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This blog turned out a little different to my plan. I thought it would be a synopsis of the Bubbles’ history and what led us to where we’re going now, but in the process of writing it—I realised there was SO much more to it—and I began sharing to explain where we are going, we must first look back on
Before you begin a journey of change—it’s awesome practice to first look at where you have been—to reflect on what you loved and what pissed you off, what helped you grow, and what made you feel stuck and restricted. SO much can be learned by observing these things and more importantly: how they made you FEEL.
We are changing. Both Mel and me personally and Bubbles too.
And it’s REALLY exciting, but it didn’t feel that way at first.
That in itself is a phase of change. The phase where you haven’t quite realised that something must change and you’re clinging onto what you have, like your life depends on it—anyone been there? Epiphanies like this can take a really long time to percolate because a myriad of things culminate to build the impetus of change. Initially, it can feel scary, icky, confronting. And it can disguise itself as mistakes, confusion and lack of direction when all along it was simply a little nudge from Miss Universe herself helping us discover that exciting ‘something new’, buried under the cosiness of sameness.
So, come with us, as we reflect on how we got here, and the undercurrent of emotions that drove the decisions of the Bubbles brand to date.
My first adventure as a skincare company was making customised products for small home beauty clinic’s clients back in 2007. I made a few base products—different lotions and potions, and added customised oils and extracts for each client’s needs, both emotional and physical levels.
Two years later, I launched the first retail range. You see I couldn’t sell the customised products to non-clients as I didn’t hold the right insurance for that. So, when clients, friends, and family began asking to buy the products I used on them, I was compelled to get that pesky insurance and create a product range I could sell to anyone. This meant customised products pretty much stopped because I was invested in selling my new range because of the energy and money I invested in creating it. Everyone transitioned across without ease.
Then in 2011 I was eager to grow my small business I had unknowingly, and organically started into something bigger so my sister Mel joined and offered home demonstrations (now called workshops) with a small but amazing team of consultants (now fondly coined as ‘Skinologists’) and we showed groups of mostly women how to use our products alongside some simple skin care basics. These were an absolute HIT and I’m heartened that 70% of these clients are still Bubbles lovers.
In 2012, we started selling our range to beauty salons and boutique retailers around the country. We worked alongside the salons to create a professional range and for some we customised white-label products that they could label as their own. Oh, the excitement of whipping up new formulations…I would work into the wee hours of the morning getting them just right. This stage really got the creative juices and ions flowing; positively joyFULL times to be in business.
We also kicked massive arse in winning a tender contract with Queensland Rail that year to supply onboard shower packs for their long-distance patrons. Yep, our small business took on the big guys and won. We were grateful to learn that even government bodies prefer to work with real people when they can. This contract enabled Mel to be an official employee, which was so exciting. Having an employee made it all feel so real and even better that it was my sister!
We now had MANY different revenue streams and groups of people we wanted to encourage and inspire and things began to get really busy. Such a strange word busy. I vividly remember thinking that equated to being successful—if I was busy, I must be doing an amazing job right?! Hmmmm not so much. When busy you don’t remember to reflect and ensure you’re actually still getting your needs met, which can be a very slippery slope.
In 2013, we were inspired to introduce more client education and to promote our message that ‘Great Skin Begins Within’, so we created the 5 Elements of Great Skin, which are:
- Move Your Body,
- Protect Your Skin,
- Fuel Your Body,
- Nourish Your Soul, and
- Feed Your Mind.
We wrote, coordinated and filmed 52 short educational videos released weekly on Facebook over a year to launch this new exciting part of Bubbles. Yes—we added ANOTHER area to our already ‘busy’ business.
Quick sideline fact in case some of you don’t know—we are also Mums and wives/partners. So, after ALL of this we need to do all those things that great Mumma’s do and even when that’s your favourite part of the day (ok sometimes work is our favourite, but we’re human and that’s ok) and you’re super dooper tired you can’t really be as present as you want to be.
Here’s the ‘thing’.
Every time we tried to cull something—we just couldn’t. Because the truth is that we genuinely love every part of Bubbles and mostly we love our people. For example, when we would consider deleting the Professional Range we would think of Gemma and Sarah who own salons who have been with us since day one and the thought of them not being a part of our little family always convinced us to find a way to make it all work.
Needless to say, things become more busy. And our creativity became collateral damage as our priority was delivering the Bubbles love and to ensure our many customers, salons, and stockists were loving their Bubbles experience. Plus, like all small business owners we were doing EVERYTHING and it was a looooooong list. By late 2013 I felt for the first time, since starting the business, a bit like I was living in Groundhog Day and I wanted to try something new.
With Mel’s support—I started to explore a few other things outside of Bubbles and while I checked in regularly—Mel pretty much ran the show.
In short, I learned how to mediate and for the first time in my life I LOVED it. I became a Yoga teacher. I wrote and taught a coaching program called ‘Be the Change’ and I ran retreats full of delicious activities and information on things like the Law of Attraction, the power of our Chakra’s, Yoga and breath work, grounding and meditation, and the art of being present. I found a peace that I’ve never felt before. The kind that comes from within and holds you steady regardless of what is going on around you.
Fast forward to 2016 and Mel now VERY deservingly became my official business partner and made it the perfect opportunity to rebrand the range so it represented the new evolved and galvanised face and feel of Bubbles—fresher, funkier and fabulous. It was a lengthy drawn-out process and cost wayyyyyyyy more than we first anticipated, but a bloody brilliant idea all the same.
So that brings us to the start of 2017. Mel sent her youngest off to Prep and revving to jump in and really turn up the volume ready to share with the world what Bubbles brand was all about. Meanwhile, I was now pregnant with a another gift for the world and due to have my third baby in June and I was to the opposite to Mel’s revved mode: I wanted to get in the slow lane and enjoy my new baby while supporting Mel in the pitstop so to speak.
The best part about being sisters is we ALWAYS ALWAYS put that first, so Mel was 100% behind me stopping any ‘active’ work when Lucy was born, and I was given my favourite job —bookkeeping and admin—oh yay! For a right-brained creator like me crunching numbers felt a bit like torture but once again—sneaky little Miss Universe had a plan.
Boy…did 2017 come out swinging. Here’s the long and the short of it:
- We made mistakes that impacted cashflow.
- We had to completely redo all our bookkeeping after we discovered it was only being half done and was nothing short of a HOT mess.
- We decided to build an educational website for our new online programs in the works. We rebuilt our website and then realised we didn’t need the other educational website anymore.
- Mel had her first freelancer experience getting our photos ready for the new website and suspect we were dealing with a 12-year-old boy and not the gorgeous blonde 20-something her profile suggested because oh my lord…but we got there in the end.
On a personal level, Mel was working ridiculous hours—some out of necessity and some because she loves making things beautiful and learned how easy it can be to get distracted by programs like Canva and of course Instagram. Oh so tempting… She was tired and she was feeling a bit over doing the do.
I was learning how to slow down and enjoy having a baby again while grieving all my rituals I’d grown to love so much, like my hour-long morning meditation and my Yoga. I was tired as all new mums are, and I was still trying to work out how to integrate everything into my life.
Basically, 2017 felt long, grindy, challenging, and just plain hard. Again, we were back to being consumed with handling all the ‘stuff’ that goes with having a business and feeling creatively bankrupt.
Enter 2018 and everything that had been building for what seems like years came to a big WTF point and we were finally getting some long overdue clarity on where we were heading.
Mel and I had changed. And now Bubbles must change too.
Tune in next week to find out “Where we are now….”