Amy Brewis has worked as a Police Officer since she was 19 years old, and it was the only career she had known. She’d always had an interest in Interior Design though and started studying it whilst building her new home, partly for interest’s sake and partly to see if it was something she would like to pursue professionally. She says she found a passion that is such a contrast to her work as a Police Officer, that working both jobs has become the perfect balance for her. We asked Amy to tell us all about her “double life”.
Hi Amy. Can you tell us about your connection to the Coffs Coast?
My parents both grew up on the Coffs Coast and moved to Sydney after finishing school to find employment. As kids, we always holidayed with our family at Moonee Beach Caravan Park at Christmas and visited family throughout the year. I always loved being up here and have great childhood memories of the area. My partner had never been to Coffs Harbour until my Pop passed away, which is when I asked him to consider the big move up here for both lifestyle reasons and to be closer to my family.
You work as a Police Officer and have also recently started another new business. Can you tell us what brought on this new venture?
I’ve always been creative and enjoyed making over friends’ and family’s houses, but I started studying Interior Design during our building process both for interest’s sake and to see if it was something I would want to continue working on after completing my study. It just so happened that I found my passion and continued with further study and building my portfolio with smaller projects since then.
It has been my creative outlet and world away from my career as a Police Officer, which is not always “rainbows and unicorns” – or should I say “cushions and art” – and to be honest, what really pushed me to put myself out there and take bigger risks in my business was going through a really difficult time in my career, where I have since been diagnosed with PTSD. I needed more balance and positive interactions with the community, and I have really enjoyed networking with amazing, creative people on the Coffs Coast.
How do you find juggling two such different roles?
The vast difference in my jobs is what makes them enjoyable and is why I am still doing both. Although I joined the Police Force to “make a difference”, there is so much more that police do and see that a vast majority of the public will never endure. I do still believe in the import role that Police have in the community and have some amazing friends. I used to live and breathe it and do find it difficult to switch off at times, so having a creative outlet helps keep me grounded.
How long have you worked as a Police Officer, and what do you enjoy most about it?
This year will mark 15 years as a Police Officer. I started at Manly when I was 19 years old as a shy, naive young girl with aspirations of “making a difference”. It is sometimes easy to forget that we do make a difference, as most of the jobs you attend involve people who don’t want you there, are affected by drugs and/or alcohol, or are going through one of the worst times in their life. But every now and then you see it; it might be something as simple as a great result at court, knowing that a recidivist domestic violence offender will finally be away long enough for their victim to feel safe and move on with their lives. I love that no day is the same; it is exciting and challenging. I really enjoy the proactive side of policing, which is where I am now, and I have a great team that keeps you laughing.
What are you enjoying most about interior design?
I really just love creating spaces that people can enjoy and connect with. With real estate styling, it’s about making buyers connect with the property in a way where they feel happy and can imagine themselves living there. With residential styling, it’s more about tuning into your client’s own lifestyle and how they want to feel in the space to create that special sanctuary away from the rest of the world.
One of the biggest things for me in small business is networking and supporting local talent. Although it isn’t always possible to source items locally in a short time frame, I do love to promote and support local creatives and businesses.
Can you describe a typical day for you?
Every day is different! Most days I’m getting a three year old out of bed and ready for daycare and having the “where’s my Spiderman jumper and McQueen shoes?” morning ritual while having my morning coffee (or two) and then going to work, where the blokes in my office have their morning wrestle with each other and I’m generally lewd and crude for the rest of the day with them. Literally anything can happen at work, which is something I’ve always enjoyed about it. No day is the same.
Then, I might go home and work on some of my projects or respond to emails and enquiries, before picking up the little man and doing our nightly ritual. I’m usually most productive late at night when he’s in bed and I can focus on sourcing products or coming up with design concepts for upcoming projects. I’ve got my first wedding styling project coming up, which I’m really excited about, as the couple are so cute and it’s something really special.
Do you have any advice for others considering a “double life”?
If you have something that’s been niggling in the back of your mind that you would love to do but don’t want to leave your career, start small. Apply for a course, create an interest page on social media, join a similar interest group and take on free projects that will develop your confidence and skills. You will know what you want to do from there. Just remember why you are doing it and if you don’t love it, don’t do it. Life’s too short to do something you don’t love!