Brandi Shigley could be our Westword MasterMind poster girl: Civic-minded and an ever-positive dynamo on the local style scene, the Fashion Denver founder lives up to the very definition of a MasterMind in a way that truly befits a member of the inaugural 2005 creative class. Back then, she was making the transition from handbag designer to playing a bigger entrepreneurial role in the fashion arena -- namely, as the honcho of Fashion Denver, which grew from modest roots to a grand trifecta of consulting, event planning and retailing, all in the name of promoting local designers.
Most important, Shigley for a long time embodied her own "Do what you love, love what you do" motto, which has also grown into a franchise all its own -- Shigley offers workshops on the subject and is now setting out to write a book.
But recently, Shigley realized she'd stopped listening to her own words, almost to the point of burnout. "After having a few consulting meetings recently," she explains, "telling people that it's so important to be spending time on the things you truly love and less or no time on the things that keep you from doing what you love, I realized that having the Fashion Denver showroom is keeping me from doing what I truly love -- which is consulting. I miss the one-on-one business development with designers and other entrepreneurs." After this epiphany, she made the almost-overnight decision to close the Fashion Denver showroom on Bannock Street and throw all her energies back into advising.
Interestingly enough, the time also seems right for many of the designers she's been touting in the boutique. "I didn't want my designers to feel like I was giving up on them," she notes. "But many of them have been telling me that they're now in a position to think about the bigger picture, and they're looking for the kind of help that will really help them grow. We're all singing out of the same hymnal here."
She plans to close the boutique at the end of January and then turn the space into a shared office with three other entrepreneurs. Fashion Denver is dead; long live Fashion Denver!
Nothing else will change, Shigley assures us: She will still host her quarterly designer market and fashion show events and teach her signature Do What You Love classes (the next one is scheduled for January 25. She'll be working with designers on the ins and outs of launching their lines. She just won't be sitting behind the counter watching the shop.
Also on her agenda in the coming year: helping Fresh City Life's Chris Loffelmacher produce the Frock Out Denver fashion event at the Denver Public Library and a second year running the Fashion Pavilion at the Denver County Fair.
"It's so ironic!," Shigley says. "Here I was preaching to do what you love and love what you do, and I wasn't listening to my own message! Not that I didn't love running the shop, but it was keeping me from my passions." And she's proven, time and time again, that those passions run deep.
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To mark the occasion of her big switch, Shigley plans to host a "huge celebration soiree" at Fashion Denver on January 28; Westword will bring you all the details here and in the Night & Day calendar when further plans are announced.
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