KAYSVILLE—When Lori Brinkerhoff’s world came crashing down around her and she didn’t think she could go on, the thought “never give up” kept ringing in her head. So she decided to do just that – push forward and believe in herself.
“In February 2015, due to circumstances I moved with my children into Safe Harbor,” said Brinkerhoff of Kaysville. “I’d been married for 22 years. Me and my kids had a bag of clothes, nothing of our own when we arrived. So many women have to leave everything behind and at first it is a very hopeless situation. It was a hard time.”
Brinkerhoff had been a graphic designer for several years and decided to do freelance jobs to supplement her income while at Safe Harbor. “I’d done mainly T-shirts and I started thinking, wouldn’t it be neat to see phrases like ‘stronger than I thought possible,’ and ‘never give up’ when you looked in the mirror,” she said. “I thought it would be different if you had a regular phrase on the front then another message when it flipped in the mirror. A personal message that nobody’s perfect and we want to be who we are. Everybody has a battle they’re fighting – it’s so relatable to women.”
So she set out to make her unique T-shirts and that effort has culminated in Be ME Clothing. “At first I kept it to myself,” she said. “But one day when my daughter was about 11, I had this itty bitty space where I was working and I showed it to her and how it looked in the mirror. She gasped and said, ‘mom you’re going to be world famous.’ At that point when I saw my daughter believed in me I realized this was something I could take forward.”
A few years prior to her going to Safe Harbor, Brinkerhoff lost 120 pounds through diet and exercise. “When I started to work on myself I realized a lot of things I’d accepted were just not OK,” she said. “It was the catalyst that got me thinking that I could have a different situation.”
With flipped messages like “Flawsome” that reads in the mirror “I am fabulous, fierce, flawsome” and “Limited Edition” that flipped says “One of a kind” or “Unapologetically Me” on the front but in the mirror says, “Love yourself,” Brinkerhoff hopes women can embrace who they are.
“The world wants women to hate themselves,” she said. “Women apologize for things they aren’t even responsible for. We should not be sorry for who we are.”
Taking from her own struggles, Brinkerhoff has made it her mission to help others with her designs. “I’m hoping this is going to be gigantic,” she said. “A tool to reach women worldwide, not just our little community. My goal is to grow the business. I’d love to be able to give other ladies at the shelter jobs.”
She said she wouldn’t be where she is today without the crisis center. “It was extremely emotionally difficult,” said Brinkerhoff. “I was in therapy and the staff was amazing. If I had a problem or was just completely overwhelmed, I had the support to help me. I began to heal and I was able to look back at the lessons and things I’d been through. I want to be there for somebody the way somebody was there for me.”
Brinkerhoff realizes things could have turned out very differently for her. “People would probably say ‘they were the nicest family.’ They never knew,” she said. “When I saw on the news about that woman who was killed it hit me so hard that I wasn’t that statistic. There was no reason that I should not have been that statistic. I just want people to know that even though they go through terrible things there are success stories. There is a way to come out of it and succeed. I just know this is something I’m supposed to do.”
For more information about Be ME Clothing or to order a T-shirt visit bemeclothing.com or Be Me Clothing on Facebook.