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Article: Getting to Know Debbie Tan

Getting to Know Debbie Tan

I was born in New Zealand but have lived in Australia since I was a year old and today live in Bondi with my two boys and husband. Together with my husband Uge, we own and run Aquabumps, a fine art Gallery and creative agency in Bondi.

A little bit about herself

I was born in New Zealand but have lived in Australia since I was a year old and today live in Bondi with my two boys and husband. Together with my husband Uge, we own and run Aquabumps, a fine art Gallery and creative agency in Bondi. I am a hippy at heart, I love to be surrounded by nature, close to the ocean - the light of a sunrise, sunset. The anticipation of travel, to see new things, new cultures, people, smells - the simple things - like a swim first thing. The ritual of a cup of tea, my friends and family, my boys. I live from my heart and feel deeply. I have always been career driven and very hard working - and balance it all with movement. Pilates, surfing, a soft sand run - or a dance.

Where she grew up

I grew up on the mid north coast and lived between Lismore, Ballina and Byron before moving to sydney when I was 21. I went to a small country school and my holidays were filled with waterfalls and beaches and caravan parks and pools and Buffalo Bills.

Her work

I moved to Sydney after completing my business degree at Southern Cross university in Lismore and spent many years working in advertising agencies as a Group Account Director, and left there to join the magazine world as Sales Director of Harper’s BAZAAR for 7 years. After that I spent some time consulting to RUSSH Magazine while I ran my own small business of sponsorships and branded content with Aussie Fashion Designers, and my last 14 years alongside my husband in our business Aquabumps, applying all of my skills to the commercial side of our business - so effectively running a little content, travel, brand activation marketing agency.

The making of Aquabumps

Aquabumps started as a hobby. My hubbie Uge, who loves surfing and photography would shoot pictures at the beach at sunrise of surfers, swimmers the sunrise and send them in an email to mates before blogs, social media even existed. The email was shared with mates of mates and grew organically - from there the brand was established as Aquabumps (waves and water) and the daily blog was born. The Gallery followed in 2004. I bought an artwork from the Gallery in 2005 and the rest is history. Fell in love with the founder and photographer and together we have grown the business, we have worked with some of the biggest brands in the world and still do to this day - Google, Dropbox, Audi, Land Rover, The Australian Ballet, Santa Vittoria, Canon, Clinique, Bassike, Speedo, Bailey Nelson, Havaianas, Netflix, SBS, Samsung, Peroni, Corona, tourism Australia, Destination NSW, Hawaiian Airlines, Qantas - to name a few. We’re small, agile and super hard working. We have 3 full time staff in our Gallery outside of us, along with casuals, and a lot of people think there is a big team of us - but with my side of the business it’s Uge and I. I think people enjoy working with a small family run business, you get us - and in all my years everyone we’ve ever worked with is so happy with our alignment and output, that makes me proud.

Her family/work balance

The tough part of small business, is there is never truly a holiday where it’s tools down. But I’m not complaining. We have traveled all over the world, had some of the most amazing experiences with our family in tow. That is important to me, keeping us together and making it work - time with them in the surf for school holidays and work around them - they grow up so fast I don’t want to miss a thing. When school is on we buckle down and are in our showroom everyday.

Her mantra on Motherhood

Be present & patient – it goes so fast.

What she has learnt from being a Mum

Patience, unwavering love, to be kind to yourself - as you won’t always get it right but trying your best is the best mum you can be. To read and educate myself when things get tough on the parenting front and rely on the support of other Mummas/Dads’ advice. Don’t be too proud to seek and ask for help when you need it most. To surf – because I didn’t want to miss a thing.

To all the Mums out there

We’re in it together. At times it seems to go so slow when you’re in the thick of it, but it goes so very fast – so try not to miss the important stuff. They only need us for such a short time – embrace it and know all mums lose their shit and that’s so ok too! Write down the funny stuff, I use my Instagram for this and love looking back on all the phases. On the bad days know that tomorrow will be better.

Her grounding practices

A swim in the sea everyday - all year round. I’m a ritual girl - so a hot cuppa in my garden or on our deck up the coast in the morning. Pilates, surfing, a run. Reading my book. A long hot bath.

Her favourite place in the world

It’s up the coast and it’s my happy place - but it’s so good I keep it a secret. And where I grew up, Byron and the hinterland is very special to me.

Her happiest place in nature

All forms of nature, the sea, the rainforest, the bush, a creek swim, vast open space and not rushing is when I am happiest.

What holds most important to her in life

My family and my friends - I live for them.

She will never be to old to

Surf with my boys, dance with my boys, go on a trip with my girlfriends or try new things with my best mate - my hubby.

What she believes makes a woman beautiful

A big smile and a warm heart. I am surrounded by the most beautiful girlfriends and this is what makes them so beautiful, they radiate kindness and warmth and fill my cup up whenever I am around them.

Her mantra

Do more of the things that make you happy.

Her favourite EE Style

Her favourite EE Style I love the relaxed yet elegance to EE clothes. They flow and move with your body. I absolutely love the Ainu dress, I am a new found lover of the Novo flare pant and the Catalina top - they keep the smell and feel of summer with you all year round.

Where we can find her



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