Brooke Gomez wasn’t going to follow in the steps of her mother, lauded decorator Mariette Himes Gomez. She was on track to become a lawyer, but then, right around the time that she realized that law school wasn’t quite for her, her mother’s firm had an opening for a senior designer.
“Someone left really suddenly, so I decided to help out in the interim,” Gomez says. “But I really just loved it. I loved the right brain/left brain contrast of creating a contract and then getting to do something creative.”
And so, what was meant to be a temporary job turned into joining the family business—one she’s now been a part of for the last 17 years. After nearly two decades of working alongside her mother, Gomez is striking out on her own. Her firm, Brooke Gomez Design, recently launched and she feels that her mother has officially passed the torch (Gomez Associates, while still operating as a business entity, is not currently taking on clients). “We both felt comfortable with it,” she says. “My mom has worked her butt off her entire life. She started this business a year after I was born and has grown it tremendously, but the business has changed so much. I think it was time for both of us to have the next phase of our lives, and for her—as someone who invested all her time, energy and talent into this for 40-plus years—it was time for her to explore other interests.”
Creatively, the mother-daughter duo have worked very well together, but the younger Gomez is understandably excited about stretching her wings a bit aesthetically. “She’s notorious for having 800 shades of white,” Gomez says jokingly of her mother’s look. “I tend to be willing to use a lot more color. I’ve learned from her exponentially, but I think she would admit that she’s learned from me as well, because we look at things differently.”
The pair is still collaborating on certain projects, like the Mariette Himes Gomez line for Hickory Chair (the latest collection will debut at High Point Market next month). Having collaborated on that line for years, Gomez is looking forward to the opportunity to have her own lines at some point. “Everything is an open book now,” she says. “It’s this feeling of, ‘What couldn’t I do?’”
While thrilled about the next phase, Gomez is pacing herself, building a foundation first—one that will always include her number-one collaborator: her mom. “For me, right now it’s about building my own team, finding new people that I want to work with and making this firm my own,” she says. “And it’s nice to know that my sweet, talented mother is always just a phone call away.”