Brandis grew up in Denver. Her parents have lived in the same house on 6th Ave. and Monaco for forty some years. “I went to Christ the King grade school and St. Mary’s Academy, then East High School and graduated from Manuel.”
Brandis loves to travel. “If I could do anything, it’s travel. My husband and I do many three-day weekends. We went to South Africa for our honeymoon. You learn so much when you travel. When I was growing up, my father was the Corporate Medical Director for Frontier. We would go to Europe once a year for two weeks. My parents would take me out of school and my teachers never were upset because they knew I was learning so much.”
Her favorite fun evening is dinner with friends. “I love sitting out in the backyard and sharing a great bottle of wine with friends. Every time we have a dinner party, we invite different people that don’t know one another so that you’re not seeing the same people repeatedly. It’s a great way to diversify your crowd.
Do you have a favorite childhood story? What is it?
When I was about twenty-five, my mother and I were cleaning out a closet and found a few old cassette tapes. We decided to listen to them before throwing them out. You could hear banging as if on pots and pans, (every child’s favorite drum set,) and then suddenly, CRASH. A couple of seconds later you heard little footsteps running and then a door slam. I had evidently broken something that I knew I would be in big trouble for. My full name is then yelled, which we all know, is universal for you’re in big trouble. A few moments passed, a door opens and a little voice says “I sorry mommy, I sorry”. Just then, my mother and I looked at each other and began to laugh and cry at the same moment. How fun to share that memory so many years later.
Tell me a little about your career.
I began designing a junior sportswear line in Los Angeles right out of college. We were designing private label for Express, Victoria Secret and The Limited. It was amazing to learn so much about the industry. A few years later, I helped to develop a new contemporary line for the company. I decided to go back to school for my masters and subsequently moved to London for two years to study International Business. When I moved back to Colorado, I worked for my family for a couple of years and then when I was financially able, I opened brandis b in Cherry Creek.
Describe yourself. Who’s Brandis?
I’m a designer through and through. I like beautiful things around me; I like creativity; I like colors, textures, form, and all of that and appreciate it in other people. I enjoy life very much and try not to take it too seriously. I’m very lucky because I have my family this close and I’m very close to them. I love my husband, I love my dog, and I love living in Denver. I really do. I’ve lived all in many cities; living here, I can go anywhere else I want. You can afford to live here in a house you can afford. I travel to New York and LA and go to Europe at least once a year and then I can come back home. And this is home.
Tell me something about yourself that no one else knows?
My life is an open book but there are times when I get shy and maybe a little intimidated. Sometimes I just like to observe.
Favorite thing you like about your shop?
It’s unique. When I first opened, the store there was nothing like it in Denver. It’s not redundant. At least I try for it not to be.
How did you get interested in fashion design?
When I was thirteen years old, I went to Paris with my family for my birthday and while walking down the Champs Elysees, I looked around at all the beautiful shops and the incredible fashion and thought ‘this is what I want to do.’ I’d always been into makeup and clothes and it kind of came naturally for me. By the time I reached high school, I knew what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go to school. I didn’t want to go to college, but my parents didn’t give me a choice. I made the decision between New York and California, as I’m much more a LA girl. California fit my lifestyle.
What’s important in your life?
My family, friends and always loving what I do.
What’s in your future?
We are looking forward to having children and then, maybe expanding my business.
What are your volunteer activities?
I try to get involved in as much as I can. My contribution usually comes in the form of allowing the clothing from our store to be used in charity fashion shows. We have worked with New Born Hope, Harrison Memorial Foundation, Friends of Nursing, Dress for Success and many others. My current dedication is to Fashion Group International. I am programming chair this year and will be president in 2005. Fashion Group. The Denver Chapter was started over forty years ago. The dynamics are changing and we’re now up to over one hundred members. We’re getting a lot of younger people and entrepreneurs that are truly in the business. People are very excited about it. Every two years we do a Career Day and have 350 kids show up from all over Colorado and Wyoming. We conduct seminars, lectures and a fashion show. There’s also a contest and the winner receives an internship in New York.
Which social event is your favorite?
Dinner with friends. Great food, wine and conversation. Oktoberfest at Larimore Square and the Children’s Museum Birthday Bash
Sullivan’s for a great steak, Brix for comfort food and Cuba Cuba for fun!
Who is the most interesting celebrity you have ever met?
I haven’t really met very many celebrities in my life. Living in Los Angeles, you see famous people quite often but they are usually doing normal things and living their lives just as we do. I did run into Rod Stewart in the grocery store line once. It was during the LA riots and we were all stocking up on supplies in case it got out of hand. Just the usual basket contents, sorry no trash!
If your life were a movie, whom would you want to play your part?
Drew Barrymore, because she seems to be real and flawed just like the rest of us.
Do you have any pets?
Yes, Riley our sweet Golden Retriever.
When you move, what will your home tell its next owner about you?
That it was well loved and lived in.
What word describes you best?
How would you like others to describe you?
I would hope to be known as kind, interesting and fun.
What was your first job?
I worked as a clerk in a curio shop at a Stapleton Airport hotel.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
What trait do you most deplore in others?
Social ignorance and greed.
What is your greatest indulgence?
Shoes and handbags. I have an illness.
What type of clothes do you like?
I love them all. It is after all what I do. My style is eclectic. I enjoy being creative and exploring trends but not losing myself in them.
What is the best gift you have ever given?
My wedding gift to my husband. I rented a Porsche in Germany for him to drive on the Autobahn. It was his first time.
What is the best gift you’ve received?
A beautiful wedding.
What or who is the greatest love in your life?
My husband because he makes me laugh everyday, and my parents because they are my teachers.
What is your current state of mind?
Happy and at ease.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I think life is a progression. So far, starting my own business is at the top of the list but I hope to achieve even greater things.
What is your most treasured possession?
My education. It is something that cannot be replaced.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
Captivating eyes and a great sense of humor.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Self-confidence! I see women that are so comfortable in their skin and it is projected in every aspect of their lives. That is beautiful!
Dean Koontz and James Patterson, I enjoy thoughtful psychological thrillers.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Treat others as you wish to be treated.
Do you have a motto?
Not really, but I strive not to have any regrets and to live well every day.
What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you?
I can’t think of anything specific, my life could be a sitcom.
If you could come back in another lifetime, what/who would you like to be? And why?
I have always been fascinated by the Flapper era of the 1920’s it was such an elegant time.
What are your hobbies? Other interests?
Growing up in Colorado I have always loved to ski, however retail does not free up your weekends. I am a big Broncos fan and just got season tickets, which I’m very excited about. We love to see and hear live music in any shape. The thing I love to do above all else is travel.
Who is your mentor?
Luis Alajendre. He hired me for my first design job two weeks before graduating from college. His natural talent for garment construction is something God given. He taught me the practicality and reality of being a designer.
What would you most like to be remembered for?
I feel like I am writing my obituary. I hope to be remembered for my persistence, success and seeing the good in situations and people.
If you could go anywhere and do anything, what would it be?
I have been very fortunate in my life to have traveled quite a bit, but I would love to go to Australia on the Great Barrier Reef to do a shark dive. I would also like to sky dive.
What do you like about the town you live in?
It is home. I grew up in Denver and it is comfortable to me. I am very fortunate to have the best of both worlds because I travel for business to New York and Los Angeles every couple of months, I am still involved in the scenes in those places and am able to bring that energy back here.