This week, we meet Tamla Verban from Bubakin.
Tell us about your background. What did you do in your past life, before children? Before cloth nappies!
Hi there! My name is Tamla, owner of (aspiring) Bubakin.
A little about me. I’m a teacher by trade, a teacher of the Deaf. I’ve worked with children of all ages for the last 12 years and in my industry for 7. I’m now a full time Mumma to two little boys (one 2.5 years and one 5 months). Both my boys were born at home so I’m pretty passionate about all things natural and cloth was an easy choice for me.
Before children….wow (feels like a while now even though it’s not!). I was posted for my first teaching placement in Mackay where I met my husband as a keen latin dancer. We were put together as a competition couple and never quite got there! We didn’t move in together but moved away together. The gypsy in both of us started to come about with a move to Tasmania, Adelaide and then a final round back to Brisbane.
I’m also a big horse nut. I just parted with my first fur-baby as he was going to waste, but he did all the travel around Australia with us. He’s happy with a new love in Stanthorpe.
I’m passionate about homeschooling my children as my next venture and am hoping that I can grow the business enough in the mean time to safely do this….time will tell!
Tell us about your journey into the cloth nappy industry.
It happened a bit by accident but also deliberately. Essentially the Bubakin Babes nappies, I’ve designed for my sons.
The doorway to manufacturing only opened when I started sourcing some products for the Bubakin Birth Bag (which I still have to vest some more energy into). I honestly spent close to a year and went through four prototypes and three suppliers before it came together. I’ve had a myriad of cloth loving friends who have been my guinea pigs in trialling my products. It’s been a labour of love and I’m committed to improving and refining things as time goes on.
I have used lots of brands over the years but I couldn’t get the right fit (my boys are pot bellied/skinny wasted little tikes. I also wanted a nappy with particular features that made it practical/functional and easy to use. I had a really rough recovery with my first baby (close to 10 months…) and was terribly sleep deprived (which we found it was our iron stores that had gone unchecked for almost 2 years!). So that’s where the design had purpose and a particular combination of features that I wanted. So far we are getting great response.
How has the cloth nappy industry changed since you started your business?
I’ve been small time, and this is just starting to peak from a hobby to something more so I haven’t been able to observe too much. All the doors are opening as I go, so to speak.
What is the hardest thing about running your own business?
I’m a full time carer for an elderly disabled relative, have two small children and run a house and business. I have no family supports so I’m tied up and on call most of the time. It limits me to not being in person for a lot of things. I’m super committed to my family so the juggling act of this is always a challenge.
What’s one thing you know now that you wish you’d known when you started your business?
About not selling myself short. I started out with the birth bags and i’ve priced them with no room to move. It’s easy to drop prices on things but much harder to raise them. Also about the time put into marketing. And how much work it is! That word of mouth is powerful and customer service is paramount.
Who helps you run your business?
My long suffering husband helps with the technical side of things- advertising designs and soon an exclusive print…
What do you do to relax?
Relax? That is a very rare thing indeed. However my biggest joy is being in nature with my family.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Keep my chin up and keep going. I have Cass to thank for words of support. It’s not just me believing in my business but having someone who has trodden the road before also cheering me on!
What’s something you’d like your kids to remember about you?
That I was there for them. The biggest challenge for me and biggest aspiration. They are my world.
Tell us your favourite quote or saying.
The poem Desiderata
A little excerpt:
“Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story ”
Is there anything else you think our readers would love to know about you or your business?
That I’m essentially a Mama just peddling her wares and trying to do something good in life. I hope Bubakin is testament to this and I do hope that the community side of things comes to scale in time.