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Idealog's Most Creative: Designer Wardrobe's Donielle Brooke talks creativity

Idealog's Most Creative: Designer Wardrobe's Donielle Brooke talks creativity
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 and she recently crowd-funded $1.7 million in the space of a few days to grow her business. Here, she talks inspiration, challenges and creative intelligence. 
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.

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