We had the good fortune of connecting with Whitney Brooks and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Whitney, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
The crazy thing is I didn’t go into this thinking I wanted to be a business owner. Owning a business was something that I thought about doing later in life; it was never part of my “2020 plan”. Of course, life always finds a way to go a bit different than you expect.

At the very start of the pandemic, I was in desperate need of a creative outlet. I felt as though the weight of the world was on my shoulders and I could see no end in sight to this terrible virus. I was addicted to watching the news and being caught up on social media, afraid not to miss a new story. I realized very quickly how it was affecting my mental health so I made a conscious effort to go on morning walks every day around my neighborhood to spark some light into my life. Those morning walks changed everything for me. One of the most amazing things I’ve learned is that great things can happen to you if you allow them. I was at a point where I had no clue where my life was going and I surrendered to that fact. The surrendering allowed me to be open to everything around me.

I began thinking about what I missed most in quarantine, and travel was always at the top of my mind. Some of my favorite memories were travelling abroad with my family, most notably in places like Jamaica and Italy. It was no mystery to me that most people I knew were feeling the same way and I kept thinking about what I could do to fix that. If we couldn’t go outside to travel, I could somehow bring those memories of travel inside our homes. There was no better way for me to be closer to those places than to transport myself there through art so I started flushing out ideas on paper and the designing began.

Very quickly after designing, I wanted to see what my ideas looked like as a live product. I spent a large amount of time researching and started contacting manufacturing companies in the U.S. and internationally to make samples for my own enjoyment. I had no idea how the products would turn out, but at this point I was doing it for fun so I really didn’t put much pressure on myself. Once I received the samples back, I fell in love with the products and realized I had something worth sharing. Seeing those items come to life was a huge game changer for me and was the reason I decided to start this collection.

Although I had an unconventional way of starting a business, I have always believed that if you are really passionate about something you’ll find a way to make it a part of your life. Once the research began, I didn’t stop and never looked back.

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.

The Whitney Collection was born out of the pandemic from a desire to experience a more colorful life. I wanted to find a way to bring happiness into my life through art. I wanted life to feel luxurious but also fun and youthful. I felt like it was something that everyone needed while we were all living inside our homes. I’ve always had a taste for the finer things in life. Whether or not I could afford it was another thing.

For years I have been obsessed with Hermes silk scarves. I love the history behind the brand; and their pieces, to me, will forever be timeless. What I had realized early on in my years was that most of the high-fashion brands that sold silk scarves catered to an older and richer demographic. Because of this, the scarves felt very unobtainable for me as a girl in high school and college. Upon entering my mid-twenties, I got a job working at a company that employed very powerful women. One of the women in particular loved Hermes. She would wear a new scarf to work almost every day. She would carry herself so gracefully, the scarf catching wind as she purposely walked down the hall. I remember thinking to myself – wow, I want to be her someday.

For years I’ve wanted to shift the narrative on silk scarves and introduce them to a younger audience because I believe they are a beautiful and luxurious accessory that anyone should be able to wear. They bring color and class to any outfit.

The Whitney Collection is bold, cinematic, and nostalgic. Most of the people who purchase my products are people who like to be taken on a journey away from reality. I’m a huge dreamer and I think that translates through my art.

This year has been the most difficult year of my life but also the most rewarding. Starting a business is very, very hard work; especially for someone who did not go to business school, and especially for someone who is working two jobs. My mom always says, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it; which is so true.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned throughout this journey is to stop second-guessing myself. I am a perfectionist and can spend hours changing an idea to try to make it better. While it can sometimes be great, being this way has its setbacks. You can become so fixated on a situation that time passes and you miss an opportunity. What I’ve learned is that my intuition always leads me to where I need to go, and that is forward. Always move forward.

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?

This is such an exciting question and I think about this often even though most of my friends live in LA, but I truly think I would be a very fun and entertaining tour guide! Below are my MUST-HIT places. Please take note – there are no breaks (Most of these places are great date spots so you’re welcome in advance 😉 !)

Sunday – Drive along PCH to Malibu, Malibu Farm for lunch, Little Beach House (Soho House) for a famous picante before walking over to Nobu Malibu (get the delicious yellowtail jalapeno and black cod miso).

Monday – Morning workout at Elysian Park, The Broad Museum in DTLA, Perch for a happy hour cocktail and city views, Bestia for dinner (get the bone marrow) or Bar Ama (I’m obsessed with their puffy tacos and celery guacamole).

Tuesday – SoulCycle (Sunset Plaza in WeHo – the energy at this location is unlike any other), Drybar (Sunset Plaza), Alfred Coffee, lunch at Zinque (get the Le Bowl), drinks at E.P. L.P. rooftop and dinner at Dan Tana’s.

Wednesday – Griffith Observatory, window shopping along Sunset Junction, Intelligentisa for a pick-me-up espresso, El Condor for classic margs, and dinner at Café Stella or the Cara Hotel for some cozy romance. After dinner have an ice cream treat at Jeni’s. Catch a movie at Vintage Cinema in Los Feliz.

Thursday – Breakfast at Erewhon (smoothies are amazing), Beverly Hills Hotel for tanning by the pink pool and cute photo op, The Getty Museum, drinks at Mama Shelter rooftop, picnic with friends at Hollywood Forever Cemetery to watch a classic movie. (I think I’m cheating because these are typically on weekends but let’s say in this case it’s a weeknight!) End the night with a customized sundae and dirty martini at The Tower Bar.

Friday – Bunda workout class, Soho Warehouse for the rooftop pool views, shopping at Westfield Century City mall, drinks at Harriet’s Rooftop, dinner at Olivetta, and finally catch David Spade’s surprise set at The Comedy Store.

Saturday – Brunch at The Butcher’s Daughter on Abbot Kinney Blvd., tanning at Santa Monica beach (or find someone with a yacht…), hit Elephante for a spicy cucumber margarita, power nap, dinner at Catch LA (if you’re game to back to WeHo) or Forma in Santa Monica for a calmer atmosphere.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I owe the success of my business solely to my family and friends. They are my biggest happiness and support. They lift me up and encourage me to live out my dreams, and for that I am so grateful. They have kept me sane throughout this entire process and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them. My mom, Sherry, gets an extra special shoutout because she is the person who really persuaded me to turn my ideas into a business. As a female business owner herself, she believes in creating your own destiny. She has believed in me from day one and I feel so lucky to have a mom like her.

Website: www.whitneycollection.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thewhitneycollection_/

Image Credits
Photographer for all images: (Self) Whitney Brooks

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