Brooke from The Virtue

Brooke is a New Zealander obsessed with all things glorious, which has led her to open her very own boutique in New Plymouth, New Zealand with her lifelong friend and business partner Gina.

As curators of everything fabulous, there is no way we could resist inviting Brooke to share her views on why design is in her lifeblood, and what it means to be a successful, independent Kiwi setting out to break the rules.  

 

Hey Brooke, tell me a little bit about The Virtue

The Virtue was launched by my good friend Gina and I in early 2016. 

 

Despite knowing each other for over 20 years, we only started working together as photographers about 7 years ago as a way to support each other and our young families, but we set our ambitions much higher. 

 

We are both inspired by great design and interesting interiors, so The Virtue Concept Store was a natural progression for us.

We decided to create a beautiful place to work and and sell our wares,with a stroke of luck we found  our amazing space in central New Plymouth. 

 

We are upstairs, so it's a place where you need to come and find us, which is kind of exciting when you think about it. 

Recently we’ve started creating our own products, including fine fragrance and candles, photographic prints and textiles. 

We started out with a broad idea but over time we’ve realised what works so starting to refine our ideas and really push the retail side of the biz. 

 

 

What made you decide to break away from the norm?

The business matches the way I view the world and how I approach things. I base my judgement on instinct, If I sense something then I’ll tend to go down the rabbit hole of creative exploration to see how it might work for us. I am extremely proud of The Virtue and proud to stand in front of my business with Gina and we are looking forward to what we can create and where we will go next.

 

 

What made you decide to break away from the norm?

The business matches the way I view the world and how I approach things. I base my judgement on instinct, which is very different to the typical corporate ways of working. If I sense something then I’ll tend to go down the rabbit hole of creative exploration to see how it might work for us. I am extremely proud of The Virtue and proud to stand in front of my business with Gina and we are looking forward to what we can create and where we will go next.

 

 

What has been your biggest challenge?

Balancing the day-to-day grind of admin and scheduling with finding the time to come up with new and exciting ideas. Both of these things are important, but they require completely different headspaces so sometimes it’s difficult to switch between the two. Being in a partnership can also be a huge challenge, but it's an extremely rewarding one. Gina and I have a wonderful dynamic and even though our personalities are super different, our core values are the same. We love pushing the boundaries together.

 

And your biggest success?

Just recently we got to use our products to style and then shoot Gina's house for New Zealand House and Garden magazine. 

It's generated heaps of leads for us and We are doing what we love and getting recognised for it, which is incredible.

We are currently shooting for most of the major interior magazines within New Zealand and pushing for international work as well, which is super exciting for us and really aligns with our vision for The Virtue.

With so many amazing amazing projects on the go we are excited for what’s next.

 

 

What were you doing before this?

Gina and I were both working as photographers, shooting weddings and commercial work,  Before that I was working in retail. The photography now is a gateway for us to sell and market our other ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

 Any regrets?

When we started, we had no idea what we were doing so it was inevitable that we would make mistakes along the way. But I wouldn’t take a single one back because they have all been incredible learning's that have helped us grow and evolve.

 

 

 

 

What advice would you give to anyone ready to do the same

Clearly define what your core values are first, and base your decisions around what you believe in. I truly believe that's the only reason we are still here because we've had some pretty tough decisions to make along the way.

 

Check out Brooke and Gina's store at www.thevirtue.co.nz

 

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