Mocka was established in New Zealand in 2007 by wife and husband duo on the hunt for stylish and affordable nursery furniture, who identified a gap in the market and decided to create their own pieces.

Since then, the company has expanded into all areas of the home and grown its footprint in both Australia and New Zealand at a rapid rate. Today, Mocka is one of the leading online furniture retailers across ANZ, with a group of women leading the way in many aspects of the business and CEO Vanessa Brennan at the helm.

Mocka has been championing diversity for over 15 years – with women playing a fundamental part both in and outside of our business.  The vast majority of our customers are women and often at the start of their nursery journey with us, which is such a significant life milestone.

We are designing products for these customers daily and as a diverse group of people, many of whom are women, mothers and consumers too, we are able to relate to their unique perspectives and experiences. This helps Mocka better understand and cater to the needs and preferences of our customers. Our diverse workforce ensures that our products, services, and marketing strategies align with the varying needs of our customers.

So much has changed for women in the workplace over the last decade and I am incredibly proud to be a part of that transformation. In the past, to be deemed successful, women in business have often been expected to exude a tough exterior and an unwavering approach. As CEO, my vision and focus is to help shift that narrative and demonstrate to Mocka’s diverse and talented group of people (and the future generation) that leading with authenticity, integrity and kindness is key. It seems simple yet can make all the difference.

As women and parents, we are often faced with the added challenge of balancing our work and at home lives – navigating being a mother and performing at a business level. We’re often hard on ourselves and one another. Extending our fellow women respect, and most importantly kindness and support is crucial to maintaining progress in the future.

A highly valuable workforce asset, a diverse team bring fresh viewpoints and alternative ways of thinking to the table. This variety of perspectives enhances problem-solving and decision-making processes within a business, challenging traditional norms and questioning assumptions which fosters innovation and creativity. Women are often great at building relationships, fostering open communication, and working towards consensus. These attributes create a positive work environment and culture, and increased employee engagement and satisfaction. Regardless of the industry, it is a curtail element to a company’s success to depend on its organisational culture, which we hold focus on at Mocka.

In business, many women contribute unique and very valuable leadership qualities. In essence, effective communication, empathy, and a collaborative approach. They invest time and effort into establishing connections, both within and outside the organisation, which can lead to valuable partnerships, collaborations, and business opportunities.

I am very proud to be part of the Mocka team and humbled to be working with such an exceptional group of people, many of whom are incredibly skilled women who support one another in a way that makes it possible for us to continue to challenge and grow as people and a business. I was originally drawn to Mocka’s businesses model and unique offer in the market, as well as the brand’s support of diversity and women in the business.

I am now proud to lead my team in the highly challenging retail environment, merging my personal and professional passions. With my love for home design and furniture in focus, alongside my expertise in the retail industry, I continue to feel privileged to work in a role that allows me to do what I love.

Vanessa Brennan is CEO of Mocka.