We had the good fortune of connecting with Brooke Taylor and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brooke, what role has risk played in your life or career?
It’s funny: I generally consider myself to be a risk-averse person, and yet I’ve taken some pretty big risks in my life and career. The one that really tested me was uprooting my family so that I could pursue a new career–I moved with my husband and two daughters, aged 4 and 1 at the time, to a new city and state where we had no family and few friends. I had been trying to make the shift from hospitality interior designer to brand strategist for years, and an opportunity finally came along that I couldn’t pass up. That move showed me that I don’t jump into risk blindly, but that I will take a calculated risk when I’ve done my research and it feels right. You could even argue that my calculated risk ended in failure when I got laid off from that job a mere 9 months later, but it ultimately worked out for the best because it pushed me into starting my own business. Going out on my own was a big risk for sure, but it seemed like the best possible path at the beginning of a global pandemic when nobody was hiring! And it absolutely has been the best possible path for me. By taking those big risks I have been rewarded with flexibility, quality family time, and a thriving consulting business in which I get to help clients and flex my talents every day. I still consider myself to be fairly risk-averse, but I also know that betting on myself is a risk with a high upside.
What should our readers know about your business?
As a brand strategy consultant, I leverage nearly two decades in the hospitality industry to help businesses understand their customer better and articulate their distinct offering. I shifted into brand strategy after working as a hospitality interior designer for 16 years, and at first I tried desperately to distance myself from my previous career – I was afraid of being pigeonholed and wanted to be taken seriously as a strategist. Once I went out on my own and started working with companies in my old network, I finally realized that what I had considered my weakness was actually my strength: who better to help businesses understand designers than someone who had been a designer for so many years?!
I had to push past a lot of self-doubt – and still do, sometimes daily. But I also believed that I had a talent for brand strategy, and I make peace with the self doubt by believing that I can help people even if I’m still learning.
In fact, learning is key to success in strategy: the most important qualifications are curiosity, empathy, and the ability to synthesize disparate information. So here’s to pushing past the self-doubt, and to never being done learning. May we all have the humility and courage try something new and scary and exciting.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My husband and I are both San Diego natives, and we just moved back last year after 23 years of living in various cities on both coasts. We love the variety of cultures that cohabitate in this vibrant border town! I’d start out with the things people come here for: beach time and sunset in La Jolla or Ocean Beach, California burritos at Roberto’s, fish tacos at Mitch’s. Then a day in North Park, starting with breakfast burritos at Saguaro’s, followed by browsing my favorite shops like Artelexia and Pigment, then hopping over to South Park for some vintage shopping at Bad Madge and dinner at The Rose natural wine bar. We’d have to spend a day checking out the skate and surf scene in Mission Beach and maybe kayak or SUP in Mission Bay, then head slightly inland to be completely overwhelmed by the number and variety of Asian specialities in the Convoy corridor: Korean BBQ, Japanese Ramen, Thai rolled ice cream, and my favorite, Szechuan at Mr. Spicy. You could spend days exploring everything in Balboa Park, originally constructed for the 1928 Worlds Fair, but we’d focus on the newly renovated Mingei Museum of craft and design and either have lunch at the museum’s gorgeous new cafe or skip across the street to Panama 66 in the SD Museum of Art’s sculpture garden. Then eat our way through our neighborhood, City Heights: horchata lattes in the back patio at Cafeina, pho tai at Pho Hoa, house-made barbacoa at El Borrego, kitfo at Red Sea Ethiopian, and wash it all down with cocktails at delightful dive bar Til Two Club. And for the cherry on top, we’d head across the border into Mexico for a two-part overnight: day 1, wine tasting in Valle de Guadalupe capped of with the phenomenal tasting menu at Fauna; day 2, seafood & craft beer crawl in Ensenada. Man, this itinerary is making me hungry… and very happy to live here!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
To my husband, Nick, for his unwavering belief in me; and to the incredible hospitality industry family that I feel fortunate to have been a part of for almost 20 years now – the love and support of this huge yet tiny network of people continues to impress me and warm my heart.