10 Questions with Bernadette Soares
- 4th September 2020 -
Bernadette Soares is an impressive woman. She is a mother, wife, business entrepreneur, motivational speaker, author, counsellor and now, a party candidate for the New Conservative Party. We sat down with Bernadette for a quick round of questions to get to know more.
How did you get started?
As a child, I knew that one day I would own my own company. I grew up in India surrounded by a very business-oriented family and was inspired by stories about my grandmother who had set up our family property empire. My children were still quite young when I started my business in NZ and as much as I loved being a mum, I missed the creative side of working and needed a new challenge.
Looking for a part time job after 11 years of being a stay at home mum was daunting and I faced the barriers of perception around experience and responsibilities. So setting up my own business became more of a necessity than an option. I tossed around a few ideas until I realised that I had a potential business sitting right in front of me. For several years I had been producing a natural hair removal product for family and friends made on my home stove from a family recipe. All I needed to do was improve the formula, so it resonated with kiwis. I added Kiwifruit and Aloe Vera and before I knew it my business was underway.
What was next?
Brand Value was born! This is my umbrella company for four successful beauty brands: Pharo Sugaring, Natural Glow, Radiessence and BodEze.
Brand value is a family-run business - what importance do you think that has?
Family businesses are the beating heart of the economy and in the NZ Business Economy, family-run businesses are vital to sustain economic health and life. Family businesses also serve a valuable purpose of introducing younger family members of the next generation with the ethos of hard work and innovation.
As a Kiwi entrepreneur what has been your biggest challenge?
Distance to markets is one of the biggest challenges that New Zealand entrepreneurs face. Because of this, I started out by optimising my resources and focused on growing sales in NZ before I took the next steps to exporting. Another big challenge is managing the costs of goods. We are proud to manufacture our products here in NZ, but the cost is much higher than the likes of Asia or India, making it harder for us to compete on price points with some of the global cosmetic brands.
What tips would you give to someone who wanted to start a business from home?
Take into consideration your passion, skill set and available resources. When starting a business from home you have limited resources, so you need to be careful with how you allocate them. For my Beauty Brand, the key to growing from our roots to where we are today has been to strategically form alliances with other businesses and partners, leveraging off their resources, skills, and associations.
What is one of your favourite quotes?
Strive not to merely become a person of success but a person of significance- Albert Einstein
You founded the Let Your Light Shine Charitable Trust - tell us a bit about that?
Yes absolutely, the desire and vision to set up a charity has been in my heart for a long time, from the day I started by business. I wanted to be able to leverage my success to channel a portion of my business revenue and goodwill to benefit the wider community. The vision of Let Your Light Shine is to see small towns throughout NZ that are struggling economically and socially transform into thriving hubs of local and society activity. We engage with these small communities by mentoring and facilitating networking between individuals and organisations to develop innovative business ideas and strategies.
How important is family to you?
Family is the most important thing. I am blessed to have a very supportive husband and have three wonderful children.
What are you passionate about?
My latest passion is running as a New Conservative party candidate for the Upper Harbour Electorate. We are lobbying for a few things, one of them being a Tax and Income splitting policy, which will put more cash in the hands of families. This one is important to me as I was a full-time mum for 12 years and it was incredibly tough surviving on one income.
What makes you a good representative for the New Conservative Party?
I live and breathe the Upper Harbour, having lived there for the last 30 years. My experiences as an employee, mum, immigrant, and businesswoman I believe, give me a strong footing to represent the New Conservative Party. Overall, I want to help better my community.