How many adventures can one person have? If you ask Monica Werner it’s as many as you can cram into a lifetime. The savvy businesswoman and talented designer behind her self-named brand is showing all of us you can have it all, plus a little bit of fun.
Monica Werner has lead an extraordinary life filled with travel, adventures, exotic locations and courageous endeavours. She is living proof that you can reinvent yourself and have more than one career in a lifetime.
Monica is a city-dwelling professional turned designer and entrepreneur who runs her own business styling interiors and producing textiles such as cushions, table cloths and screen printed tea towels.
Monica grew up in Sweden and completed a Bachelor of Business in London, going on to visit over 40 different countries and live in several including Belgium, where “the chocolate was amazing,” Bali, “before everybody moved there,” and Wales, “lovely people, but the weather really got me down”.
After finishing her university degree, Monica was offered a dream job in Bali.
“I was expected to work in a bank but I yearned to travel and to explore the world,” she says, “I left London and arrived in Bali where I worked in hotel management and travelled frequently to India where we had five large resorts.
“It was a challenging and exciting time. I was outside my comfort zone, living alone in a faraway country. It taught me resilience and to trust myself.”
It was also the place where Monica met her husband Andrew.
“He is Welsh and was just passing through Bali to catch some waves on his way to Australia,” she remembers fondly.
But the pair fell in love, taking them both by surprise and curtailing both of their ambitious plans.
“It was very strange, after a week we had this connection, we knew we would spend the rest of our lives together,” she says.
“We came to Australia 12 years ago and settled in Sydney, where we married and our daughter was born.”
About four years ago a career and lifestyle change brought them to the Sunshine Coast. Monica’s husband, who had studied industrial design at university, wanted to get out of the computer-based office environment and learn the art of carpentry and building.
“He got this fantastic opportunity, so within seven weeks we had packed up, rented out our unit in Sydney to move to the Sunshine Coast,” she says. “This also paved the way for me to reinvent myself in this beautiful natural landscape, among creative people.”
While Monica is no stranger to textiles, having worked in the garment industry in the UK and for Sheridan’s head office in Sydney, her new venture is a far cry from her former career as business analyst.
“I’ve always wanted to run my own business – my father was an entrepreneur and I wanted to put my business background into practice. I also wanted to do something creative,” she says.
“Andrew and I share a love of interior design and renovating houses, he was learning a new trade and I saw our move to the beautiful Sunshine Coast as an opportunity to do something creative.”
Monica’s passion for interiors and yearning to be creative led her to launch Monica Werner Designs in 2011.
“My travels inspire me,” she says, “and my designs are influenced by my Scandinavian heritage but with an Australian twist.
“I love clean lines, unfussy designs and natural fibres.”
Monica now designs and makes a large variety of cushions and homewares and says you can transform tired cane furniture by changing the fabric seats.
“New seats can add valuable additional living space to a home and cushions are the quickest and most cost effective way to add colour and comfort to any space.
“I love white, but colour really works well in our climate – so many people shy away from colour in their homes. I think they worry they will get it wrong.
“Colour makes you happy and pops of it will enhance any home.”