Girl Power for 2017

I’ve asked a handful of people what Girl Power means to them.
All of them said, The Spice Girls.

And I couldn’t agree more. I was Spice Girl obsessed. I’m glad I grew up listening to the Spice Girls and not the music there is today. I remember going to the corner store with my friend Bethany and buying Spice Girl lollipops. I was so obsessed that I kept the wrappers because I thought one day they might be worth something, I was a weird kid.  

But let’s get real here. Girl power to me is the ability to do anything, but I just realized that. There is something about owning your own business that makes you feel invincible. I didn’t always feel this way, my life in a nutshell:

-After I graduated high school I worked at Starbucks. 
-I never went to college or university. 
-I made coffee everyday for 5 years, I loved it and I hated it. 
-Then I moved away, I bought a house with a boy.
-I thought I was going to get married, have kids and become a stay at home mom at the ripe age of 21. (say wahhhh?)
-We broke up.
-I moved back home.
-I still worked at Starbucks.
-Plan A didn’t work out, what was plan B?

I had zero desire to go to university & rack up $25,000+ student loans, I also thought I wasn’t smart enough.
I didn’t want to work retail for the rest of my life.
I also didn’t want to sling coffee for the rest of my life.
I wasn’t going to go into a “mens trade”, although they slightly interested me.
So what was left? My brain said: hair school or nail technician. 
I chose hair.

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When it’s broken down that way, I’m a little shocked at myself. I basically just wrote that at one point in my life I felt that I wasn’t smart enough to go back school, that I couldn’t go into a “men’s trade” because I was a women and that my only other options were in the beauty industry. At least I thought I was beautiful?

On my first day of hair school I got lost. I started to panic and I cried on the street because I couldn’t find my way. I was VERY nervous, I probably threw up that morning. It was basically the first decision I had ever made entirely on my own. I told myself on the street to get it together and that I HAD TO find the building. Turns out, I was standing right outside the building the whole friggen time.

If you told that girl on her first day of hair school that one day she’ll be using power tools and running her own business, she would probably laugh. She would laugh because she didn’t have the confidence to find what she truly wanted to do or be. She went to hair school because she thought she had no other options. Now this is in no way bashing hairstylists. It’s a HARD job, I know it first hand. But I think you should go into a career because you are passionate about it, not because you think it’s your plan b. 

I worked in the hair industry for almost 5 years before moving on to another job that still wasn’t my TRUE passion. It’s hard to find your true passion in life and I think we are in fact entitled to have more then one. I’ve learnt a lot since I was that shy girl on the first day of hair school, many things in my life have changed. I am no longer the same. Starting this business has brought a new person out of me. This amazing, fierce, open, and positive person. 

My most favourite Christmas present to date!

My most favourite Christmas present to date!

Going into 2017, I vow to not be afraid to do anything. I can be scared to do something, but I cannot be afraid and unwilling to try. I want to break out of my own mold, that I made. I want to feel nervous when I try something new. I want to never think I’m incapable of doing something ever again. The words, “I can’t” are permanently erased from my vocabulary and thought process. If I close my eyes, I can see myself standing on top of a mountain (dropped off by a helicopter of course), holding a big flag that says “Mother Fucking Girl Power!”

I asked my boyfriend what Girl Power means. He obviously said, The Spice Girls. So I asked, if he had a daughter and she wore a t-shirt that said Girl Power, what would that mean?
 

He said, and I quote: “It means that women are equal if not more powerful than men.” 

Then from the kitchen he yelled, WHO RUNS THE WORLD?

I yelled back, GIRLS.

Much love,
Jessica

It happens to everyone right?


On November 2nd 2015, I crossed something off my bucket list.
November 2nd will forever be known as the day I farted in yoga class.

Without warning, my body decided to just let one rip and it wasn't the silent type. Just picture everyone face down, stretching their arms out front. My shoulders were hurting so I decided to lay on my back. At some point during this change of position it happened. My butt was pretty much aligned with the girl to the left of me’s face and I leaned to the right to turn over. I basically farted in her face. And no I’m not exaggerating, I farted in her face. It was a relaxation class. Really quiet, fake candle light and whale music playing. After it happened, I just laid down. It came out mid lay down and it actually startled me. I thought, “was that me?” It was like crickets in that sweaty room and then I heard a snicker. As I laid there on my back, looking up at the ceiling, praying that my fart didn’t stink up the sweaty room, I couldn’t help but smile. 

I was the girl that farted at yoga. That’s me now, that’s what they call me.
 

“Hey farty! How’s it going?” “Got anymore farts for us tonight?”


We were probably only 15 minutes into an hour long class when Fart Fest 2016 took place. I went through the rest of the class as if nothing happened, hoping they’d soon all forget. And hey, it’s dark in there! Only the girl beside me, you know the one who’s face I farted in? She’s the only one who really knows it was me. I really couldn’t stop smiling and laughing at myself. Seriously, who does that? Who farts at yoga? I’ve been doing yoga many years and I’ve never heard anyone fart before! I didn't have a stomach ache or anything. It was just one of those times. Bend over and bam! That happens right? RIGHT?

