Tap into tot-friendly app Bubele
- Credit: Archant
Vivien de Tusch-Lec’s new app makes it easy to find and book activities with young children, says Bridget Galton.
Like many career women, Vivien de Tusch-Lec found becoming a mother unexpectedly isolating.
The City worker was living in Soho when her daughter Leah was born four years ago and wanted to get out of the house to meet other mums, but wasn’t sure where to go.
Now she has quit her job as a company Vice Principal to launch an app for parents to find and book activities in their area.
“I guess it happens to a lot of women,” she says.
“I’d got to a pretty senior level in my career and all of a sudden nothing was under my control.
“I was sat at home with puke all over me. I needed to get out of the house and meet like-minded mums and thought there must be more than just the drop in at the local library. It happened quite quickly, within two months I was feeling quite lonely.
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“Nothing prepares you for it, or the fact that you have a whole new set of needs; from where to go with your child, to where to buy emergency nappies.”
That all changed when Tusch-Lec moved to Primrose Hill and signed up for an activity. “I met my two very close mum friends who I could share those first experiences with, who could meet up locally and didn’t mind if it took three hours to get out of your pyjamas.”
She realised that mums on the move were most likely to run their lives from their mobile phones and created a free app called Bubele that launched last month.
Aimed at parents with children under five, the app can be customised to your children’s ages and the weather, and finds activities and venues within a buggy push of your current location – or another search area. These include kid-friendly shops, restaurants, museums, playgroups, playgrounds, attractions and classes.
Each has a short description, photo, location, opening hours, or time of activity, age range, price, contact details, a map and whether it’s drop in or term time only.
Parents can then book the activity there and then or get social by networking with other mums, inviting them to places and activities, via Facebook, email or SMS. Friends do not need the app to receive invites and can RSVP via the website.
“It makes it as easy as possible to find and book an activity and arrange a group trip,” says Tusch-Lec.
“Some parents want to do more browsing. There’s a map where you can see everything there is to do in London under that search.
“Often your need is very immediate, something gets cancelled and you need to replace an activity. We will facilitate that.”
Tusch-Lec, who also has an 18-month-old son Reuben wrote to everyone she could think of for their recommendations of child-friendly activities, and took on local editors with good knowledge of their areas to help compile the app’s 15,000 listings.
Feedback has been “absolutely fantastic” and Tusch-Lec hopes to expand it to activities for older children and other child-friendly services. The app generates income by charging a commission on every booking, although it also includes many free activities.
“Having a baby you draw upon different aspects of yourself. I had worked on management teams doing start ups and always wanted to start my own business.
“There’s something about parenthood that gave me the confidence and spurred me on to finally do it. It gives me the flexibility to spend time with the children and be a master of my own time.”