I spoke to Shannon from Ubuntu Baba about her amazing proudly South African brand, Ubuntu Baba. Even though I didn’t have a child, I had heard of this brand for the last few years through social media and friends. There’s something special about a brand that is local and of such great quality that everyone talks about it so much that you know about it even when you’re not the target market!
Tell us a bit about your background in SA?
I’m a true Cape Town girl, love this city! I grew up and went to school in the Southern Suburbs and started surfing at age 15 which was a big game changer for me, I just wanted to be on the beach all day everyday. I eventually convinced my Dad that homeschool was the way to go and that was the start of my life free of ‘the system’ and official working hours. Until very recently, I had never even been to JHB! I’ve traveled overseas, but I’d only ever traveled up and down the coast of South Africa, due to our surfing background.
When did you start your brand?
My business was born in February 2015, just six months after my son was born, out of a personal need to help my baby sleep for longer periods of time and to have more freedom as a struggling and overwhelmed first-time mom.
Tell us about your brand
Ubuntu Baba is a primarily online business selling organic hemp baby carriers. Our products are 100% South African manufactured from our factory based in Retreat, Cape Town. We opened our first physical store in May 2018 in Westlake Lifestyle centre, and this is where we host our bi-monthly 4th trimester chats ( https://4thtrimesterchats.co.za/ ). Our mission as a brand is to help new Moms step out into the world again with confidence, freedom and style.
What is your favourite thing about your brand?
I love seeing all the photos that people tag us in. It feels good to be able to put a product out into the world and see the proof that it’s really helping people with their day to day lives and their parenting journeys with their little ones. Over the years I’ve received some really touching emails, Moms telling me how much their carrier has made a difference to them and helped them transition out of a very dark place. That is so meaningful to me as it’s exactly why I built this brand, that was my struggle too and babywearing is what saved me, so it’s so rewarding to be able to give that back now.
What would you like people to know about your brand?
As of 1 June 2019, we’ve changed our giving back model, so that with every purchase you make from us, we give a full R16 back. Our model used to be that we gave 10% on only our limited editions range, but I wanted every customer to know that when they shop with us, they are taking part in helping us to give back, and not just limit it to those who can afford the more expensive limited editions. R16 because my son was born on the 16th of August, so it’s a special number to me. I’m very excited about this change as it really means we’ll be able to make a big difference to the organization we’ve chosen to support and the people that will benefit from the projects they’re working on. – http://www.xchangeconnexion.com
What makes your brand different to others?
I think the way I have structured the business is very different to the way most other brands do things. We don’t really follow the rules when it comes to job descriptions, hours of work, meetings, etc. We are almost all Moms and that comes first, and we structure everything else around that. I don’t ever want my employees to feel like they have to miss out on an experience with their own children, in order to work for Ubuntu Baba. I believe that we can all support each other and do both.
You recently spoke out about a retailer copying your brand, which takes a lot of guts to do, did the public support help you?
Oh for sure, it was a huge help and that was the intention of going public, to rally their support so we could stop them from doing what they were doing. It was wrong on many levels, and I knew that the public would see that and stand behind us.
How can people support you?
By following us on social media, sharing our posts and buying our carriers 🙂 But mostly we are here to offer the support, so if you know a new Mom going through a tough time with her baby, send her our way, because baby wearing really can be a life changing experience, and it offers so many benefits ( read about them here) to both Mom and baby.
Anything else you’d like people to know?
Our baby carriers come with a lifetime guarantee on all stitching and workmanship.