companies like Biscuiteers, Boomf and Baker Days. However you can customize chocolate with ChocOnChoc, Thorntons and a few other dedicated chocolate companies.
6. What’s unique about your business?
We are foremost a messaging business to replace sending a card. The emphasis is on creating uniquely brilliant ways to communicate via the letterbox when a text or an email just doesn’t cut it. We aim to match our tool with technology so that making a gesture becomes as simple as texting someone.
7. What stage was your business at when you applied for the Start Up Loan?
We had been trading for 6 months.
8. How have you used it to grow your business?
We invested in some machinery, some website upgrades and our awesome photo functionality.
9. Who is your mentor and how have they helped you?
My mentor is Nicola Anderson from GoCardless. She has been fantastic at helping me put together a marketing plan. As a new business, marketing on a budget can seem insurmountable, but with a great plan she has helped me organize our output.
10. Who is your regional delivery partner and how did they help you get a Virgin StartUp loan?
The delivery partner was Enterprise First. They were very useful at helping us get all the necessary components together before putting forward our application.
11. Biggest achievement so far?
We turned over £100k in our first year.
12. What’s next for your business?
We aim to fully realize the opportunities that we have found in the market place with our existing product, and double our turnover. We aim to further modernize how customers can send our products. With the existing product established, we hope to introduce some of our more imaginative ideas.