Style Profile – Carrianne Leung

Our Style Profile series is where we feature some of our fabulous outfits in real life, on real women. In the third edition of our style profile series, Carrieanne lets us in on her life, her thoughts on style, and how she rocks her favourite Fresh Collective pieces.

Style Profile

Name: Carrianne Leung

Occupation: Academic, Student Support Services, Business Owner, Writer, Mother.

Age: in the wilds of the mid-40s

Lifestyle: fast mo/slow mo/fast mo/slow….


Carrianne 1-1

Carrianne is wearing The Andy Dress by Rita DiCesare, Now $96.00; Amelia Boots by Miz Mooz, $160.80; Necklace by Curious Oddities, now $35.20!


What’s a typical day like for you?

If I can get my kid and myself out the door in time, both of us clean, dressed, fed and with lunch in hand by 8:45 AM, then the hardest part of the day is over.

What in your life is really important to you?

My family.

Social justice.


Laughing so hard until I double over and my stomach hurts.

What would you like to be remembered for?

I want to be remembered for being generous – with time, spirit, love and friendship (even money when I have it!)

What role does fashion play in your life?

I have always loved fashion. I grew up in the 80s with the likes of Cyndi Lauper as a style influence, so I appreciate a particular whimsy in clothes. I was also a Goth for 5 minutes in the 90s and will always have a love for the melancholic fashion statement. In other words, I have range.

Carrianne 2-1

Beaconsfield dress Address Apparel, now $90.00, Amelia Boots now $160.80

What do you love about shopping at Fresh Collective? 

Where do I start? I am sure that at least half of my wardrobe comes from Fresh Collective designers. Being a 40 something woman who must juggle multiple roles – I work at OCAD university, I co-own an organic grocery store, I have a 6-year old kid, I just got a novel published and will be doing many readings – I need clothes that can fit all these scenes. The pieces that I get from Fresh are able to do that for me.  I love the colour, the prints, the amazing cuts and shapes of the clothes and how well they are made.  They are also classic in an unconventional sense – they outlast the other 5-minute trends in fashion and still come off as very current years after purchase. I also love that they are made and designed in Canada.

What else do you have going on in your life?

I just launched my first novel. It’s called, “The Wondrous Woo“, and can be found on bookshelves at your local book store as well as Amazon.

I also have an organic grocery called Multiple Organics on Dundas West. We are “fresh” too!


Carrianne 3-1

Mandala Design Snake Print Slit Neck Dress in Turquoise now $76.80, Amelia Boots now $160.80


Love Letter From Laura-Jean


One evening as we were winding down, my seven year old son Dexter got excited out of the blue and said, “Awesome!  The day after tomorrow is chocolate milk day!”  It was one of those gorgeous little parenting moments that brings tears to my eyes.  I just loved that he could be so excited about this little weekly treat they get at school, and that he looked forward to something so simple with such enthusiasm.


That attitude stuck with me.  I really took it to heart, and started looking for all there is to celebrate in my everyday life.

Like most entrepreneurs, I still have my share of stress and worry about the juggling act that is my life and my businesses. I see how that stress and worry is just pretty much garbage.  Knowing that it’s garbage doesn’t make it go away instantly, but I can choose a different frame of mind in that moment.

Looking forward to chocolate milk day, metaphorically speaking, is a perfect trick to displace stress, worry or boredom and create a whole new way of being.  We all have tons to celebrate in our lives.  Really, tons.  Take a look right now in your life and see.  What is already there to celebrate?  And what could you create to celebrate?

For me, there’s my amazing business and the people in the community who help it thrive; the designers, staff and you, our wonderful customers – who all believe in this dream I made up 10 years ago – this is one of the best things on my list of things to celebrate.

I have Stuart, my little rescue dog, snoozing beside me as I write this.  He just sighed and snuggled a little closer. Him being this cozy and cute, and our family having found him to adopt is something to celebrate.

