Justine Bertoldi – Wooden Elements

by Claire Minnaar

Tell us a bit about YOU and your family (where you are based, single / married, number of kids, etc)

We are based in Kommetjie, my partner (Ryan) and I work together and our children, (Indi-Gianna-4yrs and Finn-Paolo – 2yrs) are a very big part of our inspiration in the work we do. We love walks on the beach with our 2 retriever pup, pizzas and movies, swimming in the pool and just to be.

What is the name of your company and when did you start your business?

Wooden Elements (www.woodenelements.co.za) which we started 1,5yrs ago and we’ve just recently launched another product, Indi Surfa)

What inspired you to start your own business?

I trained as a Montessori directress, when I was teaching I found I had no more energy for my own children after teaching all morning. My partner is a carpenter and has specialized in timber frame homes and a lot of custom work. I was always asking him to make us treehouses, and cupboards (for our kids so they could dress themselves) and chairs and table. I really did not want the plastic furniture and toys as I know when kids are surrounded by beauty and quality they inherently learn to appreciate it.

What are the challenges you face or have faced being a working Mom and how have you overcome them?

Creating my work space as I work from home. So I moved their ‘playroom – shelves with all the toys- into the living area (they always want to be in the hub of things anyway) and I moved my desk from the living area into the spare room. VOILA I have an office/ head space. I also try structure my hours to work while they are at school or with their playmates. Then by lunchtime, or 2ish I have gotten most of my work done and can then be with them, swimming and playing etc. Also I have somebody for half days now helping me with the housework. That was a huge challenge, I really think it is way to stressful and virtually impossible to run a household ( cleaning washing etc etc etc etc) and still try to work and be with your kids. My housekeeper is wonderful, and I do see her as part of my team, couldn’t do it without her! Finding a balance is definitely challenging although not impossible. My sales coach, who has definitely helped me steer our business in the right direction has taught me lots. One is to not try do it all myself.

What is the hardest part or have been some of your struggles starting your own business?

Cash Flow. This is the trickiest as its so difficult to keep home finances separate from the business. Still trying to get around this one.

How do you balance your business and your family?

Ask for and accept help. Remember to eat properly throughout the day and take time out, for myself and with the kids. Even a 20 minute walk on the beach can recharge me. And BREATHE!!! Breathe deep and long all day.

What or whom has been the greatest support for you and your business?

MMM tough one, as I am blessed with so many supportive people all with different roles.

My mentor, my sales coach, my wonderful friend and photographer for our business, and obviously my partner
And our wonderful family members – they know who they are…

Oh and not to forget our very important clients.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

Mmm yes I would win the lottery first.

What advice can you give other Moms out there who are starting a new business?

Don’t try do it all and burn yourself out, I have done that too many times. First and foremost: take care of your mental, spiritual, emotional and physical well being first , then do everything else – including kids, work, housework etc.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us that I may have missed?

Yes – just that I am grateful for everything in my life exactly as it is :

If other Moms would like to keep in touch, how can they contact you?

Email: Justine (at) woodenelements.co.za
Website www.woodenelements.co.za
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Woodenelementsplayparks/

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Christine January 20, 2011 - 8:02 pm

Hi Justine

I’ve just spent the best part of an hour looking at your website and your Flickr gallery and all I can say is WOW! If I was a kid, I would so want one of your tree houses … hey, I’m still a kid! I WANT ONE!! What an extremely talented duo and your partner are!

Justine January 24, 2011 - 9:04 am

Hi Christine,

Thank you so much for your positive feedback, it’s always so awesome to hear and makes us both smile and feel a bit more inspired.

Jolene January 21, 2011 - 8:17 am

I am, of course, VERY proud to call you my sister-in-law. A very beautiful person and you will succeed in all you do because of all the love and light in you.

Lushano January 23, 2011 - 11:34 am

Well I am incredibly proud of you Juzzie,What a great article.Well done and i feel very happy for you Guy`s you deserve all the goodness that this planet earth provides us with XXL

ann Bertoldi February 2, 2011 - 2:25 pm

Justine I am so proud of you and what you have achieved for your wonderful family. May both you and Ryan and the children grow from strength to strength in your daily lives and may your business grow with you all. xxxxxxMom

Geraldine Hartley February 5, 2011 - 5:18 am

Hi Juzzie received this link from your mom and had a look at it just wanted to say it must be such a wonderful feeling after long hours , sweat and tears to be able to see and have others inspired by the fruits of your labour. All the best as your business grows from strength to strength. The kids are just lovely. Take care. Gez


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