How it All Began
Every story has a beginning and every business has that defining moment when you realize this might be worthwhile. We think the story behind Brooks Collective is pretty special. We are in our infant stages as a brand and even though we have only been working on this baby for less than a year, it feels like we have poured our heart and souls into what we have created. We wanted to share the who/what/where and why’s of Brookes Collective so you can know the story and heart behind the brand.
Kimberly and I are close. I mean, best friend/soul mate close. As in, every time we have to say goodbye and get on a plane we feel like a piece of us is missing. But we weren’t always so close. We are 6 years apart – I’ll let you decide who you think is older…but beware, one of has been asked if they were the mother to this duo and it hurts. So actually, keep your opinions to yourself. I digress. When we were younger we fought a lot and it wasn’t until I moved away to college that we really realized what we had in each other. Kimberly would tag along on trips with me and hang out in the dorms and my dumpy college apartments. She even moved in to a studio apartment with me once she graduated high school. Kimberly decided to go change the world and leave for overseas. I was and am a very proud sister.
In the back of my mind I always assumed we would end up raising our families together in the same location. That has not been in the cards, unfortunately. We have, however, always talked on the phone. I have crazy phone bills to prove it! Lucky for us, we have always been able to maintain communication, (thank you, modern technology) even in the mundane day to day topics. We both have always loved fashion and styling and often would talk about outfits that we are wearing or something we have found that is flattering. One particular day we were talking about some booties that I had. We both agreed that we are in a place where we feel proud about the kind of clothing/accessories we are buying, (fair trade/quality) vs the great discount we were able to get. Don’t get me wrong, we love a good discount! But we would love to know the people who made our clothes were treated with the dignity and compassion they deserved. The more we dug into this topic, the more passionate we became about it. We realized this was a subject we wanted to be a part of and an industry we wanted to change.
So, what do you do with this desire to make a difference in the fashion industry? We aren’t designers. We don’t know how to sew. We’ve never started a business before. But we knew we wanted to try – we wanted to take this venture as far as we could and see what happens. We joke that if everything was up to Kimberly, the company would be $100,000 in debt and if the company were up to me I would still be talking about this great idea I have. We are a good match because we can meet somewhere in the middle. We are able trust each other because we understand each other. We can read each other and communicate and know when there’s a problem. We are really really good at celebrating together – Middlebrooks’s need to be able to get down every so often and really celebrate the wins, even if it’s as small as getting our business license. When one person is down, the other person is there to rally and be the “up” until the other sister is back. Plus – we have a whole lot of fun together. I mean, even at 5am business meetings I am laughing and enjoying myself.
We have moved forward. Sometimes tentatively and sometimes full steam ahead – we have moved forward with Brookes Collective. We have found a manufacturer we trust and adore – that was one of the biggest conformations; we found a like-minded business that values human life and has a passion to see individuals treated fairly at work and have dignity because they are able to provide a good living for themselves and their families. You should have seen how nervous we were before that meeting! I thought we would be laughed out of the meeting with our lack of experience and knowledge of the industry. But that’s not how it went. We felt so encouraged and realized we should keep pushing this forward, it’s going somewhere! So, we moved to the next thing, we researched packaging and distribution, taxes and finances, laws and shipping – the list goes on and on and on and on. Through it all we keep finding ourselves still motivate to move forward. Every article of clothing that has been designed, person we have been able to network with, follower on Instagram, conversation about our business and encouragement from others has been another validation that we are able to make something out of this crazy far-fetch dream of ours.
Now, as our first collection is wrapping up and loose ends are being tied up, the excitement level is peaking. There is still so much to do! But as we reach each step we are seeing doors being opened and we have so many people to thank for that. Brookes Collective will continue to push forward. With our tenacity, grit, ignorance and desire to spend even more time on the phone with our sister – we will push forward and create something we are proud of and create something our family, friends and hopefully beyond will be able to wear with pride.