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Designer Wardrobe's Donielle Brooke talks creativity and bricks-and-mortar retail

  • News
  • November 24, 2017
  • Idealog Team
Designer Wardrobe's Donielle Brooke talks creativity and bricks-and-mortar retail

Donielle Brooke was one of the People's Choice winners in the retail category in Idealog and Accenture's Most Creative People. Brooke founded Designer Wardrobe, an online marketplace where users list, sell, rent or look for designer items on Facebook, in 2013, as a way to pay rent after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Now it’s surpassed 100,000 members, crowd-funded $1.7 million in the space of a few days, and opened a bricks and mortar store.

The store opened at 31 Boston Rd, Grafton, today. It boasts marble surfaces and velvet curtains, with Samsung tablets in-store to allow customers to purchase their rental item; browse extra listings on the website and even create an account.

“Opening a store has been a long term dream for us,” says Brooke. “With the natural growth and success of the website, we saw the need emerge from our Designer Wardrobe members for a physical
store to complement the pre-existing online experience.”

She also chatted with Idealog about the meaning of creativity.

What​ ​does​ ​creativity​ ​mean​ ​to​ ​you? 
 
For​ ​me,​ ​being​ ​creative​ ​is​ ​having​ ​the​ ​ability​ ​and​ ​freedom​ ​to​ ​dream​ ​up​ ​ideas​ ​and​ ​then​ ​turn​ ​it​ ​into​ ​reality!​ ​It takes​ ​passion​ ​and​ ​drive​ ​to​ ​execute​ ​your​ ​ideas,​ ​but​ ​it’s​ ​definitely​ ​worth​ ​it. 
 
What​ ​do​ ​you​ ​think​ ​it​ ​is​ ​about​ ​your​ ​nature/habits/interests​ ​that​ ​makes​ ​you​ ​creative? 
My​ ​whole​ ​DNA​ ​is​ ​as​ ​a​ ​creative​ ​-​ ​I​ ​have​ ​dyslexia​ ​and​ ​so​ ​I​ ​like​ ​think​ ​I​ ​see​ ​things​ ​in​ ​a​ ​special​ ​light.​ ​I​ ​have​ ​only ever​ ​picked​ ​the​ ​creative​ ​road​ ​in​ ​life​ ​(and​ ​always​ ​will). 
 
What​ ​was​ ​your​ ​upbringing​ ​like,​ ​and​ ​how​ ​do​ ​you​ ​think​ ​that​ ​led​ ​you​ ​to​ ​where​ ​you​ ​are​ ​today? 
 
My​ ​mum​ ​and​ ​dad​ ​raised​ ​me​ ​by​ ​educating​ ​me​ ​that​ ​even​ ​though​ ​my​ ​intelligence​ ​is​ ​not​ ​considered​ ​the​ ​“norm“ It​ ​is​ ​just​ ​as​ ​strong​ ​in​ ​a​ ​different​ ​way,​ ​and​ ​that​ ​I​ ​can​ ​achieve​ ​what​ ​I​ ​want​ ​if​ ​I​ ​tap​ ​into​ ​my​ ​creativity​ ​and​ ​have the​ ​​ ​hunger​ ​to​ ​work​ ​hard​ ​to​ ​get​ ​where​ ​I​ ​want​ ​to​ ​go. 
 
Where​ ​do​ ​your​ ​best​ ​ideas​ ​come​ ​from? 
 
I​ ​am​ ​a​ ​dreamer​ ​-​ ​I​ ​dream​ ​up​ ​ideas​ ​and​ ​often​ ​wish​ ​I​ ​could​ ​have​ ​all​ ​the​ ​time​ ​in​ ​the​ ​world​ ​to​ ​create​ ​them.​ ​My ideas​ ​come​ ​from​ ​within​ ​-​ ​unplanned​ ​or​ ​unexpected.​ ​So,​ ​I​ ​could​ ​be​ ​walking​ ​along​ ​the​ ​beach​ ​or​ ​at​ ​my​ ​desk when​ ​something​ ​comes​ ​to​ ​mind.
 
What​ ​does​ ​inspiration​ ​look​ ​like​ ​for​ ​you? 
 
