BABE #22: BRANDY BRONG,
Owner @ StringStrangStrung
Brandy is such a badass. She's the talented owner and artist behind StringStrangStrung, in addition to being Superwoman (aka a mother of four.) We met on good old Instagram and planned out this interview via email just weeks before I stumbled upon her pop-up booth at one of our local farmer's markets IRL.
I'm so excited to share Brandy's hustle with you that I've also teamed up with her to share an exclusive Babes Who Hustle discount on some of her lovely, quality pieces of art prepared with TLC. Take a few minutes to fall in love with her like I have, snag our exclusive discount, then stock up on some holiday (or just-because) gifts for all the babes in your life (or yourself!) #Blessed.
Hometown: Jacksonville, FL
Current location: Jacksonville, FL
Alma mater: I attended community college for a short time before deciding on babies and a family.
Job title(s)/Company: Owner and Creator @ StringStrangStrung.
Babe you admire and why?
Although I do know and adore a lot of kickass ladies, Beth Reeb of Savage Swim in St. Augustine, FL is at the top. Beth is a fellow mom of four who is killing it at building an incredible business. She designs and makes swimwear and other apparel. Her products are all American-made and cater to all women, no matter the shape or size. Love her!
Favorite app and/or website?
I freaking love food blogs. (HowSweetEats, ShutterBean, JoyTheBaker, etc.) Before I started my business, I wanted to be a baker. I don't have a lot of time for it anymore, but I love to make fresh bread, cake, and fancy dinners. Basically I like food, okay?
What have you been listening to lately?
There is SO much good music out right now. I'm a huge fan of Kaela Sinclair who is currently on tour with M83 on keyboard and vocals. I'm biased because I'm her aunt... but she really is amazing and I'm just so freaking proud of her. She is a babe who has never stopped hustling (and her new album is coming out soon!)
Must-have items in your purse?
Mini measuring tape, paper and pen, snacks.
If you could have coffee with anyone in the world, who would it be?
My grandmother. She died before I got married and had kids. I'd love to share my life with her and ask her a million questions that I never thought to ask regarding marriage and parenthood. She had 4 kids and was married for 50 years until she passed away.
What does your typical workday look like?
On Monday-Fridays I'm up by 5am. I start by making sure my kids are up and ready for school while packing lunches and making breakfast. Once they're at school, I'm either responding to questions about orders or I'm working on making them - measuring and cutting wood, sanding and staining, nailing and stringing. When my kids get home, I take a break to talk to them about their day, then get them a snack + started on homework. I'll get a bit more work done, and then I'm worrying about dinner and getting them to bed. Depending on the season, I'll either stop working around dinnertime or work through the night.
When did you first become interested in your art form + how long have you been in business?
I am a project do-er and DIY-er. I have always been into making things. I've built a table and chairs, I re-purposed a dresser and made it into an island for my kitchen, I've used old pallets to make a pallet wall in my home - the list is long. I stumbled on string art and made something for my own home, and it just snowballed from there. I decided to make it legit and it has been my business for a little over a year.
What motivates you every day?
I have a lot of passions and I'm sort of ADD about them. My family is super important to me. Without them, I'm doing all of this for no reason. Showing my kids that anyone (male or female) can do anything is important to me. Building a great life with my husband so we can grow old together is important to me. Those are my motivators.
Favorite + least favorite parts about your job?
Favorite? Working for myself. Failures and successes are directly related to what I do. That feels good at the end of the day. Least favorite? I am a one-woman show. I've had to stay up until 3am to prepare for a market day then wake up at 6am to get going and be there all day. It can be a lot of hours spent solo, but I'm honestly such a perfectionist that I don't think I'll ever be able to let anyone help anyway.
What is one of the biggest challenges you've faced with your work, and how'd you overcome it?
Being original. String art is not new. It's been around since the 70's and there are a slew of people doing it today. I have to constantly tell myself that what I'm doing is different, and execute it to perfection so that I stand out. I just trust my gut and make things I'd personally like, I try hard not to let what others do have influence over what I make, and I trust and hone my skills.
Any additional community involvement?
I recently donated a large batch of DIY craft kits to pediatric patients at UF Health so they have something fun to do during their hospital stay. I also donate a lot to organizations looking for silent auction items!
What do you hope for your future?
Building strong kids with a good work ethic is my hope. I want to enjoy watching them be productive members of society. Professionally, I'd like to continue to build my business so my family can use that money to have more vacations and my kids can experience the world. That's so important to me.
Career and/or life advice for other women and/or your kids?
Whatever it is you want to do, just start - and keep going. Surround yourself with positive people who will back you. It might be hard or take time, but the old cliche saying is true: nothing good comes easy. We'd never feel proud of something that didn't require sacrifice or perseverance.
Support StringStrangStrung + Babes Who Hustle!
Head to the StringStrangStrung Etsy Shop and use offer code
'BWH15' at checkout for 15% off all purchases of $20 or more!