Iwi – Tainui
A colleague of Ali Hui’s once told her the slowest dripping tap wears away the hardest rock. She says the proverb has become the business philosophy behind her babywear company, Babu.
Ali started Babu in 2002 after not being able to find the right type of baby bedding fabric she wanted for her baby Jack – nicknamed ‘Babu’. Thousands of sheet sets, hooded baby towels, newborn blankets and mini merino wool hoodies later, Ali is still travelling the world, designing, sourcing, manufacturing and selling her coveted Babu products.
She is one busy lady, that Ali. In fact, at Babu they call her the tornado! You will see her face, her home and her family all through their emails, social media and communications. And you’ll feel her signature for simple design and superb quality organic cotton and merino wool baby clothing in every Babu product.
With a background in wound-care nursing, Ali is a stickler for what can and can’t touch a baby’s skin. Her team say “if you’ve heard your skin is your largest organ” in the office once, they’ve heard it 1,000 times. That’s why natural fibres like organic cotton and merino wool are so important to Ali for comfort and functionality.
Ali pays attention to the small stuff. She’s active in every part of the design and production process, making sure Babu’s organic cotton baby clothes stand the test of time. Longstanding quality is very important to her, so their customers can feel confident storing their Babu goodies away for their second, third or fourth baby. They also support a community of giving at Babu, and have seen hundreds of their products handed down from one mum to the next – that is, if they haven’t been dragged around as cuddly favourites.
Babu are currently working on lots of marketing around the longevity of our product, buy once buy well as there is so much throwaway fashion and resource usage. They are in the process of setting up a repairs and a re-home section on their website where people can register to receive others old Babu and also get their own repaired.
On any given day, Ali can be found whirling around the office collaborating or instructing (or as she calls it, mind dumping) in every department. She spends hours quietly working on production for Babu and still finds time to manage her kids’ sports teams, go on school camps and do her own house cleaning. Ali is a real family woman, and all this while acting the fool, dancing like a nutter and making sure her pantry is in order and her tupperware correctly labelled. She’s an inspiration for every mum!
Above all else, family comes first at Babu. They’re a team of Mum’s who have used and loved Babu’s baby clothing, organic cotton bedding, muslin wraps, baby sweaters, sleeping bags and newborn blankets for years. Having a community that understands and supports the trials and tribulations of starting a family means so much. At Babu, they believe in implementing products to make your lives easier. Ali practices what she preaches, and she’s truly amazing. When Ali says family comes first, she means it – they are a family at Babu!
Since starting the business over 15 years ago, Ali has built up the business and their brand and now sell to over 400 stores locally and internationally. Their aim is to increase penetration in current areas as well as focusing on international emerging and westernised markets with cooler climates.
Ali has just completed filming their latest video – check it out here. Babu – Ethical production at its best!
Earlier this year, they sent their first shipment to China which is doing great and selling really well. They are now looking for distribution in China although Ali says it is hard work over there. They are also working with other NZ and Australian designers and stores, making their in-house ranges of lots of different items, all organic.
Other than that, Ali says “the new yummy season is about to land, so it’s as mad as usual!”
Find out more about Babu on youtube.