My name is Astrid, and I am originally from Sweden. I met my Australian husband on a blind date when I was here for an exchange program during my studies. I have lived in Brisbane for 12 years now. I love it, I love the weather, I love the people, it’s a great place on earth. My business Bubnest is actually a result from living so far away from my family and having to travel with babies to see them.
When did you start your business?
I started Bubnest in 2015 whilst on maternity leave with my second child. I had been working on the product for two years before then.
What was the inspiration behind starting this business?
It was a friend in Sweden that highly recommended a baby nest when I had my first child. I couldn’t find one in Australia so I made one myself. I used it all the time and friends started asking where I got it from. I couldn’t understand how people could survive without a baby nest and asked my mum how she used to do (she had 4 kids born within 5 years) and she said she used to put us on blankets surrounded with pillows. That solution would only work at home, not out and about, and would be much more unsafe which is when I realized that there would be so many mums and dads out there that would benefit from this product.
My first born had an allergy sending us to hospital in ambulance a few times and I started wondering how the exposure to chemicals affected our tiny babies. I wanted a safe chemical free space for him to rest which is why all our nests are made out of organic materials free from toxins and harmful chemicals.
There was clearly a huge gap in the market for a product like this, and I knew I could meaningfully fulfil that void for likeminded parents. Bubnest was born.
What are you most excited about in your business?
To build a platform that will make a difference in people’s lives and the environment. I want to show people that it is possible to do things differently and choose practices that are good for the future of this planet. I want the women in my business to love their work and feel like they are part of building something bigger. I want to educate consumers that what they purchase actually matters and could potentially outlive them and cause all sorts of problems that they had no clue about when they purchased the item.
What has been the most challenging thing about starting your business?
My biggest challenge has been to build a business while still staying true to my values – create the highest quality products with only sustainable environmentally friendly materials. Not only are organic materials more expensive, but it also affects the design as each type of material needs to be cared for individually. This also contributes to a more expensive product. It would have been easier and cheaper to choose man made materials such as polyester but being the cause of thousands and thousands of kilograms of plastic that will end up in land fill is just not an option for me. I don’t think the environmental cost is being recognised enough today, the cost of having to dispose a product and the damage it will make to waterways, atmosphere, animals and people should be taken into account when designing products. Unfortunately this is a cost that community will have to bear, and not the supplier of the product.
What advice would you give to other women thinking about starting a business?
Start now, not tomorrow! And do THREE small things every day that will take you closer to your dreams of starting a business. It can be small tasks such as contacting a supplier, designing a product, order a sample, register a domain, design the logo, chat to another entrepreneur. It’s the everyday grit that will eventually take you there. Even if you are not certain that the business idea you currently have will be the one, go ahead anyways as you will learn from everything you do and you will be able move even faster with your next idea. And stay true to you values in everything you do!
Why did you enter the AusMumpreneur Awards?
Winning awards is beneficial to your business as it adds credibility so I was keen to see whether my business would make the cut which is why I applied, and I am so happy I did.
What did you enjoy the most about being part of the awards?
To chat with the judges was one of the highlights. It can be lonely to run a business. Most people around you, like family and friends are naturally not as passionate about your business as you are. It was amazing to be able to chat to someone that had experience in the area and was interested. It was empowering to get their feedback on what they liked most about my business.
What surprised you most about the awards?
How friendly and supportive everyone was – from organisers, to other contestants, to the judges. It was a fun process to be part of, and I am just sad that I couldn’t make it to the Awards Night!
How did the awards help you in your business?
An award helps you in various ways. It’s really helpful to go through all questions as that will give you a good overview of your business and also remind you why you started it in the first place. Being recognised as a finalist and winner is a real testament to you and your business. I think it increases you credibility as you have been scrutinised and questioned by judges with experience in the category, and they have chosen you to be the best in your area!
What advice would you give to other mums thinking about entering the awards?
Do it! You learn so much about yourself and your ‘Why’. You get to take some time out to just focus on your business, it’s like a little strategy session with yourself. Plus you get to meet other amazing businesses and judges who are business owners just like yourself.
What has been the best thing about starting your own business?
Realising what a massive impact you as a business owner have on people and the world around you. This is truly empowering and also a bit scary as I think every business owner needs to take this responsibility seriously. Your decisions on how you choose to run your business will impact the lives of many, many people. For a product based business like myself for example, my choices will impact the workers along the value chain, from the farmers to the seamstresses here in Brisbane and will eventually impact the families where my products end up. It will also have an impact on the environment and the lives of future generations, so for me every decision along the way is so much bigger than just looking at the cost right here and now, we also need to consider the hidden costs.
What’s happening next in your business?
We are working on some new exciting products that don’t exist as all-organic versions on the market yet.
What are your big plans for the future?
To become the healthiest baby brand in the world. We want to design and produce the healthiest possible products for babies and the environment and educate people how your choices today will impact the health of people and the world tomorrow. A very big dream of mine is to one day be able create a Bubnest incubator program where we would invest in and support other women who would like to follow their dreams and start a business that will make an impact in people’s lives and to the environment!!
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