303 Style Profile is an ongoing series highlighting unique locals and their incredible style and stories. Click here to see past profiles.
When Bryn Carter, founder of Charley Co. and co-founder of Safeword, decided to make a career move, she made a list of everything she liked to do. The two things at the top of her list? The words “connection” and “women.” Carter realized that she enjoyed creating safe spaces for women to network and build their businesses. She set out to find physical spaces for this community to grow and was inspired by women’s desire to build each other up in the process. We recently sat down with Carter to talk about her style inspiration, the best way to dress for the job and how she plans to continue to provide space for Denver women to support each other.
303 Magazine: How would you describe your personal style?
Bryn Carter: I would say I am all over the map, but most days you will find me in heels. I am 5’11” without them but have always embraced how tall I am — shout out to my tall, amazing parents — and really think rad shoes make the outfit. Some days, I’m rock-and-roll chic, other days I’m casual comfortable and every once in awhile, I like my clothes to be bold and make a statement.
I’ve been 5”11” since I was 15 years old. I had to figure out how to dress in a way that worked for my tall frame and long legs from a young age. I figured out quickly what looked good on me and what didn’t, what fit my body and what fell flat. Now, [more than] 15 years later, I embrace that I can wear styles all over the board because I know my body.
303: Tell us about the journey to create Charley Co. Why did you start the company?
BC: I turned 30 three years ago and I was doing real estate, freelance writing, modeling and some other things. I enjoyed everything I was doing but woke up one day and realized my soul just wasn’t happy. I wanted to be doing more. So, I compiled a list of things that were important to me — people I wanted to work with, things I wanted to do for the community, etc. [I noticed that] the two things at the top of my list were, I love bringing people together and watching those relationships grow and I wanted to support women [in] any way that I could.
I started a women’s networking experience called Safeword with my best friend, Shayla Preeshl. After seeing Safeword succeed, I realized women wanted more than just quarterly meet-ups, they wanted to be immersed in communities alongside other women more often. These women wanted to work together, they wanted to foster genuine friendships, they wanted to help one another grow, so that’s when I started working on Charley’s.
303: Who are a few designers that inspire you? Who are your fashion icons?
BC: Oh man, this could be a big list. Locally, I am super inspired by Ahn Phan, the owner of Wolfsbane Intimates. She is such a hustler and her lingerie is so beautiful. She takes so much time and puts so much love into her pieces. I can’t wait for her to be huge one day soon.
Dylan Lex is a jewelry designer in L.A. whose pieces are just beyond measure for me — bold, large, captivating rings, necklaces and bracelets that are my ultimate goals one day. Statement pieces that sing of strength and beauty all wrapped into one.
Melody Eshani is another L.A. designer who I admire greatly — her color usage, her patterns, the types of clothes and shoe collaborations, her statement rings — all of her work reflects who she is and what she believes is important in this world. I think sometimes as a designer that is hard to do, so I appreciate her authenticity.
Christian Dior. Need I say anything? Also Lynn Ban. She’s everything, literally.
Some of my fashion icons — Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Bob Dylan, Vivienne Westwood, Rihanna, Virgil Abloh, Mick Jagger. This list could go on and on.
303: What is your favorite article of clothing that you own?
BC: Right now, I have this canary yellow velvet long-sleeve jumpsuit and I live for it.
303: What about Denver inspires you?
BC: One thing I love about Denver is the openness people offer others, in my own experience. I get inspired by all the people here hustling and doing incredible things. [There are] a lot of entrepreneurs in this city, a lot of people involved in the arts, a lot of good people trying to make good changes for Denver and beyond. The people here constantly inspire me and make me want to do better.
303: How would you describe Denver style?
BC: When I first moved here, though I hate to say it, I found Denver style to be fairly basic and non-existent. I was always asked if I was from L.A. or why I was so dressed up, which was always weird to me. That was ten years ago. Since then I have seen a shift, with more people moving here, people expressing themselves through their wardrobes, local boutiques and shops breaking out of the norm. I love everything about it.
303: What advice would you give to a woman when dressing for the job?
BC: First and foremost, dress in whatever you feel the best in. It’s the whole “women aren’t dressing up for others, they are dressing up for themselves.” We really do that. If the outfit you have on makes you feel confident, sexy, important and strong, then its the outfit for you. There’s always a balance with “work” clothes, but you can still have your own style.
303: Tell us more about Safeword.
BC: Safeword is a women’s networking experience started by my girl, Shayla Preeshl, and myself. While attending networking events, we found them to be dull, cliquey and not really focused on meeting other women. We also knew so many insanely talented, creative women in this city and many of them didn’t know one another. Shayla and I decided to create a space where they could come and meet one casually, like hanging out with your girls on a Sunday afternoon. Our one year anniversary was a bad bitches BBQ gala — ball gowns and BBQ. It was one for the books! We haven’t been [holding events] as often due to our busy schedules but we are planning a return, so ladies get ready.
Photography by Adrienne Thomas.
Location provided by Charley Co.