Each week at Embrace Disruption we introduce you to an influential person in the digital, blogger, arts, culture, film, or media world! Every Thursday, you can check back at EDPR to find out who we think is particularly amazing at ‘embracing disruption’ within their respective industries.
This week, we’d like to introduce you to talented founder of Cashmere & Camo, Brandy Faris!
What’s your official job title, and where did you go to school?
Admittedly I lead a bit of a double life, on my corporate side I’m the Vice President and owner of Boann Ventures Corp, the company manages water & environmental issues for Oil & Gas Producers out of Calgary, AB. I’m also the Founder/ Owner of the blog Cashmere & Camo and the associated online store that is being unveiled soon! I attended the University of Alberta and graduated with a BSc in Environmental & Conservation Sciences.
Elevator pitch. Describe yourself in a nutshell (or sea shell, or any shell for that matter).
On my blog, I describe myself as a bit of a conundrum with one foot in the concrete jungle while I’m at work and my heart set in the outdoors, hence the name, “Cashmere & Camo”… So I guess in a nutshell I’d describe myself as someone with an entrapreneual spirit and an adventurer’s heart. I love innovations and have a rebellious side to the word, “conventional”, so I always seem to be striving left of center.
Why did you pursue what you’re doing now? What was the inspiration?
By 2011 I had spent over 10 years in the oil & gas industry becoming somewhat of a technical specialist in my field. As fulfilling as my career had been up to that point, I still felt that there was a creative side to myself that wasn’t being challenged. So at the urging of my brother, I started a blog “Cashmere & Camo” Jan 1st as a New Year’s resolution. The goal was to document lifestyle pieces I found inspiring that fit both my city and country views on the world. And since then it’s been a fantastic experience and grown in ways I would have never imagined!
What is the best part of your day-to-day?
I love being my own boss and setting my own schedule. I’m an early riser I feel most creative in the mornings, which is when I do most of my writing. The diversity of being able to work with my love of fashion and still appease my “science geek” side makes me feel extremely fortunate on a day to day basis.
What’s the most challenging?
Leading a double life as I like to call it can have an extreme of challenges day to day. One minute I’m discussion new legislative changes with a client, the next I’m doing an interview for a style piece.
My corporate background and learned expectations of how to function in a business environment can be on opposite ends from working with creative functions. Realizing that expectations on deliverables and urgency is very different industry to industry and so teaching myself not to impose those expectations and structure on others has been one of my biggest challenges.
If you took a look in the cliché crystal ball, what do you see for yourself?
It took me a long time to realize the legitimacy of the blog past the point of being a fluffy indulgence I just did in my personal time. I mean I was really having fun, and was passionate about the topics I was writing about. Surely work has to feel way more serious than that? So I’ve had to break out of my own personal boundaries or perception of what a “career” should look like.
Something in me has wanted to push it in a direction I guess I’ve always secretly desired. I’m always wanted to own a store that’s authentic to my own interests. People are always asking if I sell the clothing that I feature on the blog, so I figured why not take it a step further and offer that shopping experience to the readers. My rule is that everything is handpicked and a mix of unique artisan with affordable items and if I wouldn’t wear it or use it, then it doesn’t fit within the C&C lifestyle.
I’m really excited for the next chapter with the blog and to continue to build a sense of community. With my environmental background, I want to continue to support vendors and provide education to issues such as outdoor conservation, sustainability and stewardship on certain issues. As much as our readers enjoy the lighthearted fashion and lifestyle posts, they are proving to have a refined appetite to articles on hunting ethics, sustainable travel, environmental conservation- you name it.
How do you embrace disruption in your work and personal life?
Disruption in life is a given, I’ve learned that whether it’s a mere speed bump or total detour to take a step back and recognize it’s part of life (although sometimes that can be hard to see), face it head on and realize that not one person is superman. Sometimes the best you can do is just face the tasks or the day in front of you and always try and have gratitude for what you currently have and what you are going through. Recognizing what I’m grateful for always seems to be the most calming and energizing exercise for me.
I also have the benefit of having a 1300 lb “therapist”, as I call her in the form of my horse, Nameoka. I completely believe in the benefit of animals helping people with stress relief and achieving wellness.
What is the most memorable moment in your career?
From my corporate side, the first time I was key note speaker for conference and my dad had decided he was going to buy me a new suit for the address. Shopping with him was a great memory and I don’t think we’ve ever been clothes shopping since, but I still have that suit.
From the blog, I had the chance to chat with Tom Mora who is head of Women’s Design at J.Crew. Sitting there chatting with him about the fall line and inspiration leading to it, I sat back and thought, “Wow this is more than I ever thought C&C would be”
Do you support any initiatives or charities?
I’m a big supporter of the Dress for Success Organization. They provide professional attire, support and career development tools to disadvantaged women.
We also support various Canadian Cancer Foundations but one we want to do next year is the Ride to Conquer Cancer
Tell us what you see yourself doing at 65 years old.
65! Wow, ok let me see….
I hope that by 65 I’ve had a chance to realize my professional and personal goals to some degree. To have the ability to share some adventures with my loved ones and be in the position where I have the time and ability to help out with causes that are near and dear to my heart. To my 65 year old self, Connie Reeves is my inspiration. If I could live up to a fraction of what she had done I’d been very happy.
Just for fun: if you had to pick one app in the whole APPVERSE, what would it be?
Hand’s down Instagram! Although I don’t think my daily pics are overly inspiring, I love the photo diary concept and the fact I can keep up with friends and family who are scattered all over the globe. It makes me feel like I’m part of their day to day.