For Mother’s Day, we wanted to take a moment to celebrate a few of the moms who have had a profound impact on where Brackish is as a company today. Family is at the heart of everything we do, and there is no question that moms are some of our biggest supporters.
In this Q&A, we sat down with our co-founders Ben and Jeff to learn more about the qualities they admire most in their mothers and wives, the biggest lessons they've learned, and how these important women inspired the inception of the very first Brackish Women's Collection.
What qualities does your mom have that you have come to admire most?
Ben: Devotion to family and friends, kind heartedness and an absolute sense of self.
Jeff: Hard work and unconditional love.
Young Ben and his mom, Julie.
What is the biggest lesson your mother taught you that you still use today?
Ben: Put your heart and soul in all your endeavors.
Jeff: Always being there for your family, be present, be the best at what you do, and once you commit, go all in.
What was your mother’s reaction when you first told her about starting Brackish as a business?
Ben: She has been instrumental since the beginning and is the reason Brackish exists today. Her encouragement for me to listen to and follow my heart; incorporating a gift inspired by nature led me to create and give the first feather bow ties to my groomsmen. She, nor I had any idea 15 years ago it would turn into what it is today.
Jeff: Supportive but apprehensive - wasn’t sure it was the best idea to drop everything and start this business from scratch!! Can’t blame her - she’s one of the biggest Brackish cheerleaders now. The lessons I learned from her growing up went into all the work required to start and maintain a business every day.
Young Jeff and his mom, Becky.
Running a full time business and raising a family is no easy task, but it seems like both of you and your wives have it all figured out. What role have they played in allowing you to follow this passion of repurposing the beauty of nature?
Ben: Well, it’s far from figured out but I do appreciate you saying it appears that way. Everyday we strive to be the best team for our boys that we can be; always trying to enrich their lives, provide learning opportunities and life lessons. Mary Ann is my rock, my sounding board and my best friend. With her in my life I feel like I can do anything. Through her encouragement and devotion; I am able to push boundaries of form, fashion and feathers I never thought possible. She is everything to me and there would be no Brackish had she said no to my crazy idea for a groomsmen’s gift 15 years ago….kind of surreal to think about it like that; that one decision has had such a profound impact on our lives and so many others.
Jeff: We definitely don’t have raising 3 boys ages 2, 5 and 7 all figured out - far from it! The only person who was 100% behind me dropping it all and starting Brackish with Ben was my wife Courtney. She actually made hundreds of bow ties with us in the very beginning and trained an early employee on our Pheasant tie. Not sure I would have gotten through some of the tough times without her. The entire Plotner and Ross families have an outsize impact on the daily drive we have to innovate and evolve as a brand.
Brackish launched its Women’s Collection in 2019, how did these mother figures in your life inspire the creation of this collection?
Ben: The mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers, sisters, ect all had an enormous impact on the inspiration for the Women’s Collection. From the obvious regarding their namesakes to the attention to the most miniscule details, their tutelage is the reason the collection has been such an enormous hit. It took us three years from my initial prototypes to roll out our finished product and this was due to a desire to ensure the collection reflected our love for them and a desire to honor them.
Jeff: All the women in our lives inspired the collection through high quality and attention to detail. In order to put our name behind a brand new category, we had to make sure that our finished product was something the women in our lives would enthusiastically approve and wear - no small task! What we started with compared to what we released 3 years later were quite different - we were pushed to innovate in order to create pieces such as the Courtney, the Mary Ann, the Cissy and much more.
Jeff with his wife Courtney, and their three sons, Tucker, Barnes, and Judson.
To all the moms, wives, grandmothers, stepmoms, aunts, and mother figures who fill our lives with comfort and joy – thank you and Happy Mother’s Day.