Being a mum is a full time job on its own, which can make it difficult for mum’s to start their own business.
Grainne Kelly is the Founder & CEO of BubbleBum, the world’s first inflatable and deflatable, portable and packable car booster seat for kids aged 4-11 years old. Grainne is a force of nature, a woman who doesn’t see no as an answer and is in a hurry to disrupt the traditional child car seat industry.
In a few short years Grainne’s Northern Irish based company is selling in 26 countries worldwide and featured on Dragon’s Den, Ireland. So let’s see how it all began for this innovative super-mum of two…
How did you come up with the idea for BubbleBum?
I was travelling with my two kids back and forth to England to visit my mother-in-law who was very poorly at the time and every time I arrived at the car rental desk they didn’t have the car booster seats, even though I had pre-booked them. I got into a real strop and asked loads of questions as to why they didn’t have them, to be told simply that they didn’t have the space. After speaking with friends, I found that this is actually a very common problem faced by parents so I decided that there was a need for an inflatable and portable solution that was lightweight and easy to fit into hand luggage.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced?
To enter the US market we were faced with many legislative challenges which were almost impossible to navigate. To get a resolve, I moved my family to the US, including the dog, for a year where we were totally submersed in the culture and I was closer to the crash test labs. Without having done that I know we could not have launched the product there without investing millions of dollars.
What is the best lesson learnt?
The best lesson learnt is very difficult to specify as I am learning every day. I think understanding what I need to change about me is definitely one of the best lessons. I have developed so much as a person as a result of the business. For example, from a business perspective I had not been delegating effectively and, as a result, lots of tasks were being abandoned or team members were feeling nervous about the task at hand. I learned how to lead the team more effectively. From a personal perspective, I have learned to switch off my work brain when I am with my kids and leave my phone out of sight.
What motivates you?
I set personal goals rather than financial goals. I am passionate about what I do as it is fuelled by passion for my kids. I always have to have a non-financial goal. For example, our goal is to see EVERY child on a booster seat on EVERY journey. While this is not financial, it is our company vision and will undoubtedly generate the revenue required to build the business.
What would you be doing if you weren’t the CEO of BubbleBum?
I would be niggling at someone else about making a difference in the world! I would find it really difficult to do nothing as I cannot bear having an idle mind. I always wanted to be a nurse, but I couldn’t watch anyone in pain neither can I stand the sight of blood.
Do you have any advice for mums thinking about starting their own business?
What is my ultimate goal?
Do I have the stamina for this? (It is going to be 1,000 times harder than you thought)
Do I have the financial back up? It is unlikely that you will make money for at least the first year or two.
Who can I find to mentor me? Find people who are successful at what they do already.
Set yourself a target and go for it.
To find out more about BubbleBum visit: www.bubblebum.co/booster-seat and like/follow on Facebook and Twitter. BubbleBum is available at: Halfords, Heatons, John Lewis, Boots, Tesco and Amazon.co.uk RRP £29.99.