Mocka has been championing women in business for over fifteen years. With a talented and diverse group of women leaders, the contemporary furniture brand has made it a priority to ensure that women are well represented at all levels of the organization.
Vanessa Brennan, CEO of Mocka, is proud to be part of the transformation for women in the workplace over the past decade. She believes that supporting each other is essential to sustain this progress.
“At Mocka, promoting women in business is not just a conversation, but a core value that is demonstrated through the company’s leadership team,” she says. “Women have played a critical role in all aspects of the company’s operations, including supply chain, product design and development, warehouse management, customer service and marketing.”
Mocka was created in New Zealand in 2007 by a couple expecting their first child. Frustrated with the limited options for stylish and affordable nursery furniture, they decided to design their own pieces. Since then, the company has grown and expanded its product range while continuing to prioritize gender diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
“They developed a range of items that were both affordable and stylish, including the iconic Mocka Balance Bike, the Mocka Original High Chair and the Mocka Aspiring Cot.”
With a mission to cater to families at different stages of life and provide quality, designer furniture affordable to most households. The company started with nursery furniture but quickly expanded to include decor for the whole home, leading to its success in New Zealand and later expanding to Australia in 2013. Adairs Group acquired the company in 2019.
As the new CEO of Mocka, Vanessa Brennan shares her personal and professional interests in home design and furniture. With over 20 years of experience in customer and digital transformation, Vanessa has held leadership roles in a variety of areas including strategy, brand and marketing, digital, product and commerce, and customer and people experience. His entrepreneurial spirit and multi-platform and multi-disciplinary expertise have earned him a strong reputation for integrity.
Fascinated by the ever-evolving industry trends, Vanessa was particularly drawn to Mocka’s unique offering in the market. He takes pride in leading his team in a highly complex retail environment and combining his personal and professional passions. Combining her love of home design and furniture with her background in retail, Vanessa considers it a privilege to work in a role that allows her to do what she loves.
“I really liked the business model and the fact that our customers can now get this beautiful, designed product. Professionally, I am a retailer at heart and being able to lead and navigate my team in a highly complex retail environment is where I personally thrive.
“It’s truly a privilege to have a role that allows me to combine my personal and business passions into one.”
“Our starting point is always our customer”
The adage “The customer is king” has been a cornerstone of many successful business philosophies for generations, emphasizing the vital role customers play in the success of any business. It serves as a reminder that customers are the lifeblood of any organization and their satisfaction should be the primary focus of any business.
According to Vanessa, being customer-centric is more than just offering excellent service; it’s about deeply understanding customers’ needs and wants, anticipating their desires and offering solutions tailored to their specific requirements. He acknowledges that today’s customers are more informed and have higher expectations than ever before.
To meet these expectations, Mocka regularly tests new designs in limited quantities and different colors to understand how customers react before producing larger quantities and more styles in a particular range. This allows the company to stay ahead of the curve and meet the ever-evolving demands of its customer base.
As Vanessa says, “We are constantly looking for ways to improve our product offering and customer experience. By putting our customers at the heart of everything we do, we are able to build strong, long-lasting relationships that help us stay ahead of the competition.”
“We often test new designs in limited qualities and different colors to understand how our customers respond to them before we commit to higher quality and more styles in a line.
“Our product development process takes into account several aspects. Our starting point is always our customer. We’ve mapped key customer personas to understand their needs, aesthetics and life stages, and it’s important that our products meet their functional, quality and design requirements. Global and local trends in interiors, color palettes, lifestyle and economy play an important role as we develop our new range.”
“Our customers are at the heart of our business and we have made important adjustments to the operational and communications parts of our business over the past 12 months to meet our customers’ needs more effectively.
“Some of these adjustments include partnering with courier providers that are better equipped to meet our expectations; review our Customer Service operations by offering in-country support via phone, live chat and email, including weekend support; and creating a more seamless internal communication channel to relay customer feedback to appropriate departments for investigation and action. Of course, there is much more we would like to do and we have an exciting roadmap for this year.”
Adapting to change
The furniture industry is constantly evolving, and for Mocka, a furniture brand that values design and affordability, incorporating key trends into its strategy is crucial.
One such trend is the evolution of the home. No longer just a place to rest and relax, homes are now also workspaces, and this change has influenced Mocka’s approach to furniture design and development. They focus on form, sustainability, nature and functionality and a distinct enhancement of multi-functional spaces and products.
Additionally, functionality and versatility are important category trends that Mocka prioritizes. They recognize that customers want more from their furniture and aim to create products that can adapt and evolve with their changing life stages and physical spaces.
“The focus is on form, sustainability, character and a clear reinforcement of functionality and multi-functional spaces and products. A category-specific trend that is vital in our space is the need for functionality and versatility.
“We want more from our furniture, so that it can adapt and evolve with our life stages and physical space; For example, dining chairs that stack save space, and extra storage included in bed frames makes tidy spaces easy.”
The revenue of the Furniture sector is estimated to reach USD 2,726.00 Million by 2023, with an expected annual growth rate (CAGR 2023-2027) of 15.02%, according to Statista. As a result, it is predicted that by 2027, the market volume will reach 4771.00 million USD.
The mantra of success. building a strong company culture
Vanessa believes that as a leader, culture is very important to them, regardless of industry. He believes that the success of a company depends on its organizational culture, which is why they focus on it extensively.
“I’m focused on creating a culture that supports this type of work environment. it’s all about being a team player as well as building confidence.”
“Culture is everything and is the main element I focus on as a leader, no matter what industry I work in. We spend a lot of time at work, and I’ve learned over the years that culture makes/breaks an organization; the company’s success. Being an authentic and open leader is critical to success and especially in the retail world where I work.
“We face challenges every day, which means that some days we do everything right and some days we don’t. To succeed in the world of retail, you have to be adaptable to change every day, resilient and not afraid to try new things, which you may sometimes get wrong.”
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