An Interview with Brooke of BWL Styling
I was delighted to interview my dear friend Brooke recently on all things business and motherhood. I was actually introduced to Brooke through another sweet friend of mine, Alyssa Bustin. Alyssa is an incredibly talented photographer who I had the pleasure of working with on a few of her food-related projects. I was talking to Alyssa around this time last year about starting this website and she told me about Brooke. I’m so glad she did. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did 🙂
WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO?
My name is Brooke, and I have recently launched BWL (a styling company for the mama’s). I offer home organization/styling (playrooms, nurseries, closets, kitchens/ pantries + birthdays!).
WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO NASHVILLE?
My husband! We were doing a long distance while I was in New York and he was in Chattanooga. We wanted to get married and start a family in a city that was new to both of us.
WHAT SPARKED THE IDEA AND HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
I knew once I moved to Nashville I wanted to branch out and style on my own, but I was unsure of my direction. As soon as I had a baby and became a mother it all made sense. My whole world exploded. Our calm, organized and peaceful home quickly turned upside down with our newborn. Dishes, laundry, and bottles were everywhere. It was hard for me even to take a shower. I was in constant wonder how everyone was doing this? Didn’t they need help? So many people will ask you with a newborn “what have you been up to?” This simple question would make me cry (thinking, did I even brush my teeth today?). I thought once I get my world organized maybe I could help someone else? It brings me peace to help another mama find their calm through organizing and creating serenity in the home.
WHAT ARE SOME PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
My last big project was designing a whimsical + modern playroom for the sweetest baby girl. We filled the room with wooden materials selected to spark creativity and exploration. Noguchi – inspired mobiles, an array of blocks and a modern reading nook. We also added a plush, velvet pink sofa for mama!
Styling birthdays has become an unexpected twist for me. Those first years of parties can always feel a bit daunting, especially when you are busy being a mom! We were able to make custom party decor and colors you could not buy in stores. It has been a real joy of mine to assist a family in designing this special day. I was incredibly excited and have officially added this service to our list.
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON?
I am currently working on my first out of town nursery for a dear friend. We are working off design boards that feature beautiful inspiration and product to purchase for the nursery. Shopping links are included, so it is easy for this mama to order. It has been a new and fun experience working far away from a client!
Another exciting project this year will be the launch of our modern paper line for summer 19’. We will be featuring a postpartum + feeding journal, mama birth story journal, and note pad!
WHAT IS THE GOAL OF BWL (short term + long term)
My goal for BWL is to continue to offer styling/organizational services for the fierce ladies who simply do not have the time. A short term goal of mine is to launch our paper line this summer and have the opportunity to get it into retail stores.
Looking into the future, long term we would love to add an online shop featuring custom paper, self-care products, books, and more.
WHAT ARE SOME TIPS YOU HAVE FOR A NEW MAMA OR MAMA-TO-BE ON CRAFTING A CALMING SPACE AND WHY IS IT ESSENTIAL TO BRING A NEWBORN INTO A PEACEFUL SETTING?
It is always so hard for me to give tips because every mama and baby are so different and the meaning of peace/calm is different for each family. I will say that everyone’s needs in the entire family matter while creating a calming space.
For us, it began with the art of sleep and nutrition. The quality of sleep for EVERY person in our family is extremely important (not just Amelia). Lack of sleep increased my anxiety and aided in my PPD. At six months my postpartum anxiety was at a high, so we decided as a family to focus on sleep for all three of us. Within a few weeks, we were so much happier and were functioning better as a unit. We still have setbacks from time to time (molars!), but we always re-group and find our sleep again.
Focusing on the comfort of your bedding, pillows, and functionality of your nightstand are crucial to creating a calming space as a new family. Make a list of what you will need and stock your bedside. Lip balm, water bottle, lotion, trail mix, and few luxurious items such as candles + flowers can always make it special!
