Bali resident Paola Buendia has achieved success with her clothing company Wooden-Ships by Paola Buendia, which the Colombian runs with her American husband Mark.
“I went traveling with the idea of seeing the world and basically never left Indonesia,” she says. The 37-year-old mother of two shared her day with Bali Times contributor Bagus Ferriyanto.

My day usually starts around six in the morning, when I wake up to the screaming of my two sons in our beachfront house in Petitenget. The first thing I do when I get up is check my email and respond to our headquarters in New York and to any mail from any of our clients. My husband and I own Wooden Ships by Paola Buendia. For breakfast I have cream of wheat which we have to import from the US because we can’t buy it here, and if it’s nice enough I like to eat outside on the deck. At 7:30 Mark takes our eldest son to school on his way to work, while the youngest stays with me until 9:30, when I go into the office; he spends the rest of the day at home with the maid.

The office opens at 7am but most of the employees don’t get there until 8 or so. We have anywhere between 200 and 250 employees, depending on the season and the current demand for our products. Once or twice a week we send the products out to our clients, mostly department stores and small boutiques in countries around the world. We have 120 items per season in our collection that are available in five colors. I’m the head designer in the company and we have products that are both handmade and machine-made.

After I graduated from Harvard University with a degree in English literature, I moved to Borneo to do research and work with an environmental campaign to promote recycling. I came to Bali in 1992 and lived in Ubud and started my business there. I started out making furniture, and later began doing knitting. The company now designs woman’s clothing and accessories.

Every day I meet Mark at home for lunch. Often wee have rice and chicken that our maid cooks; she makes the best Indonesian food we’ve ever had. It’s really nice to be able to sit down with my husband for a relaxing lunch before going back to work.

My design ideas come from watching movies and reading magazines so I can see the latest trends around the world. My favorite part about my job is being able use my creativity to come up with new designs. It’s exciting and challenging to think up new ideas and to start new relationships with clients. It’s also a very good feeling knowing that my customers are happy and satisfied with my products. It’s really exciting to see my designs in magazines and it’s a great feeling to get satisfactory emails from my clients.

When I get home, around 5:30pm, I check my email one last time and then spend the rest of the evening playing with my boys. We like playing board games and watching movies together. Dinner is my favorite time of the day; it’s always at home with the whole family and pizza is everyone’s favorite meal. We also like Italian, Chinese and Mexican food.

My husband and I both really enjoy what we do. He understands me better than anyone else and I couldn’t imagine running this business without him. I’d like to see my business grow in the future so I can meet more interesting people and provide more clients with our product.

Reading is one of my favorite things to do just before going to bed; it’s the perfect way to relax after a long day of work. Every night I spend 40 minutes or so either reading magazines or a good novel.

For me, life is a learning experience; I’m constantly trying to improve myself and I make an effort to learn something new every day.

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