Jenny Etherington, Holmsäter Ltd
Jenny Etherington set up Holmsäter Ltd with her husband Thomas Holmsäter Mortimer in 1993 after being unable to source a high-quality, non-plastic swing for their daughter Solvej. They wanted her to be able to experience the joys of swinging and so created their own out of more natural materials. This was the birth of the Solvej Swing and more recently the Baby Kea Swing. Jenny and Thomas live in Matiere in the King Country and their daughter is now 18.
As a child… I had no idea what I wanted to do. At high school the apparent career options for girls were teaching, nursing or secretarial work - none of which I felt very passionate about.
The most helpful product for looking after my child was… Our swing! We were working from home so needed something to keep her entertained and safe while I sewed swings. She was content that she could still see me, yet was out from under my feet. It also often lulled her to sleep!
I used to feel "mummy guilt"… But a kind friend eased the guilt a little by pointing out to me that I worked from home and my daughter was always with me during this time. Despite her presence the feeling that there were more engaging things I could be doing with her continued to cause me guilt.
The smartest thing we did with our business was… Exporting. Our move into the overseas market, particularly Australia, carried us through when the recession hit NZ and provides us with the market to grow the business in ways that New Zealand is too small to provide.
The biggest mistake we made was… Not moving fast enough. We were very cautious and missed opportunities to grow our business quicker.
The most interesting or surprising thing about my family is that we… Own two churches, a bank and a butcher shop for home and workshops. That's probably considered unusual!
We named our daughter "Solvej" because… When I was pregnant we were travelling in Sweden, my husband's home country. In the mediaeval village where we were living we met a young woman called Solvej. It was an uncommon name and we liked both the meaning - the path of the sun - and the sound. The Swedish origin gives Solvej a link to her Swedish heritage.