Meet the Mompreneur behind nüba


Today, we chat to Marlene Abrie, the founder of nüba.

If you are a mom who is building a startup or who already owns a business, please get in touch! I want to feature you.

Meet Marlene, the founder of nüba

My name is Marlene Abrie, wife to Johan and mom to Riebenn-James (2) and Nicola (8). I’m married to an entrepreneur and we live in George with hubby commuting a lot. My hobbies right now are my kids, hubby and 3 dogs. Apart from this, I try my best to live clean in all areas of my life and to share special moments with my family, friends and the odd stranger that crosses my path.

Being present in the present is where life happens.

Tell us about your company?

I started my first business in 2002 (Affinity Strategic Communication) and I helped other brands to grow their awareness and market share.  I always wanted a brand/product of my own to nurture and grow but circumstances didn’t always allow for this. So it’s been a long and slow process as I’ve started with nüba in 2014 and only launched my new line recently. I aim to provide exceptional furniture which has superior craftsmanship at affordable prices. Especially items that aren’t available in SA.

How did you come up with the name for your company?

I initially started with top-end cots and baby furniture and after visiting the largest baby expo in Shanghai I knew that my name was on parr with other international brands – a name that is short and easy to remember.  I basically added new and baby together and came up with nüba. 

nüba has been in a development phase for 4 years and before this, I started Affinity in 2002. This is, however, a totally new experience and ball game which is quite exciting and frightening at the same time!

What is the hardest part about running your own business?

The days are never long enough to feel that I’ve done all I could between business, being a mom and running errands. My days are never the same and I had to come to the realisation that this is my new normal. I try to do the best I can with what I have. And I’m still learning not to be too hard on myself.

Which social media platform do you love?

I’ve never been a huge social media person but like most people, I love looking at pretty pictures so I’d have to say Pinterest (for their visuals and ideas) and Instagram (for their user-friendliness). The admin side of some platforms can get a bit intimidating some days!

Name a goal for 2019 that you want to achieve?

It would be a dream come true if I can inspire parents and kids through nüba’s products. In SA, we don’t always have a wide selection when it comes to beautiful design and my desire is to offer exceptional designs that inspire, at affordable prices. I’ve just introduced our Oak finish and the look and feel of Oak is truly inspiring and affordable.

What motivates you to get out of bed every day?

Gratitude and my two kids that need to get dressed and fed on time!

How do you manage your successful career while being a mom?

Juggling is not easy and at most, disruptive! Therefore I’ve never been one to strive for perfection and I think you can miss the magic in the process if you’re too obsessed with all the detail. I aim to be exceptional and to inspire through my work.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received about motherhood?


You can’t always do it all or think of everything. If I can get my kids to live close to their creator, then I’ve achieved what’s most important.

What has surprised you the most about being a mom?

How much we learn from our children and how they make us snap back into the moment. It’s wonderful to become a child with them sometimes. 

What are your top tips for balancing work life and home life?

I don’t believe in balance – that’s just too hard on a day to day basis but if your priorities and perspective are intact, you’ll find your groove.

Funding is difficult and I believe in growing a business organically with what you’ve got rather than raising or loaning capital. The pressure of debt can easily eat away your creativity and passion. 

Who has been your inspiration in the business world?

This may be corny but my hubby who is a go-getter, never-quitting type of entrepreneur helps me tremendously. I battle to be content if I don’t ask God daily for direction and wisdom. As humans, we can only go so far but with infinite wisdom, we can go so much further!

Share some of your failures and the best lessons you have learned from them?

As with life, business and people in business are unpredictable.  Not to speak of the economy, trends and how difficult it is to build an exceptional brand.  When things get challenging or go wrong, stick it out and believe in your vision.  Take it a day at a time and make the most with what you’ve got!

How do you define success?

To me, success in life is having a good perspective, knowing your priorities and to then determine your goals.  This is a thread you can pull through in all areas of life.

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Hi, I’m Shan. I’m an entrepreneur and a sucker for good adventures. I was listed in Forbes Africa 30 under 30 2019 and just recently launched my start-up – MomSays.

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