2022 AusMumpreneur Awards Winner – Dana Weil, Rugabub
Hi! I am Dana, Founder of Rugabub, woman, wife, mother, time-poor, creative, energetic, designer and human who has lived and worked all over the world and all over Australia – even remotely in a tent for 4 years while working with helicopters and indigenous communities. The enviable lifestyle gave me a lot of time to wander the bush, connect with people, explore the indigenous culture and make lifelong friends. They welcomed me into their homes. I know what it’s like to have family in different country codes and friends we rarely see, to move (too many times) and have to make these houses (and even tents) our homes. That special place when you open the door that’s yours. All yours. A safe, happy, breathe easy abode. I wanted to share a little bit of my home as a mum with you and so Rugabub was born. Welcome to our home.
When did you start your business?
We launched Rugabub in December 2020.
What was the inspiration behind starting this business?
I purchased a play mat for my home. I was surprised to see how it changed my home. The design was ‘minimal’, but it didn’t complement our space. Hubby lost his job as a helicopter pilot a week after my son was born due to Covid. My baby was only 2 months old, but I saw this as an opportunity to use all my fashion and design skills and create something that the market was missing. A playmat that ACTUALLY looks like a rug, so much so, that people think they‘re designer rugs. I wanted to create spaces where stress can melt away, spaces where you can rejuvenate and soak some precious moments with your family. Where you can feel at ease, and simply be. I was so excited to bring something completely different to the market.
What are you most excited about in your business?
Meeting more inspiring mums, creating community, and of course to continue to create unparalleled products and customer service to parents around the world, creating better everyday lives for as many families possible with dedication to safety, innovation, sustainability and creativity as we become the next big thing in the baby/child industry. We would also love to create more and more jobs for mums with young children, providing an inspiring, understanding, flexible and safe working environment. Seeking ways to further reduce our impact on the environment. We would also love to work with family charities.
What has been the most challenging thing about starting your business?
Funnily enough, our biggest challenge was that people kept thinking that they are designer rugs and not baby play mats. Even while exhibiting at Baby Expo’s, people would walk right past not understanding why we are selling rugs at a BABY expo, but when they finally realised that they were baby play mats (we had to write a sign “TOUCH ME”), the crowd around us kept growing and growing. It was fantastic to hear all the feedback. The way we had to address it is to change our whole marketing strategy to inform people that there is a new age alternative, creating safe reversible wipe-clean play-mats that allows you to show off your beautiful home; a play-mat that can improve the visual appeal of your space as well as giving you kids a safe place to develop, learn and play.
What advice would you give to other women thinking about starting a business?
Believe in yourself! One thing you will hear over and over again is that your success depends on your passion. Be focused on your path and any comment that runs along the lines of “that’s impossible” or “that can’t be done” should be treated as a challenge to prove wrong. I quit twice when I was told that my designs were impossible to print, but one day I decided to just do it and that was the best decision I’ve made. Another suggestion is, don’t be shy to seek support from industry leaders. Attend events within your industry or community and seek out online support via forums and Facebook Groups. You’ll be surprised just how willing others will be not only to help and offer advice but become your biggest cheerleaders. It is part of creating your community.
Why did you enter the AusMumpreneur Awards?
I came across the awards in one of the Mum Facebook Group and it immediately spoke to me… I absolutely LOVED that there is support and community out there for mums that want to or need to work.
What did you enjoy the most about being part of the awards?
All the inspiring women that I met during and after the awards. Hearing women’s amazing stories and journey’s. Gosh, women are just incredible.
What surprised you most about the awards?
The amount of talented women out there and their stories. How supportive all these women are and how they will become your biggest cheerleaders.
How did the awards help you in your business?
Awards are always great, they give you recognition for all the hard work you do. The awards helped me connect with hundreds of other mums in business. It is so lovely be surrounded and supported by all these incredible women.
What advice would you give to other mums thinking about entering the awards?
Do it! And make sure you attend the awards too. You have nothing to lose, you’ll only gain from it all.
What has been the best thing about starting your own business?
Wow, there are a few amazing things. First of all, being able to be me again. I always need a creative outlet, and being a mum is one of the most magical things in the world, but also challenging at times. I use to forget who I am and what I love to do. Opening my business gave me passion to create again, to express myself. After 4 miscarriages and finally having a baby on the 5th pregnancy, I wanted to be able to be at home with him. Little did we expect a pandemic and for my husband, who supported the family to lose his job only a week after I gave birth. It let me be creative and innovative again as I LOVE working and support us all financially. The second, being able to design play mats that have intricate pattern and that no one has managed to do before made me so proud… Helps so many parents keep their bubs safe whilst their home beautiful. Last, the community… I am passionate about what we do and I feel that it is my mission to create more connection in the world.
What’s happening next in your business?
We’re only just getting started and I cannot wait for you all to see what we have planned for the future. But it is a secret for now…
What are your big plans for the future?
Our big picture vision is to continue to create unparalleled products and customer service to parents around the world, creating better everyday lives for as many families possible with dedication to safety, innovation, sustainability and creativity as we become the next big thing in the baby/child industry. We would also love to create more and more jobs for mums with young children, providing an inspiring, understanding, flexible and safe working environment. Seeking ways to further reduce our impact on the environment. We would also love to work with family charities.
Read more here: Ausmumpreneur of the year 2022