Q & A with Brooke
Q: What is the most rewarding thing about owning your own business?:
A: Definitely my ability to create whatever I want on my own terms. I can do whatever I want with this beautiful little thing. The entire Chloe + Lois line is ME, every piece that I create and curate reflects my style. I also love tweaking every little minor detail along the way, starting with production, moving on to packaging, and ending with the little shipping packaging details. My mind literally never stops working trying to develop ways to increase the experience that each of my customers have.
Q: What are your hours like?
A: They vary greatly, but I do have a day job that keeps me going from 7-3 and on the road in other cities within the US. My typical day begins around 4:30 am and ends about 10. My friends love to give me a (playful) hard time about my getting up early. I had one friend wake up at 5 am a few weeks ago and she told me the first thing she thought was "Brooke's up so i'm going to get up!" LOL. But getting back to the question, the hours really are based on the demands of the business. One night, I ran a promo and almost 30 orders rolled in. I was up until about 12 am packing what I could get done so I could get everything out ASAP. Needless to say, I was very tired the following day.
Q: What did you do before Chloe + Lois?
A: I have 8 years experience in Sales + Merchandising, primarily in the CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) industry, where I help large, reputable brands roll out new, innovative products in retail stores. I have worked with food for my entire career. On the other hand, I have always loved accessories and I have a pretty solid imagination (ask my Husband, he will totally agree LOL), so jewelry design and buying has always been something I would have liked to do, but didn't really know how. I'm a firm believer that you can do whatever you want in life as long as you have the persistence and drive to get the job done. I tapped into that persistence and drive and figured everything out- completely on my own. I think it's safe to say that Chloe + Lois is the product of me wanting to pursue a career in an industry that I had no "on paper" experience, so instead of someone from that industry turning me down for a job, I simply created it for myself. No regrets. YOLO.
Q: Will there ever be a Men's line?
A: If you have a neck, a finger and ears with holes in them I have something for you, bud.
Q: Any advice to someone looking to start their own small business?
A: Whatever you want to do, DO IT. Go for it. HOWEVER....you have to be resilient, it's the only way you'll survive. Make smart decisions with money. Don't quit your day job to start something new from scratch, you'll dig yourself into a hole. Grind. Get comfortable with uncomfortable situations. Don't be afraid to ask for things. When someone says "No" to whatever your request is, ask it 10 other different ways to change that "no" into a "yes". If you're only going to put 10% into your new venture, or when it "fits" into your schedule, it's not going to explode the way you want it to. You have to stay hungry, and always want more. If you put in 10%, you'll get 5% in return- guaranteed. Be ready to make sacrifices, practice discipline. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.
Q: What are your future plans for Chloe + Lois?
A: Sky is the limit! I'm going to continue to build the brand, add more SKUS to the line and continue to expand outward of my home base to develop more retail partnerships with independent retailers. At the moment, Chloe + Lois has less than 10 brick and mortar stores carrying product and I think it's a great, manageable number- this allows me to get a solid grasp on balancing inventory, and all the tedious behind the scenes stuff that is crucial to being not only sensible, but profitable.