With phrases like ‘The New Normal’ (read in a nasally vocal fry, of course) and ‘trying times’ being tossed around until people are absolutely sick to death of them, it’s easy to forget just how much things have changed over the last year. The way people approach work, shopping for new clothes, and even other people have undergone drastic changes that are unlikely to revert back to their default (at least without an undercurrent of paranoia) any time soon.
Many businesses have been hit hard by the various lockdowns and resultant hesitation to resume normal commercial activity, but there are some bright horizons for the modern companies who are well adapted to take on the new challenges being presented by a more cautious retail environment. These companies manage a hybrid environment, existing both online and managing to sustain a brick-and-mortar presence for those brave souls willing to venture out into the dark dangerous world.
One person who is not just surviving but thriving in these novel conditions is Brian Bolke, founder of fashion and lifestyle brand The Conservatory, who recently gave an interview to Coveteur about how he’s managed to open two new locations during the pandemic while keeping up a healthy lifestyle. The interview opens on how the pandemic has affected his working habits and the fashion industry as a whole:
“Talk to us a little bit about your work environment right now. Are you back in the office, or working remotely from home?
“Since COVID I have spent (literally) every day at my Dallas office in Highland Park Village. It kept me sane—it felt normal—except NO ONE was there for three months, which I LOVED. It saved me. I needed a calm work space. I called it the ‘retail war room.’ We opened two stores (a Dallas flagship and a charming store in Napa Valley) the last two months (yes, in the middle of a pandemic), so my office was where all the planning came from. It allowed me time to really understand ‘how’ to open stores safely in the new world we live in.”
It’s a tricky time in our world, and economically speaking, it’s unclear what the future holds. How do you foresee this time impacting your industry?
“Everything will be changed forever—mostly for the better. It reminds me of my grandmother; she talked about the Depression her whole life. This is our Depression—we will get through it, but be changed.
“What I think is positive is that our fashion industry will realize the waste. I think we will see less shows, less markets, less production, less sales. The Conservatory was built on many of these ideas that now seem to be the ‘new normal,’ so I’m grateful some good is coming out of all this.”
He also touched on some interesting new products and what is fashionable in the dog days of COVID:
“Tell us a little bit about your style right now:
“I’m trying to stay comfortable, first and foremost. Right now, that’s where I start. But I’m secretly excited to get dressed again. Someday.”
What’s your go-to uniform?
“Black t-shirt, usually from Salle Privee, khaki shorts, bright Nike sneakers, and a chic mask that somehow pulls it together. In fall you can insert denim for shorts, and I LOVE a shirt jacket every day—with pockets for my phone and the crap that I seem to need all day. This fall the designer Teddy Vonranson was kind enough to add a shirt jacket to the collection just for us. It will be my new uniform.”
Bolke delves into a few habits he’s picked up to create a healthier and happier lifestyle, as well:
“How do you start your days?
“I wake up at about 6:45 AM (never with an alarm anymore)—I’ve become an early bird (who knew?)—and I spend a few minutes in bed simply assessing my life and starting from a grateful place. As tough as life seems right now, it helps to think about how lucky I am.”
Are you incorporating movement or exercise into your routine? If so, anything you’re loving at the moment?
“Every morning I do 45 minutes of ‘something’—walk on the Katy Trail (it’s the Dallas High Line), a spin class, or Orangetheory. Group exercise works best for me…I need the push of a class starting and not wanting to be late, and I like the mix of being anonymous yet a bit competitive. I talk all day, so not having to be one-on-one is a blessing, and for sure it’s the only 45 minutes of my day with no phone. And all the group fitness in Dallas is at 50 percent capacity, so it feels like you are working out in your own world.”
He finishes out the interview with a short but sweet quote about the beauty and wellness products that he’s using to get through his days, which are especially relevant to a subject we talk about here pretty regularly: CBD oil.
“Let’s switch gears for a minute: Are there any beauty products essential to your day-to-day?
“I’m now obsessed with Bottle and Stone CBD tinctures—they are new at The Conservatory—and Favour CBD gum. It totally chills you out. Beauty starts on the inside anyways.”
The CBD oil tincture The Conservatory sells – Bottle & Stone’s 600mg full spectrum cinnamon CBD oil tincture – is one that we’ve tried ourselves and have found to be remarkably effective at balancing our hectic energy throughout the stress-filled days working at home with kids yelling and running around, doing their best to be as distracting as possible. The stuff seriously works like a long bath with our favorite bubble bath bombs, seeping the tense energy out of our muscles and letting us get on with our days without the incessant teeth-grinding.
If their cinnamon high potency cbd oil doesn’t appeal to your flavor palette, they have the same product in a number of different flavors. This includes a peppermint CBD spritz, which gives you the relaxing CBD oil effects with the added bonus of being a breath-freshening spray so you can be calm and anxiety free when venturing outside of the house.
Life nowadays is colored by stress, anxious energy, and not a fair amount of annoyance with both the people and the world around us. Any bit of help we can get to reduce the psychological effects of the pandemic and our dear leaders’ very logical reactions to it is precious, and if you’re leaving CBD oil out of your daily apothecary, you’re definitely doing yourself a disservice. Get smart, get calm, and get yourself one of Bottle & Stone’s CBD tinctures; you and your family will thank us for it.
Bottle & Stone