Digital Crush | Interview with I Do Digital

Turning that side hustle into the real deal.

Renae Carolan, the force behind Grubeze, had her lighbulb moment when she was trying baby-led weaning on her daughter, Avery. Her product, Grubeze, is now helping and benefiting a lot of parents from all over Australia. We asked her how this fabulous product came to life and this is what she said.

Tell us about your business, how did you get the idea or concept and did it stem from your passion or skill, or both?

The idea for the business stemmed from a NEED for a product that was 100% effective at keeping my daughter’s clothes clean and dry during feeding.

I had my ‘lightbulb’ moment with an idea for a new baby product when my daughter was six months old and had started solids. I was so sick of changing her after each feed, soaking and washing clothes and being disappointed when clothes were permanently ruined by stains. I was also spending too much time and money in the laundry.

I was beyond frustrated with how completely ineffective bibs and smocks were at keeping ALL her clothes dry and clean. I wanted a product that would solve my problem and save me time and money. I couldn’t be the only parent out there who wanted a product that did its job and delivered on its promise. When I couldn’t find what I was looking for anywhere that’s when I knew I was on to something and I thought well, ‘I’ll just make it myself’ and that’s why I developed a full body coverage, waterproof feeding suit’.

What are some challenges you faced while trying to run the side hustle?

Being a single mama with no family support in Melbourne has meant it has been difficult to give the amount of time I want to give to building grubeze. At first, the only time I had to work was around naps and after my daughter went to bed at night. Now I get 15 baby-free working hours a week while she’s in daycare but it is NEVER enough time, especially since the business has launched. I’m always struggling to accept the fact I can only manage what I can manage as one person.

Also, not having any experience in garment production and manufacturing. I had to take my idea to someone with those skills and start the prototype phase from there. It has been a huge learning curve and I couldn’t have done it without my kidswear designer, Clara Chan and my consultant in China, Jenny Sun, who has helped me navigate this world.

What made you step away from working for someone, and give it a real go?

That was probably the easiest decision to make as returning to my old corporate 9-5 working life as a single parent with no family support on-hand was clearly untenable. I’d basically spend every cent I earned paying for someone else to care for my daughter and missing out on being the one to watch her grow. Starting grubeze means I have the flexibility to work and parent on my terms and time. I also get to continue to flex my creative muscles and feel productive working from home. On top of that, I have complete confidence in the product. I used it myself for two years and all the mamas who trialled grubeze didn’t want to give their prototypes back because it is so effective. I know it is a product that will make daily parenting easier.

To what do you attribute your success?

A few things:

LUCK for stumbling across an idea that hasn’t been done before in a heavily saturated market.

BELIEF in myself and the product that I could do this and make it work.

SUPPORT of my parents, sister, extended family, friends and other mamas.

CONFIDENCE in the product. I know it works. It delivers on its promise.

DETERMINATION to keep plugging away and tackling every aspect of the business one little bit at a time and being persistent in moving forward.

TEAM without a team of individuals with specific skills in their fields I couldn’t have gotten as far as I have including:

  • Business Coach – Genine Howard
  • Kidswear Designer – Clara Chan
  • Chinese Consultant – Jenny Sun
  • Graphic Designers – Nigel Ling and Akiko Ciric
  • Online – Natalie Crombie and Anne Sidebottom
  • PR – Jules Brooks
  • Lawyer – Jamie White
  • Photographers – Aver and Line

If you had one piece of advice to someone who’s just starting out, what would it be?

Running your own business is a different kettle of fish to working for someone else. You are on 24/7. Try and make time to look after yourself or you can burn out quickly. My motto with grubeze is “I run the business, the business doesn’t run me”. The whole point of grubeze was to create employment for myself that worked for me. Outsource where possible, especially for tasks you lack skills in. In the long run it will save you time and money if you use trusted and reliable people.


Read the article online at I Do Digital