You have to admire a woman who leaves a successful corporate career to venture into entrepreneurial waters. It requires risk assessment, industry research, true passion, and serious guts. Amy Campbell of Austin, Texas, left a stressful job as a wealth advisor to start Brilliant Imports— an ethical fashion and home accessories importing company with a mission to bring exotic luxury to the mainstream.
Amy’s passion for travel and the unique treasures she finds along the way sparked the idea of starting an imports company. In 2012, her vision became a reality and she soon left her corporate career to be a full-time importer. Amy’s a prime example of Generation X women using sustainable and ethical commerce to improve the way we consume (see Gen X article on page 4).
SheSpark asked Amy about her business journey.
THEA: You worked as a broker and wealth advisor for national and top 10 investment firms your entire career. Why did you leave the financial world and start an import business?
AMY: After 16 successful years full of intensely hard, stressful work in the financial services industry, I thought, “Is this where you want to be in 20-years?” The answer was clear. I had a pull toward stepping into and igniting my creative side. I believe that when one doesn’t follow their cosmic path, life can become a struggle and I was feeling that with finance. I was reaching burnout. That is NOT to say that things with Brilliant Imports have been easy, however, following your passion is important and makes me feel alive.
THEA: You did a lot of research before choosing Bali as your first foreign supplier. What made the Balinese stand out?
AMY: Like a lot of people, I read Eat, Pray, Love and it really resonated with me. Bali is known as a kind, friendly and creative island. I talked with so many people, asked so many questions and did so much research. Bali has the vibe that I wanted to create with Brilliant Imports: Ceremonial, sacred, loving, special, light… With a side of hippie meets boho-chic…
Bali is an extremely creative beautiful place and it felt really natural to start Brilliant Imports there.
THEA: Brilliant Imports deals mainly in home accessories and fashion accessories. Why did you choose those two specialties?
I love creating beautiful spaces. Looking back, I’ve been doing this since I was a kid! Arranging special little vignettes with sacred pieces as a kid (for example, a unicorn statue or dandelion paperweight from my Grandmother thoughtfully arranged with photographs, rocks and other special objects) has now turned into altars on almost every counter in my house. Vignettes are really just a version of altars.
I wanted to make soulful pieces available to my customers so they can create sanctuary in their modern homes from thoughtfully curated and fun-to-browse Brilliant Imports collections. And who doesn’t love boho-chic meets rocker-cool kimono robes and jewelry that are easy to wear?! I know I do!
One of the pillars of Brilliant Imports is bringing Zen-filled pieces to my tribe so they can create a home with a sweet vibe. Since fashion accessories are just an extension of this, if felt natural to me to include Jewelry and Kimono Robes as collections.
THEA: You’re branching out into essential oils now. Do you have a personal story that motivated this decision?
AMY: Yes! Essential Oils have changed my life. The brand I’m a Wellness Advocate for, d?TERRA, brings to market high quality Oils that are ethically sourced and extremely clean.
I’ve been on a personal journey of health for quite some time. Oils have brought a layer of magic and wellness and created a higher vibe in my life. I diffuse Oil blends daily, topically use the Oils and make sprays and scrubs that are balancing, cleansing, calming and clearing. The change/difference was so dramatic, and so many of my friends were asking about it, that it was a very natural and organic progression/expansion for me/Brilliant Imports.
On top of the Oils, I’m able to offer the best supplements and clean, biodegradable, non-toxic household products. It’s really just another layer of creating sanctuary in your space and within your body by incorporating daily rituals with the Oils and other products. I’d be honored to work with anyone who is reading this and feels a pull towards this subject. They can contact me via www.mydoterra.com/alc
THEA: There’s a lot of talk about fair trade, ethical hiring practices and other socially responsible commerce practices. What are the challenges with this movement and what’s your perspective on how to overcome them?
AMY: I think it’s each and every person’s responsibility to do their part to be sure the pieces they are bringing into their home, wearing on their body, etc. are made with care and respect for other humans, animals and our planet. I only work with artisans that have ethical practices and happy employees. One of the challenges for a company like Brilliant Imports is finding the market that is willing to pay that premium. Unfortunately, we live in a very consumer-driven society…I think overall, people want more ’things’ vs. being thoughtful in their buying practices. I believe we each need to do our part to be thoughtful and responsible in our commerce and consuming patterns to be sure we are imprinting good social and environmental patterns.
THEA: Does BI support any charitable causes?
AMY: Yes! Through the pieces Brilliant Imports brings to market, we support artisans in Bali. Each time I travel to Bali, I bring supplies to BAWA (Bali Animal Welfare Association) as well as make monthly contributions. I also make a point to donate in-kind to local silent auctions of Austin charities I believe in/want to support.
Signature Stylist, Co-publisher SheSpark