Meet the brains behind Designer Wardrobe

From a Facebook page to top New Zealand startup brand, Designer Wardrobe is on every stylish women's radar. Meet the girls behind the brand, Donielle Brooke and her right-hand woman, mum, Donna. Editor Trudi Brewer steps into their family home to discover their tips on style, beauty and how they manage to work together every day.

 Mother and daughter team Donielle and Donna.

Mother and daughter team Donielle and Donna.

At the age of 25, ex-hairdresser Donielle Booke had a brilliant idea. After being diagnosed with thyroid cancer and unable to work she was in bed dreaming of the ultimate fashion business. Fast forward four years and what started as a Facebook page is now a thriving website that enables women to buy, sell and rent second-hand designer clothes from their smart phone. The company now has 70,000 members on the website with over 2.5 million views a month and 20,000 listings for sale or rent. With an IOS and Android App to help your shopping experience, buying pre-loved designer clothing has never been so accessible. Trudi Brewer talks to the mother and daughter team behind the Designer Wardrobe empire.

Donna Brooke
What’s a typical working day for you?
Working in a startup business means it's all hands on deck. Mornings involve sales, shipping, listings and photography. We are continually evolving, and there never seems to be enough hours in the day. An online business never sleeps, so there is never any downtime.

What do you love most about your role? 
Creating new beginnings for my daughter's company.

What has been a career high to date? 
Launching and building our Valet Service from scratch. And seeing it become a solid performer in the business.

What advice would you give other mother-daughter teams? 
I love working with my daughter because it means I see her most days. But when we are at work, we do have to be mindful that its a work environment (sometimes we forget). You can't let your emotions get in the way when it comes to decision making.

Home
How would your describe your family home? 
Our home is a 1970's Ron Sang design, it has great flow with plenty of light, warmth, and most importantly -  is inviting.

What is your favourite room? 
The open living and dining area. This space has been full of fun with family and friends. I also love the corner near our pool that receives the last bit of sun of the day and it's where we all end up gathering in summer.

What do you always have on your bedside table? 
Photo's of my husband and our children.

What are your most treasured family possessions? 
Photo's of holidays, Christmas and birthdays.

Share your best interior advice? 
Keep a simple interior, and add key pieces that make a statement.

Beauty
What is your skincare routine?
 
I have tried a variety of products over the years, and I cannot beat Osmosis, it works for me.

What will you carry in your beauty bag this summer? 
Clarins Control Cream for Face SPF30, MAC Strobe Cream, Lipgloss and Bronzing Powder.

What beauty advice do you find yourself sharing with your daughter? 
Use good quality body oils, such as Pure Fiji Exotic Oil that nourish skin, and are so therapeutic.

What is your top beauty tip?
A good nights sleep and laughter beats any beauty product.

Favourite fragrance? 
Commes de Garcon 2

Donna's beauty essentials

Wellbeing
How do you keep in such good shape? 
Running works for me in so many ways. The fresh air clears the mind, it's quick, and most of the time I can run, regardless of where I am in the world.

What is your wellness philosophy? 
Exercise, eat healthy food, drink good wine and enjoy life. 

How to you stay balanced and happy? 
My family keep me balanced and happy. 

Fashion
Who is your fashion icon? 
Carine Roitfeld.

How would your friends describe your style? 
Simple with the addition of a beautiful print or amazing shoes.

What bag will you carry this summer? 
My Louis Vuitton bag that Donielle bought me recently, as a thank you.

Who are your favourite local and international fashion designers? 
Trelise Cooper, Juliette Hogan, Zimmerman and Alexander Wang.

What is your fashion weakness? 
It was bought to my attention recently that I have a weakness for jackets and shoes.

How has your career influenced your style? 
I have always worked and been surrounded by beautiful clothes, so I have had the opportunity to source some amazing quality pieces.

 

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Donielle Brooke
What’s a typical working day for you?
Being the founder of a startup, I don’t have a typical day; every day brings something new. And being a creative person I like it that way.

What has been a career high to date? 
Seeing my vision come to life and continually growing it in an industry I always dreamed of working in.

What advice would you give other mother-daughter teams? 
Give each other the space you need to be your own person but to support each other when it's needed. And make sure that your mum knows how much you appreciate and love her.

Beauty
What is your skincare routine?
I had always used good quality natural products even from a young age when I had no money. I think that's  important. I am currently using Osmosis, and I have regular facials with Angela Skiffington at White Spa + Float Lounge

What will you carry in your beauty bag this summer?
My go-to makeup is Osmosis Foundation, Benefit Brow Zings Taming and Shaping Brow Kit, Chanel Bronzing Makeup Base, MAC lipstick and sunscreen.

What is your top beauty tip?
Look after your body. If you treat your body badly, it will show on your skin, even if it takes years to see.

Favourite fragrance? 
Narciso Rodriguez at the moment.

Wellbeing
How do you keep in such good shape?
I love to walk, and I used to love doing yoga - I  must get back into it.

What is your wellness philosophy?
I enjoy healthy food and take supplements, and have lots of down time in-between my busy life.

How do you stay balanced and happy?
I have positive, kind people around me.

Fashion
Who is your fashion icon?
I tend to get inspiration from cool New Zealand woman, like Chloe Zara. 

How would your friends describe your style?
Casual, with a 70s vibe mixed with sneakers and jeans.

What bag will you carry this summer?
I will be carrying my new Alexander Wang Marion Bag that I got from Workshop a few weeks ago.

Who are your favourite local and international fashion designers?
Miss Crabb, Ruby, Alexander Wang, Zimmerman, Coop.

What is your fashion weakness? 
Tops and playsuits.

How has your career influenced your style?
It's helped me be smart with shopping, rather than spending too much money on clothes.

Makeup MAC Cosmetics, makeup artist Lochie Stonehouse
Photography Milana Radojcic