When I got Colette’s email about Bitchfix, I was literally LOL-ing. Her strong brand resonated from the email into my laughter, which is something that doesn’t happen very often. So of course that prompted a response from me and I couldn’t wait to know more about her and her company.
Colette Brooks is founder and Chief Imagination Officer of Big Imagination Group (BIG) – a Los Angeles-based integrated marketing firm with a focus on socially and environmentally responsible brands. She is also Chief Executive Bitch at Bitchfix Chocolate, LLC.
Colette founded BIG in 1987 and has more than 30 years experience in the fields of branding, advertising, public relations, and social marketing. When gas prices skyrocketed in 2001, it was Colette who convinced a handful of celebrities to shun gas-guzzling limos in favor of chauffeur-driven Toyota Priuses at the Academy Awards. The campaign exploded over five consecutive years and created a cultural tipping point for hybrid technology, as well as catalyzed the consumer groundswell for alternative fuel vehicles.
In 2004, Colette launched BioBling, a dream that allowed her to fuse her long-standing infatuation with vintage muscle cars and her passion for the environment. To close the loop, she co-founded the LA Biodiesel Co-op, offering members convenient access to recycled biofuel through portable filling stations housed in trailers around LA.
In 2016, Colette founded Bitchfix, an online lifestyle brand that creates handmade artisan chocolates as a panacea for the PMS-ing public, while donating 10% of all proceeds to spay and neuter programs to help end the euthanization of 2.5 million shelter dogs each year.
Tell us about yourself in a tweet.
Social entrepreneur who thrives on collaboration. School of hard knocks, instead of university. Motto: Love what you do or go home.
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Los Angeles – a true native.
What’s your favorite thing about LA?
LA encourages self-expression. You can be whoever you want and find opportunities and outlets for that expression without judgement. You can plug into communities that are like-minded and, at the same time, completely diverse. And we have access to everything mother nature offers – from the ocean to the mountains. For me LA is total freedom.
What is your favorite LA neighborhood?
That’s like asking what’s your favorite flavor of ice-cream…there are so many! I’m partial to bucolic Malibu, since I live there and get to surf, bike ride and ride my horse on the very same day. I also love the pulse, energy and rich history of downtown LA, which is where my office is located. I feel I have the best of both worlds.
What has been your favorite LA experience?
Over the last 58 years, LA has changed tremendously. The one thing that hasn’t changed is the random brushes with celebrities. When I was 16, I remember working out next to Michael Jackson at the Holiday Health Club in Encino, grocery shopping next to John Travolta at our local Sherman Oaks supermarket, and being invited to join an impromptu dinner with Rod Stewart at The Rainbow Room on Sunset – a potentially suspect invitation in retrospect! These days it’s Owen Wilson at Whole Foods, Kim Kardashian at Planet Blue, and…here’s one…Brad Pitt holding the door open for me as we both entered Colony Liquors, followed by the proprietor waxing on to Brad about my virtues. Seriously. Only in LA.
How did the idea for Bitchfix come along?
I conceived Bitchfix out of a need for chocolate during a particularly nasty bout with PMS. We were a group of women working together at my advertising agency, Big Imagination Group, and often times women who work together menstruate together.
That phenomenon is sometimes called Menstrual Synchrony (in other words, get the f@#k out of our way and bring on the chocolate.) We were all PMSing at the same time and craving chocolate, but our cupboards were bare. Studies show that chocolate increases Serotonin production, which boosts endorphins and elevates moods, so to crave it when hormonal havoc ensues is not surprising. So at that moment, the lightbulb went off and I thought wouldn’t it be amazing to have a service that delivered chocolate when you need it most? And that’s how Bitchfix was born. Need is the mother of invention and PMS is a total mother!
How did you decide to give back to the animals?
Since I already had a business that “paid the bills” I wanted Bitchfix to contribute to one of my big passions – animal welfare. I did some research and discovered 2.5 million shelter dogs are euthanized every year in the U.S. and the only way to help end this atrocity is through spay and neuter programs to help plug the puppy pipeline. So the Bitchfix brand took on an additional purpose and meaning – soothing two-legged bitches in their time of need and fixing four-legged bitches to save dogs’ lives.
How do people usually react to your brand?
Everybody loves it – women and men alike. The name alone always evokes a giggle. Then when they learn about the product and the purpose, smiles widen,hearts melt, with the typical responses being “brilliant” “that’s hysterical” or “where I can I buy it?”
What is your brand’s mission?
Bitchfix invites women to embrace their inner bitch during PMS. We encourage women to nurture and love their bitchiness by indulging in delectable, artisan chocolate, proven to boost endorphins and elevate moods during that time of the month. Proceeds from each purchase help save 4-legged bitches by supporting spay and neuter programs. Motto: Eat. Spay. Love.
What is your advice for people who are starting their business now?
Follow your passion. Don’t start a business that’s simply transactional. Instead, make sure it’s also transformational – either through the customer experience or the brand value proposition. In an age of full transparency, take the time to articulate a brand promise that reflects your passion and serves a purpose that’s far greater than bottom line profits. That’s the recipe for sustained success.
Now more than ever is the perfect time to flex even the slightest entrepreneurial tendencies. Technology has made it possible and affordable for anyone to start a business. If you have a passion, now’s the time to build a business around it.
What’s next for you?
I’m really excited about some new Bitchfix experiences we’re developing, the first of which is Bitchlorette parties, due to launch this spring. It features a specially curated assortment of Bitchfix Chocolates, wine or champagne, and party tips on how to celebrate your inner badass bitch before the hitch. We’re also developing a new line of chcolates, but I’m sworn to secrecy until we launch. Of course, it will also benefit spay and neuter programs.