Dr Zigs Extraordinary Bubbles

The Welsh Government Responsible Small Business of the Year Award, Winner 2016

Using innovation and ethical business practices, Dr Zigs has turned bubbles into profit. Constantly updating its products and manufacturing process, the firm is changing the world, one bubble at a time.

Good for business

  • Following its ethical model, Dr Zigs is growing year-on-year and becoming more profitable. The company is becoming famous locally.
  • By using local recycled and reclaimed materials for most of the building of its new café, kids’ pirate ship, and bubble barn, Dr Zigs has saved around £8,000.

Good for society

  • The dowels Dr Zigs uses are produced from FSC certified wood, ropes are made from 100% untreated cotton and the bottles are 100% recyclable.
  • Customers are offered a £3 discount off their refills. Last summer alone over 150 bottles were returned for refilling.

Dr Zigs logo

Overview

Dr Zigs Extraordinary Bubbles makes giant bubble toys and mixes. The firm also creates bubble performances at large or smaller scale events like concerts, weddings and birthdays.  Dr Zigs has also just created the world’s first Giant Bubble attraction – the Bubble Barn and Bubble Café.

The firm also has a collection and sorting point for donations for refugees.

Dr Zigs has a strong ethical approach to its work and take its corporate responsibility very seriously. The company has built and improved upon the methods used by competitors and other toy makers to make sure its environmental impact is kept to a minimum. All Dr Zigs’ products are evaluated using full life cycle analysis, which looks at all of the hidden costs manufacturers often overlook. This governs the firm’s manufacturing methods, materials sourcing and waste prevention policies.

The company’s desire to be eco-friendly means it constantly re-evaluates its materials, particularly when scaling up. The bubble recipe used has lower surfactant content than Ecover products.  

Dr Zig’s innovative approach, using the pop-up shop model, has enabled the firm to access new geographical markets whilst reviving local economies. All the water used is now sourced from Halen Môn, Anglesey Sea Salt, where it was a waste by-product.  Now it has value to both firms.

Background

Dr Zigs is committed to environmental sustainability, on a local and global scale. These principles are embedded in the firm’s products, ensuring bubble kits are extremely high-quality and made, where possible, of natural materials. The dowels are produced from certified wood, ropes are made from 100% untreated cotton and bottles are 100% recyclable, and contain recycled plastic.

Customers are offered a £3 discount off their refills - last summer alone, over 150 bottles were returned for refilling and there has been a very positive response to the scheme. In 2014, Dr Zigs became signatories to the Welsh Sustainable Business Charter.

Doing good with bubbles

The Bubble Café is a vegetarian restaurant which promotes local produce. Around 5% of the Café’s profits are fed directly into the firm’s Bubbles Not Bombs projects - which include sending bubbles across the world to make kids happier.

Dr Zigs works closely with local schools, doing regular science workshops and environmental sessions. The firm also sponsors several local charities and is developing a new package of workshops for hospitals.

Regular staff meetings also flag up recycling possibilities and community volunteering opportunities. Dr Zigs has recently taken on a trainee who has just become its first apprentice. The firm will be taking on a second trainee in the next month. Both of these young people were previously at risk of falling out of the education and employment systems.

Flexible group thinking

Dr Zigs measures its impact with regular meetings with team members, ongoing monitoring of data, using online systems, remote access apps and other technology. Targets are set monthly for a variety of areas from stock to staffing levels to event management, these are reviewed weekly, and any anomalies or variations are flagged up. Dr Zigs is a fast growing and dynamic business so it is important that the management keep on top of developments. 

The firm uses Google Docs and this enables it to keep comprehensive records and keep track of measurable targets. All crew have access and each has sales information so the sales success can be measured. This is constantly monitored so that adjustments can be made to increase sales if problems are noticed and further training can be provided. The advantage this has is that it also allows crew members to work remotely further increasing the flexibility of the business.

What Dr Zigs' Bubbler in Chief said:

“In this day and age we cannot ignore climate change nor grave humanitarian crisis happening on our doorsteps. I would like to show that not only is it our duty to act, but also that acting makes sound business sense. Many people find out about us because of the work we do for refugees, or our Bubbles Not Bombs projects, and then become our customers.  Others become our customers by buying our toys or seeing us at festivals, and then realise that we offer £3 off refills, so we start the discussion about recycling and reducing waste. Our motto: ‘Changing the World One Bubble at a Time’ and I believe were doing just that.”  - Paola Dyboski-Bryant, Bubbler in Chief