Rebeka Morgan and Kribashini Hannon found that women wanted to renovate their own homes, but didn’t know where to start, felt overwhelmed by the decisions they had to make, and couldn’t afford the top designers they love and follow online. One, a registered builder and the other a project manager, the duo decided to create a support platform to help women navigate the entire renovation process.
They launched BuildHer Collective to serve as a resource for home renos, but also to empower women to make the choices and do the work, and see renovation as a fun, rewarding experience through a program of online courses, webinars, and workshops.
We spoke with Rebeka Morgan, the resident builder behind BuildHer Collective about their program and what to expect from a renovation so you can be prepared this spring.
How did BuildHer Collective come to fruition?
We both have a passion for the building industry and have lived and breathed it for so many years now. We found that so many friends and family members were coming to us with problems and questions about their renovation or building project, and a few years back, during a holiday in Italy together, we discussed that there was definitely a market to help a broader community of women with the same issues. This is where the idea of BuildHer Collective was born.
What can we expect from the online courses?
We’re an 11 module online course that covers all aspects of the building/renovation process. Whether you’re just wanting to make small cosmetic changes or start developing, our course has you covered. From planning, budgeting, design, dealing with tradies and timeliness, each module delves into a different aspect of the building and renovating process.
We also offer consults, run webinars, workshops, and weekends away that are more intensive one on one time. BuildHer Collective is a nurturing family where women come together to learn about the building and renovating process and our online community post questions to fellow BuildHers about their projects. There is plenty of great responses to help guide you. We have fortnightly Q & A sessions, plus our “Buy Like a Builder” program, where you can purchase a lot of material for your build at trade prices. We want you to feel that you’re not alone during a process that can sometimes feel daunting.
In addition to all of that, we’ve also just released our DevelopHers Inner Circle program. Launching 1st July. It’s all online and aimed at women who want to develop for profit and make a living out of it. We’ll be doing expert interviews, covering feasibility studies, and there will also be a monthly Q & A session.
Why are resources like this important for women to have access to today?
The world of building/renovating can be very overwhelming. And let’s be honest, it’s still a very male dominated industry. The process can be daunting when you don’t know where to start. We believe it’s super important for women to be able to access information like our course because it gives them knowledge and empowers them with confidence to renovate or build their dream home. With knowledge comes power, so they say.
What common problems or struggles do you see women having during a building / renovation process?
Understanding the process is the biggest problem—knowing the flow and what needs to happen (and when) so that everything can fall into line. Deciding how the project is going to be managed is also another big struggle. There are many different ways you can go these days; knowing your options from the outset is really important.
We have a “choose your own adventure” philosophy where we allow you to focus on your strengths and build your team around that. People often think there is a one-size-fitsall way to build, but it’s simply not true.
What’s your favorite part about what you do?
We love watching these women grow and build with confidence. The immense satisfaction derived from seeing women who once had no idea about building and renovating finishing and moving into their new dream home is immeasurable. Plus, we feel like we’ve grown a little family—watching all of our BuildHers interact and help each other, answer questions, and celebrate each other’s wins is heart-warming.
Are there any specific challenges/ things to consider before you begin a renovation or building process?
We always ask our BuildHers to visualise their desired outcome, and then we revisit that vision throughout the entire process. How do they want to live in the space? We tell them to remember it’s all being done for them and their families and the way they live, not for anyone else.
What does a renovation look like?
Firstly, you need to understand this renovation/ build is a gift! It’s a gift you get to give your family, kids, friends, and yourself. This will be the place you spend your time, entertain, where your babies will learn to become adults. It’s okay to take some time and really plan it out so invest a lot of thought into it. Also, remember it’s much easier to change a line on the plan than it is to actually move a wall!
The more you have organised from the beginning, the better. Understand the process and how you’ll be delivering from beginning to end.
What advice do you have on dealing with problems that arise during a reno?
Not everything will go as planned; just because you’ve headed down one path doesn’t mean you can’t stop…and pivot. We teach our BuildHers to go back to their initial vision; doing this helps assess alternatives and find a solution that may even be a little better.
Things will happen along the way. They always do. Your reaction to them is important, so understanding how you react under pressure and how others will perceive this is imperative. There are builders who are hard to work with and there are clients who are hard to work with, but if you approach everything as a team and run the right processes throughout your build, you will save a lot of time and angst.