We had the good fortune of connecting with Brienna McWade and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brienna, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
To know whether to give up is a very personal decision and sometimes, it’s one out of our control such as for neighboring restaurants and businesses who are not able to remain open or sustain a clientele. It is a constant stressor and worry whether my businesses (or I) can withstand the next round of mandates into 2021. The pandemic has created a massive shift in entrepreneurship and business building and further demands flexibility from us business owners. The pandemic and the resulting experience of reinventing my business on the fly has encouraged me to keep putting one step in front of the other, even if they are tiny steps and I don’t know which way I’m going. Advisory Goods was a desperate pivot from my original business, The Advisory House where I specialized in branding for small business owners. After losing clients in the March 2020 closures, and after my partner left AH to gain a full-time position from his consulting work, I felt at a crossroad. I thought about giving up often and it was soul crushing to feel like I was going to let go of a business I have been working so hard for. Having patience in the process is incredibly hard, and I think the best guess is trusting when you feel a spark or a fire that whispers inside — that’s when you know that there’s still something worth exploring, something still smoldering. After spending many weeks during quarantine searching for a path and waiting for a sign that the world would return to what we used to know so I could go back to doing what I used to know… I leaned into my hobbies of drawing illustrations, sewing quilts, and crafting for the seasons. If anything, all this busy work helped to suspend my anxieties about the unknown future but channeling my nervous energy over the summer gave me a renewed focus in creating an inventory for Advisory Goods which has been slowly blooming into a home + lifestyle design gallery. Trust your gut on projects or directions that don’t align with your values or businesses integrity — those can sometimes be hard to see but usually a grateful decision. My experience of being flexible and vulnerable enough to keep going — and through change — has strengthened my community relationships, allowed me to remain true to who I am as a creative and as a professional, as well has as inspired a new walk-in branding clientele for The Advisory House. I know I am fortunate and I am grateful at the ability to pivot and I am lucky to be living my life as a creative.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
This year was my first official campaign of my works and it wasn’t incredibly easy, not was it very intentional. With the changes made to my business from the pandemic, I decided to display my works at the front of my office. I accidentally fell onto a new direction as I have had clients and customers ask about custom works. The 2020 winter aesthetic and window display was a mesh of my love of the outdoors and my Seattle-based roots. The cold wet days of my upbringing taught me how to bring the outdoors in. I focused on quilted camp blankets intended to be worn around a backyard — only getting softer with each use. I’ve always loved quilted works and have admired the countless hours that go into crafting them only to be disheartened to see them untouched, hung on a wall or packed away untouched as “special.” I want to create quilted items that can be used and loved and tossed into the wash. I want quilted blankets to be seen in generational photos and passed down with stories and family tales woven into their history. I’ve spent a lot of time pondering how my 37 years there shaped my creative spirit and my creative direction. It got me thinking harder about why I love the bright colors I do, why the natural elements and smells of pine and rain let me breathe, and why I love a great sparkle on almost anything. As I delve further into my own roots and heritage, I intend to use my fabric as a way to express myself more fully.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Since every neighborhood of LA has it’s own vibe and style, I’d insist on a multi-hood tour of art, food, Hollywood, and nature! There’s no way you can visit Los Angeles without hitting the following: – Breakfast tacos at HomeState in Highland Park – Hop on the Gold Line to see more of LA’s layout into downtown — take to Union Station. – Visit Homegirl Cafe in Chinatown where those with incarcerated pasts can learn skills to rehabilitate into mainstream society. Bonus points for ordering the Chile verde grilled cheese. – Venture into Koreatown and look at area shops and street art; the Korean grocery store is a trip to another culture and awesome gift options. – Art District is a MUST: loads of mural art, hit Blue Bottle Coffee, Sweet Flower Cannabis, and a parking lot concert at Urban Radish. – Hike to top of Hollywood sign and view of Observatory and Downtown. – Coffee at The Trails and a morning hike through Fern Dell in Griffith Park. Google nearby stair climb for a peek at Nicolas Cage’s house.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I wish I could shout out to everyone! My Sierra Madre community has been incredibly supportive and I am really grateful to be a part of it. Kathi Wilson is my generous and loving mentor who has taught me an amazing amount about quilting and assisting me in bringing sewn arts to my generation. Two amazing business women who I check in with often and strive to be more like: Elsa Elbert of Composed Living and Monique Fitzgerald of Inndica. Both these women have sharp business sense, poise, and never-ending kindness.