A favourite with both exhibitors and retailers, Liora has taken Toodles Noodles from market days to a Trans-Tasman business.
SH+O: What is the quick pitch that defines your business?

TOODLES NOODLES: Toodles Noodles is a proud Kiwi brand that started with colourful, cheeky stationery and now also offers a wide range of gifts and homewares. Our much-loved products are designed by me and inspire joy in homes across the world.

SH+O: Where do you find inspiration?

TOODLES NOODLES: This may sound cheesy but really everywhere! It can be from reading a book, going for a walk, overhearing a conversation at the gym. Our products aim to be practical and functional without compromising design so talking to our customers and buyers on a regular basis really helps coming up with new sayings, products and designs.
SH+O: What was your biggest challenge when starting your business and how did you overcome it?

TOODLES NOODLES: With a graphic design background and never taking a business course in my life, I'd say the biggest challenge is learning to take a hobby into a real international wholesale business. We've been operating for just 5 years and went from a few stores in Wellington to over 100 stores around NZ and Australia with a few in the US, Hong Kong and Dubai. Every week I learn something new either about production, manufacturing, accounting, but absolutely love seeing how the business has been growing and that the demand for our products is continuously growing. I still get a 'pinch me' moment when I see any products out in the 'wild' be it a store or someone on the street walking with our tote bag in hand!

SH+O: What was your best business moment?

TOODLES NOODLES: It was back a few years ago when stuff.co.nz posted one of our tote bags on their top 5 Christmas buys for that year. Within minutes we had sold over 100 totes. Toodles was still a baby (only 1 year in) and at the time I was still working as a full-time graphic designer and on secondment out of town. Confused by all the influx in sales a friend of mine tweeted the link and I couldn't believe my eyes. Here we were with four other big named brands as a top Christmas gift! I urgently rung my screen printer with the exciting news then asked her how quickly we could print up more totes than we ever had before. That was the first real sign that the brand was more than just a hobby and could become my full-time job someday (which happened just a few months later).

SH+O: Where do you see the future of retail heading?

TOODLES NOODLES: We've only been in retail a short time but have already seen a few waves. I would like to think that the pull for buying local and well designed products is coming back into fashion. People really love hearing the story behind a product or design, getting to know the designer, making a real connection with a piece. It goes with the philosophy of buying better not more.