FUELBOX creates great conversations that strengthen individuals and relationships. Recently launched in Australia, I caught up with Maya Broers to discuss this amazing product that connects partners, families and workplaces.
Tell us about yourself
I am a Mum to 2 kids, Pernille, 8, and Ibsen 4.5 years. I live in Gladesville with my Norwegian husband, who I met in Croatia 10 years ago. I have lived in Norway and we have been in Australia for 8 years now. I was a stay at home mum for 7 years before taking on FuelBox Australia.
Previously, I was a singer in my own original band with my brother for 6-years which I loved. In my 20’s I spent 3 years living in New York, went to drama school and ended up teaching drama to kids. I then worked in Film and TV Casting for 3 years due to my experience in theatre and was a Commercial Acting Agent for 2 years after that.
What is FuelBox?
FuelBox Couples encourages people to have deeper connections with each other and conversations on more meaningful topics. It gets you to share and be more connected with your partner.
FuelBox Family is directed towards family members and is suitable for kids 8 years plus and encourages discussions at family BBQ’s or gatherings. We tend to talk about the same things with each other so FuelBox Family provides an opportunity to connect on a different level. It opens up conversations with grandparents or aunts and uncles so they can share stories and experiences that maybe you haven’t heard before. In addition, the modern family doesn’t often eat dinner together so it provides an opportunity to choose one night during the week, especially as the kids get older, to stay connected and close with each other.
For the corporate and business environment, there is FuelBox Leadership, FuelBox Team and FuelBox Innovation. These are aimed at getting teams and leaders to communicate, to get to know each other, and to share ideas and thoughts to create a better or more productive work environment. Modern workplaces focus on people and nurture them as individuals. With FuelBox, there is no hidden agenda. Individuals feel that they can answer honestly, without judgment, which in turn improves communication, collaboration and workplace culture.
It’s a great concept, how did it come about?
A Norwegian mum of 4 kids, Berta Lende Røed, realised that conversation with her husband had slowly been limited to discussing day-to-day scenarios or the kids. Over the course of a few weeks she started writing down questions to ask her husband to help recreate that connection. She slipped them into an envelope and when they had dinner one night she brought them out. That sparked an amazing conversation for over 2 hours! Berta started thinking other couples might feel the same way and as a result, FuelBox was born. This year, Berta was a finalist for Female Entrepreneur of the Year in Norway.
I have the FuelBox Couples version and we love it. What has been the general feedback?
I have heard nothing but positive experiences with it. Men are sometimes a bit sceptical at the beginning but once they sit down and get started they really enjoy it and can see the value it brings. Some people say that even from the first conversation sparked by the box it has brought them closer.
The concept isn’t about how many questions you ask, it’s about choosing one question that helps to escalate other discussions so you find yourself talking and enjoying your partner. It provides you with questions that perhaps you have never asked your partner before so that you can connect on a deeper level and to get to know or understand them better. The focus is on getting back to basics and into the moment without phones, computers or technology.
With the concept starting in Norway, what inspired you to bring FuelBox to Australia?
I connected with Berta’s story, as it was similar to my own. 10 years of marriage and 2 kids, we were not communicating on the level I wanted us to be. We bought FuelBox Couples and I fell in love with it and wanted to share it with everyone! I thought there has to be other women that feel they aren’t getting that communication with their partner. I knew this was my thing and couldn’t sleep because I was so excited about it!
Our partners are most important thing to us and without our relationships working where do we end up? Communication is vital to a happy and working partnership. We sometimes think the relationship can survive on its own but it takes work and we need to keep the communication going. We all need to make time for our relationships and FuelBox Couples supports already healthy relationships by making it fun, exciting and giving your relationship some nurturing.
How has FuelBox changed your life?
It has opened my eyes to see how important it is to communicate, and what the impact of technology is doing to us all. We conduct talks about the power and value of great conversations by highlighting sharing in relationships and how important it is to our overall happiness, productivity and wellbeing. We also focus on the impact of technology on relationships and what is going on in the world today. We get people to experience the questions so that they have the opportunity to feel the importance of it.
What have you learnt about yourself starting a business?
That you need to have patience that I don’t have! Things happen at a different pace and I want FuelBox to be everywhere instantly and for people to love it and know how valuable it is. But it’s actually about taking every day as it comes in business. I have had to learn so many things in the past 6 months and each day I learn something new. You need to feel confident in yourself about what you are doing, by not judging yourself or feeling that you need to be good at everything all at once.
How do you juggle life as a working mother? Any tips you can share?
For every working mother it is hard to juggle family and commitments. I am lucky as my husband also works in the business so he can be flexible for now. I just do the best I can and I’m not saying I’m great at it. Just know what you’re capable of and be ok with it. When both kids are at school or preschool, it allows me to fully focus on the business and teach or practice yoga. Fitness is really important to me and juggling everything is a struggle but you just have to go with whatever works. I am an avid list writer so if it isn’t recorded somewhere, it is gone!
What inspires you?
I get inspired by people who are passionate about what they do; people that step out of their comfort zone and motivate and inspire others and aren’t afraid to be who they are.
What is your favourite thing to do on the weekends?
When we do something outside together as a family like riding bikes on the Bay Run or going to the beach. We love being outside and need to do that more, and of course date nights with hubby.
What is your one true love?
I have lots! My husband and family, music, movies, chocolate and wine.
Favourite spots in the Inner West?
Rozelle markets, The Bay Run, Drummoyne, Balmain, and Pasticceria Papa in Haberfield. I grew up in Gladesville and have been in the Inner West for most of my life.