Vixen Tatt & Chat: Coco & Breezy
Tatt 'N Chat is anything but your typical interview. This docu-style photo series features our favorite ink-addicted celebs getting etched by NYC's most wanted tattoo artists. The best part? We'll be simultaneously detonating a round of quick-fire questions for them to answer while they're under the gun. First up in the hot seat — Coco & Breezy.
When twin sisters Corianna and Brianna migrated from Minnesota to the Big Apple, the only thing they knew about their future is that failure wasn't a part of it. Creators and co-founders of Coco & Breezy Eyewear, the daring duplicates took NYC by storm with their funky, fashionable frames. Spotted on celebs like Ashanti and Gaga, their collections continue to make sartorial strides and bypass boundaries.
Because of your matching tattoos, I guess it’s safe to assume that you guys do everything alike. Was it that way for you growing up?
We’ve always been best friends but it’s funny because we’re so alike but we’re so different. We have this balance, we’re total opposites but our balance makes us a unit. Coco is more laid back and chill and that’s how we figured out the roles in our business. Coco being chill, laid back, and very serious makes her responsible for all of our marketing stuff and overseeing all of our projects. And when it comes to the creative side and all of our designs and our sales, it goes to me because I’m more like the crazy twin and I’m more outgoing. We’re both pretty anti-social but I’m a little more outgoing than Coco is. I manage more of our sales and store accounts and I’m the head designer of the company.
What sparked the idea for you guys to come together and start this business?
We started our eyewear business in 2009, we were 19 at the time and we came up with the idea. We were doing the studded sunglasses and those are really popular, they were everywhere. Gaga and Ashanti and everyone else were wearing them. We gained our buzz from that and that’s how Coco & Breezy got started because all the celebrities were wearing those glasses and it was really new to the market. In 2011 it started to die down and we were like “okay we have all this press, we have all this buzz” so we were thinking how can we take our company to the next level. In 2012 we created our first full manufactured collection and that’s what got us into a lot of stores. We just wanted to take our brand to the next level and manufacturing sunglasses was that level and it’s all our unique designs. We came out here trying to live the American dream, just moved up here with no money, nowhere to live, just drive and passion. When I look back on it I realize that we were crazy, I don’t know what was on our minds but we just came out here and we did it.
How did you feel after seeing celebrities wearing your shades?
It was crazy, it was actually Ashanti and Kelly Osbourne and they wore our glasses literally the first week we moved to New York. It was just confirmation that we had something hot that could actually work in the market. Just to know that people liked what we were doing, it just felt really good.
Does the business bring you two closer or does it put a bit of a strain on your relationship at times?
Of course it brings us a little closer but Coco and I aren’t like your normal twins, we’re literally together everyday since we were younger. Sometimes we don’t know how to separate being sisters and being businesswomen. And so sometimes we’re like “okay let’s talk about normal sister stuff.” Like let’s have sister time, let’s not have a meeting every time we talk. That’s a battle that we’re constantly going through.
Being that you two are always together, how does that affect your dating life?
I think it’s awesome because it’s our first time being in relationships at the same time. It’s our time now to figure out who we are as individuals. We’re so used to depending on each other and having each other and now that we’re in relationships we can find out who we are. We’re pumped about that because we think we’re attached to the hip but our partners kind of make us individuals.
Do you two double date?
We definitely go on double dates. It’s cool because our partners both love each other.
Do you guys weigh in on each other’s prospective dates?
Yeah! Because Coco and I love each other so much that we’re both picky about who we date. I have to be happy with who she’s with and she has to be happy with who I’m with, and if we don’t like each other’s partners then we can’t be with them because it would just be an uncomfortable situation. But we’re both really happy with who we’re both with.
You guys live together—how do you delegate who does the cooking in the house?
Girl we both cook! I’m not gonna lie, Coco cooks a little bit more than I do. Coco is such a mom she has that mommy personality. It’s a good thing and a bad thing because sometimes she’s so protective over me that she doesn’t let me live my life sometimes and she knows that, she’s working on it. But we both hook it up we love cooking.
What’s your favorite thing to cook?
We love cooking Spanish food of course because we’re half Dominican. We also eat really healthy so we’re all about kale and spinach and we make really good salads. We’re all about eating healthy, and sometimes we’ll have our splurge and get some hot chips.
The business is obviously fashion centric, how would you describe your style?
We both wear all black and leather everyday. Coco is more girly but we’re both pretty androgynous. Our styles are very very similar. But we love to wear leather and all black and we wear a lot of hats. No matter where we go, our business attire and our going out attire is the same. We’re those girls that if you see us you’ll be like “oh wow, they don’t give a F.” We can be in a business meeting with people in suits and still rock the same thing we always rock and we’re always going to be ourselves and people are going to respect it.
Where do you guys shop? Who are your favorite designers?
Actually we don’t shop. It’s like once in a blue moon that we shop. We choose not to shop because when you’re starting your own business, every bit of money that you get has to go back into the business. So we do not shop, we’re so cheap and we are not embarrassed to say it!
You guys don’t have a TV so what are some things you do to unwind and have fun?
We’ll usually meet up with our friends in NY who we consider family, and we’ll all have an unplanned day and go do some random stuff. Sometimes we’ll have art sessions with our friends. We love being spontaneous and going on adventures. One weekend Coco and I went to speak on a panel in Boston and our friends just randomly joined us and we ended up having a road trip.
What’s been you girls’ favorite country that you’ve visited so far?
Paris hands down! It’s just so beautiful and there’s so much inspiration. And we have a team out there that is like our family so every time we’re out there it just feels like home.
You two are obviously identical, so growing up did you guys ever play pranks on people?
In the second grade I’d like to say there were a good seven sets of twins in our grade. There was one teacher who didn’t have a set of twins in her class; every other teacher did, so the one teacher who didn’t have twins we all set it up where we switched for April Fool’s day.
What’s the creative process like for you guys?
When we’re designing, music has to be on or else we’ll go crazy. Our music choices are really weird; we’ll go from Beethoven to Mozart and then we’ll listen to Lapalux and these DJ’s that create these really trippy beats. We love music that puts us on a high because we don’t do any drugs and we hardly drink, music is our high and life is our high.
What advice would you give a young entrepreneur who’s looking to follow a similar path?
Just go for it, do the thing that makes you the most passionate. You have to love what you do and you have to love waking up doing it. There’s definitely hard times and hardships and if you don’t have the passion you’ll give up when you come up against those hardships. Don’t take no for answer. Steve Jobs said, “You have to be crazy enough to think you can change the world” and it’s true, you have to be crazy.
Looking toward the future, what do you guys want to add to the Coco & Breezy brand?
We’re always going to do eyewear and with every collection we’re going to keep on adding new styles so that we can build our collection and our signature pieces. Our goal is to add some optical frames. We’re also looking to put out art pieces which will be a whole different brand; people think we can only do eyewear because that’s all they’ve seen but we’re artists and we’re going to put that out there also. So we’re going to create a small capsule collection of sweatshirts with our artwork on there. I think people want to see more from us and we want to give them that.
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