SHHQ Trading Pty Ltd
Name: Elena Osipova
Position: Co-founder, Director
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
During the school holidays, kids and their parents or carers are meant to have a great time. Parents want their kids to be safe, have fun and learn new skills.
Unfortunately, the school holidays are a stressful time for many working parents in Australia. This is because they don’t have enough annual leave to cover the 12 weeks of school holidays.
Most working parents are struggling to juggle their daily routines and jobs and to entertain their kids during school holidays. To find exciting kids’ activities, parents and carers have to spend many hours browsing the internet and jumping from one website to another in hopes of finding something suitable for their children.
That’s why together with my business partner and my team of like-minded people, we decided to create a platform for families with kids of all ages, abilities and backgrounds, where any parent or carer can easily find fun activities suitable for their children, for any occasion, bringing a happy smile to their kids’ faces.
We aim to provide kids with more experiences and opportunities to have a more enjoyable and eventful childhood while helping parents budget and schedule better.
Schoolholidays.com.au is also a unique and flexible marketing tool for business owners who provide services for families with kids. This means that this tool can also help businesses promote their services and offer incentives to their customers, which, in turn, can boost sales and customer loyalty and help their businesses thrive.
What products/services do you offer?
Currently, there are 1600+ family activities in Australia and New Zealand available for booking worldwide, including free experiences. Also, business owners can use schoolholidays.com.au as an effective marketing tool to promote their services to families with children targeting this audience more effectively.
Why did you start your business and how long have you been running it?
Started in 2018 from concept development, schoolholidays.com.au was launched into the market in December 2019. Currently, any service provider can advertise their services on the platform, and families can buy tickets to many of Australia’s exciting venues.
What has been your greatest accomplishment?
My greatest accomplishment so far is raising my daughter and moving to Australia. Also, it’s a great accomplishment for me that I decided to start a new business here in Australia – schoolholidays.com.au – that has been successfully launched into the market in December 2019.
What has been your biggest ‘fail’ so far?
I believe that any failure is an excellent opportunity to learn. First, you find out about a problem; then you resolve it drawing conclusions and learning from it. I would avoid the word ‘failure’ and replace it with ‘challenge’. When you run a business or start a project, there are always challenges, so you need to be flexible to adapt and be able to change your strategy, have an ability to find out quickly what is not working and in which direction you should move next.
What do you love most about your business?
I’m passionate about technologies, and I adore kids. I love that I’m able to contribute to society by promoting family values as well as building a socially responsible business. If schoolholidays.com.au can achieve its aims, if we can provide kids with more experiences and opportunities to have a happier and more memorable childhood and if we can help parents budget and schedule better during the school holidays, I will be proud of my work. That is why I enjoy any work that will contribute to the overall aims of schoolholidays.com.au.
What do you find most challenging?
Since schoolholidays.com.au is a two-sided marketplace, it addresses both B2B and B2C segments. This is challenging but extremely interesting. It can be quite difficult to find people with the necessary skills and expertise in Marketing and Digital Marketing to make everything work and work within the budget. It is also challenging to find business partners whom you can trust and build a successful business together.
How do you promote your business (please include as many details as you can)?
Since schoolholidays.com.au is a startup, we use social media channels to build brand awareness and also publish articles in our blog to drive organic traffic to our website. We found that cross-promotions work well in the family market, so we are going to continue using this strategy in the future. Our research has shown that families and kids like competitions and giveaways, so we are going to use them on our platform as well. We have not been using any paid advertising by date but will be looking into channels like Google Ads, Instagram and Facebook paid ads in detail later this year.
What business skills do you have (eg. graphic design, customer service)?
I used to be a Financial Executive in Russia for ten years, helping build a private company from scratch and employing 50 people in several branches. When I moved to Australia, I got a Master’s degree in Professional Accounting and I am currently working towards the CPA status to be able to provide the necessary expertise to my business and scale up my new project. Aside from that, I have skills and experience in business development, accounting and bookkeeping, digital marketing, search engine optimisation and writing, including content and specialised report writing.
What software did you/your designer use to create your website (eg. WordPress, Wix)?
Schoolholidays.com.au is an e-commerce website which we have been developing using the latest trends and frameworks in web development. It’s a complex project which incorporates multiple microservices in it. For its frontend, we used Vue.js and Nuxt.js. For its backend side, we used Node.js. For designs, we use either Sketch or Figma.
What are some of your favourite business tools and apps?
I love data and technology, that’s why my favourite business tools are: Power BI and MS Excel, Xero accounting software, Jira and Notion.
What do you like about your website and what’s not working for you?
Since we have been developing our platform on-site, everything is done considering our internal requirements. That’s why I like our website’s design and its functionality. Since the launch, we have seen that families with children love promotional offers, so we will continue to work towards the delivery of new exclusive offerings at schoolholidays.com.au. Also, there are lots of things to be done in terms of SEO to improve our performance in SERP results. In addition, we are going to deliver new features for our users as well as work on various partnerships with other like-minded businesses, providing more great value to families with kids.
What lessons have you learnt during your time as an entrepreneur?
I know that I should keep learning every day to expand my horizons. As everything is changing so quickly, I should know how to adapt to new circumstances. Also, I should always pay my suppliers and employees on time.
What key tips for success in business would you like to share with others?
Keep learning, set clear goals and be confident that you’ll be able to achieve them. Value your employees immensely as they are your backup and support. It’s also essential to work with professionals with enough experience to be confident in their role and avoid working with amateurs as this can save your money and time. Automate as much as possible in your operational processes, as this brings efficiency and saves you money in the long run. Be open to new opportunities and don’t refuse other opinions or criticism as it’s better to consider them to make the right choice.
What is the one thing that you want everyone to take away from this post?
Dream big as this helps set your goals. Read business and self-development books to expand your knowledge. Be open for every opportunity as this can give you a chance to achieve something big. Welcome any challenges as you can learn from them. And good luck with all your endeavours!