The Biggest Obstacle for Women Renovators

The podcast for women who want to create income and a life they love through renovating

Join serial renovator Bernadette Janson as she explores the ins and outs of renovating for profit!

Bernadette has over 30 years of experience in the renovating for profit business. She’s a registered nurse, a renovator, a mum, and a teacher.

144 – Danielle Chiel: Empowering Women To Achieve Financial Independence

Financial independence may mean various things to each person, depending on what it means to you and what lifestyle you want to attain. Regardless of your income level, your life’s mission is a key feature of achieving financial independence.

Watch Episode 144 on Video:

Danielle Chiel: Empowering Women To Achieve Financial Independence


  • [01:36] Contribution to women in achieving financial independence
  • [03:05] Different paths with the same goal to support financial independence
  • [04:58] How the friendship of Bernadette and Danielle stay connected through the years
  • [05:20] How Danielle’s mission in life reformed women’s financial independence
  • [07:25] How the lovefest started for Danielle
  • [09:29] Being fearless in facing the mission
  • [11:15] Talking about the whole notion of independence
  • [13:02] Importance of independence for Danielle and the KOCO women
  • [15:07] How Covid19 impacted the business and women’s financial independence
  • [17:12] How women benefit from learning how to list
  • [18:44] Ask Bernadette: What’s your reno question?

By giving people new opportunities, it actually supports our own lives too. We all learn and grow through genuinely connecting with each other one-on-one. 

~ Danielle Chiel

Contribution To Women In Achieving Financial Independence

Bernadette Janson and Danielle Chiel originally met at a business networking group. One of the things that kept them connected through the years is their desire to help other women.

Both of them support women in different ways. On one hand, Bernadette helps women to attain financial independence, and guides them on their journey through renovating. Since her specialty is about houses, she lives as a role model of financial independence herself. 

The same goes with Danielle, who is a very independent woman and has made it her life’s mission after she met these women.


Different Paths With The Same Goal To Support Financial Independence

Even though Bernadette and Danielle’s role of mentoring women to financial independence has a common goal, they have gone down different paths to achieve a similar result. 

Bernadette, who specialises in house renovating and Danielle, who specialises in hand knitting, have connected because both of them have a higher mission which is to get women to be financially independent. 

financial independence

How Danielle’s Mission In Life Reformed Women’s Financial Independence

Danielle owns a business in Southern India and one in Australia. The one in Southern India started because she had a fashion retail store in Australia and it specialised in hand knitting. She never thought that the world would want to have Australian wools, designs, and hand knits!  As she has always lived on a global stage she thought this idea would work.

However, it wasn’t meant to be under the Gilard government because the legislation changed and made it illegal to employ casual piece-workers in the fashion industry in Australia. She had to look somewhere else and that’s how her voyage to India started.

As she was looking at other countries like New Zealand, America, Vietnam, and so on, someone said to her that there are hand knitters in India. She flew over and met this person, named Nick who had a vast influence on her life. 

Nick introduced Danielle to the first 10 ladies who could knit at that time for her own brand. There was something quite magical about that connection. When she arrived back in her home in Sydney, she thought that she couldn’t employ a lot of people if she was tied to her Sydney-based retail business, so she had to make a big decision to close down her brand. 

This led to a breakthrough for her to close that door and start to knit for many brands. She was able to transform many womens’ lives in Southern India, and so she became quite involved with India in a number of ways. 

We all know that feeling of what it feels like when you meet somebody. And there’s something about the way your eyes lock that you feel connected to that person. That was me to these ladies, they took my hand, they looked in my eyes and took me around their villages. And that’s how this love fest for me started.”

~ Danielle Chiel


Being Fearless In Facing The Mission

Bernadette shares that she was very impressed with Danielle’s working conditions and how she lives her life in India. The village of Edayanchavadi has a reputation for being an incredibly violent village but It never feared Danielle. She always felt safe because of the KOCO (Knit One Change One) Women. 

When she first met them, they wouldn’t let her walk down the street without five of them on one hand and five of them on the other hand. She knew from the very beginning that nothing would happen to her. It’s grown into a big love fest between the ladies and Danielle. These women would walk on hot coals for her now and she would move mountains for them. It’s the same both ways. 

I’ve never known fear. I was fearless. It never entered my head. It was like I was on a mission and this is what I had to do, and this is what I had to do to achieve it.” 

~ Danielle Chiel

financial independence

Importance of Independence for Danielle And The KOCO Women

When Danielle met these people, some of them have a one-parent family but the majority of them are raised by two parents. The way that they are raised is very culturally strong and that is to be incredibly compliant. They do what their parents want them to do at all times. The ladies have arranged marriages and have no independent thought about it. 

