Brown & Brave Apparel is a black-woman-owned lifestyle brand and movement represented by expressive clothing for black people. Our mission is to amplify black voices and highlight the black-lived experience through controversial and cultural apparel. Our brand provides a voice for the voiceless, knowing that being “brown” and “brave” is a vantage point for the advancement of our people and eradication of oppressive ideologies.
Brown & Brave was birthed from a place of pain and personal testimony. I worked for an organization for over 7 years, that I allowed to hold me captive through discriminatory behavior, retaliation, nepotism and bigotry. I’d always hoped the company would shift the paradigm of public racist scandals through community activism, prioritizing training and development for minority leadership and full transparency on improved ways to increase representation. It never happened. And when it was promised, those in powerful leadership roles turned a blind eye to the microaggressions that black and brown people experienced. I knew then, that my exit was quickly approaching.
I would spend August and the better part of Fall creating an exit strategy to ensure my peace of mind and finances were intact. September approached and so did my anxiety, as the company had made no changes in holding white leaders accountable for the turnover rate of minority employees and other deliverables to recreate trust and integrity in the workplace. On the 28th, I walked into work, engaged with my colleagues and after becoming privy to some very disturbing news, turned in my badge, clocked out for good and walked out. No Plan B. Just time, a new-found energy and freedom. If I never knew liberation prior to this moment, I did now.
I took a hiatus from social media, friends and the outside world from October to February, only traveling to see family for the holidays. I made the decision to heal from my toxic breakup with my former employer and focus on relaxation, my fiance’ and my mental and physical health. I also knew that whatever was going to happen next, I needed to pray for patience and preparation. And indeed, it paid off.
Fast forward to early Spring 2021.
I’ve always been a storyteller and a self-proclaimed logophile; so embarking on an entrepreneurial journey was fretful yet exciting. I had the education, practical experience and passion to create a brand that would speak to the black community in a controversial and cultural way. Not knowing how successful it would be, I took a chance and on March 7, 2021 Brown & Brave Apparel was live to the world. We have seen much success in such a short period of time. I’ve had the distinct pleasure of networking with amazing people through social media platforms and acquiring new tools and resources to scale the business and reach a specific target audience. Almost 4 months after launching, I am exactly where I want to be as a business owner and the brand is well on its way to becoming a staple for black culture.
My story isn’t much different from other black women. Being marginalized by an employer, feeling stagnant while others less qualified surpass you in promotions and more notably, not feeling like the world will accept our black dreams and aspirations. I am here to say that it IS possible. I can’t tell you how to do it, but what I can offer are The 3 P’s: Pray|Plan|Prepare. As much as you possibly can without fully knowing what the outcome will be. I believed in myself enough to know that what was for me, I would receive with an open heart and an open mind. I would stay the course and never attempt to move the goalpost. It has all paid off and I am thankful for the support, appreciation and shared devotion from customers.
Cheers to Brown & Brave turning 4 months next week!
And cheers to my first Medium publication! It’s the first of many. Stay tuned for more. And while you wait, visit us online at https://brownandbrave.store. Shop with us and #wearwithpride.