Welcome to FJ's special feature on local women-owned businesses! We are thrilled to have joined hands with some inspirational brands and we are so excited to share their stories with you.
- What is the name of your business and how long has it been around?
Ubuntu Baba, we launched in Feb 2015.
- How did the idea for your business come about?
The idea to start Ubuntu Baba came from being a frustrated first time Mom who had no idea what she was doing. All I knew was that my baby needed me 24/7, and the only way to make that work for both of us was to have him on my body. After purchasing 6 different baby carriers and struggling in one way or another with all of them, I could see that I wasn’t going to find what I was looking for. So I set out to make my own. My goal was to create an easy to use, breathable and comfortable carrier that could be used from the newborn days onwards. After many different prototypes and assuring my design team time and time again that; “okay, I swear this is the one!” – I finally managed to design my dream baby carrier.
- Can you provide us with a description of your business?
Ubuntu Baba is an online business selling organic hemp baby carriers. Our products are 100% South African manufactured from our factory based in Retreat, Cape Town.
- Who is the person(s) behind your business and what is your background (ie education, work experience, life experience)?
That would be me and my Dad. My Dad has been in the backpack manufacturing trade his whole life and he is an incredible product designer. I come from a web design and marketing background, and then the experience of becoming a Mother and going ‘what the f**k just happened to me?’, discovering babywearing and then going… ‘why the f**k was I not handed one of these baby carrying devices on my way out of the hospital?!’ So we put those 2 together and Ubuntu Baba was born ;)
- Do you have a team behind the scenes or are you a one woman show? If you have a team, please share a little with us about them?
I started out as a one woman show, with my Dad being my extremely talented partner in design, but have now grown to a little team of 12. We have the factory side of the business, where we manufacture our products and then the online side of the business where we manage everything that comes with being a primarily online shop. We have such a committed team and I feel very supported by them, it still blows my mind that this is where we are and that people know of our brand, it makes me smile and get all the feels, but also freaks me out a little!
- How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life? How do you balance work and family?
It’s all one for me. My work is my life and my family is my life. I do what I need to do to get alone time where I need it, in order to do things that are impossible to do with my little guy around, but I also get a lot done when he is around. He knows everything about my business and what we do, he’s hung out at the factory many times before and I think it’s awesome for him to be able to see how business operates from a young age.
- What motivates you?
Authentic people and their stories. I love listening to podcasts with interesting people. Reading books about behavioural science and human nature!
- How do you define success?
Success feels really masculine. I feel like it’s a word that has been so overused – when I hear success I just see big house, sports car etc – because of the way society has defined what “successful” looks like. Success for me looks like just feeling happy in my day to day life. Feeling gratitude for where I’m at in my journey and knowing that everything is always flowing and I can choose to be a part of that flow in any moment. If I can get that right consistently, then that for me is success. I mean I’m not against the big house and sports car either, but that would just be a bonus ;)
- What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
My most satisfying moments are almost every day, when I logon to Instagram and see the stories shared by all the new parents using our products. I love viewing our Instagram account as a visitor and just seeing all the babies being cuddled close and the parents getting out into the world and doing their thing.
- What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
The freedom to do what I want when I want and style every aspect of my life the way I want it, and that that is an ever changing journey.
- What are your future aspirations for this business?
To stay in integrity in everything we do in business, to continue to find ways to do things better and keep sharing the babywearing love with parents across the globe.
- If you had a magic wand, which are the three things you would change in the world?
Okay so besides the obvious of eradicating world hunger, poverty, disease, etc:
- I would change the way adults in general speak to children. I would make adults understand that they do not own children and if they wouldn’t say it to an adult, then they shouldn’t say it to a child.
- I would make parents understand that by ‘smacking’ children they are physically abusing another human being and that ‘they didn’t turn out fine’ if they think it’s fine to physically inflict pain on another human, no matter what degree of pain they are causing.
- I would make the trading, growing, selling, cultivating, smoking, medicinal use, recreational use and whatever else is possible to do with cannabis legal all over the world. This would make my life a lot easier because we could grow cannabis for the production of hemp fabric legally in South Africa and we wouldn’t have to import our fabric from China, besides the fact that legalizing this plant would provide hundreds if not thousands of jobs across an already booming industry in many other countries in the world. And I’m telling you if Moms substituted the amount of wine they consumed for a puff of a joint, we’d all be a lot less anxious too!