To​ ​be​ ​inspired​ ​I​ ​need​ ​space​ ​in​ ​my​ ​morning​ ​routine​ ​to​ ​tune​ ​into​ ​my​ ​thoughts,​ ​and​ ​have​ ​time​ ​in​ ​the​ ​evening to​ ​rest,​ ​recoup​ ​and​ ​reflect​ ​in​ ​order​ ​to​ ​inspired​ ​for​ ​the​ ​next​ ​day! 
 
Is​ ​there​ ​an​ ​ethos/motto​ ​you​ ​abide​ ​by​ ​in​ ​your​ ​work? 
For​ ​me​ ​that​ ​would​ ​be​ ​“Making​ ​shit​ ​happen”.
My​ ​whole​ ​DNA​ ​is​ ​as​ ​a​ ​creative​ ​-​ ​I​ ​have​ ​dyslexia​ ​and​ ​so​ ​I​ ​like​ ​think​ ​I​ ​see​ ​things​ ​in​ ​a​ ​special​ ​light.​ ​I​ ​have​ ​only ever​ ​picked​ ​the​ ​creative​ ​road​ ​in​ ​life​ ​(and​ ​always​ ​will). 
If​ ​there​ ​were​ ​a​ ​secret​ ​to​ ​success,​ ​what​ ​would​ ​it​ ​be? 
 
Firstly,​ ​I​ ​think​ ​what’s​ ​important​ ​is​ ​to​ ​find​ ​out​ ​what​ ​success​ ​means​ ​to​ ​you​ ​in​ ​particular.​ ​To​ ​achieve​ ​it​ ​-​ ​believe in​ ​your​ ​own​ ​strengths​ ​and​ ​keep​ ​a​ ​laser​ ​focus​ ​on​ ​the​ ​positives​ ​you​ ​have​ ​and​ ​work​ ​hard​ ​to​ ​get​ ​where​ ​you want.​ ​Make​ ​sure​ ​you​ ​never​ ​spend​ ​your​ ​time​ ​comparing​ ​yourself​ ​to​ ​others,​ ​or​ ​what​ ​their​ ​success​ ​might​ ​be​ ​to them. 
 
What​ ​were​ ​some​ ​of​ ​the​ ​challenges​ ​that​ ​you​ ​faced​ ​early​ ​on? 
 
When​ ​DW​ ​became​ ​a​ ​startup​ ​and​ ​entered​ ​the​ ​“startup​ ​world”​ ​-​ ​I​ ​definitely​ ​found​ ​having​ ​dyslexia​ ​challenging because​ ​it​ ​affected​ ​my​ ​confidence​ ​and​ ​how​ ​I​ ​thought​ ​people​ ​may​ ​view​ ​me.​ ​So,​ ​I​ ​decided​ ​to​ ​let​ ​my​ ​actions speak​ ​louder​ ​than​ ​words.


 
What’s​ ​the​ ​secret​ ​to​ ​resilience? 
 
Over​ ​the​ ​years,​ ​I​ ​have​ ​become​ ​more​ ​resilient​ ​than​ ​ever!. ​I​ ​think​ ​the​ ​secret​ ​has​ ​been​ ​having​ ​confidence​ ​in what​ ​I​ ​stand​ ​for​ ​and​ ​it’s​ ​been​ ​so​ ​great​ ​having​ ​so​ ​many​ ​people​ ​who​ ​support​ ​what​ ​Designer​ ​Wardrobe​ ​is​ ​all about. 
 
What​ ​have​ ​been​ ​some​ ​of​ ​the​ ​highlights​ ​of​ ​your​ ​career? 

Having​ ​the​ ​most​ ​amazing​ ​directors​ ​on​ ​our​ ​board​ ​in​ ​Designer​ ​Wardrobe. ​Simon​ ​Moutter​ ​(general​ ​manager of​ ​Spark)​ ​and​ ​Shane​ ​Bradley​ ​(the​ ​startup​ ​king!)​ ​has​ ​been​ ​a​ ​huge​ ​highlight.​ ​Each​ ​person​ ​we​ ​have​ ​had​ ​who has​ ​joined​ ​the​ ​DW​ ​journey​ ​has​ ​also​ ​been​ ​such​ ​a​ ​great​ ​asset. It​ ​was​ ​amazing​ ​in​ ​our​ ​third​ ​round​ ​of​ ​investment​ ​to​ ​be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​give​ ​other​ ​members​ ​of​ ​DW​ ​the​ ​chance​ ​to​ ​take part​ ​and​ ​have​ ​a​ ​slice​ ​of​ ​our​ ​company.​ ​Also,​ ​reaching​ ​100,000​ ​members​ ​on​ ​DW​ ​is​ ​an​ ​incredible achievement​ ​to​ ​Aidan​ ​(my​ ​business​ ​partner)​ ​and​ ​I. 

