Today we’d like to introduce you to Hillary Brown.
Hi Hillary, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
In 2016, I decided to pack my bags and move to the Philippines to live with my (now) fiancé, who moved there to pursue a professional basketball career. We didn’t have a plan and it all happened so fast. I remember in October of 2016, we had had a very brief conversation about what it would be like if I moved there and a month later, I quit my job of five years and flew out. Again, I didn’t really have a plan and didn’t know what to do, all I knew was that it was something that had to happen. At first, I sort of felt stuck and was a bit lost. I went from working a full-time 9 to 5 job to doing occasional freelance web development work, which wasn’t exactly consistent. I wasn’t in the highest of spirits, I felt like I lost myself and needed to do and be better.
Living in a different country is no joke. I felt like I literally had to start my life over again, but I was up for the challenge. Being away from family and friends was honestly terrible, but it really allowed me to dive deeper and learn more about myself. I really wanted to focus on self-improvement and independence.
After a year of living there, I ended up starting two side hustles, had a styling internship, and was later hired on as an Operations Assistant for an up and coming fashion designer there.
I’ve always had a love for art, music, and especially clothing. Thankfully, I was able to get my foot in the door, learn all things fashion from my boss, worked different fashion shows and soaked it all in. I loved the idea of getting ready to dress up for work, learning about different types of fabric, meeting new people in the (cutthroat) industry, and felt so passionate about design and the like.
Then… the pandemic hit. We were in a third world country who wasn’t fully equipped for what was to come. We were way more behind in the Philippines than the states, and I knew I had to pivot.
Surprisingly, being stuck in quarantine in our tiny condo gave us the opportunity to get creative. Though I was no longer working, all of these ideas started to flow and I developed ‘dyme,’ which stands for ‘define your mental energy,’ a swim and loungewear brand.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Eventually, in June of 2020, I decided to move back to California and continue to develop the concept and finally launched in November.
It definitely has had its ups and downs. My main struggle was finding the right manufacturer and getting the inventory on time. It was the start of the pandemic so there were a lot of logistical problems because of covid and all that jazz.
It does take quite a bit of time for samples to arrive, plus the edits, then the financial aspect comes into play, and then going into production altogether is a long process…but I made it work!
Initially, my first batch of swimwear was supposed to arrive in July, but again, because of covid, it took a turn and didn’t arrive until late August. But it all worked out.
I’m not going to lie, when I created my first collection I was scared of all the judgment and had self-doubt. I thought, “Well, what if no one even buys my pieces?” “Is it worthy enough?” “Do I pull through with it?” “Is this a joke?” But you know what. I carried on, went about my business and did the dang thing, and I’m so happy that I did.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
The whole brand concept of ‘dyme’ is a result of my experiences and what I’ve gone through and how I’ve felt at different points in my life. I was also so heavily inspired by living on such a beautiful island–my parents’ native land, having a slower-paced lifestyle, in comparison to working a traditional 9 to 5, seeing the beauty in the beaches and outdoors, being surrounded by the sun and living in the hot hot heat… so the process of designing swim and loungewear came about. But altogether, it is definitely more than just articles of clothing; It is an expression of self-love through my designs and really comfortable garments!
I think what I’m most proud of is the fact that I have created something from nothing. It was all just an idea, but I brought it to life and here I am now with an e-commerce shop and hustling from pop up to pop up in the OC and LA areas!
Not everyone can say they moved to a different country and started a small business in the middle of a whole pandemic, so I think that is also something I am very proud of!
Alright so before we go can you talk to us a bit about how people can work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
First of all, I love meeting new creatives and people in general! The support can come from all forms, really. A simple re-post or tag on social media, visiting the website to learn more about my collections and projects, showing up to local pop-ups that I’m at, wearing the pieces…anything. It is very much appreciated and would mean the world!
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.dymecollective.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/dymecollective
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/dymecollective
(ALL) image credits: Aj Lising