One of the all-time greats, Brady Tolbert, has moved on from EHD and is no longer with us. This post might be a sad one for many of you (as it was for me) but you have to remind yourself of what I do all the time: “Brady is not actually dead, he’s just not working for EHD anymore.” He lives in LA! I can still see him for lunch/drinks, invite him to EHD events, I can touch his flesh and it will in fact be warm and I can even watch his life on social media. That’s the good news. But after five wonderful years, this guy has found an opportunity that he was ready for and I am extremely happy for him (I promise…I wouldn’t write a big FAREWELL TO BRADY post if I was upset in any way, I’m far too transparent for that).
Yes, I could have gone all mushy, but I thought it would be EVEN MORE FUN if we took a trip down Tolbert memory lane. Shall we? Seven years ago (I’m not sure exactly when, though) while Orlando and I were shopping at the Rose Bowl for a magazine shoot, this young Brady stopped us and asked to take a picture. He loved our show and said some really nice things before letting us go on our way to shop.
A few months later. he applied for a job and after Ginny did the first round of interviews, she said “I think we found our person.” At that time, Orlando no longer worked with me (he went out on his own and has obviously created an incredible brand and we are still GREAT friends) and the company was just Ginny and I. Crazy…such simpler times. I interviewed him and I actually remembered him from the flea market which is rare because a lot of people come up to me there for photos (of which I welcome and love).
I learned in that interview that he was raised Mormon, too, and I’ll go ahead and say that I love a former mormon (and a current one). He was obviously qualified in other ways—he was an architecture school grad, had a variety of other usable skills, had so much style, plus Ginny and I just really liked him. And when you have a super small company working out of your basement, “liking” your team was non-negotiable.
We had so much fun together (GINNY I MISS YOU, TOO, AND NOW REALIZE I NEVER WROTE A POST LIKE THIS FOR YOU even though you also worked for me for 5 years…you are still missed). And while his job was “assistant,” he really helped in all aspects of the business because he’s the type of guy that will just do anything, with a good attitude. (HOT TIP: The key to success is working hard with a smile).
So many walls were painted. So many pieces of furniture were carried up those 32 stairs. We did everything from soup to nuts before we had a larger team and more help. He always said yes with a smile and nothing was beneath him. He should seriously write a book on work ethic, because he’s an expert in it.
But to make up for it, we also had SO MUCH FUN.
The team grew and grew, starting with Sara who actually came about a year after Brady, the last year has brought on SIX others, but Brady was OUR GUY. He was like the company dad. Up until recently, he was the only guy. He was serious when I needed him to be, but could also match my work energy and need for fun. He was ALWAYS down for a good time and had such positive energy. We miss our Brady!
He wore SO many hats at one point as the editorial director, art director, writer, designer and general COO.
Last year he KILLED it at the Portland project—a design install and shoot that almost broke us (physically). He was up there for what felt like months, more than anyone else, and he was so dedicated to the project, shooting from 8 am to 8 pm (when they lost light). He really pushed himself (and me) in creativity and style for that project and I could not have done it without him.
By now, you’ve probably already asked yourself 12 times “wait, but what happened? where did he go?!?” Here goes:
Brady and I had been talking about his next steps, career-wise and while I REALLY wanted him to stay, I also could tell he had an itch. I begged him to work for himself and have me hire him as a producer on big jobs (thus giving him freedom to do his own thing but keeping him around :)). But then he told me that he got a job offer he couldn’t refuse. My first thought was honestly “that’s amazing!” forgetting that that meant he would leave me. We were both crying and he said something like”it just feels like a breakup” and I said (or thought, I don’t really remember) “No, this is an actual SUCCESS STORY”.
To have someone of his ambition work for an individual person, let alone someone with nary a work-org policy, for five years is actually so rare these days. Five years of greatness is better than none. 🙂
So my Dear Brady.
To say you will be missed is quite an understatement. But what’s even more difficult to express is how much I have always and will always appreciate and value your support, hard work, work ethic, good attitude, creativity, style, assistance, advice, comedy, general consult and friendship over the last five years. Did I mention support and advice??? AND CREATIVITY??? We really guerilla-styled our way into digital media and sponsored content and I feel like we helped raise each other in this insane world of social media. It actually feels like WAY more than 5 years.
When you started, we worked out of my basement on an hourly wage without any benefits. You’ve seen me pumping breast milk (multiple places, multiple years), you’ve helped me pick out outfits for shoots, I’ve seen you wear 500 neck bandanas and go from never having worked out a day in your life to becoming quite a muscular gym rat. I watched you fall in love and you watched me raise two small kids. My kids know you and are going to miss you so much. A lot of life moments shared together. And now while the company has grown up and the vibe is still the same…but your energy can not be replaced.
In short, you will be missed, but myself and the EHD crew will be watching your success (and cheering you on).
Don’t worry. I have an amazing group of smart, creative people who are so excited for 2019 and ready to step into that man’s shoes.
So Brady…the good news…
…what this really means is that I’m no longer your boss…I’m now just your actual friend.
(And P.S…Bobby Berk, if you aren’t nice to my good friend Brady, well, I’ll ruin you:))
For those of you who want to relive some “best of Brady” projects and see his beautiful home, here you go…
Bottom row, left to right: His refreshed living room, the bedroom reveal with the DIY tufted headboard that broke the internet, and the time he turned his three-year-old nieces bedroom into the Scandi inspired room of her dreams.
THANK YOU, BRADY. I’ll love and appreciate you and our years together forever and ever and ever. 🙂 xx