The postpartum experience is, for many parents, already a difficult time. Throw in a global pandemic and isolation from friends and family, and you’ve got a tricky situation to navigate.
This was the reality for Darby and John at the start of 2020, new parents of their baby boy Dion and living in London when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. In lieu of friends and family being able to drop by for a visit, they were sent gifts of clothes, blankets, and toys that – while well-intentioned – weren’t what they needed.
Darby and John struggled to meet their everyday basic needs, including nourishing themselves with good food. They found themselves turning to takeaway and ready-made meals that were unsustainable for both the environment and their health.
Reflecting on her experience as a new and time-poor parent, Darby recognised that the ultimate form of support that parents need while navigating the postpartum experience comes in the simple form of food. Leaving behind her career as a human rights lawyer, Darby started New Bub Club, a zero waste meal delivery service for new parents in Melbourne.
As an up and coming purpose-driven business, Darby was accepted into Hub’s 2022 Flexi-Impact Program, giving her the opportunity to work from our space at Hub Flinders Street for the entire year. Her membership gives her access to our community, workspaces, and exclusive member benefits to help her continue to grow her impact in 2022.
We sat down with Darby at Hub Flinders Street to chat all things New Bub Club.
Tell us a bit about New Bub Club.
New Bub Club is a zero waste meal delivery service for new and time-poor parents, made up of no-prep, homestyle comfort food purchased as a single box, subscription, or multi-week package.
We cater for a range of dietary preferences, and our menu rotates each week based on seasonal availability. We operate on a zero waste model, meaning all of the packaging our meals come in are picked up when customers are done with them, sanitised, and used again.
Essentially, our ethos is that we don’t want to make parents choose between convenience and reducing their environmental impact.
Why did you start New Bub Club?
I had a really difficult postpartum experience, and then to top it all off, the pandemic hit. Being in London away from friends and family, we tried to survive by taking as many shortcuts as possible for the sake of convenience. This involved a lot of takeaway meals, meal delivery, and disposable nappies!
The whole time I was so aware of the environmental impact of all of this, and how much I was increasing my footprint. I realised that a common issue new and time-poor parents have is that they don’t have access to convenient options that are also environmentally friendly.
So, I decided to make a massive career change from working in the legal field and created New Bub Club as a solution to this problem.
What has been your greatest challenge so far?
Making the zero waste model work has been a challenge. Pitching the zero waste model to suppliers was met with massive resistance, and I was told time and again that it was just too hard.
Compostable packaging is heralded as the green solution, but in reality, the majority of these packages end up in landfill. This is because most councils can’t properly process them, and people have trouble placing compostable packaging in the correct bins. In landfill conditions, compostable packaging produces methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.
Of all the plastic we consume, only 10% actually gets recycled, so reusable packaging is the ideal option. The resistance I met from the food industry made it hard to stick to my guns when it came to zero waste – but after all, that was one of the main reasons I started New Bub Club.
In the end, my persistence paid off. We recently surpassed our goal of saving 1000 food containers from landfill through our circular economy, so it’s been great seeing such positive results.
What has your experience been like as a Hub Flexi-Impact member?
It’s been such an incredible experience. The milestone of moving into an office felt completely out of reach, and now I feel so professional working from Hub. Moving from my kitchen table into an office space allows me to separate my home life and work life, which is really motivating. The commute is so worth it.
What’s next for New Bub Club?
I’m in the process of perfecting the menu, with a focus on complete no-prep meals. I’m currently pregnant with my second child, so I’m having to navigate growing the business with growing a family. My business is so intimately linked to having a baby and ensuring new parents feel supported that I do need to take the time to think about my own maternity leave plan.
I have big ambitions of launching a few new products like breastfeeding snack packs and frozen meals, and even some products beyond food to solve that same problem of offering time-poor parents convenient solutions, but I’d like to first perfect what I’m doing now.
Find out more about our Flexi-Impact Program here.