WHAT’S MY NAME? HILLARY BROWN
FOUNDER OF THREADS + THINGS/WMN
My desire for creating Threads and WMN stems from being surrounded by such strong, driven women my whole life.
My mom had me when she was just 21. She was still learning about herself and what it meant to be an ‘adult.’ Her life was put on pause and she had to fast-forward everything, tune out all the bullshit and raise me. She worked multiple jobs and worked her ass off to be one of two providers for little ol’ me at the time. She was a HUSTLER; both my parents were. I didn’t quite give her the appreciation and respect she deserved back then, but I realize it now and damn.. It must have been a whirlwind for her, considering I’m 28 and still tryna figure shit out.
Fast forward to high school - Attending an ALL girls school for four years of my life has definitely been the catalyst to Threads and my deep-seated support for women. I didn’t know it at the time, but at 14-years-old, I was already surrounded by a community of intelligent, young girls who were presumably going to make something of themselves and change the world. Having the luxury of attending a private school with an intimate learning environment has definitely played a part with who I am today. Again, shoutout to my mom and dad—whose work ethic is unmatched—for putting me through private education my entire life (those tuition payments are ridiculous and Lord only knows if I’ll even be able to afford this). I am extremely grateful.
Early on, I knew that I loved anything pertaining to art. I loved to write. I loved poems. I loved fashion and music. I loved anything with color… I simply loved the idea of expressing myself through this form, and wanted to someday bring to life some sort of substantial, artistic creation…hence Threads and WMN.
In my early twenties, I managed a “high-end” fashion retail store for about four and a half years, while still going to school. The thought of making sales was such a thrill to me and encountering so many different people on a day-to-day basis was so fun at the time. But in retrospect, it consumed me. This so-called “title” that I worked incredibly hard for made me feel like I was at the peak of my “job/career,” and my perspective and values were all over the place. I went to school for business and thought that working in this setting made sense… So I got comfortable and settled.
Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with working in retail by any means! There is so much growth within that business and even until this day I still utilize all the skills and knowledge that I’ve learned—but I just knew I wanted something more fulfilling and that this job wasn’t necessarily my end game. Not to mention, juggling a long distance relationship with my boyfriend of now 13 years made matters even more confusing for me.
The thought of the amounts of money that my parents spent on my education, just to end up—1. Slaving my life away for someone else’s business 2. Not having a conventional ‘9-5,’ corporate job let alone ‘career’ 3. Not exactly making a name for myself and being unhappy—was tearing me a part. This whole not-being-conventional-following-society’s-rules was eating me alive and had to reevaluate my goals and what I wanted exactly. Luckily, I have parents that support me in all of my endeavors and continue to root me on with what ever I have going on.
Life soon became SUPER unconventional when I abruptly quit that job in 2016, hopped on a plane with zero planning involved, left my friends and family behind, and moved away from California so I could live with my boyfriend here in the Philippines. Talk about a 180. The first few months of being here were great, but as months passed I felt like I needed a purpose. I was so used to working and doing shit all time, that I suddenly felt so lost. I also felt intimidated to find a job because I didn’t know where to start and I was still trying to adjust to this new lifestyle. I went from taking care of myself, paying my own bills, to relying on my boyfriend and pretty much feeling sorry for myself.
I didn’t know anyone here, I didn’t know what to do, I felt like I was slowly losing track of who I was and a part of me was gone. There’s no one to blame here but myself; I played the victim. I let that shit happen. I should have picked myself up and FOCUS on elevating myself and create a meaningful life here. After all, it was a second chance to somewhat start over and begin this new chapter of my life.
Thankfully enough that’s exactly what I ended up doing. I became in tune with myself and cleared my head. I took baby steps and started a side hustle with my business partner, took on freelancing jobs, brought to life what was first a passion project (Threads), and now work with one of the most talented, and up and coming fashion designers here in Manila.
I’ve realized that all of the events that have taken place in your life and how you handle it is what ultimately sets you up for victory. To me, money doesn’t define success. I don’t have to be swimming in a shit ton of cash to be considered “successful.” Although that would be nice and I do aspire to not have to worry about it!
Seriously though. I’m not entirely where I want to be, but I am truly happy. Life is a growing process! You just need to water your plants accordingly. If you feel underwhelmed with where you’re at, it’s probably because you’re giving too many fucks. Place your valuable energy where it’s necessary, whether it’s a new project, business, or a relationship. Learn to love every single ounce of yourself and your abilities. And challenge yourself! As long as you are happy with what you do and it fulfills you, then that’s the only type of validation you need. KNOW THAT YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE A PURPOSE. Don’t ever forget that!