Business award nomination shows Banika has work-family balancing act spot on

SUPERMUM: Young mother, entrepreneur and business owner Banika Smee with her two children Madwick, 5, and Bilijana, 2. Mrs Smee has been nominated in the Aus Mumpreneur and Telstra business woman of the year awards for her online and wholesale bamboo clothing business.
Photo: MARK LOGAN 0727mum1

SUPERMUM: Young mother, entrepreneur and business owner Banika Smee with her two children Madwick, 5, and Bilijana, 2. Mrs Smee has been nominated in the Aus Mumpreneur and Telstra business woman of the year awards for her online and wholesale bamboo clothing business. Photo: MARK LOGAN 0727mum1

ANY working mother will tell you juggling work and a young family is a big task.

But add to that a home office environment where you are trying to grow your business while you manage the different sleep times of your young children under five, and the challenge seems enormous.

But not so for newcomer to Orange Banika Smee, who uses her home office to source product, take deliveries and organise dispatches for her online and wholesale clothing business.

Mrs Smee has been recognised for her business acumen with nominations in the AusMumpreneur awards for working mothers and the Telstra business woman of the year for 2014.

“It is demanding working from home when you have two children with completely different sleep patterns,” she said.

Mrs Smee and her husband Mark moved from Sydney’s north shore in April where they lived a stones throw from the beach at Narrabeen.

They found their busy working lifestyle spent negotiating traffic queues left little time for socialising, going to the beach and spending time with their young children.

Since moving to Orange Mrs Smee, who started her business of supplying bamboo clothing from underwear to daywear for men and women four years ago, has also been instrumental in starting up a network for young mothers like herself who operate their own business.

“I just started a Facebook page and before I knew it there were 30 women in Orange who joined the group which now meets on a regular basis,” she said.

When she started her Witjuti bamboo clothing business online, Mrs Smee said she knew she was appealing to a niche market but is now in a position to capitalise on a range of opportunities to market her clothing lines not only online but also through retail outlets.

She says her mobile phone has proved to be one of her greatest assets in business.

“I make notes on the app on my phone and as everything in the office is synched to my phone it’s all here when I get back to the office,” she said.

“I can be changing a nappy, preparing dinner or be in the car with the kids when I think of an idea and I just jot it down.”

Her husband Mark, who also operates his own building and renovating business from home, often sits side by side on the computer next to his wife while the children are in bed.

“Banika is building on all those skills which she used from an early age growing up in a family business,” he said.

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