“All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them.”–Walt Disney
This was an idealistic notion that Walter Elias Disney championed throughout his life. Many are inspired by these lofty words. Countless admire their optimism. Far fewer actually trust in them enough to put them to the test, but our NDP of the Month is one of the few. Meet Brenda V. (NDI #24).
Brenda’s love affair with Disney began at age two when her parents took her to Disneyland for the very first time. Her parents weren’t serious Disney fans, but they lived in Southern California where Disney is so deeply ingrained in the culture that it is a staple even in the lives of indifferent citizens . . . but Brenda was never indifferent. So while her parents just thought that Brenda’s frequent trips to Disneyland were simply a traditional family exercise, Brenda knew it was feeding her soul.
This “soul food” was sustenance for her, and Brenda never seemed to be able to go long without it. Luckily for Brenda, when you live in Southern California, all roads lead to Disneyland. “First you grow up going with your family and different combinations of your family. Then you reach an age where your family doesn’t go together that much, so you begin going with friends. All your school field trips go there. Your different extracurricular organizations go there. Your place of work holds events there. Then you start going there for your children and chaperoning their field trips,” Brenda explains. “It’s really never-ending here. It’s just how we do things.”
Believing firmly in a “happily ever after,” Brenda has always connected with Cinderella. It’s not hard to see why because Cindy’s ultra-femininity juxtaposed against her hard-working nature are also reflected in Brenda who is a nurse. “I’m a girly-girl who is still waiting for Prince Charming,” she sighs. “I love ruffles and bows. It’s just in me. My friends tell me I have a princess complex. I always ask them, ‘What’s wrong with that?’”
Years ago Brenda combined her hard-working nature and love for frills when she began making cute, Disney-esque outfits for her two daughters. Like Suzy, the motherly, dress-making mouse in Cinderella, she’d create adorable princess play clothes, robust hair accessories, and fanciful purses. Her co-workers took note of her impressive seamstress skills and began making requests for their own little girls. Brenda took on the extra assignments. Very quickly she realized that seeing children prance around like royalty in her creations was rewarding on an emotional level, and it became a passion–one that Brenda wanted to pursue more seriously.
Brenda dabbled with the idea of making her hobby a profession while raising her girls, but she never quite took the plunge until a little over a year ago. It was then that a switch flipped. She knew it was time. Her girls now grown and Disney freaks in their own right, Brenda had to finally test her dream of creating a “boutique brand.” This is when “Beyond Adorable” and “Just Minnie” made their debut on Facebook.
Differentiating herself from other boutique brands, Brenda has remained adamant about keeping the cost of her creations as low as possible. “Every little girl deserves to be a princess. Money shouldn’t be a factor in determining who gets to look like one,” Brenda proclaims. It is this reasoning that motivated Brenda to find a cost-effective way to make “her look” available, so Brenda now creates personalized appliques that hint at Disney themes and characters. Moms can purchase these appliques and simply iron them on to their child’s clothing. This enables moms to achieve that upscale boutique feel when dressing their child even if they are unable to afford the price of Brenda’s full-scale boutique ensembles.
Her following continues to grow as does her line. Expanding the themes of her products, she has garden-inspired items for those that lean towards A Bugs Life as well as some boy-oriented apparel that emphasize pirates and Jungle Cruise expeditions. She also now specializes in embroidering and personalizing items that she knows moms need for their little ones during different seasons in the Disney Parks like scarves, onesies, or tote bags.
Brenda’s brands have been picked up by boutiques across the continent and are sold in New York, Southern California, and Canada. Brenda’s latest venture, though, is her new website. It is a work in progress as she slowly learns about building this online depot; however, she finds it very exciting that Just Minnie now has a place to call its own on the internet.
Of the many joys that Brenda has found from pursuing her dream, one of the greatest is knowing that her work has made its way onto Disney property. Her clients have sent her pictures of themselves wearing her designs on Disney cruise ships, in Walt Disney World, and in Disneyland. However, there is one instance that stands out to her.
She was enjoying a pleasant day in Disneyland with her girlfriends when something caught her eye. A family was walking past, obviously enjoying their time together. The young daughter of the unit was an adorable child with a bright smile. Brenda did not recognize the family nor the little girl, but what she did recognize was the clothing the little girl donned. The ruffles and polka dots breezing past her in the park had once been in her hands and created with her sewing machine. It was the first time she ever personally spotted her clothing line within the gates of Disney, and she felt a sense of euphoria.
Since that initial moment, Brenda has spotted her designs a few times traipsing from attraction to attraction in her Southern California homeland. Each time her heart has skipped a beat, knowing that her dream of creating a boutique brand is now reaching families that she doesn’t even know. It has been a long journey, but one that has been worth the effort.
Brenda, almost all people have dreams about their life and its accomplishments. They have visions of “what could be.” Unfortunately, too many are afraid to step out and explore the actual possibilities, neglecting their dreams until they become visions of “what could have been.” Your courage to pursue your dream speaks to your Disney Driven sensibilities. It is an admirable trait, and you have chosen a path of which we are sure Walt would approve. For this reason we are honored to present you with the title of Neurotic Disney Person for the month of February.
*The NDP of the Month will receive a free premium subscription to TouringPlans.com for comprehensive assistance in vacation planning . If you or someone you know does something noteworthy within the Disney fan community, we hope you will take time to nominate him or her by contacting NDM#1 (putting NDP of the Month in the subject line) for consideration.*
Contributed by: JL Knopp (NDM#1) JL is the creator of The Disney Driven Life. She is also a blogger for Savvy Auntie and Touring Plans as well as a contributing writer for The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World.
JeniLynn was born and raised in South Florida. Being so close to Walt Disney World, she grew up regularly visiting the Mouse and developed a fascination with the creativity of Disney Parks. Noticing that her happiest moments seemed to always take place in Walt Disney World, JeniLynn began trying to recreate the magic of Disney in her everyday life beginning in her pre-teen years. Adulthood, sixteen years of marriage, and three children later, JeniLynn continues to lead a Disney Driven Life and diligently works to pass her love for Disney on to her husband and children. She has blogged for Touring Plans and been a contributing writer for The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, and she currently co-hosts Orlando Attractions Magazine: The Show; however, her primary focus has always been with the community that has grown around her own site, The Disney Driven Life. Through these venues JeniLynn strives to help other Disney fans stay connected to the brand that has served as a keystone in her family’s life.