Renata Spies

Renata Lima Spies

Dedicated Mum and Publisher - Interview with Tony Cutting


Place of Birth - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Mum - Regina Lima (Psychologist) - Amazing caring, selfless human being. Mum has her own clinic in Rio de Janeiro and is the President of the Psychologists Association in Rio. Highly respected in her career, I have great memories of mum coordinating volunteers to work in the poorer areas in the city called "favelas" where she would lead a community radio program to educate and inform those in the area.

Dad - Julio Lima (Economist) - Dad has spent all his life working in banks and financial institutions and now retired, he has partnered with other Economists to run a successful business managing the banks investments. But he is also an artist at heart. He has built a studio in our city apartment in Rio where he can be himself and makes amazing sculpture and paintings.

Sibling - Flavia Lima, older sister, super clever and smart who I always look up to. She is a Biologist with a PHD in Sorbonne, Paris. An amazing scientist running her own lab in a prestigious university in Rio. 


Primary School - Externato Coracao Eucaristico - a traditional small catholic school in Rio de Janeiro that concentrates in primary education, going until year 4 only. My memories are of a happy childhood, great friends and being busy all the time! Brazilians are obsessed with a good education for their kids and all I remember is having a very busy schedule going to activities after school every day including ballet, piano, swimming, English, French... you name it! Plus I remember children being really competitive with each other!


Secondary School - Colegio Santa Ursula. Another very traditional catholic school, but much bigger. I studied there from year 5 to year 13 just before University. The principal and some of the teachers were nuns! Religion was very strong and a subject we all had to study. I really loved school. I had very good friends that were with me all the way and became like family.

My best friend is still my old friend from school even though we're miles away from each other. I never been a huge fan of sports but absolutely loved to dance! By then I was enrolled in Jazz, Ballet, Contemporary Dance and Capoeira (a Brazilian kind of Martial Arts that mixes music and dance). I have such great memories of amazing holidays abroad with my family and weekends away in our country home far from all the hustle and bustle from the city.

I surely had a privileged childhood but we never took it for granted, and my parents quite often reminded us we lived in one of the poorest countries in the world. Getting involved in the community and helping the less fortunate was a constant growing up.


Tertiary Education - I studied Media and Communication at the FACHA University in Rio and then a post-degree in Marketing at ESPM, also in Rio de Janeiro. The good thing of living in a big city is the many options you have for Universities and the possibility of still living with your parents. Which is actually a cultural thing. Latin Americans have their children living with them until they get married and start a family! Another cultural thing is, if the family can afford, they are proud to pay for their children's education all the way to University.

I was lucky enough to never have the burden of a student loan and wish education was the same for everyone and not a matter of financial situation!

Work History - My first job after university was at a major newspaper as an Advertising Executive which I really enjoyed until I moved to Xerox of Brazil in their Sales & Marketing department. 

While I was working for a TV and Movies Casting agency in 1998, I decided I had to explore the world and headed to cosmopolitan London in search of new adventures! Wow! Living in London was much more than just an adventure. It enabled me to travel the world, meet the most amazing people, marry my soul-mate and give birth to my first child.

In London I worked for Marriott Hotels in their Incentives and Gift Card Marketing, overseeing hotels across Europe and Middle East.

As much as I loved the hectic life in London and my demanding job, I knew I was hoping for more time with my newborn and in 2008 we decided to immigrate to beautiful New Zealand where I could be a stay-at-home mum. 


Describe yourself and talk about any major achievements - We immigrated to Eastbourne first and in 2009 we moved to the Kapiti Coast. My son Daniel was born in that year and my husband and I couldn't be happier, we were living the dream. I enjoyed every minute of being with my children and made the most of the quality time with the family. I've always been very active so started getting involved with playgroups and soon decided to start my own. Since moving to New Zealand I wondered how much of the Brazilian culture my children would be exposed to. I also wanted to encourage them to embrace other cultures and respect diversity in our world in a kind and gentle manner.

With this in mind, I founded the International Children's Group - an effort with other foreign families to remind our children of where they come from and to learn and respect different cultures.

My son Daniel started childcare and suddenly I had a bit more time for myself. Going back to work in an office was not an option as I still wanted to spend most of the time with my family so I decided to start a business combining two things I loved doing - interior design and parties! Being born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  had a great influence on my friendly personality and the desire for everything stylish and beautiful.

I'm a real people's person and I love to entertain at home and make people happy. Following these beliefs and the love for home decor I completed an Interior Design course with the Interior Design Institute of New Zealand. In 2014, with both children at school, I launched Decora - a party styling business. With Decora I had the opportunity of meeting some amazing local businesswomen and after going to a few business networking events in Wellington I thought it was time to have our own in Kapiti. In 2015 I founded the first Women's Expo in Kapiti. It was an extremely successful event and well received by the community and local media.

I'm passionate about any effort that can inspire and motivate other women to live the life they are meant to live. In 2016 we doubled the number of exhibitors for the event and now in 2017 I sadly had to pass it on as I have recently started another business inspired by my son's passion for writing! Ben has always loved writing since he was little. When he was 9 years old, I decided to publish his first book - Weirdo. Since then, Ben hasn't stopped writing and I thought I shouldn't stop publishing either! So Spies Publishing was born. My business Decora is the event company promoting the books and associated events.

Thinking forward what does the future have in store for you? - For the last 10 months I've been networking with editors, designers, illustrators and printers to bring Ben's latest book to a high standard. The Magic Pencil was launched in June 2017 and is receiving great reviews and gaining space on bookstore shelves.

The plan for Spies Publishing is to go national and later in the year launch in the U.S. Both books are being translated into Portuguese with release date in Brazil for early next year. Ben has written another two books that we're working with our team of editors at the moment to soon bring to the market. We're overwhelmed with the finished product for The Magic Pencil as we were lucky enough to have had the same designer who worked with Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake books back in the U.K.!  

Spies Publishing is positioning itself in the market as not only a publisher of children's books but also a facilitator for other children to have their work published to nurture and inspire other young authors in New Zealand. 

Renata Spies