SME brands I like – Aquabumps

I’m a sucker for a great photo of anything beach-related (well, actually a sucker for anything beach-related, period). So when I stumbled across Aquabumps (@Aquabumps) I was hooked, and I am far from alone.

It all started when founder Eugene Tan (Uge) sent out a few surf photos to some friends to help pass the time at work. That was 1999. Today it has evolved into the Aquabumps blog feed that goes out free to 40,000 people every day.

The key part of this brand story is the way Uge has taken his favourite things – photography, surfing and the web and turned them into a business without diminishing his passion for them.

The photographs that Uge shoots every morning are more than just fodder for the enjoyment of beach and surf-starved desk jockeys, they are also sent as artworks all over the world, on display in his gallery located in the heart of Bondi and most recently featured in the self-published book A Day at Bondi (now in its second printing).

The cornerstone of Aquabumps is the daily newsletter blast. I’m not sure about others, but no matter what kind of day I’m having the hit of watery goodness never fails to make it better. Going along with the gorgeous photography is a brief daily download from Uge. And even when the surf’s flat and the clouds have rolled in, his casual notes let you into his world and take you along for the ride.

Last week I talked about how we needed to get past the hype about personal brand and back to the core of just being who you are and making that visible through what you say and do. Uge and his Aquabumps are a great example of doing just that. I’d go so far as to say that Uge has found his hedgehog – he’s found something he’s passionate about, that he’s really good at and that people will pay him to do!

So go take a peek at the blog, the Facebook page, or follow him on Twitter – even if surf and beaches aren’t your thing it’s hard not to be transported. And if they are – well 40,001 subscribers has a nice ring to it!

Here are three takeaways for other SMEs:

  • Start by doing something you love. The money follows.
  • One product with multiple channels for distribution can be enough.
  • Consistency and commitment are king – you’ve got to keep showing up.

As a note – anyone I mention in these blog posts is here solely because I like what they are doing and think others can pick up a tip or two from them.

If you like a brand and think I would like it too, post it in comments or give me a shout out on Twitter with the name and I promise I’ll look at them – can’t promise I’ll talk about them though.

See you next week.

Michel is an independent Brand advocate dedicated to helping organisations make promises they can keep and keep the promises they make – with a strong, resilient organisation as the result. She also publishes a blog at You can follow Michel on Twitter @michelhogan.


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