Vivien de Tusch-Lec is a mum of two. She set up tech company Bubele in 2014 while at home with her small children and struggling to find fun things to do in her local area. She wanted to find new ways of meeting other parents and to help other mums break out of the sometimes isolating bubble of motherhood and connect with their local parent community. She had the inspired idea of simplifying all this through technology.
Digital Mum To Be Elaine Farrell is now managing Bubele's social media platforms and is running a campaign this Autumn to promote the nationwide expansion of the business.
Tell us a bit of about your company Bubele - what exactly do you do?
Bubele is a go to mobile app and website connecting parents with local activities and service providers. It uses GPS to enable parents to find things happening near to them at any given time, making it perfect for spontaneous outings, planning ahead or those times when your plans fall through or your little one oversleeps and you need to rethink your day.
How does Bubele embrace the flexible employment of mums and why?
Bubele has relied on the involvement of mums from the very beginning, harnessing their local knowledge to power the app listings and to make connections with parent communities and activity and service providers targeting those parents. As a start-up, Bubele neither needs nor can afford full-time staff and so the flexible working practices often required by mums is a perfect fit for us, allowing us access to highly-skilled women without the hefty price tag of a full-time staff member.
Have there been any tangible business benefits from employing mums and flexible working practices?
By bringing local mums on board as local editors based in different towns and cities around the country, we have been able to bring that invaluable “word of mum” recommendation to different parts of the UK. The local editor network is the cornerstone of our UK expansion, giving us access to the ‘mumiverse’ beyond the confines of London and promoting our product to parent networks and activity and service providers around the country. Through our local editor network, we have seen an increase in newsletter subscribers and social network followers/reach as our mums promote our brand within their networks. We have also garnered interest from some big parent brands who are interested in working with us as a company that champions flexible working for mums.
Can you tell me a bit about the backgrounds of the mums you employ? What are their skillsets and what reasons do they have for wanting flexible work?
The mums tend to fall into one of two categories. The first are mums with their first baby who are on maternity leave. These are starting to reconsider their career in light of their new family commitments, testing the waters with a new flexible way of working to see if it is right for them and their families. They usually have a ‘back to work’ date planned and are hoping to find an alternative way of generating income before that date comes.
The second category are the mums with older kids, who have been stay at home mums for a few years and are now looking for a way back into employment but are looking for a flexible working option so they can still do the school run, spend evenings and weekends with their families and attend school plays and sports days, etc.
In terms of background and qualifications we have a real mixed bag. This is great as we get to work with women with different skills and different interests, which adds a lot to the company and shows us different ways of approaching things. I’d say, however, that many of the women come from a professional or business background and are not keen to get back into the long hours of the corporate world.
How important to you was the ethos of getting skilled mums back into flexible work in your decision to work with a Digital Mum and what attributes do you think a Digital Mum can bring to social media marketing for businesses?
We know that there is a huge untapped potential of skill and knowledge in mums who choose not to work full-time or who are struggling to get a foothold back into the workplace after taking time off to focus on their families. We consider ourselves fortunate to have such a great pool of mums with so many ideas and such a lot of enthusiasm.
Our Digital Mum actually already worked with the company as a Local Editor and community manager in charge of the social media platforms after joining the team while on maternity leave. She heard of Digital Mums through a newspaper article and asked if she could bring Bubele on board as her client for the training. We were, of course, more than happy for her to do that. For us, having a Digital Mum means having access to a social media manager for a much lower cost to us than hiring a full-time social media manager, which we just don’t need as a small business. We are also connecting with other small businesses who are involved in the training programme.
Additionally, as a company looking to reach parents, it seems natural to have a parent running our social media platforms!