Building Up A Bubbly Home Business

Now, my kitchen is mainly used for throwing meals together, as well as being the scene for many messy toddler activities, but entrepreneur Paola Dyboski-Bryant utilised hers far more imaginatively by starting a home business.

Not just a home business start-up, Dr Zig's Extraordinary Bubbles started out as a kitchen business start-up!

So I practised some lip-limbering exercises and popped over to Dr Zig's to blow some home business bubbles!  

Dr Zig's make some of the world's biggest and most extraordinary bubbles. They also provide bubbles for events, parties and educational shows. When she was getting started in 2011 Paola found that her kitchen table was the best place to concoct the original bubble mix get to grips with how to start a home business.

Paola and her husband Danny have built their home-based business totally organically, with virtually no investment. Every penny they made at the beginning went straight back into the business. They couldn't have done it without that kitchen table!

As Dr Zig's grew they then moved production to the garden shed, and then in 2012 finally bought their own house.  The primary criteria was that it should have a room to convert to a home office and enough space for manufacturing.  They got exactly what they wanted - a large office and a large garage converted into a 'Bubble Inventorium'.  

A year later they're thinking that they may have to move production somewhere bigger still!

So, was being home-based the best start for Dr Zig's? Paola says both yes and no.  It allowed them to get started, but to achieve bigger, faster growth it could possibly have done with being operated more remotely. 

She also found that starting up a home-based business from their kitchen and garage in some ways meant they were always at work.  Yet it did mean that they could work hard and flop straight into bed afterwards!

(That's the real beauty of home working - well, that and being able to wear your pyjamas to the office if you feel like it!)

Paola has found it hard competing with big fast growth businesses, especially with a toddler in tow.  But the mantra has been to keep their home business sustainable, and so far they have, both in monetary terms, and in bringing up the kids.

Combining A Start-Up With Family Life

Dr Zig's has purposely been set up around Paola's family life and the kids.  Ziggy, their youngest, has had a den under their desk for the past 2 years - and I would have thought that as a child he was probably the best person to bounce new bubble ideas off! 

It is a fine line between staff and family at Dr Zig's.  They have one full time member of staff Dr Zig's produce bubbles of all shapes and sizeswho has kind of become part of the family, and several part-time staff.  

There is a big 'mucking in' element to their home business start up; it's all about working or selling or making and then helping out with lunch or kicking a football about with the kids so somebody else can take a phone call.  It's very much a family business

Staff work at the family home, or at events.  But there's also work that they can get on with at home, if for some reason they can't access the Dr Zig house. 

They have set up logistics/parcel software on various computers so that staff can continue to fulfil orders even if Paola is away travelling.

So what is next on their bubbling agenda?

They're still operating from home, but their production levels are close to capacity for their garage.  They're looking at standardising their processes so that these can be scaled up elsewhere.

They're moving more into retail, and are at a stage where they're exploring packaging and appropriate routes to market.  They're also building a new structure - the Bubble Dome - which they hope to be touring with next year.  

They also hope to have someone else on board by this time next year to help with the day-to-day management side and operations so the team can focus on growth and strategy.

Advice For Other Start-Ups

Paola says 'Go for it!  Be inventive and creative.  Treat every obstacle as a positive challenge. It's the most fulfilling thing in the world, to create your own destiny.  As a woman also having to look after a house and kids it makes it extra rewarding.  If you can run a home business and nurture your family you can do anything.'

Interested in reading more inspiring stories about setting up a home-based business?