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Meet Pamala Brooks of BNLS Store in Inland Empire

Today we’d like to introduce you to Pamala Brooks.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Pamala. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
BNLS Store was created with legal professionals in mind. I have been a paralegal for over 11 years, and I came up with the bright idea of marketing legal-themed apparel, home, and office accents, to people like me. Mostly because of my own desire to find something that represented me and the profession I have dedicated my life. I and the law, are one in the same. Close friends and family automatically associate the name “Pamala Brooks” with “law”, “legal”, “paralegal,” and “lawyer”. My love of the law is in my blood, as my father was a Sergeant for the Los Angeles Police Department when I was a child. Though I did not desire to follow in his footsteps as a police officer, I was, however, intrigued by the legal system and the way in which it lived and breathed.

Growing up, I was exposed to the infamous, “revolving door prison system”, vicariously through friends and family being, “sent away”, for extended periods of time. I have gaps in my memories of some of my loved ones, due to their being cycled through the system over and over again, instead of being provided with resources to help them do better for themselves. I apologize for going on such a tangent. I know this is about my clothing line, but this part of my history has shaped my view of the law and has inspired my reasoning for staying the course within this field. I know it may seem strange to go from wanting to be a “warrior for justice,” to selling legal-themed t-shirts. However, these two worlds actually go hand-in-hand, for me.

I was inspired to create my own wardrobe by my sister, Kioni Yakeeni, owner, and founder of OM-Mazing Creations. She was featured in a previous issue of this publication. We worked together on launching her business, and I learned a great deal from that process. Though I am a paralegal, notary public, and aspiring attorney, I do also have an unbridled LOVE for chuck taylor sneakers, and t-shirts. That is significant for me because the legal industry pretty much has a set dress code that has been unchanged for centuries. I don’t mind dressing up in my business attire, but that really isn’t me. I just love a nice comfy t-shirt, high-rise jeans, and my chucks, during my downtime! So, one day after taking off my heels, it dawned on me, “why is there not any law-themed apparel out there?”

I did some research, and there were maybe 1 or 2 brands that I would actually consider buying. My entrepreneurial spirit had been reignited, and I was determined, at that point, to create a brand, for legal professionals, by legal professionals.

Has it been a smooth road?
I wouldn’t say that the road has been easy, but it has not been unnecessarily difficult either. I say this because BNLS Store is not my first business venture, and it certainly won’t be my last. I am currently running two businesses, with the first being Brooks Notary & Litigation Support, a document services company, and as of 6 months ago, the second being BNLS Store. Working capital is always a challenge when you’re getting started, but this time, I did not have to invest as much money into this venture. Thankfully, I am not required to maintain certain academic credentials or professional licenses to operate a clothing line/apparel company. This has made it easier for me to focus on building my brand, without such a financial strain. As such, I am able to invest my time to perfect my marketing strategies to get my business out there.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I am proud to say that BNLS Store was created by legal professionals, for legal professionals. I kind of gave all the good stuff in that first paragraph. But, as I explained in that earlier section, I am a paralegal, notary public, and an aspiring lawyer. I will be attending law school this fall, so I am a paralegal by day, and an aspiring t-shirt mogul, also by day. What makes my company stand apart from others out there is that there aren’t really any others out there, doing what I’m doing. Again, I have only come across a couple of viable legal-themed brands that speak to me as a consumer. There is not an over-saturation of the market, which makes this the perfect time to get started!

My store is different, in that it caters to people like me. For instance, we have the paralegal line called “Paralegal, Just Sue It. This is by far my most popular line. I get so much positive feedback about the clever play on words, and it is the best-selling theme in my shop! We also have a line catered specifically to the Notary Public, “Notary, Seal the Deal. This one was my first design and has undergone a makeover. When I started, I was really unhappy with what I found in the retail market for notaries public. They all had the same, lame, boring, notary puns, that contained pictures of an actual seal, from the animal kingdom, wearing shades. The caption would read, “notary seal”. It was just so cheesy that I had to do something a little different for my notaries. My design has an actual document in the logo, with a nice clean look. It seems to be pretty popular among the notary community, so far. Next in the line up is the “LIT” collection, which stands for, “Lawyer in Training”. This one is my personal favorite because, for the next four years, this will be my life! I am going to be revamping the selection of apparel items soon, for this selection, so I recommend purchasing the current stock before it is gone! Last, but not least, I wanted to throw in something universal. I decided to incorporate a coffee theme to the shop. Currently, we have women’s t-shirts and tank dresses decorated with our “No Coffee = Depresso” theme. I am working on a design for the fellas, and hope to have that read for you soon.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
My shop is currently online, at least until I make it big, and open several physical shops. If I did have a physical shop, I can see it being in a nice modern location, in the downtown area, probably near the courthouse, and the high-rise buildings. Maybe rent some space within the lobby of one of those high-rises. Hmmm…now you have me thinking of additional possibilities. All that to say, my market is the legal professional, and Los Angeles is saturated with lawyers, law schools, paralegals, and notaries public. The city would be the perfect place for my shop to set up. I am not certain if it would be ideal for someone just starting out, simply due to the cost of doing business in the city, but, once the business is established and has a steady flow of capital, I say go for it.

Pricing:

  • T-shirts range from $20 – $35
  • Hoodies range from $35 – $49
  • Tote bags range from $20 – $49
  • Coffee & Travel Mugs range from $11 – $25
  • Home & Office Accents range from $25 – $140
  • iPhone & Laptop Cases range from $25 – $40
  • Shoes $25 – $75

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Tiare Rush | Coldpiece Photography

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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