Today we’d like to introduce you to Brooke Cole.
Brooke, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am a mom of four, wife, designer, curator of vintage goods ➕ home décor, and owner of Brooklyn finds design Co.
I got married right out of college and was a stay at home mom for many years. I loved being a mom and building our nest on a small budget and thrived on the challenge of creating a beautiful home from thrifted finds and hand me down furniture. Oftentimes, I found myself being asked to help friends pick paint colors, stage their homes to sell, and restyle their spaces by simply “shopping their home.” It was a joy for me to encourage them in their own home and help uncover items and showcase them in a new light. This got me excited and started to ignite my passion! I soon realized I had a stirring in my heart and that I longed for something more that was just for myself (insert the mom guilt at times of course). It was around this time I had heard I had an amazing opportunity to be mentored by a long time designer and author right in the heart of New York City! This would prepare me with the tools to start my own interior design business. I took the leap outside of my comfort zone and completed the course. This was huge for me because, in the past, I would have let the mom guilt and fear win.
When I returned home, I was eager to start my business and was presented with the opportunity to work in commercial design for various college campuses. I was deeply challenged but oh so thankful, especially on the financial front as we navigated the uncharted waters and expenses of adopting our little boy from Ethiopia. But as grateful as I was, I realized my passion was far deeper than design. I missed the personal connections and encouraging people in their homes!
When we returned home from Africa to pick up our son, I fell sweetly back into my full-time role as a mom and stepped away from design work altogether. My heart felt full and I was content to step away at this time.
In 2016, a good friend of mine was a vendor at a local vintage market and asked me to share the space with her. I quickly tapped back into my creative mindset and got to work gathering the best antique and vintage finds and planning out how we would lay out our booth space. I loved every minute of it! From gathering and staging my finds to visiting with all the shoppers that came through our space. I was hooked! I had found my niche!
Shortly after that, my friend decided to step away from vintage markets and continue to pursue her dream. I remember her saying to me “Brooke, this is totally what you should be doing, if I can do this, you definitely can” I appreciated her faith in me, yet I felt like I had lost my safety net. I was on my own and a wave of doubt flooded over me.
Months went by without any action. Then, one day, I was on a drive back to a North Carolina airport from a recent picking trip with my sister. She challenged me to start an Instagram account, although I was honestly clueless when it came to social media. I mean, I wasn’t even on Facebook ha! But through that trip; Brooklyn Finds was born and that Spring, I stepped out on my own to represent my new found business and set up shop in Denver for a well-known vintage market. I was blown away by how wildly successful it was. I surprised myself yet at the same time felt proud that I stepped into where God had been leading me all along! Today, you can find my work on display year-round at A&J Antiques and follow along on social media for my latest finds and to see what market I will be popping up at next, along with scheduling design consultations across Northern Colorado.
Has it been a smooth road?
It has been a bumpy road at times, filled with a roller coaster of emotions along the way. While I stood in front of my designs on display and warmly greeted shoppers, it was easy to show up with confidence and have fun! However, behind the scenes, I struggled with limiting beliefs about myself. All too often, I have been paralyzed with fear that kept me from moving closer to my dream. I have learned by looking back at those times that when I pushed through my fears of failure and overcame adversity, the most beautiful connections and growth in myself and business happened!
Some of the best advice I’ve been given is to face that fear, and when you feel overwhelmed… just take the next best step! You don’t have to have it all planned out before you start, just start!! You are not alone! Surround yourself with people that will speak the truth in love to you and push you to be the best version of yourself! It is usually your tribe of people that see you as stronger and more capable than you see yourself!
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Brooklyn Finds Design Co. – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
When I’m not busy preparing for upcoming vintage pop up market in Northern Colorado or styling my shop space at A&J Antique Mall in Fort Collins (and of course, running my kids to soccer), I love working and encouraging clients in their homes. I often travel to North Carolina, Texas, California and across the country finding the best vintage goods and creating inspiring displays for my clients to shop. I’m known to incorporate green, black and white design elements, always with fresh greenery, textures, and organic elements with a creative spin. I feel the proudest of what I have created in my work when I’ve been recognized by other amazing creatives in the industry that I’m inspired by and look up to as well. It’s amazing how the kindest and most simple words of encouragement can carry you so far, that’s what I want people to see in me too!
What sets me apart as a designer, is in how I apply a “use what you have” design philosophy. It shouldn’t cost a lot of money to turn your house into a home. I enjoy giving clients a fresh perspective and take great pride in mixing in vintage pieces that help tell a story and create a unique and welcoming space.
What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally?
Ourselves! We have to get out of our own way sometimes. I think we as women are the hardest on ourselves and each other as we try and navigate all the roles we play, from Mother’s to entrepreneurs; We have to give ourselves grace! It’s easy to get caught up in comparison at times too. One of my favorite quotes that keeps me in check is “comparison is the thief of all joy” by Theodore Roosevelt. Isn’t that such a great reminder?! We have to stay true to who we are and remind ourselves of the gifts we have to offer the world! Be kind to yourself and be intentional about being a light in your industry.
- Phone: 970-412-0566
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @brooklynfinds
- Facebook: Brooklyn Finds Design Co. LLC
Photos by Kirsten D’Onofrio @lincolnandroost