I first came across Dorae and Bubiroo through the Eastern Cape Bloggers Meetup run by Eleanor Douglas and Luchae Williams.
A sample of product was included in our goodie bag. I loved the brand and the idea behind it, and that the products are hand-made in small batches in Port Elizabeth by a Naturopath who is a mom and started out making products for herself and her daughter to use.
I recommend Bubiroo products to anyone I talk to about chemical-free eco-friendly body products. I also buy a hamper of products for friends who are new and expectant moms.
So when I started this website and blog, I had to reach out to Dorae to ask her to send me information.
Q: What was your motivation to start this business?
A: My motivation was twofold … while there are many lovely natural baby ranges available, when my own little one came along, I just couldn’t seem to find well-priced products that I was 100% happy with. I wanted more … I wanted all-natural, chemical-free, gentle yet effective baby products with purpose, that smell amazing and that are as reasonably priced as possible. So, the first motivation was to make products for my own baby using my knowledge as a Naturopath & Homeopath.
Then unforeseen circumstances led to her needing me 24/7 for a number of months which, of course, is not conducive to holding down an 8-5. I was in what felt like an impossible situation. There was never a doubt in my mind that she comes first, so I quit my job. I needed to create an income though, and realised that sharing what I’d created for her was an option. I couldn’t be the only mama that hadn’t found quite what I’d been looking for on shop shelves or online.
Basically, I started where I was, used what I had and went from there. Underlying it all was of course a passion for natural living and an appreciation for nature and all she has to offer.
Q: How do you decide on your products and create a line that’s free of bad ingredients and works as intended?
A: Deciding on the products was very much dictated by Rubi-Rae. I went about formulating whatever she needed, starting with bath time and nappy changes. I later added products for expectant and new moms based on what I wish I’d had available to me when I was expecting and breastfeeding.
Formulating products that are free of bad ingredients only became more challenging when I decided to create larger quantities. I had until then only made as and when needed at home. I remained determined not to add preservatives or questionable ingredients. A lot of research, experimenting and thinking outside the box, tweaking and simplifying led to all the products being 100% natural, gentle yet therapeutic and safe with a shelf-life of 12-24 months, sometimes more.
Creating products with purpose is a very important part of the Bubiroo process. I only ever include ingredients that are going to have a therapeutic and healing effect. Every single ingredient has a vital role to play in the product and is also listed on the label. I feel very strongly about transparency – everyone has the right to know exactly what they’re getting and why, especially when it comes to what you’re putting in or on your and baby’s body.
Q: How do you go about sourcing your ingredients so that they’re as sustainable as possible?
A: All the ingredients and packaging are sourced locally from reputable suppliers. Unfortunately I do still have to courier from out of town but try to order in bulk to lessen that carbon footprint. I refuse to use palm oils or any other ingredients that are sourced in a harmful or unsustainable manner. They might be natural and wonderfully beneficial but if using them will harm the environment or animals in any way I will always choose to find an alternative ingredient.
Q: How are you running your business in a sustainable way?
A: Running an eco-friendly business is unfortunately still quite difficult in many ways, especially when it comes to packaging options in SA. But that is not a reason not to try and to do the best with what is available. I started out using PET packaging as I don’t think glass is a safe option for little hands that are exploring and learning. PET is recycled and recyclable plastic and therefore while it’s not ideal it was the best available option.
That said, I’m excited to have sourced aluminium tins and am making the transition to these. Aluminium is 100% recyclable and can be reconstituted over and over again.
Local customers have the option to refill containers or bring their own container and we do also offer R2 per plastic container returned, which can be sterilised and reused.
For me running a sustainable business includes trying to make products a sustainable purchase for the customer. Sadly, natural products are generally quite pricey in SA. A big reason for this is that the natural ingredients are expensive and not always readily available. This makes it very challenging to keep the prices ‘down’. The best solution I could find was to formulate the products in a manner that means a little goes a very long way. As a general rule each product will take at least 3-4 months to use up. Spreading the cost of the initial purchase over that timespan means it is in fact affordable to almost everyone and not only those with disposable income.
Q: What motivates you to keep going?
Rubi-Rae was and always will be my number one reason and motivator. Nurturing and caring for her with the best I have at my disposal and of course providing for her and still being available to her at the drop of a hat if she needs me.
But as this little venture has grown and I’ve seen not only my own little human flourish but other mommies and their little ones benefit from the products, that has become a great motivator too.
Each and every baby product was initially formulated from a place of great love for Rubi-Rae. And they work! I now feel a kind of obligation to share the knowledge. It’s not mine to keep. These are tubs and bottles holding the healing powers of nature and should be made available to everyone.
Q: What has running your business taught you?
A: Wow, so much! It has been such a journey of learning!
Not everyone will share your vision. And when it comes to being kind to the earth and even to yourself and your little humans, it’s quite difficult to understand that not everyone ‘gets it’ or wants to learn how to do it. All you can do is plant the seed when the opportunity arises, go about living as mindfully and consciously as you can and lead by example. But awareness is growing and more and more people are now embracing a cleaner, greener way of living which is awesome!
Much of the business world unfortunately remains a profit driven space of hustling where natural, clean and green is not a top priority. Money is often times at the expense or at least to the detriment of the environment. Choosing the more eco-friendly and ethical path remains the longer, more difficult journey (for now). I still think it’s worthwhile though! Integrity, transparency and honesty are all so important; in every area of life. Don’t compromise when it comes to good values and business practices even if doing so would translate into ‘easy’ money.
This earth is the only one we have. My hope is that more and more people will become aware, conscious and mindful of treating her with the respect that she deserves.
Q: What would you like to communicate to the wider community through your business?
A: It’s not all or nothing! You don’t have to be the perfect eco-warrior 100% of the time. Simply do the best you can as and when you can. It may seem like a small, insignificant act to you but if we’re all trying then that collective effort will make a big difference, not only to the environment but to our own well-being as well.
And be curious, ask questions, keep learning, read the labels, make the switch to clean and green where you are able to. Often once you start you realise it’s a lot less difficult and daunting than you thought it would be.
I adore Dorae and little Ruby-Rae (lovingly known as “Ms Bubiroo”). Dorae has the biggest heart for creating her products with love and care, and I’m so proud to call her my friend. The time she puts into research, development and testing is to ensure she always creates quality with each small batch she makes.
Hi, we are Eon & Melissa
We are a husband-and-wife team who are parents to a beautiful dachshund called Milo.
We are on a journey towards consciously choosing better options for the products we bring into our home and use in our daily lives.
We are sharing what we learn on this website and blog.
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