Meet Eva Wintersberger, the clever Northside mother behind Tree Hut Village, Australia’s first parent to parent baby equipment hire platform. Tree Hut Village connects travelling parents seeking to hire baby gear with local parents who have listed their unused baby gear for hire. It also provides an income source for mothers with unused baby goods they are not ready to sell or donate.
Firstly can you tell us a little about yourself and your family?
I’m originally from Austria and have lived in New Zealand and then Australia for the past 12 years. My husband is a kiwi and our little guy is Australian – so a bit of a mix! I love Australia for its entrepreneurial spirit and way of life – people work hard but generally have a healthier way of looking at what’s really important in life.
What were you doing before you had children?
I was working in the “Advisory team” at a large engingeering company – I travelled a lot and I knew I had to give that up when I started a family. I was a bit lost for a little while because I was scared of the change.
Where did the idea for Tree Hut Village come from? What was your inspiration?
We first thought that it should be easier to borrow baby equipment when my family came to visit from Europe. We didn’t have children then and didn’t really think too hard about it – until we had our son and we went on holiday.
We wanted to avoid the hassle of travelling with lots of baby gear such as prams and travel cots. After searching online, we ended up hiring from a local family and we thought this should be so much easier.
Tell us about how Tree Hut Village works.
Tree Hut Village allows lenders to list their baby equipment for free and make a bit of extra money. Stuff that was hiding away in storage, waiting for the next baby to arrive, can now pay for itself within a few hires and that money can be put towards the next purchase or family trip.
Prior to Tree Hut Village, parents would lug their bulky baby equipment around on their travels or alternatively go through a lengthy hire process with brick and mortar hire businesses of 10 or more steps to get your booking confirmed. Our platform provides a simple 3 step, all online, process.
How do you manage running a business with juggling parenthood?
I try to limit time spent working when I’m around my son. I try to be present with him and I work when he is sleeping. It means there’s not a lot of me time but Tree Hut Village brings me a lot of satisfaction – I love working on and in the business. Overall, I’m not fantastic at striking the balance and often feel like one area of my life is missing out on the attention it deserves.
What do you find most challenging about being a mum?
The lack of sleep is truly the one thing that I have struggled with the most – and the guilt!
Do you have any funny travelling-with-kids stories to share with us?
We spent some time in Germany and my son loved eating “Bretzels” – he ended up “blessing” everything with his half eaten Bretzel – friends, waitresses, food you name it. People thought it was too cute.
What other advice would you give mums who are considering starting a business?
If you believe in your dream then go for it. Not everyone will see your vision so you will have to believe in yourself and draw strength from within you. The support will come.
Earlier this year you were awarded the Digital Innovation award at the annual AusMumpreneur awards. What did winning this award mean to you?
That was a very special moment for me. I felt like I was part of the group of people who are “real” entrepreneurs. It made me feel like I can grow Tree Hut Village into something that all families can benefit across Australia and that we can become a household name. I’m so inspired by the amazing people I’ve met at the awards and it’s just made me dream even bigger. I’m now planning on taking the business overseas within the next two years and to offer more services (for example, soon you’ll be able to sell the item on Tree Hut Village as well and not just hire it out to other parents).
You can find Eva at www.treehutvillage.com.au