In conversation with Brenda Briand.
Brenda Briand of Benah is a prime example of the woman we would all be lucky to have in our lives. There are many who are fortunate enough to be touched by her beaming smile, laugh and radiating energy, and those people would undoubtedly thank their perfectly aligned cosmic constellations that they were born under. Conversely, the people she connects to “fanned the flames” of her inner fire.
INTERVIEW BY ONDINE PURINTON-MILLER
To create a space in a home that is totally your own, where even a guest feels the unmistakable tenderness of a home is a powerful manifestation. It is the source of inspiration. A collection of her vast earthly travels, “connected to all the pieces of the puzzle that make me, me.”
Her dwelling has a warmth that can’t be replicated, its one that comes from being completely loved and lived in. The high ceilings inside amplifying the love that bounces off of the walls, laughter swiftly following suit, a fragrant blend of amber and oils, releasing their aromas and scenting the space, elevating the energy even further. Within these walls, it is an authentic creative expression and experience.
Like many of the things she creates (children, leather goods) everything she touches turns to gold. To create is a very personal offering, woven within each of the physical Benah offerings is a process that “is far more internal (than external)”. A journey of a symbiotic harmony with your external and internal. Her business is “(a) way to connect with people and to continue to explore my own creativity.”
Being in her energy field is a warm embrace, our conversation flecked with a characteristic laugh that exudes a knowing and kindness that you only recognise when you have context for its existence. Age has no boundaries when you resonate with someone like Brenda, she's perpetually emanating and radiating on many levels. This experience rings true for many of the women I’ve had the pleasure of sharing space with; time falls away and everything just flows. This is the divine female in its element. What is truly incredible about this is that we have a generation of creators, makers, manifestors who are the conscious embodiments of the feminine, fearless and audacious in their endeavours and who continue to fuel the creative fire within themselves as well as nurturing themselves at the core of their being, fostering compassion, consciousness. These are the people whose creations we adorn ourselves with, we resonate with their offerings.
Brenda, what is your quest in life?
A quest means you are still searching for something. Right now, right here, I don't think I'm searching for anything. Of course there are still things to discover and experience but I’ve found love, created a family and am looking forward to my future. So in a way I feel like the quest of my youth has been fulfilled. But to continue on with things the way they are it is essential that I…
Love myself - Love my family - Be a present mother - Be a great friend - Eat well - Travel - Keep learning - Respect - Remember that the creative idea is my most powerful resource, not just professionally but in all areas of life - Rebel - Say Yes - Say No - Cry - Let my mind wander - Read more - Don't be afraid - Take risks - Be secure - Be myself
In regards to your business, Benah: where do you feel its purpose lies?
It’s a way for me to connect with people and to continue to explore my own creativity. I love building the community. It’s the people that matter the most.
To create and design is in and of itself, a very personal offering to the world. Many feel like a little piece of them is inherently intertwined with their creations. What is this process like for you?
Yeah it’s personal, the process is far more internal then what the output may imply. The end product would not reflect the journey I have gone through to get to it, not to the naked eye anyway. Everything is mood based. Looking back I can really pinpoint what my vibe was when designing or selecting a certain product. It’s like a timeline to my thoughts. I like that, and I like to tell the story of it too, when people have the time.
You’ve recently brought a new aspect of Benah to the table, Benah Source, which is an impeccable curation of consciously crafted oddities and creations from across the world. How have each of these resonated with you?
All of the items we offer I have a personal attachment to. All the beauty and skin care I use myself and each has a beautiful story behind it. Most are from small business owners, organic and made in small batches. For example, the girls behind Monk Oil met at a honey factory in Brooklyn and the idea sparked when they went on their annual camping trip in the Pacific Northwest. It’s cool to learn about what got people from A to B.
The publications I have specifically sourced and found on my travels, or resourced from my youth. They are also a marker in time for me. Our last trip to California we were able to visit the Eames house in Pacific Palisades which was really cool. So we have a selection of books mainly around the case study houses, which are timeless.
Many women we talk to, have a specific moment that has been the indication of their self-actualisation, or them in the embodiment of their power. Do you have a point in time like this?
Not a specific time, more like a slow burn. I think it has always been there, that power. But it’s the people I am connected to that fanned the flames. My husband, my children, my family and friends. I feel moments of power are connected to self worth. In the times you feel worthy it all comes flooding in. You hear it all the time, love yourself, be confident and you can take on the world. It’s true. The only person stopping you doing anything is yourself.
At what point did you see yourself pursuing the path that you’re currently travelling? Many have often inadvertently laid out their passions from an early age, often only hindsight gives you the scope that it was your purpose from the beginning.
I always knew I’d do something creative, I always knew that I would leave my small town and travel. I always knew I would get married, have children, live in different places. Family is and will always be a priority for me. And in hindsight I know that it was this support that made me believe I could pursue a creative path. Coming from a rural small town that’s not a given, or even really an offered choice.
Where do you source your magic from and remain “in it” with every waking day?
My husband. He makes me feel powerful, and unique.
My children. I look at their faces, into their eyes and I see a reflection of us, and the world of possibility that lay ahead.
Thinking about the future. There is so much out there, yes some of it bad. But wow, we are so lucky and I never take that for granted.
When do you feel most powerful as a woman?
For me it’s about feeling powerful as a human being, not specifically as a woman. When I gave birth of course, but I can’t take all the credit for that. It takes two equal parts to create life. Giving birth as a couple makes you feel so complete.
I feel powerful when I am the most resilient, when nothing gets to me and I’m able to just take everything in. I know that I am the most content then. When you are happy nothing can bother you. Its when you are filled with self doubt, that when things start to get under your skin. Chipping away at your power.
When do you feel most cherished?
Every day I wake up and get cuddles from my babies. They protect my ego and make me humble. You are their world at this age, you can do nothing wrong. But you are also just their mummy, they see the real you, and they tell you how it is. I love that.
What gives you courage?
Living the highs and lows of a creative life. Being able to sustain this type of life is hard, no question about it. Full of ups and downs, bursts of inspirations and troughs of dull sensation. Living in a dual creative household, you have to be very in tune with your partners life. Knowing when to be there for support is very important.
Jewellery has the ability to convey so much about a person and about a woman. What piece of jewellery do you value most? What does it make you feel?
I tend to renew my jewels every 2 or 3 years. It’s like a strip back and then start the process of collecting all over again. But my engagement and wedding band is something that will never be renewed. It’s a forever thing, till I walk another earth in a different form.
What do you consider your proudest moment?
Maybe it’s still yet to come? I’m proud of myself a little bit every day, I take a look around and I have nothing to complain about. A very beautiful relationship with both my husband and children, an amazing group of friends, being able to even say that is something to be proud of.
When do you feel most your authentic, connected self?
Home, where ever that may be. My childhood home, my home now. Surrounded by things that I have collected over time and travels. Connected to all the pieces of the puzzle that make me, me.
What is the one rule you live by?
Make your own.
If you could time travel, to where would you travel? Why?
I want to live out my life in its natural time. I don't want to miss a thing.
Interview by Ondine Purinton-Miller
Photography by Matisse Ruby