At 19, most of us are concentrating on passing our first year of varsity or enjoying a gap year travelling to exotic places around the world. For Ashley Maidman, this was not the case! During her first year out of school, Ashley was working on bringing her business, Bubbadue, to life. We caught up with her to find out more about the inspiration behind her business, how she went about developing Bubbadue and what it’s like being a local business owner in Ballito.
To fill you in, Bubbadue is an online store where you are able to shop for gorgeous gifts for newborn babies. There are a variety of beautiful baby items to choose from, all packaged in a special box perfect for gift-giving. Even though she’s not a mom herself, Ashley was inspired to start Bubbadue when she was only 18 for several reasons. Firstly, she had now finished school and she wanted to find a way to earn a living. Secondly, two of her cousins were pregnant and there was a lot of excitement and anticipation for the two new members of her family to arrive. Thirdly, Ashley loves giving gifts – it just makes her happy! And finally, she loves babies! Combine these reasons together and you get Bubbadue. The name speaks for itself, as her gifts are for moms who have babies that are due!
Ashley moved to Ballito from La Lucia when she was nine years old. She matriculated from Crawford North Coast in 2018, where she learnt to believe in herself and that it was okay to be her own person and have her own ideas. One night, she began thinking about all of the talented local people in Ballito, like the man who sits at The Circle with his lovely beadwork and the man down at Salties Beach who has a gallery going with some really striking paintings. It was then that Ashley had the idea of having one business that could sell the products of local entrepreneurs. After watching her cousins look at all the lovely things for their new babies, Ashley had the idea of trying to source products from local entrepreneurs to put together a collection of items that people could look for on one site; gifts for newborn babies that are lovingly made by small businesses trying to make a living. Ashley wanted the receiver of a Bubbadue gift to feel special and loved, and for them to feel that the birth of their baby is celebrated not only by them, but by friends and family too! Ashley has been crazy about babies since she was little and after the birth of her cousins’ babies, she gained some insight into what moms and babies would need.
Bringing her business idea to life was trickier than Ashley thought. When she was little, her Dad had taken out an education policy for her and her brother, and as she was not going to go to university to study (she had no idea what she wanted to study or do yet), her Dad let her use some of the money to develop Bubbadue. For a while, she felt like she was going around in circles. “My Dad, being the wise man that he is, has always encouraged me to ask questions.” So ask she did! Ashley had to learn the basics, regarding business plans, banking, cash flow, accounting programs and how printing companies work, as well as learning about photography, websites, social media, payment portals and setting up courier services. Her brother, Christian, has been a huge help with all things business and finance and Ashley’s cousin, Jessica Turner, and Candice Greig helped create the gorgeous website that we can see today, as well as helping out with the social media side of the business. Robyn Hunt was so patient with Ashley and helped to create the crisp, clean and attractive brand as we know it! Ashley couldn’t have done it without the help of her family and the local businesses around her.
Upon visiting the website, you will notice that there is a selection of gift boxes that are already set up, as well as the option to create your own gift box. The boxes that are already filled up are all named after Ashley’s cousins, their babies and her gran, Ruth (the cutest gran ever!). “I love seeing their names on the website – it really feels like they are with me on my journey,” says Ashley. If you would like to create your own box, you can choose from a range of gorgeous baby items, all sourced from local suppliers, including clothing, shoes, toys, blankets and accessories. “Hopefully, as my little business grows, I will be able to increase the number of suppliers that I can support, and so increase my range of products.” If you don’t want a box, you also have the option of ordering single items.
Ashley has received a lot of support from the local community in Ballito so far, and her entrepreneurial spirit is inspiring to both young and old. We look forward to seeing Bubbadue and Ashley thrive!