Selfmade Experts: Shirley Erskine-Schreyer on Wunderhaus

©Sophia Steube

With Wunderhaus, Shirley Erskine-Schreyer has created a place that is completely attuned to the needs of mothers and children

Shirley isn’t just a good friend of a good friend of mine, but is also a model example of a full-time mom raising her small daughter without the help of a nanny. And it seems she has realized her dream project at the same time: Wunderhaus, a Prenzlauer Berg spot for mothers offering imaginative entertainment and activity programs, is now open – and filling a gap in the market in Berlin.

I’m impressed by Shirley’s good mood every time that we see each other, by her professional manner and her interest in other people. She asks a lot of questions, is curious, and doesn’t take herself too seriously – which can be seen every day in her regular Instagram posts (@wunderhaus_berlin). You become witness to the real life of a mother who is ambitious yet possesses a warmth that knows no bounds. For me, her entrepreneurial spirit has an international benchmark level, which is why we’re so happy to have been able to ask her a few questions and present her ideas on hey woman! For all the non-mommas out there: You can stop by the Wunderhaus at Belforter Straße 8 for a manicure and pedicure starting in mid-November.

Do you remember the first moment you had the idea for Wunderhaus?

The idea came to me after I had my second daughter. I really wanted to get back in shape – and also treat myself a little with a manicure and pedicure – but I did not feel comfortable leaving my daughter with a stranger at such a young age. That was when the thought for Wunderhaus came to me.

What made you realize that you really wanted to start this project?

After visiting various child-friendly cafes and realizing these places are not where I wanted to hang out with my child. Mothers deserve much better – motherhood can be isolating, and I wanted to meet like-minded mothers.

What kinds of obstacles did you expect to run into? And how did you deal with them?

Raising money and finding the right space were the biggest obstacles, but luckily we have amazing investors and a beautiful location. The rest was sheer determination! I felt it was very important to build a community where mothers supported each other and could use each other as a sounding board for the highs and lows of motherhood. Becoming a mother can be a rewarding, but it’s a tough journey, and I wanted to build a space that supports a mother’s needs and also gives parents a chance to connect, relax, and recharge.

Did you have a mentor on the project? Or who was your biggest inspiration?

My children are my inspiration for everything I do! I am also inspired by many different women – moms and “mompreneurs”. I know so many, I can’t name just one!

What has been your most treasured moment since starting Wunderhaus in Berlin?

There are a few! The wonderful support I get from my husband. That my young daughter Bella is always excited to go to Wunderhaus. Or my grown daughter Michaela telling me how proud she is of me. And the great friendships I have made through working on Wunderhaus.

What has been your favorite part about working on this project? Is there something that wasn’t so enjoyable?

Decorating the space! I am very creative, so working with the financials aspects was a bit of a struggle, but luckily I have my husband and a great finance team!

What was your biggest success with it so far?

Opening day – seeing so many mothers showing their support and appreciating every detail I put in the space. One mother told me that she could see the love that I put in the space and that made me feel really wonderful.

Where do you want this project to be in the next five years?

I have goals to expand to other parts of Berlin and to other cities in Germany. I think the hospitality industry for families is an underserved market, and I would like to expand in that field as well.

More information about Wunderhaus can be found on the website here. You can register for a membership here. Shirley Erskine-Schreyer and Wunderhaus can also be found on Instagram here (@wunderhaus_berlin) and Facebook here.

Wunderhaus
Belforter Straße 8
10405 Berlin

Opening hours:
Monday – Friday: 9:30am – 6pm
Saturday and Sunday: Closed.
Wunderhaus can be booked for events on the weekend.

Translation: Melissa Frost

Julia co-founded one of the first fashion blogs in Germany in 2007 and became a freelance consultant for digital strategies after publishing her first book in 2010. After an eventful four years with Condé Nast working mainly in the digital department of Vogue Germany, she decided to launch her own online magazine with her dream partner, Veronika Heilbrunner. She is based in Berlin and loves to read books.