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Brooke & Vicki Rawlins

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Hey, it’s me, mom Vicki!

I grew up surrounded by creative women! My mother (Brooke’s grandmother) had a natural talent when it came to interior design, and any plant or flower she touched seemed to be more beautiful and healthy after she tended to it. She was a professional floral designer while I was growing up, and at the age of 82, is still showing her photography in gallery shows. In April of last year,, we participated in our first mother-daughter gallery show, it was a wonderful experience!

 Brooke & Vicki Rawlins Sister Golden

I can’t remember wanting to ever do anything else but be an artist! In some ways, that was easy—I didn’t have to figure out what I would do when I grew up! But, it also came with the nagging internal question, “How will I ever make any money?” So, while going to school for fine art, I took on other jobs to supplement my income to make do. I worked as a graphic designer, part-time illustrator and was even a personal trainer for many years living in downtown Chicago. By the time Brooke was born, in 1989, I had finally settled into art full-time. I love to explore different mediums, so back then I worked a lot with textiles—creating and selling hand-painted fabric and handmade jewelry out of specialty boutiques in the city. Living in the Chicago area was great for making relationships with the city’s top designers which led to commissioned work as a muralist and colorist. Staging homes for shows or for sale happened to be a perk of the job too!

Brooke & Vicki Rawlins Sister Golden

It probably sounds like I have some sort of art ADD, but seriously, my real passion medium has always been painting on canvas—people and landscapes. When Brooke’s younger brother went off to college in 2010, I rented a studio and finally dove headfirst into my painting. I was happy. Every day I would go to my quiet studio and paint. It was my routine.

Brooke & Vicki Rawlins Sister Golden

Then one day, after Brooke had graduated from school and was living and working in San Diego, I received a phone call from her. She said something like, “Mom, how would you like to start a shop with me?” My first thought was, “I can’t do that! How would I know how to even work the register? Everything has changed so much! I know nothing about anything!” I was literally filled with fear. But of course, I just said “yes” right away and put my blinders on. Then she said, “Let’s start with your artwork,” and I heard myself say “yes” again! I was kind of freaking out but didn’t want her to know. We decided it was a good idea to start online and build slowly. I totally figured by the third week working with her she would say, working side-by-side with her mom, “What the heck am I doing?” and get out quick!

Brooke & Vicki Rawlins Sister Golden

But, guess what? (Hey, it’s me, Brooke!)

I didn’t want to get out quick. In fact, the complete opposite happened. I spent all of my time—countless hours after work and all of my weekends—developing our website, our brand and our mission. For me, boutique retail was one of my passions. I worked in small, women-owned shops during summers in high school and college and confirmed my love for small business after taking a job in corporate retail right out of school. I also had an interest in marketing. I studied advertising and went on to work for marketing companies after that one corporate retail job I mentioned above.

Brooke & Vicki Rawlins Sister Golden

To be honest, I can’t quite remember the defining moment that led up to me picking up the phone and calling my mom to ask her if she wanted to open a shop with me that one day. I just know I felt like I was ready for a change; a chance to follow my passion and an opportunity to be more creative. At that time, I had no idea it would involve teaching myself how to design a website, take and edit product photos, learn Photoshop and Lightroom, create a buying plan (crunching numbers really isn’t either of our “things”) and build a voice on social media.

Brooke & Vicki Rawlins Sister Golden

In 2014, we launched our website with a small collection of Vicki’s watercolor prints for purchase. Soon after, we added a selection of handmade goods from other independent artists and slowly added artisan goods, as we found pieces that spoke to us. Today, we have a bustling website that features hundreds of globally sourced products that mean something to us. We also have a storefront in Door County, Wisconsin—one of our favorite places on earth—right next door to one of the small, woman-owned shops I worked at long before Sister Golden was a thing. (If that’s not serendipity I don’t what is!)

You can’t stop time. You can’t capture light. You can only turn your face up and let it rain down.” —Kim Edwards, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

Brooke & Vicki Rawlins Sister Golden
Brooke and Vicki with employee Hannah Bain. Photo by Matthew Sampson.

One of the things Sister Golden has come to be synonymous with is Vicki’s incredible floral work, which also, kind of serendipitously, came to be. It happened that she was intrigued by a floral art piece she had seen on social media, so she went out to her garden to try to find things she could use to build something. She ended up creating a portrait of her and me on her living room floor with nothing but Mother Nature. She was hooked. The self-imposed challenge for her to create something that was 100% botanical, not using any glue or tape, and wiping it all away afterward, was addicting and therapeutic in a weird way. She remains to be especially intrigued by creating faces and all the little details and emotions that can only be expressed through twigs!

A lot of people ask if I also do the art my mom does. I don’t, but I’m her biggest fan for sure!

Masterpoint

Balance Your Business on a 3-Legged Stool
While our ability to work collaboratively together has been one of our biggest keys to success—my mom does things I could never physically do, like her artwork, and I do things she’d rather not do, like the behind-the-scenes website work and ensuring we follow the “3-Legged Stool Rule”.

 Brooke & Vicki Rawlins Sister Golden

The seat of the stool is your business, and the three legs are the three products or services that essentially hold your stool up or make your business successful. Having three equally important products—aka best-selling or highest-grossing—is the only way the stool will stand. (For example, one of our legs has always been Vicki’s flower prints.) If you have just two, look for a third. It’s kind of an exercise in finding your “bread and butter”.

Life isn’t as serious as the mind makes it out to be!”
—Eckhart Tolle

It doesn’t mean the products that represent the three legs of your stool won’t ever change over time; in fact, one or two of them probably will. When you find your legs, it allows you to spend time focusing on sourcing and stocking those products, marketing those products and then maybe expanding on those products.

