With adventurous spirit and enduring character, eco-preneur Brooke Schultz lends her unique perspective of the world to the retail industry, putting a new twist on shopping and the community in which she lives. Her mother’s lifelong environmental ethic and successful Wild Bird Supply Shop – Lydia’s Audubon Shoppe was the foundation for her venture into retail entrepreneurship. Although Brooke underwent an array of unexpected life events, they taught her to look beyond the ordinary to create a better world and through her retail endeavors she hopes to spread the message to others.
A native of Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, Brooke grew up living in a household where composting was the norm, pesticides were never used, and reusing what you had was a way of life. Because of this her creativity flourished and at a young age learned, that just like when composting, something great can indeed come from what others might consider nothing. Her sky’s-the-limit aptitude for life led her to University of Southern Mississippi and then Tulane University, where in addition to finding her entrepreneurial zeal, she discovered her passion for skydiving. Never one to settle for ordinary, Brooke rose within the ranks of Pfizer’s Sales Divisions, while, at the same time, pursuing over 1550 skydives and participating in a Women’s World Record in Vertical Formation in 2005 and competing at the national level.
Then in 2005 Hurricane Katrina ravished her hometown of Bay St. Louis, MS and took with it more than all her childhood possessions. It destroyed the hometown she cherished and left most of her friends and family homeless and living in FEMA trailors. In contrast to the devastation, was the resilience of a small Mississippi town and it’s ability to band together in a time of need. Through this, Brooke realized that we place too much value on “the new stuff” in our lives and what about the things that really do mean something? We can recreate those and stop being “mass consumers” and become “mass preservers” . In a society where over consumption thrives, her experiences made her recognize the value of goods and materials and the importance of using every little thing to its fullest potential. Brooke’s original idea was let’s recreate our old items because she really felt like “we have enough stuff”. Through research and hours of scouring other artists work, it was clear the concept of selling only recycled art and gifts was one that needed to be tried.
As Brooke continues to grow this remarkable Atlanta gift shop, Re-Inspiration Store, will be offering franchising opportunities in the Southeast as a new green franchise model. She also wants to continue to influence a consumer shift to more sustainable goods and responsible practices.