Belinda Long | Bibska
Tell us a bit about YOU and your background:
My name is Belinda, I’m a mum of three and married to a great guy that is very supportive. I’ve always been a mumpreneur and this is my third business venture since having children. I’ve always wanted my work to fit around my kids and have been very lucky to be able to have achieved this over the last 15 years, this however is my first venture into the world of wholesaling so I started out on a big learning curb and what felt like way out of my depth which was uncomfortable to say the least!
What are your tips to achieving the ideal work/life balance?
I wish I had the answer. What works for me one day won’t the next. It’s an ongoing juggle. I like to make sure when I’m with the kids they are made to feel like they have my 100% attention. Then they understand that at other times work has my time and dad can answer any pressing issues they will have (She took my car-He hit me-She threw the sandwich)!
What (or who) has been your inspiration in life?
I’ve always wanted to show my kids they can have anything in life if they work for it. They are my inspiration and the reason I do what I do everyday
What is your favourite book or inspiring quote and why?
I think Dr Seuss quotes fit my life perfectly most days and this one though crazy can fit into my day in any situation and pretty much sums up my everyday goings on.
“When beetles fight these battles in a bottle with their paddles
and the bottle’s on a poodle and the poodle’s eating noodles…
…they call this a muddle puddle tweetle poodle beetle noodle
bottle paddle battle.”
― Dr. Seuss, Fox in Socks
What has been one of your biggest achievements?
The scariest, biggest achievement for me was doing the Kokoda Trek. It made me realize anything can be done if you just do it. No excuses
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I don’t have a lot of spare time so when I do I make the most of it with family and leave the internet and phones behind while camping or bushwalking. Taking the kids to the beach is also high on our list of things to do.
What difference has being in business for yourself made in your life?
It has made a huge difference I have a certain amount of freedom that I don’t have when working for others. I can be with my kids whenever need be. But on the flip side there is a price for that freedom, I don’t have a ‘weekend’ or much down time at all. My life has to be a lot more structured and disciplined as I have to be my own motivator which is hard. I love it though and wouldn’t change anything.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself with more free time being able to move away from certain aspects of the business as I find the right people to take over different roles. Of course I also hope I am heading a well known Australian brand!
Tell us briefly about your business:
Bibska is a brand of dribble bibs I designed to help overcome the problems associated with the teething stage. The top layer has extra material to help trap the spills so it soaks into the bib and not babies clothing. I decided from the start that this business would wholesale to retailers.
What was the inspiration behind the business?
I was living in small town New Zealand with no close shops and a very dribbly baby who had lots of wet shirts and a constant wet chest in the cold weather, I needed a solution. I sat down with different fabrics and about 20 different ideas. One worked and worked well. By the time our next child came along we were still using those same bibs. The bibs often got attention while we were out and about which made me think this may be a great idea to take to the world.
What is your role?
To take rolls of fabric and turn them into a marketable product on the shelf of stores. So pretty much everything is either done by or organized by myself.
What is one challenge you faced during your business journey?
The biggest challenge was overcoming my fear of just believing I was capable of doing this. I was my own worst enemy with a lot of self doubt early on.
What has been your greatest success?
I thought my greatest success was when I saw a Bibska Bib on a baby while out shopping. Biggest thrill ever. I just wanted to run over to the mum and say “your baby is wearing my brand” but I restrained myself for fear of looking like a crazy person and just spent the rest of the day thinking I was the most successful person ever.
What are your top tools/resources for business?
I surround myself with other business owners that I can share my worries and my successes. Find out others tips and ideas while sharing my own. Find a local business group or even start with on-line groups. When you are around others in the same boat you don’t feel so alone and your problems don’t seem so big anymore.
What have you found to be the most effective way to promote your business?
I believe I have reached more people through Facebook than any other advertising medium, it’s the best tool for business and I’m so glad we have it in our lives.
What piece of advice would you offer other business women?
If you admire another business person, tell them! Some days a kind word is all someone needs to turn someone’s day around and you may just make new friends/allies in the process who will pick you up when your down.
What is next for you and your business?
The next step for me is having my own stand at a trade show so I can get out there amongst the buyers and see what is catching their eye.
Any Last Comments?
Research research research before you pour money into any idea. After you’ve researched and planned everything.. just do it we need more small business in Australia taking on the world.