The woman Kmart mums fear
The world of Kmart mum Facebook groups is cutthroat - and there's one anonymous figure who is loathed and feared by all.
Her identity remains a mystery. She refuses to reveal her name or location because, even though thousands of members inside the closed Facebook groups are scared of her, she's just as fearful of them.
"I'm terrified," Jane* laughed over the phone when she agreed to talk from her hidden location.
Jane is the mastermind behind the Facebook page Kmart Unhacks & Roasts - a page dedicated to raising an eyebrow at all the DIY and design attempts that are … less than successful.
After launching the page 18 months ago, it has gathered 70,000 fans who scroll through the feed daily to see the latest in DIY disasters - from entire kitchens that have been covered in contact to the "hacks" that aren't really hacks.
"I was just sick and tired of seeing people contact things that didn't need to be covered in contact," Jane sighed about the adhesive plastic usually reserved for covering school books.
"It looked terrible. I was flabbergasted by the whole thing and, at the same time, 'coffee stations' started and I couldn't get my head around that."
For the uninformed, a "coffee station" is what Kmart mums have dubbed the area in the kitchen where they keep the kettle - only they've jazzed it up with shelves and colour co-ordinated canisters and fake plants.
When the "Kmart mum" movement was first kicking into gear, Jane joined the Facebook groups to see what the fuss was about.
"I just started seeing insanity," she said. "People were contacting everything and I couldn't cope.
"The thing I hate the most is the fact the word 'hack' now is used by women who just bought something from Kmart - they think buying something from Kmart and putting it in their house is a hack. And the purpose of these groups - to show actual hacks - it's lost."
One day while venting to a friend, Jane snapped and created the "roasting" page. The first post was a photo someone had shared of their bedroom revamp, which included multiple dream catchers hanging above the bed.
Jane captioned the snap, "How many dreams are you trying to catch?" and it grew from there. Soon, the infamous "Brenda" was created - a fictional character made up to embody the kind of person responsible for such interior design catastrophes.
"I just thought about the type of person posting these ridiculous things - who was contacting everything - and what she was like," she said. "I went through a few names and Brenda seemed to fit. I felt like the page needed a person to hang it on - it worked better with my humour to be able to talk about her. And it gave me room to expand to things outside of Kmart, like recipes."
At first Jane - who has two teens and a full-time job - would source the original images from Facebook groups but as her page became more popular, fans began sending in posts they found themselves. She now receives over 100 submissions a day.
Despite the popularity, members of the genuine Kmart mum pages are not happy - and neither are the page administrators, who continually warn members they'll be banned if they're busted submitting screenshots to "the Brenda roasting page". These posts then get roasted and the glorious cycle goes on.
"A post from here was shared and ridiculed. This is utter bullsh*t and will not be tolerated by any f**ksticks!" the administrator of one page posted recently.
Within the private groups, anarchy whirls. Some mums are turning on each other and criticising their DIY efforts while harsh administrators try to weed out people who don't play by their rules. While some try to blame the roasting page for bullying, Jane said it's the negativity brewing between mums on the private groups that inspired her to make fun of the phenomenon.
"I get frustrated by the passive aggressive posts that the women put up," she said. "It has spawned this whole negative culture of women who want their things approved and liked but no one is allowed to offer constructive criticism - then it becomes a fight in the group. That really annoyed me. People just want to post something and have people tell them how great they are.
"And there's truly amazing posts. There are women doing fantastic things - they're clever, think outside the box and do real hacks - they're amazing and provide inspiration to women who have no idea."
What will guarantee you a spot on Kmart Unhacks & Roasts? If you try to "improve" something that should just be left alone.
"Like the decorating of a toilet … I just don't understand that," Jane said. "And back to contact - people doing their walls, floors, whole kitchen. And I just think to myself, how can you not see that pattern? No kitchen has marble cupboards."
Only Jane's husband and a handful of close friends know about her secret life tormenting Kmart mums. "Only people I can trust who won't tell anyone," she said.
She knows the dangers she'd face if her identity got out. Kmart mums are not to be messed with. Still, it doesn't stop her from crossing enemy lines.
"I was in Kmart last weekend," she laughed.
* Name changed to protect from angry Brendas.