Using Grit for Good: Our Interview with Brandie from Thoughtfully Magazine

_I'm not one for magazines full of perfume samples, airbrushed advertisements and empty articles. I crave a magazine with words as well-crafted as the design, one that encourages and informs me to live my best life with less toxic beauty products, processed foods or fast fashion ( I say "less" because this transition can be quite the process). Then one day I came across [Thoughtfully Magazine](, an independent publication that inspires readers to live passionately, beautifully, and thoughtfully every day. Right away I wanted to know more about who was behind my new coffee table read (that also fits perfectly into my bag). I got to chat with founder and creative director, Brandie Gilliam, and get her take on this quarter's theme: GRIT. Read on to find out more about this Solopreneur's journey._

Thoughtfully_Brandie_Mag_softWhere are you from and where do you live now?

I was born and raised in Northern Virginia and I now live Northwest Florida along the “Emerald Coast.”

When was the moment you realized you wanted to create Thoughtfully Magazine?

I was flying home on my way back from a meeting in San Francisco and couldn’t get the question “what’s next for you?” out of my head. I had been asked this question repeatedly over the past few days and it was the first time in my life that I did not know.

My husband had just landed his dream job which required a major move to a place that neither of us were familiar with and for me to leave behind a great career. Here I was in a small beach town feeling like a fish out of water (the irony of that was that I was living along the Gulf Coast) and thinking to myself “What am I going to do now?”

In terms of skills at the time, I had my over 16 years experience in corporate marketing management, a blog called Organic Beauty Talk that I’d started in 2011 (solely to share my passion for non-toxic living), and a strong desire to inspire and create something beautiful.


I also always had this love and fascination with magazines but had become a little disillusioned with what I was finding on newsstands. None of them fed me. None of them nourished me. They were pretty to look at but left me wanting more…more thoughtful living, more authenticity, more diversity, more inspiration…more! I wished someone would create this type of magazine.

And then it dawned on me that “wait, I can create this type of magazine…I can do it…I have the time to do it!” The ideas flooded the rest of the plane ride, including the name, and in a matter of months I began to create the first issue of Thoughtfully.

What were the first steps you took in making the magazine a reality?

I got focused on what I was creating with clear expectations and the calculated risk involved. I identified the resources needed, pulled them together and began to execute accordingly.

In keeping with our quarter’s theme of Grit, What does that word mean to you and how can we use grit to create good in our lives and community?

By definition, grit means ‘mental toughness and courage; firmness of mind and spirit.’ To me, grit is raw and innate. You either have it or you don’t. It can be acquired but it comes from deep within.

Thoughtfully_EdenGardens_Brandie_4We can use grit to create good in our lives and community by relentlessly being ourselves and doing good. If we’re all being our best selves with unyielding courage, our communities will reflect those qualities. There will be an energy of love, security, kindness, confidence, acceptance, etc. because we have chosen to call it out in ourselves and not tolerate anything less than our highest best.

We can use grit to create good in our lives and community by relentlessly being ourselves and doing good. If we’re all being our best selves with unyielding courage, our communities will reflect those qualities.

What are some obstacles you’ve had to overcome in starting your own business? How do you deal with failure?

The biggest obstacle has been capital and removing all comparisons from my past corporate life and budget. While all of my experience over the years prepared me for this role and much of it was familiar, a lot of it was new and unfamiliar.

I deal with failure by being quick to get out of my emotions and look at everything objectively. I learn from it and move on. Our biggest failures can be fuel for our greatest successes when we allow them to be our teachers.

Thoughtfully_EdenGardens_Brandie_2Do you have any favorite books that you’ve read or are currently reading that have helped you along your entrepreneurial journey?

Girl Boss and Big Magic have been quite prolific in and specific to my journey over the past year. I’ve also recently enjoyed making my way through Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body by Amie Valpone.

When you’re having a less than perfect day, where do you look for inspiration/what’s your pick me up?

I turn to God, my inner circle and music whenever I need a pick-me-up. Walks and yoga are great for clearing my mind too. I refocus on all the things that are going right and count my blessings to put things in perspective. It’s amazing how inspired I am after I give thanks and remind myself of all the good things going on.


What is your hope for Thoughtfully Magazine? Are there any exciting plans for the future?

We really need this kind of thinking here in the U.S. and around the world, and everyone should have the opportunity to learn to live thoughtfully. My hope for Thoughtfully Magazine is that it continues to grow, make an impact and be one of the leading voices in wellness for authentic storytelling inspired by nature and design. I also want to keep pushing creatively and leave people better than before they engaged with us. There are so many things I hope for out of Thoughtfully but most of all, I hope it will inspire a more intentional, genuine and connected way of life. You can find our newest issue, our “Letting Go” issue, with cover girl Candace Cameron Bure on newsstands now and we also have some exciting events, products and collaborations in the works, so stay tuned.

**You can find [Thoughtfully Magazine]( at Whole Foods Market, Barnes & Noble, Sprouts, Natural Grocers, Earth Fare, Central Market and more (like The Detox Market in LA). Brandie is also leading a workshop at this year’s Yellow Conference workshop day. Grab your ticket here.

Photos by Autumn Beury


Kathryn Parrish