Today we’d like to introduce you to Evolyn Brooks.
Evolyn, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Much of my success in life has been shaped by following my intuition and doing what I love. As a girl growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, I loved to read. I was the “hide under your bed with a flashlight, so I can finish my book when I’m supposed to be sleeping type of reader.” My love for reading led to writing and writing led me to become the editor of my college newspaper.
A broadcasting internship led me to my first job as a news reporter in Toledo, Ohio. I covered lots of murders, fires, floods, local elections and mutant frogs as a young journalist. But, I fell in love with producing after creating the first ever primetime special on gang violence at my station. I saw how much you can shape the cultural narrative as a producer and tell a bigger more impactful story.
My dream at the time was to pursue a TV career in NY while living in a cool Brooklyn brownstone with a tribe of cool friends. I shared my vision with my cousin who was actually living in Brooklyn at the time pursuing acting. She encouraged me to leave Toledo and come to New York during our long distance phone conversations.
About two years later, my mother died, and I desperately needed a change of scenery. I took a leave of absence from my “anchor/ reporter” job, put everything I owned in storage and drove 10-hours to Brooklyn with two of my “ride or die” besties in my burgundy Honda Accord Coupe. I had some cash, but no job when I moved to Brooklyn, but fortunately, I had a place to stay.
My cousin was definitely shocked and borderline not thrilled to see me at her front door, but to this day I am deeply grateful that she didn’t send me back to Ohio. I slept on her couch for three months, during which time I found a job as a news writer, which led to my first segment producer job at MTV.
During the entire time I lived in New York, I wasn’t saving lives as a producer, but on the weekends I was a maker, although we didn’t call it that at the time. My mom taught me how to sew as a kid, so I made pillows. I learned how to paint from my father, so I made art.
Eventually, I joined a writer’s group, and then met a lot of creative people who also made stuff that we sold on the weekends. Little did I know that my early journey as a maker would come full circle.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Most of the struggles in my adult life have been directly connected to moments in which I did not follow my intuition. I decided to start producing syndicated television because that’s where the money was flowing and the bohemian life of my dreams in New York was expensive.
My career blossomed to a point where I had an agent who negotiated an awesome opportunity for me to move to LA and help start a huge talk show, so I said goodbye to New York. Moving to LA was great because I loved the water, weather, and lifestyle. But, my life felt out of balance because I left so many creative aspects of myself behind that fed my spirit without really understanding that at the time.
Eventually, the choice to create a more authentic version of myself was made for me when I was diagnosed with an early stage of breast cancer. It was during the period of chemo and radiation that I was forced to be still and listen on a deeper level to what my body was trying to tell me. I worked with eastern and western doctors to heal, but I realized that my mind and spirit also played a role in the process.
I started to write and make things again, which created space for me to reconnect with everything that had always brought me joy. I also had to release a lot of old patterns, relationships, anger, and practice deep presence and forgiveness to allow a more sustainable sense of peace into my life.
Part of that shift in consciousness resulted in me becoming an entrepreneur because I wanted more control of my life, my time, the content that I was creating and how I made my living – which we all know is way easier said than done.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the In My Solitude LA story. Tell us more about the business.
In My Solitude LA is a lifestyle and wellness company that started as a hobby. I created a website and started making pillows, bath and body products, scented essential oil mists and meditation eye pillows whenever I was in my solitude. I sold my wellness items at Unique LA, Artisanal LA, Handmade Galleries and west elm.
During my recovery, I created a candle line called the Journey Candle Collection that was centered around everything I learned about overcoming obstacles and being present in life. The candle names, “Imagine, Reflect, Ascend, Aspire, Release and Grateful” are reflective of the steps I took to carve a new path.
Becoming an Artist-In-Residence at the west elm Santa Monica concept store was a huge turning point for In My Solitude LA. I quickly learned how to incorporate my content and programming ideas into the brand, so it was no longer just products, but a platform that serves and uplifts. Part of my mission is to share with women what I know about creating balance, moving through challenges and using your energy in a healthy way to fuel success.
Now, I create large scale events and content partnerships with brands, interactive Intention Candle Experiences with groups, private workshops and wellness products powered by intention and reiki. Our tag line is “Self-Discovery Through DIY” because we incorporate intention, personal mantras, meditation, journaling, reiki, yoga, candle making and play into our workshops.
I like to create an environment where you can free your mind, interact with others, but also have time to think more deeply about your life without distractions. When you take home your candle and journal, they are both a gentle reminder of the promise you made to yourself during the intention experience.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I try not to think of my life in terms of good luck or bad luck anymore. I mean shitty things still happen, but maintaining my inner glow demands that I see every experience as a growth opportunity and a way to add more value, substance, and sauce to my life. It took me a while to see a so-called “bad” moment in my life without judgment, but it has to be reframed, or else you become a victim.
In the end, only you can decide what a situation means for you so why not reclaim your power. When something didn’t go my way in the past, I tried really hard to make changes through sheer will power, but that’s exhausting and just doesn’t work after a while. I’ve learned that those are the times when you have to surrender, go within and meditate, listen from a higher, more intuitive and spiritual place and only make a move when the answer comes.
It’s a more feminine approach to achieving success, which may look like you’re drinking a lot of green tea lattes and staring into space to someone on the outside looking through your window. But in reality, you’re taking the time to make sure your actions are in alignment with your deepest intention.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to the idea of good or bad luck is that everything changes. So, don’t quit on yourself when things get hard, or when you’re broke because you’ll miss out on the upswing and definitely don’t listen to public opinion. Try not to define yourself by your stuff, job, partner or money because when you do, those are the types of people you attract.
When you’re in a valley, use that time to reconnect with your authentic, happy self, the kid in you, the dreamer who is not defined, impacted or moved by external circumstances and then make your own luck.
- Website: www.inmysolitudela.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @inmysolitudela
- Facebook: @inmysolitudeboutique