Interview: Theresa Brady

Brady is the new fashion range from design house Urban Creative, which includes streetwear brand Doosh and boutique label Sable & Minx. The result of a collaboration by two talented designers, Theresa Brady and Rebecca Batley–Alder, the first season of Brady is in stores now. Chelsey chats to Brady about their inspirations, her leadership style and how folding towels set her on the path to success…

How would you describe your leadership style? 

I am someone who believes in creating a space for others to express themselves at work, so I think I am very thoughtful and respectful of what other people bring to a team. I feel strongly about creating a happy and nurturing environment and like people to be self managing and feel empowered to create their own productive workflow. I lead by example and hope to inspire a happy and creative team.

What is your definition of success? 

Doing what you love to do in a meaningful and satisfying way that results in productive and life affirming activities. Whatever it is doesn’t matter as long as it is meaningful and satisfying. For me I have felt successful in different jobs as I was motivated by different things, I used to be a nanny and I really enjoyed finding fun and creative ways to mange children without conflict it was a challenge to get homework done or to stop fights and it vastly increased my skills in people management and emotional intelligence! But now it is all about creating successful ranges with colour stories and themes, and managing the Team at Urban Creative. Both have given me a great feeling of Success.

What are the three best books you’ve read? 

The Game of Life and how to Play it by Florence Flovel Schinn – I read this when I was 15 and it has been my guidebook ever since. It is a very old self help book on what you think and say becomes your reality so change your thoughts about yourself and you can change your life. As for the rest, I am a big reader so to pick only three would be impossible, I like Science fiction for relaxation, Phillip Pullmans Northern lights series and The City and the City by China Melville are a couple of my faves.

How do you generate your most creative thoughts? 

I free associate all the time, I daydream a lot, I am always thinking creatively and always have done. I meditate and I have a very vivid imagination so I find it very easy to go into a creative space.

What motivates you and how do you stay motivated? 

I am motivated by my excitement in a creative idea. If I have a range to create I can’t wait to come up with silhouettes, colours and themes. Every step of the way brings new challenges and it is like a constant carrot to see it through to the next stage.

How do you get things done? Are there any routines, habits or personal rules that you’ve used to help you get to success? 

I joke that my company is called “Urban Spreadsheets” instead of Urban Creative, we have spreadsheets for everything! And I have just started a new project management system called smartsheet which is a cloud based program to link all of our projects and staff together with timelines and goals. It is necessary when we have four fashion labels and 12 ranges to do a year!

What three attributes were most important for getting you where you are today and what attributes would you like to be renowned for? 

I would say that I have the ability to listen and respond to my environment, so for example I’m open to moving into new product lines or changing the way we do business as the market demands it. I also feel like I am good at bringing a great team of people together I like working with like minded creatives and I am happy to say my business has thrived because of it. Also I think I am honest fair and have integrity, and I think I would be known in business to be like this - in how I deal with anyone and everyone I meet.

When have you hit rock bottom? 

When I was working for someone as a nanny and I forgot their rule of how I was supposed to fold their hand towels, there was a pattern and I was stressing out because I always forgot and got in trouble! I decided then I needed to change my life and find something more meaningful to do!

What’s getting your arse out of bed at the moment? 

Getting my winter ranges ready for Fashion week, and starting my new label “Life of Riley” so much to do and so much fun!

What is the most important piece of advice you’d give an aspiring leader? 

Have integrity, lead by example, be passionate and only do what you really love to do.

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