British born, Dubai-based founder of organic produce company Ripe, Becky Balderstone is a mama of 2 gorgeous kids, Freya and Buddy and the wonder woman behind Ripe vegetable boxes, The Ripe shop and of course the amazing Ripe Market. As if this wasn’t enough, she also runs her own brand consultancy, Beka Group, all while juggling family and friends. Becky, we salute you!
Name: Becky Balderstone
Occupation: Founder of Ripe
Children: Freya, Buddy
How long have you lived in Dubai? 8 years
1) Tell us about your business and why you started it.
I decided to launch Ripe when I found I couldn’t source seasonal, organic and local, fresh produce boxes here, like I could in the UK and elsewhere. And because my husband works in agriculture, I knew there was an abundance of local UAE farms, growing great produce, but no specific retail outlet for organic fruits and veggies. So we launched Ripe.
I also run my own brand consultancy company, Beka Group, which is still going strong today. Beka Group helps introduce brands to the Middle East market; supporting the company from start to finish with everything from understanding the competition and the market conditions to appointing distributors and implementing a marketing and product launch plan.
2) What do you feel have been your biggest achievements both in your personal life and career so far?
Launching Ripe and sending out our first delivery was a pretty amazing moment for me. And seeing how far Ripe has come, how the markets are expanding and being so well received by the community is always exciting. And I love watching our amazing Ripe team growing before my eyes, that’s very exciting for me. And successfully navigating pregnancy whilst running the business was a pretty big achievement!
3) As a child what did you dream of being when you ‘grew up’?!
A dancer, I was completely obsessed with Kylie Minogue growing up and would spend all my time with my two best friends making up dance routines to her songs.
4) If you had 3 wishes, what would they be?
I always wish for the same thing and that is to be Happy, Healthy and Successful in everything that I want to achieve.
5) What does being a Sassy Mama mean to you?
Any recognition that I receive for the hard work I put into Ripe always means the world to me. Just being nominated for this award is fantastic and I am so grateful for the support.
6) What’s a typical day in your life like?
I wake up at 6am or earlier, grab a green juice and get the kids ready for nursery. I drop them off on my way into the office by which point I am in need of coffee. I spend the mornings in the office, catching up with the Ripe team and working on current and future projects. At lunchtime, I go pick the kids up and spend time with them in the afternoon, doing activities together. Work often creeps into the evenings too when the kids have gone to bed, but me and my husband always set aside quality time together, to cook, go out for a walk or try out a different restaurant.
7) What’s your guilty pleasure?
My morning coffee.
8) What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given in your personal life and career?
Happiness comes first.
9) What do you most enjoy doing as a family in Dubai?
We like being outside as a family as much as possible (weather permitting) so going to the beach or to the park are some great ways to get outside with the kids. My kids are quite young so we don’t go to wild with the activities, but Freya and Buddy both love animals so we make regular visits to the Dubai Aquarium and the zoo.
10) What is the ‘best-kept’ secret in Dubai, something fellow mamas should know about?
The new running track that the Dubai Government have built in Umm Sequim along the beach front is fantastic. It runs from the Burj Al Arab all the way towards Jumeirah and is a great place to go walking, running or with the kids and let them ride their bikes to burn off some energy. Utilising the exercise machines they have installed or walking off the stresses of the day watching the sun set is a fab way to end the day.
11) Which three words best describe your personality?
Passionate, positive and friendly.
12) What advice would you have for a new mama?
Sleep is so precious. Savour those moments of quiet while you can. And trust your instincts; don’t get too caught up in what everyone else tells you.
13) What advice would you give to a mama who wants to go back to work or start her own business but is worried about juggling family and career?
Get yourself organised and plan as much as you can for busy periods. And be strict with yourself – give yourself a time to stop work and spend time with the family and stick to it.
14) If you were on an island and could bring only three things (family not included) what would they be?
I would just bring my iPhone with internet connection and a charger, so I could keep in touch with all of my favourite people. I love to read so it would keep me entertained for hours and my i-phone has all of my favourite music, my camera, and of course all of my pictures and videos of my family!
15) Top 3 books?
I am reading The Expat at the moment by Chris Pavone. Its light hearted and an easy read which is what I like. I also love reading blogs! Some good foodie ones are Green Kitchen Stories, Love and Lemons, Honestly Healthy.
16) Describe your style
My style is quite casual and revolves around comfort; having two young kids, visiting farms and working in a warehouse means my wardrobe has to have a practical element. But I like colour and play with prints to keep things interesting.
17) If there was a movie produced about your life, who would you choose to play you and why?
Oh I have no idea! I love Jennifer Lawrence, Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz so any of them would be awesome!
18) Tell us something funny that your kids have said or done
Freya has recently started to take an interest in my make-up, one evening (when I thought she was asleep) she went into my bedroom and gave herself a ‘make over’, needless to say the end result wasn’t as flattering as she had hoped, I no longer have any make-up left and it took me a long time to remove the red lipstick from her eyebrows!