She's the business
In our series on the mums behind successful Kiwi businesses, Jodine Thornton of Decorlicious talks of the personal tragedy that helped turned her life around "Feeling sorry for yourself can make you sick," says Jodine matter-of-factly as she tells how her mother, grandmother, uncle and best friend died of cancer all in the space of a couple of years. To top it off her father died of cancer last year.
It was tough for a few years, and the grief and stress contributed to the chronic fatigue she suffered for years. But now she looks at her life and feels blessed. She has two children, Sophia, four and John, two, a "lovely" husband and a business she's passionate about.
From her home in the Bay of Plenty, Jodine imports children's wall art, bed linen, toys and much more, distributing to retailers throughout New Zealand.
Jodine and husband Peter both used to work long hours when they lived in Auckland. Jodine worked 10-hour shifts for Telecom and would often arrive home just as Peter set off for work.
Then Jodine came down with chronic fatigue syndrome and, following redundancy from Telecom, the couple decided to sell up in Auckland and move to Papamoa to start a new life in the kiwifruit industry. But it was the arrival of her daughter Sophia Rose that really changed her life. The pregnancy cured her of her chronic fatigue and brought along new career plans. Looking for great designs to decorate Sophia's room, she found herself picking up deals to supply New Zealand retailers with beautiful interiors products for kids.
"I didn't go out looking to be a distributor - it was all word of mouth."
She got talking to Natalie from ForWalls at a gift fair and it snowballed from there. Decorlicious was launched three years ago and now carries 14 brands. One night last year she was contacted at midnight by a man from Denmark wanting her to distribute his wooden toys. She wasn't sure how they'd sell so brought in just a few as a taster. But since then the Moover prams, trucks and rockers have been moving fast out the door.
When it comes to choosing her products, Jodine follows her gut instinct - and sometimes her daughter's advice. Sophia is her "mini director" and both children put new products to the test, providing candid feedback.
Jodine loves it all - even if it means staying up until 1am doing the accounts. She loves her retailers and suppliers, saying they're just like family now. And she's resisted growing too big, turning down advances from The Warehouse so she could remain a boutique business.
This year, having achieved a solid base for her business, she plans to hand over her paperwork to her accountant to get more time with the kids.
"There's more to life than working, says Jodine. Although a chronic workaholic, she's learning to get the balance right between work and life. "I just look at life - you're here, you don't know what's going to happen next.
"I'm used to people dying around me now," she says grimly. "I just get on with life. And what you put in is what you get out, that's what my mum always said to me. So I live life to the full."
The Moover pram (pictured right, as seen in issue 15 of OHbaby!) and other Moover toys have been flying out the door since Jodine of Decorlicious began importing them.
Jodine, (pictured at top with her family), is carving out her dream life in the Bay of Plenty, importing children's products such as the Little Chipipi bedding and wall stickers, Eeboo Animal Bingo and ForWalls window decals (pictured below).
Photography: Family phot: Jody Beattie Photography.
Photo of Moover Pram: Fiona Tomlinson