Inspirational Woman: Katja Berg | Author & Founder, Bergdorf

Katja BergKatja Berg is a Danish entrepreneur, author and single mother.

She was born in Copenhagen and moved to London at the age of 18.

She now lives in Richmond upon Thames in South West London with her twins.

She owns a successful business as a floral designer for fashion legends such as Vivienne Westwood, has made all the flowers for the sets for Goodbye Christopher Robin, working with Tim Curtis and Margot Robbie. She also supplies and creates designs for wedding venues such as Kew Gardens and central London.

Her first book, A Rubber Face with a Stripper’s Name, is based on the story of her life.

It is the story of the struggles faced by single mums. It is about sisterhood, relationships and finding yourself.

Through her writing, Katja hopes to inspire and connect with other women who have been through, or are going through, similar experiences.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I was born in Copenhagen by a Finnish mother and a Danish father. I grew up and spent a lot of my young adulthood in Denmark. I visited London, staying for two years and fell in love with this beautiful vibrant city so much that when I was on my second round to London at 26, I never went back to DK. I now live in Richmond with my twins, whom are 13 years old, as a single mum running my floral business from work studio next to my house and have just published my own book, “A Rubber Face with A Strippers Name”. I have started speaking about my book to inspire in particular single mums and women to believe in themselves. To strive for their own happiness not what other people think they should do.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I tried to make plans about my future when I was younger, which ultimately was one of the reasons I ended up just partying, working hard and running bars as I felt like a failure because I had no idea what I wanted to do and everyone else around me seemed to. However, the choices I made along the way made me then start recognising I was good at running businesses. So every journey has doors opening but overthinking and planning to much can kill the creativity I think, it is like looking for perfection which I don’t think we should strive for. Make a small plan and see where it takes you. However, I always knew I wanted to be a messenger. I wanted to speak to crowds and create stories. I just took a few different routes than I thought I would! The first real plan I had was actually opening up a flower business in London when I was 26 years of age. Where I was going with it was surprising but I worked very hard knowing that I had to succeed. Hard work always pays off one way or the other.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

I have had in my private life challenges as everyone else has. Work wise I was hit head on with recession with my floral business. I lost everything when my twins were 2.5 years old and ended up in £110,000 debt, the father of the twins and whom I had made a director in my own company ran off with a client of mine and left me to clean up everything was properly one of the biggest challenges I have had along the way. The insanity in all of this was that it was a gift as well. I am here now because of everything that happened. The only thing is that when you are in it you can’t see it. Many nights was spent under the rug with a bottle of wine trying figure out what the hell I was going to do. With kids tucked up in bed asleep and I was on my own it would hit me hard, there was nothing to distract me and it was like I became a target for anxiety, depression, loneliness and more and each night I be howling in a towel, so I wouldn’t wake up my kids, till I felt I could fall asleep. Next morning I would get up and have some survival instinct, dust myself off and carry on. It was like being in a war in a land of peace.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

I think mentoring is great. Every person whom has kindly helped me along my business and on a personal level are part of the reason for me sitting here today. I have never been anyone’s mentee or have I mentored anyone. Lots of sisterhood advice though!

What do you want to see happen within the next five years when it comes to diversity?

I would want all young people to have same opportunities, whatever their background is. I want both parents to be responsible to the kids they produced together. I would love women to have equal pay and equal positions in every part of the working sector. I would love kindness and sisterhood to be a given and not something we should look for in people.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

My kids, my legacy. I have survived near bankruptcy, rebuilt my life and in all of it I have kept my sanity and been able to see gifts of it all to be able to carry on. The book is my calling and I have started my book number two.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

I have started speaking to whomever wants to listen! I am hoping to inspire people to believe in themselves. To help women and in particular single mums not to lose faith in achieving their dreams and most importantly that you not alone.

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