We had the good fortune of connecting with Brittney Forrister and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brittney, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I’m from a small mountain valley town in North Carolina. It’s a vibrant maker community and even when I wasn’t fully appreciative of my surroundings, I was learning from people who knew how to carry something start to finish: make their own soaps, fix their cars, grow their garden, build their home. I grew up with humble, loving, creative, hardworking people who thrived in a somewhat isolated, but two hours from everywhere, town.
I was taught that creation and solution could start and end with one person – your own assembly line. I can’t actually make anything to save my life – can’t draw, can’t sew, can’t make soap – but it did instill a sense of owning my endeavors and confidently making things happen, with or without the help of a larger company, or funding behind me, and to know when to ask for help.
My hometown and the people I grew up with are a top inspiration for what I do at The Lot. Appreciating what goes into textiles and the artistry in how they are created; sourcing antique art, furniture and objects for the home: it’s all a very Appalachian notion of waste not, want not, repurpose and reuse well-made things. And make it cozy. They say you can’t go home again, but I can everyday in my work ethic, my customer service, my sense of the unique and the way I champion my brands.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have a varied career background, from magazines to medical sales, estate sales to shop girl. The thread throughout is that I’ve always been in a sales position for a start-up company. So I’m trained for the hustle, and each job has been the perfect stepping stone for where I am now, but it was often discouraging when I felt like I had missed my calling. How many of us look back and wish we had done things a little differently? My journey has been one of constantly regretting that I didn’t enter the creative space earlier on, and with more training. To that end though, I would encourage anyone to make your creative aspirations your hobby. When I was in a job that was more business/sales focused, I perpetually had a side-hustle: vintage pop-ups, designing for friends, assisting on photoshoots, taking writing courses. Those experiences, when combined with my “real job” skill set, led me to where I am now.
I think I’ve also learned to embrace what I’ve been given. I fought the sales title for a long time. You often hear people disparage sales and sales reps. It’s not uncommon for someone at dinner, usually a creative, to say to me, “Oh you’re in sales, I could never do that. I hate bugging people or making them feel like they have to buy something.” Which of course, is ultimately saying, “You’re ok with bugging people and making them buy something,” which is not meant as a compliment. I’m so grateful for my previous position at SB. Sarah Bartholomew because it was a role that taught me sales and creativity could co-exisit in a way that was very fulfilling for me. I realized that in championing artists in a creative industry, I can think of my role as more of an ambassadorship than a sales job. Sales is a true skill, one that can span across all industries and I’m so glad I’ve started to embrace the talent rather than be embarrassed by it. And honestly, I really don’t mind bugging people and and making them buy something when I’m really passionate about the product or service.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I pick up my best friend from the airport and head straight to Edley’s BBQ to grab brisket tacos for lunch and take a shop walk around 12 south. I especially love stopping by Imogene + Willie and Hero. Maybe drive a street or two over to visit Patina & Co and check out what new container of antique furniture has arrived that week.
I live in Wedgewood-Houston so I like to start (or end!) my night at local bars Bastion or Never Never and if we’re lucky, it will be the weekend of the neighborood art crawl so we can drop into a few galleries before heading to dinner. The entire town is a smorgasbord so it’s hard to pick one, but if reservations at City House are to be had, we’ll eat there before heading downtown for a show at The Ryman, a singer/song writer round, or honky-tonk hopping. During the day, I always enjoy visiting The Frist, taking a drive out to Leiper’s Fork or spending the afternoon at Arrington Vineyards. I recently visited Lemon Laine for the first time, a natural beauty bar in East Nashville, and that will be a must stop the next time I have a friend in town.
It’s really impossible to have a bad time in Nashville. The city is always live and even without plans, you can find yourself on any part of the city grid and feel inspired.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are too many to count! From family and friends, to those who have mentored me in and out of the design industry, I’ve been blown away by the support of so many who are excited about what we are doing at The Lot, especially the brands who trust me to share their story and talent. Truly though, the shoutout goes to my parents.
It was Dad’s idea to take the show on the road with The Lot van, something that’s become a bit of a mascot as well as a crucial tool for my business. He also shared a proverb with me when I first started that has helped guide me as a new business. He knows I can get a little ahead of myself. “…Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.” I think of it as a biblical call to bootstrap.
My mother has helped me organize and tag countless memos. She has listened, comforted and encouraged. Her latest act of service is to drive wherever we go together so that I can work and take calls without distraction (The Lot van has Wi-Fi!)
During Covid, just months into starting the business, my parent’s basement served as my make-shift showroom and office. I set the table but they provided the meal, and I will always be grateful for that time.
Mary Craven Photography The Lot ADR Creative