Organizing + stocking the pantry/fridge for mom and dad are also just as important. In addition to this, having a freezer full of soups and nutritious meals can make your life less stressful. Reading the “The first forty days” really helped me understand what I needed to replenish my body after giving birth, and then being able to pass those nutrients on to Amelia was a true gift. Sleep and a full belly can be the first steps to creating a calming space.
In terms of designing a calming space for us meant less is more. Less means less to organize, less to clean, less to trip over. Keeping only the items that are very meaningful + serve you in functionality can be the first step to opening up your space and making room for your new addition. For me, that was flowers, plants + calming colors.
HOW DO YOU BALANCE BEING A WORKING MAMA AND TENDING TO AMELIA’S NEEDS?
It feels impossible, right? The only thing that works for me is choosing one or the other. For example, if I have a project due I will try not to work on it and play with Amelia at the same time (shuffling back and forth). I have tried this a bunch, and it ends up with the both of us feeling frustrated. I try to be completely present with her, and when she goes down for a nap/bed – I work. Staying up late has turned into my self-care + quiet time.
HOW DOES SHE INSPIRE YOU?
Amelia is my world. She inspires me in so many ways.
She is unapologetically honest as most children are, which is one of the many reasons these little people are so beautiful.
When she says “thank you mommy” and “I love you” she means it. She has no motives or goals. Her words are incredibly pure.
I love watching her see something for the first time. It makes me appreciate whatever it is so much more.
She studies people to the fullest. Her curiosity for life is contagious!
Amelia and all children are so present in life and feel everything to the fullest. They come with no filters and are a true inspiration.
HOW DO YOU KEEP YOU HOUSE CLEAN WITH A BUSY TODDLER?
Trust me, it is now always clean, but we do have a method. One of the ways is called “toy rotation,” a key in our home. We have a closet where I keep all of Amelia’s items. I even donated some of my clothes so I could have this closet (it is essential to me). I keep minimal things out for play/work and rotate them once she loses interest. It keeps everything looking fresh, and Amelia uses all her toys this way. She gets excited if something pops out she has not seen in a few weeks.
Honestly, my amazing husband helps a lot also. He generally cooks dinner and cleans up after, not joking!
We also practice the Montessori Method 80% of the time at home, as Amelia is in a Montessori classroom four days a week. She wants to be a part and “do” everything we do, so deciding to focus on educating her with practical, real-life skills was an easy decision for us. She is starting to “want” to clean up after herself, organize shelves, wash floors/tables, and prepare snacks. All these things not only help me, but she is so proud of herself and loves to do it. She now goes around saying “I help you, mommy.” Heartbreaker!
WHAT ARE SOME FUN SIMPLE ACTIVITIES YOU DO WITH AMELIA?
Amelia’s loves going outside, where we love collecting/categorizing acorns, sticks, leaves, and rocks. She also enjoys riding her bike inside and out!
Painting is a passion for Amelia. We recently bought her a huge 7ft canvas where she can go crazy! She uses her brushes, hands, and feet to paint, and I love watching her. I am in the process of making her an art section at home, with different materials we can explore with.
We love to sit outside and look for birds to fly by, watch the sunset and play ice cream shop. If you don’t have it, you should get the Melissa and Doug Scoop and Serve IceCream Counter! HA.
Amelia is crazy about kinetic sand and Play-doh; we use a splat mat for this, which is so relaxing for both of us. We sit there and build sand castles or make cookies.
We love to cook together. I will ask Amelia to sprinkle the salt, pepper and pour different bowls together, etc. It not only helps me make us our meals, but she loves it!
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING TO DO IN NASHVILLE?
We love to eat and be outside. One of my favorite things to do is be in my backyard cooking out with my family. We love going to Radner Lake and the many farms nearby. Amelia loves animals and nature! Dying for Amelia to go to summer camp at Bloomsbury Farm (it just launched!), but we will have to wait until she is three.
Our favorite food spots are Cafe Roze, Rose Peppers, and Sperry’s.
If you’re a new mama or know a new mama or mama-to-be, give them the gift of home organization/styling by Brooke. She is the most talented mama <3