Kalin Blanchard’s love for The Bean People products began when she was a child in South Africa, and when she moved to New Zealand with her Kiwi husband, she launched Bath Buddies, bringing fizzy, colourful, surprise kids’ bath goodies to the children here too! Their products are manufactured in Cape Town, South Africa by The Bean People, a small, family-run business who have been producing unique and ethically sound bath toys since 1988. Despite their growth and worldwide distribution, they continue to create each product by hand, allowing them to support a local underprivileged community, mainly women, through employment and funding of a local NGO school, upskilling adults and educating children. Kalin runs her business alongside her husband and 3 gorgeous kids, who are always eager to be product testers! Here she speaks to The Natural Parent Magazine about her business journey so far.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
I grew up in South Africa and as a child fell in love with The Bean People’s products. I got to know this family-run business and even worked for them as a teenager! They are a business that supports and empowers women from the local underprivileged community, and they also sponsor a school in the local township. When I had kids of my own, skin safety and gentle products were a priority for me and Bath Beans and Bath Sprudels were top on my fun list and a staple in the present drawer. When we decided to make the move to New Zealand with my Kiwi husband, I knew that I needed to bring these beautiful kids’ bath products with me to share with Kiwi kids across New Zealand. Knowing that the products are safe and gentle, but also handmade, ethically sound and environmentally friendly, I knew it was the perfect choice.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
I brought over a few boxes in our shipping container and went to a local market to ‘test the waters’ and they passed with flying colours! I ordered a great big shipment and signed up for lots of awesome kids and gift markets, launched my website and social media pages and soon Bath Buddies was buzzing with orders!
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
Learning that hard work, persistence, perseverance and being visible in the market pays off. We were very excited when retailers began stocking our amazing kids’ bath products and it was a great testimony to have our Bath Beans and Sprudels available at Auckland Zoo’s Wildzone gift shop!
Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
Running a small business from home definitely has its benefits and challenges! I try to get as much work done while the children are at school so that I can enjoy being a mum in the afternoons, although this doesn’t always go according to plan and I am often up working late when the kids have gone to bed. However, having super fun products made for children makes it easy to get my kids involved and excited and they are my biggest fans!