Hey, it’s me, mom Vicki!

I grew up surrounded by creative women! My mother (Brooke’s grandmother) had a natural talent when it came to interior design, and any plant or flower she touched seemed to be more beautiful and healthy after she tended to it. She was a professional floral designer while I was growing up, and at the age of 82, is still showing her photography in gallery shows. In April of last year,, we participated in our first mother-daughter gallery show, it was a wonderful experience!

 Brooke & Vicki Rawlins Sister Golden

I can’t remember wanting to ever do anything else but be an artist! In some ways, that was easy—I didn’t have to figure out what I would do when I grew up! But, it also came with the nagging internal question, “How will I ever make any money?” So, while going to school for fine art, I took on other jobs to supplement my income to make do. I worked as a graphic designer, part-time illustrator and was even a personal trainer for many years living in downtown Chicago. By the time Brooke was born, in 1989, I had finally settled into art full-time. I love to explore different mediums, so back then I worked a lot with textiles—creating and selling hand-painted fabric and handmade jewelry out of specialty boutiques in the city. Living in the Chicago area was great for making relationships with the city’s top designers which led to commissioned work as a muralist and colorist. Staging homes for shows or for sale happened to be a perk of the job too!

Brooke & Vicki Rawlins Sister Golden

It probably sounds like I have some sort of art ADD, but seriously, my real passion medium has always been painting on canvas—people and landscapes. When Brooke’s younger brother went off to college in 2010, I rented a studio and finally dove headfirst into my painting. I was happy. Every day I would go to my quiet studio and paint. It was my routine.

Brooke & Vicki Rawlins Sister Golden

Then one day, after Brooke had graduated from school and was living and working in San Diego, I received a phone call from her. She said something like, “Mom, how would you like to start a shop with me?” My first thought was, “I can’t do that! How would I know how to even work the register? Everything has changed so much! I know nothing about anything!” I was literally filled with fear. But of course, I just said “yes” right away and put my blinders on. Then she said, “Let’s start with your artwork,” and I heard myself say “yes” again! I was kind of freaking out but didn’t want her to know. We decided it was a good idea to start online and build slowly. I totally figured by the third week working with her she would say, working side-by-side with her mom, “What the heck am I doing?” and get out quick!

Brooke & Vicki Rawlins Sister Golden

But, guess what? (Hey, it’s me, Brooke!)

I didn’t want to get out quick. In fact, the complete opposite happened. I spent all of my time—countless hours after work and all of my weekends—developing our website, our brand and our mission. For me, boutique retail was one of my passions. I worked in small, women-owned shops during summers in high school and college and confirmed my love for small business after taking a job in corporate retail right out of school. I also had an interest in marketing. I studied advertising and went on to work for marketing companies after that one corporate retail job I mentioned above.

Brooke & Vicki Rawlins Sister Golden

To be honest, I can’t quite remember the defining moment that led up to me picking up the phone and calling my mom to ask her if she wanted to open a shop with me that one day. I just know I felt like I was ready for a change; a chance to follow my passion and an opportunity to be more creative. At that time, I had no idea it would involve teaching myself how to design a website, take and edit product photos, learn Photoshop and Lightroom, create a buying plan (crunching numbers really isn’t either of our “things”) and build a voice on social media.

Brooke & Vicki Rawlins Sister Golden

In 2014, we launched our website with a small collection of Vicki’s watercolor prints for purchase. Soon after, we added a selection of handmade goods from other independent artists and slowly added artisan goods, as we found pieces that spoke to us. Today, we have a bustling website that features hundreds of globally sourced products that mean something to us. We also have a storefront in Door County, Wisconsin—one of our favorite places on earth—right next door to one of the small, woman-owned shops I worked at long before Sister Golden was a thing. (If that’s not serendipity I don’t what is!)

You can’t stop time. You can’t capture light. You can only turn your face up and let it rain down.” —Kim Edwards, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

Brooke & Vicki Rawlins Sister Golden
Brooke and Vicki with employee Hannah Bain. Photo by Matthew Sampson.

One of the things Sister Golden has come to be synonymous with is Vicki’s incredible floral work, which also, kind of serendipitously, came to be. It happened that she was intrigued by a floral art piece she had seen on social media, so she went out to her garden to try to find things she could use to build something. She ended up creating a portrait of her and me on her living room floor with nothing but Mother Nature. She was hooked. The self-imposed challenge for her to create something that was 100% botanical, not using any glue or tape, and wiping it all away afterward, was addicting and therapeutic in a weird way. She remains to be especially intrigued by creating faces and all the little details and emotions that can only be expressed through twigs!

A lot of people ask if I also do the art my mom does. I don’t, but I’m her biggest fan for sure!

Masterpoint

Balance Your Business on a 3-Legged Stool
While our ability to work collaboratively together has been one of our biggest keys to success—my mom does things I could never physically do, like her artwork, and I do things she’d rather not do, like the behind-the-scenes website work and ensuring we follow the “3-Legged Stool Rule”.

 Brooke & Vicki Rawlins Sister Golden

The seat of the stool is your business, and the three legs are the three products or services that essentially hold your stool up or make your business successful. Having three equally important products—aka best-selling or highest-grossing—is the only way the stool will stand. (For example, one of our legs has always been Vicki’s flower prints.) If you have just two, look for a third. It’s kind of an exercise in finding your “bread and butter”.

Life isn’t as serious as the mind makes it out to be!”
—Eckhart Tolle

It doesn’t mean the products that represent the three legs of your stool won’t ever change over time; in fact, one or two of them probably will. When you find your legs, it allows you to spend time focusing on sourcing and stocking those products, marketing those products and then maybe expanding on those products.