This month we recognize Brittany Gendron's dedication and outstanding work as an S&P Brand Champion!
Tell us a little bit about yourself? Where are you from? How do you spend your time?
I was born in New Jersey, grew up in Maryland, and currently live in North Carolina. I love to travel and explore new places, and find new favorite coffee shops, restaurants, and bookstores! My friends and family are very important to me, I love nothing more than traveling to visit folks who may not live so close by anymore, or adventuring together to somewhere new!
Why did you become a Sword & Plough Brand Champion?
I absolutely adore the mission, heart, and quadruple bottom line that Sword & Plough stands for. Going to college with Emily, her heart, determination, and leadership always blew me away. As soon as the Kickstarter for Sword & Plough began, I knew this company would be a force to be reckoned with. How could you say no to such stylish products, environmentally friendly shopping, supporting veteran jobs and giving back 10% to veteran organizations? When this opportunity came up to share even more Sword & Plough love, I could not wait to be a part of it!
What is your favorite Sword & Plough giving partner?
They are all phenomenal organizations, but Mission Continues may be my favorite! Continuing service in communities across the United States is so powerful, and there is nothing better than a win-win for both veterans and communities they serve. As an Americorps alum as well, this group hits me especially close to home!
How do you juggle being a Sword & Plough Brand Champion with your other responsibilities?
I find myself talking about Sword & Plough pretty much nonstop, even before being a Brand Champion, so it fits right in with my day to day! My work bag (Signature Tote), weekend bag (mini-tote or screen print), favorite clutch (leather clutch) and crossbody (wool crossbody) are all Sword & Plough. The question inevitably arises, “Where’d you get your bag?” which kicks off my favorite conversation sharing how Sword & Plough is the best brand around!
Who is a veteran who inspires you?
Kristen Griest, Shaye Haver, and every female active service member and veteran who has opened new doors for others inspire me the most! Griest and Haver, as the first women to earn Army Ranger status are such inspiration to women and men everywhere. There is nothing like breaking through the glass ceiling, and breaking through in a very traditionally male space shows so much fortitude, grit, and determination all of us can look up to!
What is the best favorite fashion trend of all time?
The Wrap Dress - from work to play, you can dress it up or down, and it’s such a classic!
Who is your fashion icon?
Olivia Pope - chic, powerful, and unique all at the same time. To only have her wardrobe department!
If you could invite anyone over for dinner, who would it be?
Mary Oliver, her poetry has always been so inspirational to me. My all time favorite line has to be, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” During so many different life stages, each new volume of hers that I read resonates so deeply, and I always find myself going back to this question. I’d love to know more about her writing process, and how she channels her creativity!
What was your favorite place to visit? Where do you want to visit?
My favorite place to visit is anywhere Western North Carolina in the mountains. There is such a peace that you get nowhere else (probably instilled in me during my college years at Middlebury in the mountains of Vermont!). For my next big adventure - I would love to visit Italy. It’s been on my list for a long time and one day I’ll make it there!
If you could pick someone famous to play you in a movie, who would you pick and why?
Zooey Deschanel - brilliant, creative, and a ukulele player (maybe a talent she could gift me in the film?), she is just incredible! My teacher heart totally identifies with her character Jess from New Girl.
What is the best gift you ever received? What is the best gift you ever gave?
This is such a challenge! The best gift I ever received is probably tied between my first Sword and Plough bag (the wool crossbody my very sweet boyfriend Ryan gifted me after hearing me talk about S&P forever!) and a ring he got me after our first trip to Vermont together to visit my alma mater of Middlebury (it has mountains engraved on it, and inside the Edward Muir quote, “The mountains are calling and I must go.”) They both were so sweet and so personal, he really is a wonderful gift giver! The best gift I ever gave is probably to a few close friends from college - we became very fond of a local brew, Woodchuck Cider, and I found someone who makes Woodchuck earrings and candles to gift my dear friends as a throwback present!
What was the last book you read?
The last book I read was Alfred Lansing’s Endurance. I found this book after reading astronaut Scott Kelly’s book of the same name and learning that Lansing’s book was one that Kelly turned to for inspiration during his record-breaking year in space. Lansing’s Endurance tells the story of Ernest Shackleton’s expedition to the Antarctic - how despite deadly circumstances and facing immeasurable odds, this leader and crew of 27 men faced every obstacle nature had for them with unwavering, incredible determination.
What is your favorite book and why?
As someone with an endless to-read list, this is an incredibly challenging question! (Side note - the Sword & Plough’s Signature Tote Bag is the best for fitting tons of books on a plane ride, though the mini-tote I’ve found can fit 4-5 paperbacks and a kindle!) One book I have gifted to multiple friends and plan to continue sharing forever is In The Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs by Grace Bonney. This book is such an incredible collection of wisdom from women in all kinds of fields. Their common threads of strength, grit, and creative vision are such an inspiration!