Two of Dubai’s most successful online stores, Babysouk and Bubsboutique have decided to join forces. We sat down with Paula Harrington CEO of Bubsboutique and Miranda Hilton, CEO of Family Souk Ventures to find out why.
So Babysouk and Bubsboutique are joining together – why is this happening?
Paula: For two main reasons – firstly there is a market factor we both considered which is the need for consolidation in our sector. So many online baby businesses have started since BabySouk and Bubs Boutique first came about.
Miranda: Bubs and BabySouk had almost identical strategies and visions in the market and there was a very strong cultural fit. BabySouk had reached a point of being overwhelmed with the rapid growth we were experiencing and we needed more ‘management’ heads to help run and drive the business. Paula and Kirsten needed more support also in a team we already had in place so it just made complete logical sense. We haven’t looked back for a second since we have done it and already it has made a dramatic difference to the business.
Are both names going to remain or will you rebrand under a new name?
Paula: We all feel strongly that the new brand needs to have essences of both stores and we are currently working on what they will look like. We will also have an amazing new website!
What will this mean for Babysouk and Bubsboutique customers?
Paula: Customers are already seeing the benefit of us working together but once we’ve rebranded on a new website it will mean that it will be the complete one stop shop for new parents. Having a much wider selection under one brand name should make life much easier for our customers.
Will the new company still stock the same type of products? Will the same brands and items be available?
Miranda: There are some key staple brands which the site will always stock. For example, for global leader phil&teds and Mountain Buggy we are the only store which stocks the full range of the products in the UAE and we have invested so much in and are now experts on all their products. And there are some brands which the market now associates us with. But we are going to be bringing some new and really great unique brands and products in, once they have gone through our ‘tried and tested’ criteria.
Paula, how do you balance running a successful business with managing busy family lives?
I am exceptional at telling people what to do but not so good at putting things into practice and there are many times when I really don’t get it right and feel ever so guilty when my three year old asks me to stop sending emails! My husband Ben is so very supportive and we really do work as a team, he’s happy to help out when I need it and to be honest I don’t think I could have done it without him.
Miranda, what are your top tips mums with start-up business?
You have to ensure you have the support network and time to do it, as well as time for your home-life. You need to think about how the business is going to work before you start – don’t imagine it as a start up, imagine it as a successful business. And don’t try and be everything – if you are going to be career focused, you won’t be attending coffee mornings, or the class rep who brilliantly coordinates so many things at school. But don’t feel guilty about it – which is easier said than done at times!
Paula, what do you find to be the most challenging part of being a busy working Mum?
There are days when I feel like I am constantly rushing and that I can’t get on top of things. I feel like I am not doing a good job at work or as a mum. There are times when all I want to do is be at work and get on with things and then I feel guilty that I am not at home! When a meeting overruns and I know I need to be at school to do the pickup and I have 5 minutes to complete a 20 minute journey I start to feel sick thinking of the boys being the last to be picked up, etc.
What would your advice be for other mums who might like to start their own business but don’t know where to start?
Paula: You need to do something that you are totally passionate about as there is no way I would have put the hours in and make the sacrifices I have made for a business I didn’t care about. Before you invest in something, you need to figure out all the pros and cons and decide if you and your family are ready for it.
www.bubsboutique.com and www.babysouk.com will be joing forces from October. Keep an eye on their websites for further updates.