CREATING WITH INTENTION
The art of harmonizing the dance of going within and without ourselves expands the awareness of the flow of energies that create our worlds; it can bring us the most satisfying discovery process in the direction of experiencing the life we desire. Everything we create with the intention to embrace the embodiment of our inner beauty will reflect into our physical realm, touching those whom we vibrationally invited to be part of our creative path.
The Artists, Coco and Breezy Dotson, are living it and are aware of that. The twin sisters lead by their own example to uplift and include everyone they create for in their minds. Besides being the co-founders of Coco and Breezy Eyewear, a reference in the fashion world, the twin sisters are also DJs and producers; they bring happiness to people on the dance floor, they host an inspiring podcast and promote self-care through The Lorca, a retreat located in Upstate New York.
“We grew up in Minnesota,” says Coco, “Lived in New York City for about twelve years, and now, we’re currently in Los Angeles.” Like in a dance with each other, Corianna “Coco” and Brianna “Breezy” Dotson move their beautiful energy from one to another, crystallizing their vision into reality.
“Coco and Breezy are actually the names our family gave us. It was funny because we grew up in the suburbs, where there aren’t many black and brown people. So, they thought those names we got are ghetto (laughing). And it wasn’t until we found our own individual style in the middle school, that all our friends to started to call us Coco and Breezy. But at first, they only called us like that at home. So, pretty much we have been Coco and Breezy our entire lives with our family,” says Breezy.
- It seems that there are so many young talents like you, expressing themselves through diverse disciplines and creating their own unique pathways of opportunities. How would you describe your own example of this journey, and why do you think this is happening for many others?
One thing that’s so exciting is that you see more and more entrepreneurs. People have more income sources and create brands because the shift of how most people are buying now and the access and resources that the younger generation has is just unbelievable. And I think that’s the fun part. Breezy and I look at ourselves as nonconformists. And what that means is that we graduated high school early with extra credits, we didn’t go to college, never worked a corporate job, didn’t have family members, like our parents, they didn’t work corporate jobs. So, we really had to create our own blue blueprint.
And I’m so proud of the millennial era because we came from the era of phone books, or we had to look up the Yellow Pages. But then, we also got to see how the internet grew. So I think that our millennial hustle is very unique because we got to see both sides of things. Now, with the younger generation, it’s so exciting, because you start to see more and more young people create and express themselves fully because they have more access to see other people who look like them. I think with Breezy and I growing up in the suburbs of Minnesota, I wouldn’t say we were fully depressed, but we kind of were a little bit because we got made fun of, and we didn’t know that some other people look like us, and have the same interests and style. And then when the internet popped up, we’re like, “Oh, snap, there’s a whole bunch of people in NYC and LA., who have the same interest as us.” Now, kids, grandparents, parents, babies, like everyone, can have the same conversation because of social media. And there’s something that’s super relatable.
I think that with our creative pathways and all the access that there is, I’m just stoked with what we do; we have work, we make music, and we have our eyewear company. The fun part is that we’re able to implement all those different mediums into one because of how the world has shifted with how consumers are just like consuming content or how they’re buying products or how they’re kind of like buying into a lifestyle.
- When I type online the word “influencer,” generally speaking, the meaning is: “…someone that has the expert level of knowledge in a specific area with the power to affect others’ decisions.” So, what does an influencer mean to you, and what would you like the people who let themselves be influenced by you to take away from what you offer?
I’m so glad that you actually look up the word because I think the word ‘influencer’ gets thrown around way too much. And the way I look at it is, everything that Coco and I do is very intentional. So, it’s important for us to be intentional, and make every decision with thought, and always stick to our morals. In any partnerships that we do, or products that we put out, we always want to make some change or a statement somewhat or have a mission behind it. And so, I think for us, we didn’t wake up and say, “Oh, we want to be influencers,” which some people do, and they don’t understand the challenges that come with it. For us, our goal isn’t to be an influencer but to continue to create this blueprint for people and take those risks. And also know that we have the privilege and the platform to make the change, make the shift, and utilize that for other people.
- Created in 2009, at just 19 years old, you founded Coco and Breezy Eyewear. Now, it is a popular brand that became a reference in the fashion world. How does your belief in yourself and what you do shaped the outcome of your success?
I think the big part for us is that we didn’t really have a lot of resources growing up. And we feel like we have a lot of responsibility because we come from a very modest household. There are so many other people in this world that grew up the way we did. And the critical part for us is to continue to be intentional.
We always believe in ourselves, no matter what. And it’s because we told ourselves and manifested that we got to help shape a new narrative for people like us that grew up with meager resources. I think our belief in ourselves is really what helped push us to have our brand, be known, and continue to grow. We went through so many ups and downs, and we continue to go through ups and downs, and we keep the strength of understanding our end goal and our mission.
Our bigger mission is beyond wearing our eyewear. It’s a lifestyle. It’s a culture. It’s a story. It’s all of that that people are buying into and the product is just a way for them to flaunt what they’re buying into. We say that, like our eyewear, even though it is a medical device, even though it is a piece that you need, we continue to push ourselves because we see that that way, what we’re doing is way bigger than just glasses.
I want to share a quote that can sound cliche, but the truth is, it’s a reminder that we have to tell ourselves, “If I don’t believe in myself, then no one else will believe in me.” And so it’s a friendly reminder to always continue, no matter what challenges come our way, to show gratitude towards not only the winds, but also the things that we think are ours and celebrate the challenges that we may not necessarily like. We like to celebrate the downs as well. The reason is that we know that that a downfall or something that doesn’t work out is actually giving us a step forward to analyze what we should do better next time. And it’s just been our way of life.
