Brooke Wade Murphy is a Brooklyn-based woodworker who handcrafts her products using only traceable wood from found, fragment or reclaimed sources, meaning no trees are cut down and no destructive industries are supported to create them. BROOKE WADE is founded on the belief that even our smallest choices impact our selves, our families, our neighbors, and our environment.
What does Bravery mean to you?
BWM: Being honest with yourself about your shortcomings and failures is brave, and so is maintaining the will to grow despite them.
If you could have dinner with one Brave babe, alive or dead, who would it be?
BWM: In the midst of our current political and social climate, I would love to have dinner with Shirley Chisolm. Despite the fact that Chisolm’s political career began in the sixties, I feel strongly that we are still addressing many of the same issues she fought for today. Through her work in the N.Y. State Legislature and seven terms in Congress, she fought for minority, women, and children’s rights, with a focus on urban communities. She created the WIC nutrition program, and granted unemployment benefits to domestic workers among many successes. In part thanks to Chisolm, women are working and leading outside the home more and more often, and I would love to hear Chisolm’s advice for how we can catalyse change to support all women with childcare, family leave, equal pay and more. Of course, many people know of Shirley Chisolm because she was the first African American woman elected to Congress, and the first woman and African American to run for President. I would love to hear a conversation between Chisolm and Clinton this election season, and for Chisolm to see an embodiment of her success, as, at last, a woman has been nominated for the highest office in the US, and an African American fills it.
What's your life motto?
Love and be loved.
Every life has value: we’re called human beings, not human doings.
And lately, “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity,” stated by Martin Luther King, which I read in Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow. Everyday is a new chance to learn about and love others.
What advice would you give to the next generation of Brave girls?
BWM: Negotiate. It’s difficult to feel happy in a job if you don’t feel that you’re being compensated fairly for your work. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need and deserve in terms of pay, time off, and advancement. Luckily there are more and more resources to help women negotiate and achieve their goals. A new favorite of mine is the conversation/education focused Ladies Get Paid, and the women-funded, women-led, women-centric Ellevest for helping us build wealth.
If you could be transported to any place right now where would you most like to explore?
BWM: I’m about to take a trip to Japan, so that’s an exploration dream come true for me. I’ll be staying in Tokyo, Kyoto, and adventuring all over the Japan Alps. I was first intrigued by Japanese culture when I studied art history and saw the influence of Japan in the work of many of my favorite artists like Mary Cassat and Matisse. I again encountered Japanese influence in much Modernist poetry, and since then have always wanted to understand the culture itself, not filtered through a western lens. I’ve been reading up on Japanese Wabi-Sabi as an aesthetic and philosophical ideology, and it’s been an influence on my product design. And of course Japan is famous for its woodworking!
What can we do in our everyday lives to improve the position of women worldwide?
BWM: Every day you can support your sisters, rather than tearing them down through competition. The old saying, a rising tide lifts all boats, is true for women. We need to speak positive words of love, admiration, and encouragement to each other, especially women in our same fields. Just because another woman is succeeding doesn’t mean that you aren’t or can’t! Ann Friedman and Aminatou Soh have called this idea “Shine Theory,” and talk about it a lot on their podcast, “Call Your Girlfriend,” which I highly recommend. Ann says it like this, “When you meet a woman who is intimidatingly witty, stylish, beautiful, and professionally accomplished, befriend her. Surrounding yourself with the best people doesn’t make you look worse by comparison. It makes you better.”