Bernadette will be in Rarotonga next week and not for the first time.
Last time she came on holiday; this time her trip is more work related, although she’s hoping to fit in some rest and relaxation activities too – although I get the feeling this woman seldom stops long enough to rest.
Bernadette has an economics and commerce background and a Masters in Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She is passionate about seeing businesses grow and develop to their full potential.
I’m writing this on Mother’s Day – a day women like me spend time reflecting on our roles and the roles all mums play in our world. In my view, there is no job more important than being a good mum, nana, aunt, or any female role model – none whatsoever.
It was Bernadette’s own grandmother who provided the pivotal motivation to the now hugely successful entrepreneur.
Bernadette was born into a very business orientated family in India, and it was from her grandmother, at a very young age, that she developed her inspiration and motivation to one day own her own company.
Bernadette was 21 when she left Mumbai and moved to New Zealand.
Bernadette stayed home raising her three children for 11 years before turning her attention to looking for a part-time job.
She found the task daunting given her “perceived” lack of “experience”, so the decision to establish her own business came about more as a necessity than an option.
Her first venture into business was a natural hair removal product that she had been making at home for years for family and friends on her stove top.
The family recipe had been passed down through many generations but Bernadette knew that for it to have appeal to a wider Kiwi audience she needed a “Kiwi” slant to it, and so she modified the recipe adding kiwifruit and aloe vera.
Years later this initial cottage-based product is part of a suite of products that come under the umbrella of Bernadette’s company – Brand Values Limited. Brands like Natural Glow, Radiessence, Enliven Body Treatments, BodEze and the Pharo Salon Sugarng System.
Bernadette’s primary reason for coming to Rarotonga this time is to launch the Pharo 24 Carat Rose Gold.
“Raro has more beautiful exotic weddings than New Zealand so we are predicting it will be a very popular treatment in the spas and salons here.
“Rarotongan beauty therapists are also very creative people and have a good taste for the exotic, so we thought launching here was fitting. The Cook Islands is such a stunning country and it is a perfect complement to our beautiful, green, eco-friendly products”.
Bernadette feels so strongly about her social responsibility to New Zealand society that all the company’s brands support charities, sporting franchises or social causes.
She uses her business endeavours to channel some of her resources directly and indirectly into the wider community.
Bernadette is an inspiring working mum. She has three children, the two older ones are at university and the youngest, 16 is at high school.
In her “down time” Bernadette is a keen golfer and jewellery maker; maybe she’ll have enough downtime to partake in both these activities whilst here.
Given it was Mother’s Day yesterday, I asked if she had any advice for working mums and not surprisingly she had some very sage advice.
“Don’t be too hard on yourself, you are probably doing a lot better than you allow yourself to believe. Include your children in your life whether you are working or in business and you will be surprised how much they learn from you”.
Bernadette is looking forward to meeting as many local women as she can whilst here.
Whilst in Rarotonga Bernadette will also take time out to speak at a Cook Islands Business and Professional Women’s networking event being held at Trader Jacks from 4.30pm to 7pm on Thursday, May 19.
The BPW event will provide a relaxed opportunity for members and non-members alike to hear from Bernadette directly and to quiz her too.
And here’s a heads up to Jack and Rosa for the 19th – Bernadette’s favourite food is Mexican. For information on where to buy tickets contact Lynne at the Chamber on 20925 or Jaewynn on 55486.
- Jaewynn McKay