- As DJs, where does your musical inspiration comes from, and how does it feel when you are both on stage co-creating music flowing through you to your audience?
So, I love that you ask this question because we always say that, like our eyewear heals the eyes and our music heals the soul. When we are on stage DJing, it is so gratifying to provide the music and the sounds to see people dancing together. It’s healing. Dancing is actually one of the healing tools that we do every morning; we dance. And so, the fact that we can be on stage and be able to curate and play a set, and we’re in charge of controlling the crowd, our goal is always to make people dance and be happy. It heals my soul; it makes me happy to do that.
- Just by looking at The Coco & Breezy Podcast theme titles, I can sense your intention to uplift and empower others. How do you turn a conversation about what goes wrong towards what’s the solution?
That’s actually why we did our podcast. It wasn’t I think a lot of times when people talk about you know, issues or challenges, they almost come off complaining, but we always want to talk about things where we are talking about also a solution, and also talking about how to work through these challenges. And one thing about Coco and I take pride in is that, we don’t like to give advice on something that we haven’t experienced. I prefer not to tell someone else how to do something, but I can only share my experience most authentically and transparently: this is my challenge, this is what I think of this, and this, how I got through it. Because I think a lot of times, some folks come across saying, “This is the only way to do something.” And I think the right way, or at least our way of life, is if we have a platform, and we know that people are actually listening to us, and I only want to share my experience. Because my story may not be someone else’s story, so my ways may not work for their ways. But if they can just take a piece of that, that’s even better
- The Lorca, a five-house Catskills retreat in Shandaken, NY, the 1929 summer escape of Spanish poet Federico García Lorca, are other creative adventures. What does this place represent to you, and do you aim for its guests to experience there?
The Lorca, the one thing that it means to us is black homeownership. That’s so important! We have two other partners that are non-black, but for Breezy and I, it was a really huge milestone to be able to own five houses. Because, as we know, the history of black people owning property, there’s so much history of people not getting approved for loans, there’s so much history of not having the finances to own homes. We’re thinking about it like, we’re doing this for our future and it means so much; our parents are so proud that we did it.
Most people that come in are coming from New York City. It’s so important that when you’re living in New York, take the time to enjoy the outdoors and nature. In the City, everything is so fast, everything is so crowded. When you go to the Catskills Upstate New York, you get to sit in silence, and you get time to listen to the air. You can see the stars, and you slow down for a bit. I think as we grow as a people, no matter how hard we work, we need to take so much time out for our wellness and our bodies. You can work for anything that’s monetary, but nothing can be monetary and satisfying if you’re not satisfied with yourself. And if you’re not taking that time out for self-care, it can be such a cliche word, but it’s so important. And when we built out The Lorca, we wanted to enhance the feeling that you’re in the woods and in nature. So, a lot of the interior is very inspired by the Scandinavian design, and, of course, it’s so Instagrammable (smiling).
PLANET CB x ZENNI
- Last year in collaboration with Zenni eyewear, you launched a line of glasses with a strong, empowering message for kids. How do you personally connect to this project, and how would you describe the statement behind it?
Oh my Gosh, we always dreamed of creating a product for kids. We manifested it in 2020, but we actually talked about it back in 2010. So, when we launched Planet CB x Zenni, it was really important for us. And again, to create a product for kids being aware of what was going on in the world, from like the civil rights movement, from all the kids now having to be by themselves during COVID, and not be able to be with their friends. So, we created not just a product, but an experience that we wanted to bring in the collaboration to feel like; we wanted people to feel like they were a part of a community and somewhat of its wellness aspect. That’s why if you see the products’ names, they’re all named by affirmations because when the kids are wearing the eyewear, you can say an affirmation. And as simple as even saying an affirmation one time can help someone feel better that day. And the cool part, too, is that we also partnered up with Child Mind Institute. A portion of Planet CB proceeds supports Child Mind Institute’s efforts to provide youth of Black communities with greater access to mental health services. Therefore, that’s also so important.
Like anything we do, it’s more than just eyewear. When you’re buying a pair of Planet CB glasses, all of which are under $35.00, we want to make sure we could create a product that is super accessible. And that’s why we teamed up with Zenni, because growing up, we wanted to be in style, but our parents could not afford expensive products for us. We go to Payless or Goodwill to buy products that are so cute because our mom had style and couldn’t afford them. So, it was really important for us to create stylish and affordable glasses. But then, we also have that message that, like when people are buying the glasses, they’re helping give more access to mental health resources for the black community. We know in the black community; mental health is something that sometimes is very unspoken. And so we are super, super passionate about our contribution.
For as long as we are alive, the variety of experiences and events we observe in our physical world might bring us some kind of discomfort. But instead of turn these into more opportunities, we often argue for our own limitations, giving away our own power of enjoying our creative journey.
Coco and Breezy want to share with you: “We hope that people know this is just our experience. And it’s important to be comfortable being uncomfortable. Because through the journey of any dream, whether it’s music, or whether it’s entrepreneurship, there are going to be ups and downs. And so, we like to, again, always reiterate the fact of not only celebrating the wins, but also celebrate those times where you have a downfall because that only makes you greater. And, of course, emotional. But we think it’s more important to be in a grounded mental space to be able to show gratitude to those times that don’t work out because then you can dive deeper within yourself and figure out what you can do better next time.”
Interview: Armand Alvarez Photography: Michael J. Make-up: David Velasquez Hairstylist: Mimi G. Wardrobe: Winnie Stackz Project Coordinator: Handz Dirty PR