Everything I needed to know about Brittany Reilly, I knew when I checked her nail polish. Ten digits of a very subtle ice blue glitter, with knuckles wrapped in gigantic chunks of silver and turquoise that you’d be mistaken to mess with.
Translation – “I don’t give a…”
Well, you know.
There are countless ways for us to express ourselves, and we’re subconsciously communicating a whole lot about ourselves all the time. Even when we don’t realize that we’re giving information about who we are, we’re much less concealed than we think if the observer is paying attention. From the way we communicate to our sense of humor, the music we listen to, our body language, and of course, how we dress. What Brittany is telling us with her constantly changing rainbow fingertips, bright red lipstick, tye-dye, fringe, and stone-encrusted knuckle dusters, is that she’s bold, creative, and doesn’t conform to trends or norms or seek to blend in. Having spent some time discovering the woman behind the Airstream boutique that literally rolled into town and parked in our ‘hood two months ago, is that all of these external adornments are an incredible representation of who she is as an entrepreneur, and really, who she is as a human being.
Florida or Bust
If you’re tuned into what’s happening in our neighborhood, you’ve seen Bohemian Groove on the Move. The babes at Elizabeth Ave Station found BG on Instagram and invited her to bring the operation from New York to their front yard – literally. By now, you’ve been inside and fallen in love with at least ten things. Hopefully, you’ve also sat on the custom wrap-around couch with Britt and gotten to know the one-woman show who built the entire thing from scratch. BG feels like a place that you not only want to drop a few bucks but that you want to spend time with. The size of the space contributes a lot to the intimate nature of the experience of being there, gently forcing you to make friends with whoever is inside. I have never once been there and not seen someone on that couch with Britt. She is exactly the kind of stranger you want to kick it with. And let me tell you – the girl’s got a story to tell.
Finding Her Groove
Britt grew up as the only child of a single dad – so she didn’t always rock the boho gypsy goddess style you see today, as you could probably imagine for a little girl raised by a (totally amazing) dad on his own. What it meant though, was that as she got older, there were no preconceived limits on how she could express herself. She just picked whatever she liked and rocked it. Including a tropical tye-dye set complete with fringe that she picked up at a tourist shop that- if I’m being honest – I could still imagine her wearing. When style became her career as a young adult, she experienced the power of this form of expression and how good clothes can make us feel, time and time again.
Now if I asked you what came first, a driver’s license or an airstream, you’d guess driver’s license. Good guess! That makes sense.
Except you’d be wrong.
Let’s back up a little bit. Once upon a time not that long ago, this lifelong New Yorker was a personal stylist for brands like Rent the Runway and Topshop and that was all well and good until she got an idea. An idea that no one had heard of before- a mobile clothing boutique.
Lightbulb – on.
Remember that lifelong city-dweller thing? Yeah well, see the thing was, Britt never needed a driver’s license. But after peacing out on her gig with Topshop, she was now the proud owner of an Airstream. No license? No problem. What you’ll learn about Brittany is that she doesn’t perceive barriers, she just makes a choice gets it done – whatever it is. With some driving lessons from her best friend under her belt, she soon had an airstream AND the legal certification to drive the thing. Then the overhaul began.
If you’ve been inside BG it’s difficult to imagine that it once had a full living setup inside complete with a bed, kitchen and all the trappings of a once livable airstream trailer. The transformation was no easy task, and Brittany will tell you that the project of the rebuild was probably the biggest challenge she’s faced on this entrepreneurial journey. She had plenty of non-believers and external voices of doubt. People had never seen or heard of someone owning a mobile boutique before. After a year of renovating, buying and probably some finger-crossing, she officially opened the door of Bohemian Groove to the world and has been on the road thriving ever since.
Personally, I’ve never invested too much in personal style, but when Brittany rolled into town with her F150 and Airstream boutique in tow, the winds began to shift a bit. In getting to know this young, bold, brave business owner, I’ve reexamined the part that style plays in my identity and looked a bit differently in the mirror as I ask myself what it is that I’m silently communicating through my clothes. I’ve also reexamined where I’m afraid of taking bold leaps in my business, where I could be braver, what barriers I perceive, and where I could just make a choice and get it done – whatever it is.
And since Britt hooked me up with a bottle of blue glitter nail polish, I’d say I’m off on the right foot.
As told by Stef ‘Sauce’ Osofsky of Apollo Connection Co.