Real Life

Expecting success

Best friends Louisa Currie (35) and Heidi Riley (38) had no idea that their scheme for escaping office jobs would see them working even harder than before. The full-time mums from Auckland set up an online business selling baby products around the world, thinking they could combine motherhood with working from home. But neither was prepared for the long hours they’d spend working at night.

With their website Belly Beyond (www.bellybeyond.co.nz) already more successful than they dreamed possible, Louisa and Heidi, who each have two children, are now working 50 to 60 hours a week.

“We had no idea nine-to-five might actually be the easier option. We do a lot of work at night,” Louisa says. “We hoped the business would take off, but how fast it’s happened has been simply amazing.”

It all began when Louisa found out she was pregnant with Zachary (now 20 months). “I said to Heidi, ‘I’m not going back to work. What are we going to do?'” she recalls. “Let’s work for ourselves!” replied Heidi, who came up with the clever idea of selling gift packs for expectant mums. That initial concept has grown into a business selling more than 300 products for mothers and babies.

Louisa and Heidi put their success down to their bargain prices, quick service and the fact there’s no need to pay GST on products sold overseas. Baby carriers and nappy bags are their biggest-selling items, and other popular products include sexy lingerie and stainless-steel drink bottles for toddlers, which have proved to be a hit with mums concerned about the possible dangers of plastic bottles.

“Australians have gone bananas for our stock – the exchange rate means they’re getting a fantastic deal,” Louisa explains. Heidi and Louisa’s friendship has stayed strong during the year they’ve been working together – but both say they don’t really get to hang out as friends any more. oost Fridays are devoted to taking their children out, while Louisa and Heidi talk shop.

The pair met nine years ago when Louisa’s brother Tony brought Heidi to her wedding as his date. Although that relationship didn’t last, Heidi’s friendship with Louisa has. “We joke that we got to ‘keep Heidi’ when they split,” Louisa jokes.

Now married to Chris, Heidi is thrilled to be able to work from home. “It’s fantastic being able to spend so much time with my seven-month-old son Finn, even though I don’t like the late hours.” But there is one big advantage to their new lifestyle: “I never have to set my alarm,” Louisa grins. “I love that.”

  • Vicky Tyler

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