Bumblebee helps children develop a healthy and sustainable relationship with food

Interviews Startups Women Entrepreneurs

Qadreya Al Awadhi, Founder & CEO of Bumblebee shares her journey from ideation to execution to a successful business despite several challenges on the way. She also acknowledged the importance of her team that believes in her vision.

How did the idea for your business come about and when did you start Bumblebee?
I was babysitting my friend’s son one day and fed him ready jar food from the supermarket. I noticed the lack of flavour and colour and looked at the label, it was produced before the boy was even born! That is when I realized that there was a gap in the market for fresh and healthy baby food that was both delicious and nutritious.

How did you come up with the name Bumblebee?
Bumblebees are one of the most important pollinators on earth, bees are part of the biodiversity on which we all depend on for our survival. I felt as though children are the same, they are the foundations that will shape the future of humanity on earth – so it seemed fitting to name my company Bumblebee as we help some of those children develop a healthy and sustainable relationship with food.

What was your key driving force to becoming an entrepreneur?
I spent years studying business and working in that field, I wanted to branch out and do something for myself. I wanted to put all the knowledge that I gained into good use, so I decided to take the step and become an entrepreneur.

How did you raise funding for your venture?
The business is self-funded. I actually started investing in the stock market when I was 16 years old, and I have made sizable returns since then. I decided that it was finally time to start investing in myself and my dreams and used my money to support them.

How do you build a successful customer base?
For me, it is about introducing an innovative product that customers want, and in order to retain them, it is about providing them with great customer service and ensuring proper communication channels is established.

How do you market your business, and which tactics have been most successful?
Social media marketing is successful, it gives you exposure and draws in people from all around that can be harder to reach via traditional methods such as word of mouth. However, I think that word of mouth has been a pillar of our success as there is no better marketing than an honest and happy mama!

What kind of culture exists in your organization, and how did you establish it?
We are still a small team an as cliche as it sounds, it really does feel like family. When I first started the business I really wanted to establish a strong core, which can only be achieved through a strong team who believe in the same vision as me. I was lucky enough to find them and today our team works in harmony towards our vision of providing healthy food for babies and kids.

What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
I like the independence and self-reliance you get when you start a business on your own. It is both a challenge and a blessing, because sometimes you have no guidance and have to rely on yourself to solve problems you never faced before. But at the same time, when things go well, then the feeling is pure bliss because you know you solved it using your skills and abilities.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Honestly, I love to hear customer’s feedback. My whole goal was to help working moms and moms on the go to make their day easier by taking on the feeding responsibility, so to have customers relate to that is what makes me very happy, and especially more so when they send me pictures of their happy babies!

What are some mistakes you wish you could have avoided?
I wish I had found better logistics partners in the beginning, it is very difficult to find a reliable partner to manage logistics and ensure delivery of our temperature-sensitive food to our customer’s doorsteps. It was not easy but eventually, we did find one partner who provided us with chiller vans and speedy delivery times.

What advice would you give to women looking to start on their own?
As cliche as it sounds but don’t give up. Starting a business needs initiative, determination, patience, resilience, and sacrifice. You just have to believe in yourself and what you do, try to network and meet as many people as you can, get all the knowledge you can gain, and put that into building yourself and your dreams.

Can you offer a few tips on achieving work-life balance in today’s scenario, especially for mothers?
From my experience, it is always best to find help. It could simply be in the form of emotional support, sometimes all you need is to be part of a support system that understands what you go through, offer tips, and ease your mom’s guilt. Another thing is making time for what really matters, because I was balancing between my day job and my business, I found it hard to see my friends and family but I realized how important they were to me and made an effort to call them more often and meet them even if just once a week.

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