What​ ​do​ ​you​ ​think​ ​New​ ​Zealand​ ​is​ ​like​ ​for​ ​creativity?​ ​Is​ ​there​ ​something​ ​about​ ​‘Kiwiness’​ ​that​ ​helps or​ ​hinders? 

I​ ​think​ ​us​ ​Kiwi​ ​creatives​ ​are​ ​shining​ ​at​ ​the​ ​moment!​ ​We​ ​are​ ​in​ ​a​ ​new​ ​time​ ​and​ ​age​ ​and​ ​we​ ​have​ ​so​ ​much potential​ ​and​ ​resource​ ​to​ ​start​ ​innovating.​ ​You​ ​can​ ​go​ ​far​ ​without​ ​the​ ​traditional​ ​learning​ ​approach,​ ​and New​ ​Zealanders​ ​really​ ​support​ ​and​ ​helps​ ​one​ ​another​ ​in​ ​that​ ​journey. 



What​ ​would​ ​be​ ​the​ ​advice​ ​you’d​ ​give​ ​someone​ ​who​ ​wants​ ​to​ ​turn​ ​their​ ​creative​ ​passion​ ​into​ ​a full-time​ ​gig? 

Once​ ​you’ve​ ​identified​ ​that​ ​you’re​ ​ready​ ​-– ​just​ ​get​ ​started​ ​one​ ​small​ ​step​ ​at​ ​a​ ​time!​ ​Don’t​ ​be​ ​afraid​ ​to​ ​make mistakes,​ ​the​ ​important​ ​part​ ​is​ ​beginning.​ ​My​ ​advice​ ​would​ ​be​ ​to​ ​work​ ​out​ ​where​ ​you​ ​need​ ​help,​ ​and​ ​go from​ ​there.​ ​You​ ​may​ ​find​ ​getting​ ​a​ ​business​ ​mentor​ ​a​ ​great​ ​way​ ​to​ ​get​ ​going. 

What​ ​have​ ​been​ ​the​ ​biggest​ ​lessons​ ​you’ve​ ​learned? 

I​ ​have​ ​learnt​ ​the​ ​more​ ​you​ ​are​ ​challenged​ ​or​ ​faced​ ​with,​ ​the​ ​stronger​ ​you​ ​will​ ​be.

Where​ ​to​ ​next?​ ​Do​ ​you​ ​have​ ​a​ ​goal​ ​you’re​ ​working​ ​towards? 

We​ ​are​ ​about​ ​to​ ​release​ ​our​ ​new​ ​platform​ ​on​ ​both​ ​web​ ​and​ ​mobile​ ​– ​and​ ​our​ ​concept​ ​store​ ​that​ ​will​ ​be​ ​the biggest​ ​highlight​ ​yet​ ​– ​as​ ​it’s​ ​been​ ​the​ ​hardest​ ​and​ ​most​ ​amazing​ ​thing​ ​our​ ​team​ ​has​ ​ever​ ​worked​ ​on. ​I know​ ​our​ ​members​ ​will​ ​love​ ​it​ ​so​ ​I​ ​am​ ​so​ ​excited​ ​to​ ​make​ ​my​ ​vision​ ​for​ ​DW​ ​come​ ​to​ ​life.

This story originally appeared on Idealog. It contains additional reporting by The Register.

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#Trending: Voice activation

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  • December 13, 2017
#Trending: Voice activation

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Pumpkin Patch is reborn as an Australian company

  • News
  • December 13, 2017
  • Sarah Dunn
Pumpkin Patch is reborn as an Australian company

Following its collapse over 2015 and 2016, Pumpkin patch was purchased by Australian ecommerce retailer Catch Group with plans to relaunch the brand online. Pumpkin Patch’s ecommerce store is now live in Australia and New Zealand.

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