This Fashion Designer launched Her Own Baby Gear Brand
"My heart still skips a beat every time I see our product on the market. It makes me super proud to see the parents that use our product and trust it with their little ones. It’s the biggest honor."
Who are you and what do you do at NOOLA™?
My name is Tatum Billson and I am the founder of NOOLA™.
What is NOOLA.co.za?
It’s our website – www.noola.co.za. We specialize in baby strollers, travel systems, car seats, and a few handy baby accessories. Basically everything you need to be out and about with your little one.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
After my two-year journey, I and my husband (then boyfriend) fell pregnant with our firstborn, Kai.
Facing the worries of new parents-to-be, naturally, we wanted the best for our child, but the best comes at a price. We were in search of a stroller and soon realized that financially this was going to be a setback, as strollers or travel systems that we had viewed at the time were priced super-pricey.
Now whereas having a travel system is not the start and end of life as we know it, it was an important part of practically improving day-to-day life with a baby, and being mobile is what gives parents their sanity, so we needed to get one and introduce it to the South African market.
Within the first years, we had sold over 2000 NulaBugs.
Since then our range has expanded to over 7 different strollers (including a twin stroller), we now also do rocking chairs as well as 360-degree rotation car seats and accessories.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
Every product that we have brought out has been something I have used, tested, and loved.
I studied fashion design at FEDISA and graduated with a BA Degree, my design flair, attention to detail, and use of materials are all thanks to my fashionable education. The sampling process is what I spend most of my focus and time on, launching a new product, takes me months (the longest 17months), because I just want it to be so perfect!
Still today (after 7years) my heart skips a beat every time I see our product on the market. It makes me super proud to see the parents that use our product and trust it with their little ones. It’s the biggest honor.
Describe the process of launching the business.
I firmly believe that passion is everything, once you have a passion for something, you will be successful.
Passion steers into confidence, people believing in you, trusting you. For me, this is everything. I wanted to simply parenthood, I wanted parents to be able to afford a really good stroller so that they don’t have to feel that they have failed. As a parent, you want to give your kids the best, and when you are not able to do that you feel they are not good enough.
I personally couldn’t afford the ‘best’ stroller on the market, in fact, the ‘best stroller’ wasn’t the greatest either, but it still had limitations.
Once I knew what I was looking for, it was easy, because my vision was clear.
I then needed to tell the world about it, I create a lot of hype surrounding the products. Create social media pages, like Facebook and Instagram. You need to get people or customers talking about the brand or the products, beautiful content can be created organically at a very low cost but can seriously go a long way if done correctly.
So to confirm, website, products, photos, social pages, and you are pretty much good to go. Initially, I also used my garage from my home to store my product and do my dispatching.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
Definitely our hands-on approach, we physically sold to every single parent ourselves, we knew their name, a little about that, they weren’t just a number. This created a lot of trusts. I still have people coming up to me today and saying that they came to view their stroller in my house.
I take a lot of pride in our marketing media and always come up with new content and new products.
What's the reason customers pick NOOLA™ over your competitors?
We try and make every interaction a good experience, an online purchase should be easy and simple, and our expos are beautiful with our entire team present to assist with questions and answers.
Our concept is an affordable luxury that allows most people the opportunity to afford it.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
It’s an interesting question because there are so many directions we could take, opening a few flagship stores could be next. We have also set our sights on distribution into other countries which we have chosen based on our searches and analytics online to help identify a demand.
Since starting the business, what's the number 1 thing you have learned?
Fluidity, you need to be like water and just flow. In a world where everything is changing daily, shipping times, supplier capacity, product compliance, exchange rates, etc. you need to be able to change strategies quickly to account for what changes.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
One thing about me is that I LOVE technology, I’m referred to as the tech queen in my family. So this topic for me I love. We use Shopify, Facebook, Instagram, Zoho desk, and Xero.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I’m not much of a reader, I network. Networking with other industry leaders and business owners has helped me with guidance. Many of my lessons like most entrepreneurs come from the time in the saddle, you need to get stuck in and get good at decision making, that is when you really learn.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Just go for it, honestly, it’s daunting, I know, but just go for it.
Another thing is to network, and ask questions from people who are doing similar things you want to do. Advice is free and it easy to find. It’s the implementation along with that advice that comes next, get to work and keep focused, and don’t forget to try and have some fun along the way.
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Frequently Asked Questions about NOOLA™
Where Are NOOLA™ Products Manufactured?
NOOLA™ makes use of manufacturers all over the world, from Germany, Sweden, and China. NOOLA™ has created many job opportunities as well through their products that are locally made in South Africa.
How Long Does NOOLA™ Take to Ship?
NOOLA™ has a policy that all orders received before 11 am, will be dispatched on the same day. All orders received after 11 am will be dispatched the next working day. Once an order has been dispatched, the expected delivery time is from 1-4 days (depending on the region).
How Long Does NOOLA™ Take to Deliver?
Once an order has been dispatched, the expected delivery time will be from 1-4days. Due to the NOOLA™ dispatch warehouse being located in the Western Cape, this region can expect their deliveries within 1-2days.
Where Is the NOOLA™ Store Located?
NOOLA™ is an online e-commerce retailer. You can shop their products on their website www.noola.co.za. Enjoy easy online shopping with multiple and secure payment options with fast delivery and easy returns.
NOOLA™ - Customer Reviews
NOOLA™ has a rating of 4.8 out of 5.0 based on 150 customer reviews.
Great brand, with a very hardworking and responisve team behind it. Went out of their way to provide us with a loan carseat over a longweekend that they were closed when our baby arrived ahead of our scheduled Nulabug 4 in 1 stroller's arrival.
I.t.o. The stroller - so lightweight and easy to maneuvre, fold and lift - even with a big tummy! Incredibly convenient to be able to switch between the carseat/carrycot/toddler seat. Base saves time in getting the carseat strapped quickly. Plus can be used in all types of cars, not only Isofix fitted vehicles.
Would definitely recommend this combo to other new parents. Service, product, the lot!
Nicolene le Roux
We were looking for a baby car-seat for a long time and compared many well-known brands, read about them in ADAC and visited two shops to see and touch them ourselves.
After long research and search we found the ONE360, which in my opinion was underrated in comparison to major brands due to less advertisement.
It is very comfortable for our daughter (13 months old and 12 kg weight), the quality of assembly and materials are good, it is easy in installation and belting or unbelting a child, the supplemented instruction is clear.
We are very happy with the choice. Indeed a good product. By the way it is also cheaper than similar seats from other key brands, which we tested in shops. So far we are very glad with the purchase and the most important our daughter likes it too.
Honestly THE BEST! My Bug was stolen out of my car, I contacted Noola requesting a replacement frame, within a two days I had my new frame delivered to my house without any payment required.
This just goes to show that they are not about the money but about the customer! Thank you Noola. You deserve all the success!
LOVE LOVE LOVE! Every I need and more! Excellent value for money! The Noola Team went above and beyond for us!
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