Monthly Inspo from our Founder, Donielle Brooke

Our very own founder Donielle Brooke, caught up with the inspiring Kayla Jurlina about her startup “HOMAGE” – Read on to hear about her amazing journey…

– You have just taken the big step by leaving TC to start your own business, can you please tell us a bit about that?

Homage is my first project post leaving Trelise Cooper. A rebirth of sorts. Having spent over seven years working within the Fashion House it was time for me to come into my own. At my time of departure from Trelise, I was working to a busy schedule as Trelise’s right hand woman. Travelling the globe sourcing fabric and collaborating on the design of four of the fashion house’s labels; Trelise Cooper, Cooper, Curate and my own label COOP by Trelise Cooper. Involved across the business I helped with styling and look-book creative through to fashion show ideation and delivery. This year I decided I wanted a new challenge. My own challenge.

Stepping away from the large-scale fashion industry, I was ready to explore new creative directions and ideas.

– How did you get the idea for your business and how did you get started?

The spark of this idea of HOMAGE was when my mother in law Judith Slane held a workroom sale at the end of last year. It all started with Judith doing a clear out. She had bought an existing business called GLITZ COLLECTIONS in 1981 where she designed, imported and manufactured costume jewellery plated in gold and silver. Amongst her creations were items sourced from Paris, Italy, America and Australia. It was a successful business featured in the TV show Gloss, news readers and magazine covers. I saw these amazing pieces gathering dust in storage. Beautifully crafted, they just needed someone to unearth their relevance. Homage was born.

The concept of Homage is project based as I feel I am not ready to commit myself to one thing. I am in a real experimental creative phase of my career where I am wanting to explore outside of fashion and the structure of it.

I am enjoying creating something that is my own and that I can make the rules up for.

– How did you find Fashion Week this year and what did you do for it?

I thought NZFW was exciting and had a lot happening. I had 2 friends show, Wynn Hamlyn and Rachel Mills, which was a cool and proud feeling seeing the next generation come through. It was good for me to be down there to meet new people as I just launched Homage the week before.

– What have been your key learnings so far in business?

There are probably 3 key learnings I have come across for myself over the last 6 months:

Coffee – Coffee dates have been an eye opening conversation starter. In this industry there are a lot of events where connections are made but never followed through. So I started asking people who I admired and wanted to get to know better than a quick 5 minute talk at an event. This helped me to get my ideas out of my own head and start a conversation around turning my idea into reality. We are a small industry, all trying to do something creative, so I believe we all need to stick together to do this and not fight each other.

Time – I feel that I am a faster worker but as a one man band I have realised everything takes twice as long, but I have learnt the most I have ever, by doing it myself, making mistakes and trying again.

Confidence – If I believe it – then others will too. There were some days I didn’t know if this was a ‘cool idea’ or worried what people would think but if I believed it enough and had confidence then when I spoke about it, my passion would show through and others would believe it too.

– What has influenced you as a businesswoman?

I have been influenced by my heart, my gut feelings, and instinct to do something creative. I have done this because I wanted to have fun, not for the money or status or cool factor. I wanted to do something refreshing rather than what everyone else was doing or what is normal in the fashion industry. There is too much of the same – same out there so why not make your own rules up.

– And lastly, what would your advice be for other women with an idea for a business, who may be wondering how to get started?

Share the idea. Get it out of your head onto paper, go for coffee dates with people that are doing a similar thing or in the same field or even who you admire. Get a conversation started as this will help grow the idea into reality. From this you will start to know how to execute it and which people will help you to do so. It is an emotional roller coaster but you will never be happier than doing something you believe in.