Interview Brooke O’keefe

Beauty, Blogging & babies.

For those who have been hiding under a rock for the past few years, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?

Hey!! Well, I’m a 30year old, Tasmanian chick with an obsession for fashion and the simple things in life. I am also Director of Australian online clothing store, Runway Brooklyn.

Back before Runway Brooklyn was just an idea in your head, what were you doing? Did you study? And where did you see yourself heading in terms of profession?

Before RB, I was managing a shoe store in Launceston, Tasmania for 7 years. There was always the desire to have my own bricks and mortar store, but being in Launceston with the population of 120k and not the hugest amount of foot traffic, I thought to myself, bugger paying rent, I am going to tackle the online world.

Brooke O'Keefe

How did runway Brooklyn begin?

Runway Brooklyn began as a little hobby and blog, where I shared my latest purchases and outfit posts with a following of approx. 10K on Instagram. With my following continuing to grow and stores wanting to gift me items to share on social media, I started to think, hey – if others stores feel I can sell products for them, then why don’t I chase the dream of having my own retail business.

Who or what made you chase your passion?

Lindi, a close friend of mine. She has been in the game for a little while now and has her own store, Hope & Me. I picked her brains for months and the fact that she had the confidence in me, was a HUGE boost. She would have told me for sure if I was wasting my time! HA! I owe that woman!

What was your reaction when you hit 10K followers on instagram?

Oh I would have been pretty happy with myself. Back then 10K was A LOT. Now you see so many with over 100K and it just blows my mind. Instagram is such a powerful marketing tool.

Did it change when you hit 50k?

To be honest, not really! Maybe if I ever hit 100K I will think, shit that’s pretty cool. But, I guess I’ve never really thought about it in the sense that, damn that really is a whole lot of people!

I do love that there are that many people out there that love what I’m doing though and that clearly have the same interests as me. I’ve met some phenomenal people through Instagram and some have turned into really close friends.

Have you been recognized in the street yet?

Haha, yeah! It’s so nice when people make the effort to say, I follow you on Insta and love what you do. Little things like that really do mean a lot.

Is it difficult to answer all questions and comments on runway Brooklyn social media? Any unique stories about one of your followers and your interaction?

I get asked this a lot and you know what, it’s my job! It’s just that instead of customers coming in to a store as such and asking questions, they ask them on social media. The one thing I have always wanted to be is approachable on Insta. My number 1 pet peeve on there is when people don’t respond to a simple question. Sometimes I can miss something and not see it until a few days later, but I would never unintentionally ignore someone. You want them to shop with you, right?

Talk us through a day in the life of Brooke O’Keefe and runway Brooklyn. Start to finish!

Oh dear, it really isn’t that exciting!

Wake at 7am – check social media and emails. Ideally I like to then gym before breakfast, but I am really good at putting that off – ha! So a good day is gym, followed by shower, breakfast, general tidy of the house, pack & wrap orders, more emails and oh my gosh, see I told you my life wasn’t that exciting! I am boring myself writing this! Ha!

I still work part time as well at my previous job, polly shoes. That keeps me busy and on a bit more of a schedule. The busier I am, the better I work.

I love stock delivery days, they’re a fave , and buying trips. Any excuse to get to Melbourne

What’s the best piece of advice someone has given you along the journey?

I don’t have a straight answer for this other than, man you learn a lot along the way. Not just about yourself, but life in general!

Brooke O'Keefe

What’s the best piece of advice you would give yourself if you knew what you know now?

The game is tough! If it were easy, everyone would be doing it

Would you get it tattooed?

Ahhhh, no! ha!

Favourite colour?

Dusty pink

The game is tough! If it were easy, everyone would be doing it

Brooke O’Keefe

Denim or knit?

Ooooh… Both! You can’t ask me that! But, if you’re making me choose 1 – Denim, just!

Summer or winter?

Summer, but I do love Winter too!

Brooke O'Keefe

Who’s on your Iphone music playlist at the minute?

Love or hate him, but I love Kanye’s latest album!

Favorite holiday destination and why?

New York. That place really does something to you. It’s a place that you HAVE to go back to. It steals a part of you! Those who have been would totally understand that.

Who has been your major source of inspiration? Be it a childhood idol, friend or parent?

My dad is a workaholic. He has had his business now for 42 years and is so driven. I would love to have his work ethic, but I also think you need to keep a healthy balance. Life shouldn’t be just about working. We’re here for a good time, not a long time!

What are the key items every female game changer should have in their bag each day?

Phone and lipstick! Oh and a diary. 2016 is the year I commit to having a diary and I feel so much more organised.

Brooke O'Keefe

Can you give away any hints for what we can look forward to for 2016 at Runway Brooklyn?

Some fricken amazing stuff! Spring collections have been heaven, but it’s a bit of a stitch up for me right now. I’m 7 months pregnant and nothing is working for me – ha! Steele Summer is a real winner too, I’m excited for that to land in October.

Can we ever look forward to a runway Brooklyn for men in future?

Hmmmm….. I don’t think so, but I guess we can never rule anything out!

Define the term ‘game changer’ to you?

To me, a game changer is someone or something that has changed the way we have previously thought about or viewed something.  Eg. Makeup Vloggers on YouTube are ‘game changers.’ They have 100% changed the beauty game in the last two years.

How does it feel to be classified as today’s ‘Game Changer’ or successful influencer/ entrepreneur to a host of people?

Haha, oh I honestly don’t feel I can call myself a game changer, however, I love sharing my passion and obsessions with the social media world. And if that’s inspiring others, then that makes me so happy!

Brooke O'Keefe

So the brains and beauty behind Runway Brooklyn is soon to be a brilliant mum. What was it like finding out? (since this question was asked this superstar gave birth to a beautiful and healthy little girl :))

Oh it was such a bizarre feeling haha! It came as a bit of a surprise, but a lovely surprise at that!

What sorts of emotions and thoughts have been going through your mind in the lead up to this wonderful little life gracing you and your partners? And the new blend I suppose it will have amongst your business and work/ life balance?

I’m not going to lie, there have been a lot of – holy shit! – moments! Sam and I absolutely love “our” time, so there is a lot of nervousness about how the little lady will change our lifestyle. However, I do know that as soon as she is here, it will be hard to imagine what our life was like beforehand and I’m pretty confident that she will be the best thing that has ever happened to us.

I’d also like to think that when she arrives,  I will be able to spend her nap time focusing more on the blogging side of things for Runway Brooklyn. That though is easier said than done, because i hear newborns are complete time wasters!!

What are you most excited about in becoming a mother?

I’m mostly excited about loving someone as much as I love Sam and I can’t wait to see Sam hold her! MELT!

Brooke O'Keefe

Normally we ask our brilliantly talented family if they ran into their younger selves what kind of advice would they lend. When little baby O’keefe is old enough to see how talented Mum and Dad are, what advice can you not wait to share with them?

Just to not sweat the small things in life! Life is short, so do what makes you happy.

What are three things you will definitely be encouraging as you watch them grow in front of your eyes and chase their own dreams?

I’m a big one for respect! I have zero tolerance for those that show no respect in all aspects of life. To be kind and if at first you don’t succeed, try again!

Can we hope to see a ‘Runway Baby’ in time? haha

Haha, no I don’t think so? But you never know! I may become obsessed with all things baby, but I don’t see that happening!

Brooke, thank you so much for being part of the series first and spending a little time defining yourself with us. We look forward to continuing to follow your exciting journey.