The Auckland-born-and-bred entrepreneur studied film, TV and English ‘of all things’ before starting her first career in insurance - something that’s ‘rather boring but important to have!’ in her books.
“I’ve always had a love of art and design... but my true love of architecture came to me when I was a bit older and travelled to New York for an art exhibition I was doing over there,” Janelle remembers being taken by Frank Lloyd Wright’s vision in the Guggenheim, art deco ‘in its finest form’ in the Chrysler, and gothic architecture in the streets of Manhattan.
“Architecture is so much bigger than you. It’s hard to explain how a building can evoke such feelings inside you. When I see an amazing architectural structure, I think - another human designed this, and thought about the surrounding area and how people would experience it"
“How do they know the impact their designs and buildings will have on others? It’s foresight, it’s creativity. I’m in awe of these people. Buildings make a place what it is.”
Janelle’s admiration for passionate, driven and creative people is the backstory, inspiration and foundation of Teulo; born from a belief in the power of education, connection and of course - architecture.
“In 2007 I met this awesome Irish/Kiwi called Jon Thompson. He was the founder and CEO of Productspec and meeting him set me on the path of being actively involved in the tech sector of the building and construction industry,” she reflects.
The years to follow would see Janelle - who agrees she’s been ‘entrepreneurial (her) whole life’ - help grow the online product database from the ground up, launch an event that would turn into a legacy, and create a first-of-its-kind specification tool for architects and designers.
“I loved being part of it and growing a business... I thrive on the whole start-up scene and building something from scratch.”
Enter: Teulo, the perfect fusion of Janelle’s two creative loves - buildings and businesses. A ‘gradual evolution, over about fifteen years’, Teulo is both challenging the status quo on CPD learning and filling the communications gap between architects, designers and builders to evolve the industry.
“In our industry architects and designers are specifying products on a building often with no real understanding of how a product or system works,” Janelle explains.
“We have a lot of tools out there to find spec details and write them, which is great, but what’s out there to educate them on how the product actually works in situ? Education is the key to ensuring we specify the right product and are fully informed.”
But as with most things worth having - for the solo mum-of-one cross fit enthusiast, it hasn’t all come easily.
“It’s a HUGE juggling act, but my son Zakk is a big reason that I’ll never quit. What example does that give to him? We spend the bulk of our time at work so if you aren’t happy, you need to make adjustments to what you are doing. Zakk loves Teulo - for our launch video he interviewed the clients and the architects himself. He is ten years old!”
Underpinning it all is that love of people; Janelle’s genuine and infectious belief in what others have to offer and compulsion to share it. She named Teulo after fellow entrepreneur-turned-friend Nick Teulon, a man unafraid to don a cowboy hat or camp outside a national stadium - and video it - in the name of a sales pitch.
“It was hilarious, took guts and I thought yeah - he inspired me. This platform is about inspiring people and I love to surround myself with amazing, interesting humans.
“I am most excited about the incredible people I will get to meet to interview and do podcasts with for Teulo. Throughout my whole career - I have been searching for this.”
As for why architects, designers and building professionals should join Teulo - Janelle says:
“Life is fast-paced, we are time-poor. Let’s evolve as an industry and take our learning online - do it at our own pace, in our own environment.”