After laughing at myself for the following 45 minutes while trying to focus my breath, I some how got the courage to apologize to the lady beside me. (You know the one, I farted in her face.) As we were wiping down our mats after class, I leaned over (hoping another fart would not come out hahaha) and said, “ummm, I’m sorry for farting in your face. That’s never happened before.” She turned around to me with the biggest smile on her face and said, “don’t worry, it happens to all of us!” 

But does it really? I was quick to stereotype her. Blonde, spunky, super fit in her matching Lululemon outfit and I thought there’s no way she’s farted in a yoga class! Me: wearing a 7 year old workout shirt from Superstore, looking like a sweaty mess, farting at yoga? That kind of thing would only happen to people like me. 

People like me? What the hell does that even mean? Why are we so quick to stereotype, make excuses and take blame? I farted because I shop at Superstore? That is literally what my brain came to the conclusion of why I farted in a yoga class. And that’s just nuts! An older version of myself would have grabbed her stuff immediately to run out the door and never come back again, even though she’s signed up for the hefty monthly package! The old me would have thrown up at the thought of acknowledging my fart by apologizing to my neighbour! So the new me stepped up and remembered that I had just spend the last 45 minutes of class laughing to myself. The new me doesn’t care, it was just a fart! And the lady beside me was right, it does happen to everyone. Everyone will fart in a yoga class. Eventually it will happen to you, yes you, I promise.

It’s been 47 days since that stinky night and I still laugh about it. In fact everyone laughs about my yoga fart-a-thon. Example, my 30th Birthday card from my parents:

Farting at yoga taught me a few things: stop judging myself and others, to not take myself so seriously, and that I'm just human, things happen! I've even been back to the studio since that fateful day! No one called me fart face or whispered that the farting girl was there. Everyone has forgotten but me. Trying not to fart in a yoga class after you HAVE farted in a yoga class is a little stressful, but yoga is about letting it all go right?

Sincerely,

Jessica, The Yoga Farter.

Bad Bad Leroy Brown


I get asked often where the name Leroy Brown comes from.

Well, he was a cat.
But he was also my brother.

If you’re an animal lover (ummm who isn’t?) you know what I’m talking about when I say our animals are part of our family. Growing up we had a few different cats. The last one was Bad Bad Leroy Brown.

Leroy & me, circa 2010

Leroy & me, circa 2010

He was amazing. He was huge, my mom called him big boned. He was a lap cat. He didn’t mind when the other crazy cat Jake would hump him. Leroy was my moms cat. My moms baby. The only son my mom had in a family of all girls. 

As I type this out I think about everyone rolling their eyes and saying, “it’s just a cat!” But it felt like he was in our lives forever. I grew up with Leroy. I told him secrets, I cried about boys to him, he was the perfect friend and brother. 

I’ll admit that I am getting teary eyed while I write this. When he got sick it was really hard. I was working as a hairdresser at the time and had moved out of my parents house. My sister had called me and said they were going to say goodbye to him. I was already at work and was so sad that I didn’t get to say goodbye. (my eyes are starting to water...) I remember being so preoccupied that day. I just hid in the backroom in between clients, didn’t talk much, my heart was broken. After my shift, my manager asked to speak to me. I told her that it was stupid but my cat had died and that it was a really emotional event for my family. I just remember her looking at me, hugging me and she told me that it wasn’t stupid, that pets are family.

Leroy passed away on December 5th, 2012. Four years ago today. I can't believe it's been that long.

While thinking about starting a business many years ago, the name Leroy Brown was brought up by my sister Nicole. I didn't have a real business in mind that at point but the name always stuck with me. So in 2015 when I had the idea to start a furniture business it only made sense to name it Leroy Brown. I took a business course and was told by a teacher that the name Leroy Brown sucked. That was the moment I knew I needed thicker skin to be an entrepreneur. It was my first time sharing with strangers that my business was named after a cat and I was nervous! I cried in the bathroom after she told me it was a bad idea. She said I should name my business using a-play-on-words about furniture painting or pick something whimsy like "Jessica’s Vintage Home." But all those names didn’t feel like me, they felt like everyone else. I wanted a strong and chic kind of name, like Marc Jacobs. A great name that I could see being used for branding in the future. When I think about the big picture, I see a store front, white bright lights, a vintage teal buffet in the window and in big black letters, LEROY BROWN. 

Grama & Leroy Brown

Grama & Leroy Brown


My grama always says “it’s so nice that Leroy will live on forever through your business.”

And she's right, because in 10 years when I have that store and someone asks where the name comes from, I’ll be sure to train all my staff to say “it’s about a cat named Leroy Brown.”

Love you & miss you my brother from another mother. xoxx