Coffee Hangs (and the odd Truth Bomb) with Chief Boo Naomi Rogers
Our story as told by the mama behind bobo&boo, your favourite eco-friendly dinnerware brand
Keeping things running smoothly at bobo&boo HQ makes our Chief Boo, Naomi Rogers, one busy mama. When she’s not keeping a close eye on your orders (she actually does a happy dance every time one comes through) or thinking up the next non-toxic must-have, it’s her two little boos who keep her days bustling.
We caught up with our Chief Boo for a cheeky coffee hang to chat all things bobo&boo, life and the realities of juggling parenthood with running a global business.
Naomi, can you start off with how bobo&boo came about a little under 6 years ago?
It’s a lot less glamorous than you’d think. Picture a kitchen table, one determined (and sleep-deprived) mama and a mission to whip up my own non-toxic kids’ dinnerware that didn’t suck. My little boo (that this business happens to be named after) had just started solids and what I could track down at the shops was pretty underwhelming. It either had tacky kids prints plastered all over it, was made of nasty plastic that screamed ‘toxic’ or sent me broke. All I wanted was dinnerware that both little boo and I couldn’t wait to dish up and feel good about. In a non-sucky kinda way. So I kicked into gear, developed my own range of products, quit my job as a Bank Manager―and the rest is history.
How did you juggle mum life with starting your own kids’ dinnerware brand?
To be honest, the early days of bobo&boo had me juggling all the things. Our family home quickly turned into the nerve centre of this brave (some call it crazy) endeavour and some days you were lucky to set foot into the shower among the stacks of stock that were piling up. At the time my little boo was resisting shut-eye like any decent toddler, so I spent most days in survival mode packing orders at my kitchen table while my tired brain happily rubbed in all the sleep I missed out on. Thankfully little boo was cute! Well, sometimes.
Was there a point in your business journey where you realised you had outgrown your home warehouse?
It actually was more Mr Boo’s and my love of adventure and not so much the more than inadequate storage situation at home. One day we simply decided to pack up our lives and travel around Australia with 2 little boos in tow. Our boys had just turned 1 & 4 when we started our journey. Crazy, right? So for two years, I ran bobo&boo from a laptop on the side of roads trying to look for reception with the flies taking over the nagging gig from my little boos for a while. And I jumped at the opportunity to roadtest our kids dishes―literally. Thankfully they passed with flying colours and are now ‘certified’ as the perfect accessory for caravan living by me, myself and I. It was the experience of a lifetime but did add the odd grey hair as a life-long keepsake. If you need any tips on travelling Australia, hit me up.
What did life have mapped out for you after those 2 years of epic road-tripping?
We set up camp (as in for good) in our slice of heaven in a remote surfing town where I now switch between wrangling work time with my crazy kids, trying to not let the beach tempt me too much and still having a life while my husbands riding yet another wave. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
How does living in the middle of nowhere agree with running a global business?
It has its fair share of challenges, but you can’t have it all. Nowadays I get other clever people to pick and pack the orders for us and I add an extra buffer for product samples to make their way onto our doorstep. On the flip side, I get to run bobo&boo from a backyard most people would love to trade with me and I get to catch up with my amazing distributors and stockists online. Thanks, zoom. I also have limited internet and have to use satellite wifi but I actually love not being tempted by unlimited wifi.
Can you let us in on a few fun facts we quite possibly never knew about you?
I had always dreamed up life with 2 daughters but ended up having 2 energizer-bunny boys who I wouldn’t change for anything in the world.
I’m ¼ Japanese and went to school over there. The whole school experience is very different over there. There’s none of that playing business. They make you clean during your lunch breaks.
We have a 5-month-old Dachshund puppy called Dacshee and I’ve just dipped my toes into the fun world of surfing last summer. And I’m loving it. That’s when it’s warm enough because I’m a bit of a chicken.
What’s ahead for you and bobo&boo now that you’ve found your happy place?
Big things of epic proportions, I hope. Don’t laugh, but it took me close to 6 years to FINALLY move this business baby of mine into its own home office. So I finally feel half-legit and ready to unleash even more amazing plant-based bobo&boo products on the world. I have even added a lock to my office door to stop getting interrupted a million times a day *eeek* although it is yet to work out! Stay tuned for the non-sucky must-haves currently taking shape.
Want to check out the plant-based range of bobo&boo kids dinnerware that passed Naomi’s non-sucky test?