So coming to work or getting work was the first time that these ladies could have independence of thought. She realised that if you’ve never been to school, you are missing intellectual input and if you’re missing intellectual input, it doesn’t make you dumb by any stretch of the imagination. It just means you haven’t had information imparted to you. Along her journey, she also realised that going to school teaches you many other skills other than intellect, and making decisions is one of them. 

Independence is very strong in her business. From the day she met these women, even though she couldn’t speak Tamil, they had to think. Their first thought was, “would you like to come and learn to hand-knit?” And that’s a decision answerable by yes or no. Once they joined the company, they had to make black and white decisions.

How Covid19 Impacted The Business And Women’s Financial Independence

The partnership with Bernadette Janson and Danielle Chiel has come to have the benefit now. The School of Renovating donated mobile phones for every one of the ladies.

This increases their sense of independence. During this COVID19, the ladies couldn’t leave their house and some of them could not travel between villages. They couldn’t come to work, so they lost their income and their intellectual independence.

The smartphones are not for their personal use to phone up their friends or have a chat. The smartphones stay in their place of work, but having a smartphone allows them to stay independent and allows them to continue to work. Since they are part of a social enterprise, they didn’t have the cash, unlike normal businesses where they go out and take out a loan to grow. They weren’t eligible for any of those. 

With this big help from Bernadette, they had equal values to continue supporting these women to be independent. This notion of independence for women underpins absolutely everything they do. 

How Women Benefit From Learning How To Listen

The women would relish all sorts of financial independence. They were given education as they taught them to read and understand what intellectual independence is. Danielle mentioned that before she came into their lives, they had massive loans.

By partnering with Bernadette Janson, they would like to take the financial independence of women to the next level.

If you would like to contribute to the project to empower these artisan women, please visit  The Artisan Nation website to read more and to make a donation.

She Renovates Facebook Group

If you’re sitting there thinking I wonder and have a question to ask head over to our free  She Renovates Facebook Group. You will find over a thousand crazy renovators who just love talking, renovating and would love to answer your question.

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    Amazing Free Content!LeaLea707 via Apple Podcasts · Australia · 05/22/22
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    “I've been binge-listening to this podcast for the past week and it's absolutely brilliant. Bernadette has amassed so much knowledge and wisdom about renovating and she shares it generously and in a really easy to understand way that's inspired me to give it a go. Her advice is practical and I love that she approaches renovating in a really ethical and open-hearted way. Every episode honestly is gold. I also love that each episode is quite short and addresses a specific topic without any waffle. Thank you so much for this podcast!”
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    “Hands down best renovation podcast there is. There’s no scams or tricks here and Bernadette provides honest and practical advice that you can actually apply to your life. There’s also great insights into the property industry (not just renovating) and Bernadette’s simple approach gives you tools to mitigate risk and fuels confidence to start your own projects.”
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    “Bernadette is an inspiration. Warm, open and a fountain of wisdom and advice. I’ve learned so much about everything from renovating to selling to creating an independent future from this podcast. Look forward to every episode!”
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    “If you need to break through any of your limitations to find the joy and success in renovation, Bernadette is your inspiration and advisor with decades of experience. Her down to earth, practical style of sharing what works and how to keep control of any renovating project is worth tuning in for - week after week. I have done a few renovations in the (distant) past and now feel motivated to go again, this time for a change of pace and new horizons. This podcast shows the way. Thanks Bernadette, James Burgin”
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    “Just dropping by to show my support for your podcast Bernadette. I look forward to each episode and I am never disappointed with the content. It’s such a generous offering and compared to many of the other property podcasts I subscribe to, yours is the clear winner. Perfectly suited to people embarking on a new renovator journey but equally suited to more experienced folk like myself - there’s something for everyone. Keep up the great work. Your honesty is so refreshing! I look forward to future learning and hearing more student success stories. Best, David Michos (And yes... a bloke) 😉”
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    “If you have any interest at all in renovating, you would be crazy not to listen to every episode! As someone who has done many courses and a project manager by trade, i learn something every time. Bernadette is so genuine and generous and totally relatable. Do yourself a favour and subscribe now !”

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    If you want to meet up with a group of savvy renovators. I would say come over and join She Renovates Facebook Group. It’s a completely FREE Facebook group and it is growing at the rate of knots. We hit over a thousand members just recently, and now it seems to have picked up momentum. They are all savvy renovating women and men working their little hearts out to live a better life through renovating.

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    Wonder Women is a combination of live sessions and pre-recorded content to help you get what you need, when you need it. I know that you’re the expert and you’ve got all of your subject knowledge nailed – now it’s time to build the business behind your renovation projects and stop being the worlds best kept secret. 

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