We sat down with Megan Pollock, founder of Second Scout, designer of high-quality tactile picture helpers that make life easier for families.

Second Scout is also the winner of Life Instyle's New Breed Scholarship. for Sydney 2022. 


Tell us a bit about the story behind Second Scout. 

Second Scout launched in mid 2020, and was a big change of direction for me after leaving my previous corporate career. I was on maternity leave with my second daughter, and unsure what to do next, I decided last minute to settle that nagging entrepreneur voice (that had been on my shoulder since I can remember!) by joining an online course and slowly learning how to build a business.

Well, the slowly part didn’t really happen. The fire in my belly was well and truly alight, and I went from idea to launch of my first concept in 14 weeks!

After almost a year of testing the initial concept in market, research, talking to customers and getting valuable feedback, I was able to refine my products, and launch the new magnetic timber range four months ago to the wholesale market. It’s been a wild ride!

 

What is your inspiration and brand mission? 

My inspiration was my eldest daughter. We faced the same challenges all parents do with everyday tasks. Getting her 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 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.

Our brand mission is simple – we are obsessed with making life easier for families!

 

What sets Second Scout apart from other children's educational brands? 

Our products are magnetic timber. To the eye, they look like a solid piece of timber, however inside they have concealed magnets.

The whole range is compatible across the different timber stands and boards, and can also be used on your magnetic surfaces at home like a fridge or whiteboard. They are laboratory tested and safety certified too, giving parents (just like me!) peace of mind.

 

Our brand mission is simple - we are obsessed with making life easier for families.

 

What is your favourite picture helper pack 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 Prep, 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.

There are over 150 tile designs across the whole the range, so it really can grow and adapt to your family’s needs throughout so many different ages and stages.

 

What were the first step you took to launch? And what would you say was the scariest part/your biggest fear?

The first thing I did was join a Lady Start Up course. I didn’t have experience in starting a business, so this course was fundamental in hand holding me through all of the initial steps of creating a brand and a business.

There have been so many scary and uncompfortable moments over the past year…and I still have them ALL of the time. The common theme for me is that the first time is always the scariest…

The first time I hit ‘publish’ on my website, the first time I did an Instagram post to my 30 followers (ha!), the first time my prototype arrived (and was a dud!), the first time I paid a huge manufacturing bill…even answering this questionnaire!

Once you’ve done it once, you get a little nudge of confidence to assure you that you can do it again.

 

What do your customers love about your products? 

The overwhelming feedback I get from customers is how much the products do actually help them day to day, and how Second Scout becomes a part of their family life they can’t live without.

I particularly love how much support we’ve been able to give neurodiverse families. We have specific tile packs to suit all kinds of needs from music therapy to medication reminders, occupational therapy, respite care and psychology.

Our customers also love the quality, and the intentional, paired back design.

 

I feel like Second Scout is a great fit with Life Instyle as our products talk to the curated nature of the non-traditional trade show model. We are bringing in something unique, that has a purposeful design, quality execution, and is new to the market.

 

What path led you to apply for the New Breed Scholarship and what is it about Life Instyle that makes it a great fit for you?

It was another small business owner who told me about the Scholarship, and in turn I encouraged some other small businesses to also apply (that’s one of my favourite parts of small business – the people you meet who become your community & cheer squad!)

I feel like Second Scout is a great fit with Life Instyle as our products talk to the curated nature of the non-traditional trade show model. We are bringing in something unique, that has a purposeful design, quality execution, and is new to the market.

 

Can you share one of your proudest moments in business so far? 

It probably sounds cliché, but it’s this very moment right now of winning the Life Instyle New Breed Scholarship. To be acknowledged amongst this calibre of other businesses is a total pinch myself moment.

 

What is the best piece of business advice you have been given? 

Trust your gut. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it (this applies to all aspects of life!). Don’t get distracted by what’s happening in the other lane.

Remember why you started.

 

What has your experience with Life Instyle been life so far? And what are you most looking forward to at your first trade show? 

It’s been like a big group hug from the Life Instyle team! Every single person who has reached out to me has been so warm, welcoming and has genuine excitement for me. It’s also a very well-oiled machine, with faultless coordination, communication and implementation.

What I’m most looking forward to is the face-to-face and meeting real life humans! I know that sounds a little crazy, but I work solo from my dining table at home, so human interaction on a huge scale like this is going to blow me away!

 

Who are some of the other brands at Life Instyle who you love/admire? 

I am in awe of last years winners of the New Breed Scholarship, Little Potion Co. What they have created is truly magical, and their growth since launching only a short time ago is inspiring. I also love the range of timeless kids pieces from And The Little Dog Laughed for my girls (Harvey Rabbit is my personal fave!)

And for me, Emma Kate Co. Her story, her passion, her creativity and the detail that oozes through every touch point of her brand…it’s mesmerising.

Quick Fire Questions 

Q. Where do you see Second Scout in 5 years' time? 

I’d love to have a warehouse (the spare room is not really proving fit for purpose!), to be distributing internationally and have expanded the range with loads more products that I have bubbling away in my head that will make life easier for families.

Q. What is your next dream travel destination? 

Crossing a border is a pretty exciting reality based on the current state of things, however somewhere tropical is definitely on the wish list – sun, sand, cocktails. Bring it on!

Q. Tell us a fact about yourself that will surprise our readers!

I’ve got a pretty good strike rate of guessing the inside colour of Pascall Clinker lollies. I think my record is 7 or 8 correct guesses in a row (I might bring some to the stand and we can have a Clinker-off!)

 

Meet Second Scout at Life Instyle Sydney 2022, 19-22 February