Women In Business: Designers Collective

Here at Just An Ordinary Family 
we love to highlight some extraordinary 
Women In Business.
Today's ladies are no exception.
Tina and Brooke
are the founders of Designers Collective.
With backgrounds in architecture and interior design
they have all skills needed to help you with
your designing needs.

I had the pleasure of chatting with 
Tina and Brooke about what
brought them to opening their own business
and combining forces into one dynamic duo.

Read on below to find out more about them individually,
as a team and what drives them to be the unstoppable force they are!

Just An Ordinary Family: Tina and Brooke, share with us how it is that you two came together to start your company. How did you meet?

Designers Collective
Brooke:  Tina and I met many years ago (17!) when our kids swam together. She and her husband  were the architects on our large renovation we did about 15 years ago.  About 18 months ago Tina reconnected with me and asked if I would like to share office space with her and 2 other women.  We had all been working independently from home and were ready to have an office outside of the home.  As  events evolved the other two women were not quite ready to take the plunge and yet Tina and I still were.  BUT again as events evolved, we decided to join forces and create Designers Collective. We have been actively working on our new business for about a year.
Tina: We were both in the right place and at the right time in our lives to try something new.

JAOF: What inspired you to take your passions and make them into a business?

DC Brooke: Tina and I have a very similar design aesthetic and as our conversations expanded we realized we wanted to work together.  Through discussion we found we were having a similar experience where people were asking for advice or consults but really wanted to do the projects on their own.  We found there are a lot of DIYers who want to do their own projects but get stuck while going through the process.  So we thought it would be a good idea to offer design and lifestyle classes to the general public to give them the tools to help them with their projects.  We also offer full design service but our main idea is to make design accessible to everyone so by offering design classes we feel it opens up design to the general public.  
Tina: Designers Collective's  Design and Lifestyle workshops were created to immerse one in the tools and language of design. We hope our workshops will give DIYers the ability to filter the design information out there and give them the confidence to transform their homes like a professional. The idea is that we want everyone to thrive in their own life. 

JAOF: What did you used to do for work? How did this lead into your new business?

DC Brooke: I was a pediatric nurse until we did our house renovation 15 years ago. I liked the process so much that I went back to school for Interior Design and started my own company in 2007. We both needed a change of pace and wanted to work out of our home offices. The original idea was just to share office space but it grew into so much more. 
Tina: I am a registered architect in British Columbia and I have a degree in Urban Planning. My dual degrees have allowed me to navigate from large urban design issues to detailed interior planning with ease.
In my previous job in Campus Planning I worked directly with academic divisions compromised of professors, researchers and administrators. That work involved taking complex, and sometimes even contradictory, program information and translating it into actual physical form via plans and consult coordination. This was done within a university environment that typically used re-purposed or left over spaces such that a high level of imaginative, inventive problem solving was needed to find the right spatial and aesthetic solutions. I find that the ability to work effectively with a highly intelligent yet demanding clientele has been a great help in my current business because I find myself facing complex programmatic, spatial problems requiring a nimble, creative thinking on the fly. 
Likewise, the need to need to overcome spatial limitations has been great training for my current job where I often need to improvise using imperfect resources to achieve the best outcomes. My strengths are in problem solving, making connections and working and helping people. These traits lend themselves nicely for the work Designers Collective offers. 

JAOF: Do you work from home or an office space? How does this work for you?

DC Brooke: We both work from home and an office. We joined a collaborative office space so sometimes we work at the office and sometimes we work from home. As our business grows we know exactly the kind of office we would want to have. We each have a strong image of this in our minds and so look forward to making that dream a reality!

JAOF: Being a mom, wife and working is a hard balance! How do you do it?

BC Brooke: Our kids are all older now. All of them are on the brink of or in the midst of university careers. Some are still at home and some are fully or partially launched. Having said that, a work day does not go by when one of our phones doesn't go off with one of our kids needing to discuss something or inquire about dinner or use of the car etc. (It never really ends you know!) Finding the balance with older kids can be tricky and stressful at times but so far it seems to be working. But, I will confess, we each belly ache about trying to fit in grocery shopping and cooking! 
Tina: Even though our kids are older we still play the balancing game - we juggle kids, significant others, dinner, parents, bills, all the while trying to push Designers Collective to the next level. We formulate our goals and agenda on Friday for the following week, and we try to meet everyday to ensure we are on track. We have found this has really worked for us. 

JAOF: Being your own boss how do you manage your time? How do you make time for yourself? 

DC Brooke: Tina goes to fitness most mornings and I go for a run with my dog. We meet up after we've each done our morning workout. We meet most afternoons and divide up the work to be done, then each of us does work behind the scenes for our next meeting together.  We do tend to text and email each other a lot, even from one day to the next.

JAOF: We believe that featuring women in business is important. What would you like to say about women being entrepreneurs and who is wanting to make the leap to work for themselves?

DC Brooke: My advice is "take the leap and the bridge will follow". I read this quote about two years ago and have been living by it ever since. The day I received the email came in from Tina inviting me to share office space was a true moment where I stopped and said to myself, "This is the leap!" It continues to stretch me daily as I meet new people and tackle new situations (ie: social media) but the bridge is there and holding me up along the way. 
Tina: As women we are really good at multi-tasking and keeping numerous balls in the air. We can do anything we set our minds to. Two years ago I wouldn't have had the confidence to take the leap, but now that I have I can't imagine it any other way. I have never felt so inspired, excited and happy as I do right now. Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed and I have to remind myself that I am living the dream and this is what I have always wanted. 


"...but the bridge is there and holding me up along the way." - Brooke

"I have never felt so inspired, excited and happy as I do right now." - Tina

JAOF: Describe your dreams for your business. Where do you see Designers Collective in 5 years?

DC Brooke: We both want to have an office and employees! We want to be an influence in the industry and we want to make enough money that we and our employees are comfortable. We have many ideas of how to get there!
Tina: Yes we want to be an influence and want to be known as the go-tos for all design and lifestyle information. We want our workshops to be known for offering an experience to our participants, where they can meet interesting people, have interesting conversations and get in touch with their creativity. 
What we also offer is the ability to meet and speak with a real architect and interior designer whom you can ask advice from and trust their answers. We want to build trust with our customers. Based on our own personal experiences and work with our suppliers. In effect, we are a filter for design information and will pass on relevant, useful and affordable. 

Thank you so much Brooke and Tina of Designers Collective.
Your interview was so inspiring to me and I hope that when other women
read your answers they will feel empowered and encouraged.

We at Just An Ordinary Family wish the two 
of you and your business all the best and many successes. 
We are excited to see and hear about what you are doing in the Vancouver area!

To keep up to date with what Designers Collective are doing
you can check out their website filled with amazing information, tips and videos.
You can also follow them on

Instagram  @designerscollective_

Twitter @designers411

Pinterest  @designers411

If you wish to inquire about your own design needs or have any questions,
you can contact Brooke or Tina at

1 comment:

  1. Wow Michelle! Thank you for this lovely post! We love it!! Tina xox


Drop me a line and say hello!