Hey guys, Blair here: Marketing Coordinator at Briar and nerd extraordinaire. Chances are if you’ve visited one of our pop-ups or are a member of our Facebook group The Briar Society, we’ve met. From marketing to collaborations to social media (I take all credit for witty comments), I do a bit of it all - but my absolute favorite part of my job is that I get to name the bonnets. I know, you’re jealous. With great power comes great responsibility, to quote Uncle Ben from Spiderman. My other favorite aspect of my job is getting to brainstorm what to bring you guys next. Rachel has always had a clear and refined vision, but she values her team’s input and there’s always an open dialogue about future Briar collections.
And so it is that after much joking-but-not-joking hints...and some help from Rachel’s husband...and a few Bloody Marys...that Rachel agreed to give the Fantasy collection a go, and I am so beyond thrilled to introduce it to you. We’re calling it the Fantasy collection, but I’d be lying if I pretended like it wasn’t absolutely inspired by a certain hit TV show that I may or may not be obsessed with. If you know me, you know I talk about this show A LOT. A lot, a lot. We had episode recaps every Monday morning at work this summer (Rachel played with a frisbee by herself in the corner since she doesn’t watch it). I’ve read the book series three times. I dressed up as Lyanna Mormont for Halloween last year and we didn’t even do anything for Halloween. But my appreciation for the fantastical doesn’t end with this series.
Since I can remember, the mythical and magical has captured my imagination. Growing up, Harry Potter was my world. So much so, that when the seventh book was released my freshman year of college, my friends and I helped our local book store throw a huge midnight premier launch party for our whole town (dress robes optional). To this day, whenever I bake cookies I play the soundtrack to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, because I’m instantly flooded with feelings of happiness and memories of Christmas. I love how the books I’ve read, the movies I’ve watched, and the shows I’ve viewed have become a part of my makeup (but #booksarebetter). Those stories hold little bits of who I am, from childhood, up until now. Those stories are part of my story.
When I became a mother, one of the things I was most excited about was sharing my love of fantasy with my son River, now two (he’s the dragon in our photo shoot - yes, that’s a boy). I have big plans for introducing my favorite books to him. I envision myself sitting by his bed once he’s a bit older and reading a chapter from Harry Potter to him each night. I’ve calculated at which age he can start to watch the Lord of the Rings movies...regular and extended editions. I’m already counting down the days until he’s old enough for me to take him to Harry Potter World for the first time (that’s a rite of passage in every family, right?). But, in the meantime, I’m a big proponent of engaging in imaginative play. River now attempts to “cast spells” with anything resembling a wand, and we love dressing up as a family and getting into character. I start planning our Halloween costumes months in advance and make them by hand. For his first Halloween, River was the tiniest Gandalf you ever did see. Last year, he was the perfect sneering Draco Malfoy, complete with slicked back hair and Slytherin robes. This year, I am so thrilled to put the Fantasy Collection to use and he will be the world’s most adorable Drogon. I mean, dragon.
I truly believe that it is never too early to engage your child’s imagination and cultivate their creativity through play. As Fred Rogers famously said “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” For my son River, that means dragon bonnets and pretend fire breathing today, and (hopefully) a love of reading and fantasy tomorrow, all with the intention of igniting the creativity inside him and sharing some of the joy I’ve found in “pretending” along the way.