The Apprentice Aotearoa: Star goes from cleaning up in business to cleaning loos

She shot to stardom after taking out The Apprentice Aotearoa last year with her event balloon business. Now, Vanessa Goodson has added scrubbing toilets and cleaning ovens to the jobs she holds down to pay the bills.

The OMGNess event’s founder feels nothing but pride in her work and said the recent lifestyle change is a lesson to her young daughters that you have to get stuck in and do the mahi.

Goodson beat 13 other entrepreneurs on the reality TV show in 2021 and took away $50,000 in prize money after impressing with her DIY biodegradable balloon garlands.

The business took off with plenty of celebrities booking Goodson to style their birthdays, anniversaries and baby showers.

She has now revealed she and her partner are cleaning two West Auckland daycares every weekday night as well as plugging away at Goodson’s two other businesses.

“After doing my event balloon business for seven years I was at my peak last year because I had just won the Apprentice and pitched my business to the country,” she told the Herald on Sunday.

“It was a dream come true. I was like ‘is this my life’ and then we got hit with Covid.”

Before Covid hit, Goodson said she and her family were living the “bougie life” with fancy events to style, a team of five employed and Goodson’s own personal assistant.

Goodson weathered the first couple of lockdowns and got through MIQ after catching Delta, but the final extended period at the red traffic light saw her beloved business burst.

“It really humbled me. I went from a team of five with a personal assistant to just me on my own,” she said.

“It was a bit of a shock to the system because despite starting this on my own, I had got into this routine and I could delegate jobs – Covid was like ‘boom’.”

A post shared by Vanessa Goodson (@_vanessagood)

With the downturn in the event balloon business Goodson, forever the entrepreneur, turned her creative hand to candle making.

From her West Auckland home, she launched the boutique candle-making business GoodsonFire – another brand with a clever play on her name

“I was obsessed with watching candle-making on TikTok and thought ‘I am going to start another business’.

“I found the perfect wicks and formula, I got a 3D printer and I made some of my own silicone molds.”

The candle-making is still going strong but Goodson said she needed something else to make up the revenue lost from her balloon business.

A post shared by GOODS 🔛 FIRE🔥 (@goods.onfire)

It was time to clean.

Goodson was already doing the admin for the business she ran with her mother Lucy Tipanero – called OmgSoClean – when her mum landed her dream job.

Tipanero was the cleaner and Goodson was taking care of social media when her mother got a job at Michael Hill Jeweller.

“My mum got her dream job so she gave her notice and after my initial shock I realised the timing was perfect,” Goodson said.

“I thought I am going to have to do all the cleaning myself but this will pay our rent right now.”

Goodson said her perfectionist mum – who spent 23 years in the cleaning industry – held her to very high standards and gave lessons on how to make any toilet bowl gleam.

“I have never cleaned a toilet so well,” she said.

“It has been humbling but it has saved us, it has paid the bills and put dinner on the table.”

The biggest win was for Goodson to see her young daughters, who had become used to a nice lifestyle, accept the change of circumstances and dig in.

When Goodson and her partner clean, the girls come along and get their homework done.

“We are teaching them that this is life, there are ups and downs and this is what you do to pay the bills – so get your homework out and let’s get this done.”

With the country now operating more freely and more events booked Goodson said the balloon and styling business had started to pick up.

“I am getting to the point where I need to get a team together to help with the social media and with OMGNess which is a good feeling.”

“I have had a bit of a relaunch and I’m studying how to make things work again with Instagram.”

But until then Goodson said she was happy to scrub, buff and polish with pride.

“I hope this shows people it doesn’t matter if you are at your peak or at your worst. You just have to do what you need to do to keep the show moving.”

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