OGN: Curly Girl Design

For this month’s OGN post, I’d like to bring attention to one of my oldest clients, Curly Girl Design.

After 9/11, like so many other people, I decided to make changes in my life. I moved back to Boston to be closer to my friends and family. I met Alyssa, the person who was to become my wife and mother to my three children, and I decided to start Mantra Computing. 

Back then I was a poor 26 year old, starting a new business and living in my parents’ basement. I was following the girl of my dreams every week to hot and sweaty power yoga classes. Through volunteer work at the yoga studio, Alyssa and I became friends with many of the staff and community and through that connection we became friends with Leigh, the founder of Curly Girl Design.

In fact, I was first introduced to Leigh’s work in the bathrooms of Baptiste Power Yoga Institute (BPYI) in Boston. Leigh was friends with Mariam and Rolf Gates, who were managing the BPYI studio and they were helping to promote her work. And what better place to see joyful, mindful and inspiring work than in the bathrooms!?

Leigh’s work is incredible. Her web bio says it’s “whimsical and witty,” which is true, but it is also colorful, wise and beautiful. In 2004 Leigh took the brave step of starting Curly Girl Design, a business based around licensing and distributing her designs. The pictures below are some of the pieces hanging in my home. You can see a lot more of her work on her Instagram page and in shops throughout the US. 

Turmoil and unrest bring change. Things change in ways that we cannot always see in the moment. During “these hard times,” as I often hear it said during the COVID quarantine, we can see all the big things including sickness and death of loved ones, social unrest, economic hardship, and social inequities. But the changes that will matter most are invisible to us now.

September 11th was one of those big moments that changed my life in ways, that until now, I didn’t fully understand. The big stuff was the attack on the towers, the loss of life, the ensuing war in Afghanistan and all the changes to air travel and the economy. But what doesn’t get recorded or noticed are all the little decisions people make as a result of the big stuff including things like my move to Boston or Leigh’s move to go out on her own.

As I reflect on the early days of Mantra Computing and working with clients like Curly Girl Design, I can see all the beautiful things that grew from the 9/11 tragedy.  I try to remember that as we all deal with today’s challenges. 

Through Leigh’s designs and words, Curly Girl Design helps remind us of what’s important. She helps us reframe our reality and refocus us on a future that isn’t always clear. If you’re looking for inspiration, please check out Leigh’s creations at Curly Girl Design.

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