Today, everything worked out so that I could pick up my son from school and complete this blog from home.  His friend Jacob was coming with us, and entertained me all the way home with stories about how he is the only seven year old in the world legally allowed to work for money, but right now they just pay him in cookies (it sounds like he helps his mom at the restaurant she works at but it’s hard to know how accurate his story is).  That little joyous walk home with two boys is something to celebrate.

There has been some sunshine today after a lot of grey days.  I picked up some great cheese from Kensington Market which I forgot about, so I had a surprise awesome snack when I got home.  My mother-in-law’s pasta.  Wearing pink.  A call from an old friend out of the blue.  Brand new socks. Uninterrupted bubble baths.  Family game night.  Coffee dates with girlfriends.  Playing old records.  A Saturday matinee with my son… Once I start listing things, it’s hard to stop!

So really, anytime you’re bummed out, bored or stressed, just take a moment to look at what you have to celebrate.  Remember to create your own chocolate milk days, and then don’t forget to look forward to them!  Dexter may have just hit on the whole secret to happiness in his own awesome seven year old way.



Talking Business With The World’s #1 Small Business Guru – Michael E. Gerber – Part Two

Our CEO and founder, Laura-Jean recently had the opportunity to spend time with her business mentor, Michael E. Gerber. In part two of the two part series, she shares the advice she received from Michael and the impact it’s had already!

Continued from Part 1

 Never, in all those years, did I dream that I would sit down and have a conversation with Michael E. Gerber about my business – about Fresh Collective – for almost an hour.  In this conversation, he just GOT everything I’ve been trying to do and articulated it in his magical way.

Michael meeting participants at The Art of Small Business

Michael meeting participants at The Art of Small Business

As I sat transfixed and reminding myself to breathe, I said

“Yes, this is everything I’ve been trying to do and build and create for the past five years or so and it just came out of your mouth.  I can’t believe it.”

He chuckled and said,

“That is the next thing for you to do.  That’s it.  The secret sauce.  And you will do it.  You can do it.  And you’re going to do it.  And I know the next thing you’re going to ask is ‘But Michael, how do I do it?” and I don’t know.  But you do and you will.  You’re a natural.”  *

Yes, he’s right!  I do know – and I will know.  That’s the next thing for me to do -and I’ve already started.

* (Quotes are approximations of what was actually said.  I didn’t take notes.  I mostly tried to not faint.)

Michael Gerber delivering his talk at The Art of Small Business conference

Michael Gerber delivering his talk at The Art of Small Business conference


As I was working on this blog post, an email came through from Mr. Michael E. Gerber himself, in response to a thank you email I sent to him through his assistant.  This is an exact quote, copied and pasted:

 “Bret sent me the delightful email you sent through him, and it was truly delightful.  As are you, Laura Jean.  The fire in your eyes betrays the vitality that lives in your heart and soul.  Share all with everyone unstintingly, Laura Jean.  Without fear.  Without self-recrimination. Without any limitations whatsoever.  Give them all the room to do what they so naturally do, and to be touched by you and your innocence.  Yes, innocence, Laura Jean. There is nothing more spectacular than innocence.

Love, Michael”

You see, what Michael understands about business that so few others do, is that for those of us who approach it with passion, with all our heart and soul and treat it as a purpose for living, as I do, that it really is an art, a creation, poetry.  It comes alive and through businesses that are created in this way, humanity is celebrated.

The business becomes less about the “stuff” that is bought and sold, and more about the how and why around the stuff.  Why is it there? How was it made or sourced and why? How is it sold?  How is the business a celebration of what is essentially human about living our lives on this earth in this time?  How does it bring people together?  How does it express love, joy and beauty?  So few business owners dare to take on these big questions, and yet, what an amazing inspiring world it would be if business owners did!

I’m curious.  What do you think it was that he – the world’s #1 small business guru, seller of 8 million books worldwide – said were my next steps?

What do YOU see as the next step for Fresh Collective to build into our business?  I’d love to hear what you see is there for us to work on. Please email me here with what your thoughts are! (select my name from the drop down menu).