Alumni Update: Taania Sietske Wesselius

Taania Sietske Wesselius spent a week with our wellington 2019 programme, as part of our venture up boost crew, working with lavender to help grandparents and grandchildren to build meaningful relationships. with a background in fashion design, Taania brought her knowledge of tactile, physical product design to the team.

Taania is a member of our recent cohort of young entrepreneurs who went through Venture Up 2019 in Wellington. During the programme, we sat down to find out a bit more about her and what she’s looking to get out of the experience.


Where do you call home and what’s your background?

I grew up all over the place but I think I can now confidently call myself a Wellingtonian. I am Maori and Dutch, I was born in the Netherlands and moved to NZ when I was little. I have graduated with a Bachelor of Design, with Honours, in Fashion Design but I have passions in a lot of different areas too.

What motivates you? What kind of person do you aspire to be in the world?

I am really passionate about the environment and about the education surrounding it. I am also very passionate about fashion and the impact it can have on a person and their self-expression which I believe is so important.

The way you dress can really set you up for a day. It’s kind of like the Uniform effect; dressing a particular way to help you feel more empowered, stronger but also, in a strange way, more fit for the role.

In the same way, a uniform could make some people feel like they fit in, dressing how you feel best represents you, allows you to be the best you. This effect can happen through putting effort and self-expression into your outfit. Wearing something that makes you feel confident can help you emit confidence, the same way a matching set of sexy underwear can make someone feel sexy. Self-expression through clothing is the easiest way you can be yourself and tell people who you are. It’s really important to feel confident and comfortable in your own body and in who you are and fashion allows this.

I look up to a lot of people but I think I truly just aspire to be myself, stick to my gut and just to follow my passions and what feels right to me. I think it’s so important to love what you do and do what makes you happy. As cheesy as it sounds, I really look up to the lyrics from Beyonce’s song ‘I was here’. I want to be able to say “I was here” and be proud of all my footprints.

What’s been the best thing about Venture Up?

The best thing about Venture Up is definitely the structure of just throwing you in, falling down and being able to find support in the VU crew alongside my fellow team members.

I also love the method of teaching, turning big ideas and lessons into fun and silly metaphors and activities which invoke thought and discourse, which can be applied to so many situations, as opposed to just telling us how it is and letting it fly in one ear and out the other.

What’s one thing you’ve learned that you’ll take away from Venture Up? (How do you think you’ll use it in the future?)

The importance of beliefs + ideas + actions = resistance.

Finding that in yourself but also in your team members. Another thing I will take away with me is that it is totally normal to feel anxious and embarrassed and it doesn’t make you any less powerful in your ability to execute your ideas.

What would you say to someone thinking about applying for Venture Up?

You have nothing to lose and so much to gain.