DEBRA WALKER of Bibo Barmaid
Inventor, Bibo Barmaid, bibobarmaid.com
Kids Andrew, 23, Jack, 20 and Dylan, 18
Tell us about Bibo and what inspired you to create it. Bibo Barmaid is a 3-part cocktail system that pours single-serve cocktails in just under 20 seconds. One afternoon my friend was preparing for a toddler birthday party when she looked at me, pointed to her espresso machine and said, “I wish I could make a cocktail with that at home!” Realizing the limited space for alcohol and mixers, I said, “I think I can do that!” and the idea for the Bibo Barmaid was born.
What was your biggest challenge in turning your idea into a product? Limited resources, including capital and a lack of employees, plus the challenges of building a new category in the marketplace were all obstacles to our launch and growth.
Were you working full time while developing Bibo as your side hustle? What was that like? It was a challenge! I had a full-time job with limited time for Bibo. Given the limitations, finding people who could manage the details during the week was critical to keep the effort moving. I continued working full-time during the engineering phase to bolster my savings.
How did you manage to get Bibo off the ground while juggling being a mom to three boys? My natural entrepreneurial drive is always in motion, but when this idea hit, the timing was right. My boys were older, and I decided it was time for me to reach for my dreams.
Were you working at home full time? Yes, and my boys were old enough to pitch in when needed.
Bibo is perfect for a girl’s night in. Tell us about your first girl’s night featuring Bibo once it was officially on the market. Our first soiree included 12 women at my neighbor’s house. When women commune, we love good food, great drinks and each other! Everyone loved the cocktails and the ease that Bibo provided in making them.
How do you manage to find time for yourself? This is a 24/7 passion project. With production and advertising abroad, I have many late-night meetings. I don’t mind; I love business and having my own company. I do take time to walk my dogs and when I can squeeze in the gym, I love to swim.
What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to a parent who wants to start a business? Three key things: 1) A solid plan and a good support system. 2) Whatever you think it may cost, double it. You’ll hit bumps along the way that cost time and money. 3) Know your break-even point to start paying yourself back and always have savings in place to cover personal costs.
What are your hopes for Bibo over the next couple of years? Strong and healthy growth to develop a brand that makes it easier for women to entertain and relax. Ultimately, I hope to have enough money to allow me to give back to organizations that support children with Asperger’s. This is my personal motivator—the purpose that keeps me going.