If you could pick a colour that's most representative of you, which would you choose? For me, it's blue. But for Alyssa Garrison, it's all the colours – just so long as they are all pastels! I don't think I've ever met a more colourful person than Alyssa, and I mean that both physically and metaphorically. Her bubblegum-coloured hair matches her bubbly personality and it was a ton of fun chatting with her and getting to know her better. She's the creator of the blog Random Acts of Pastel (or RAOP for short) and if you're not already familiar with her, it's my pleasure to introduce you.
Before she started her blog, Alyssa was feeling lost and uninspired. She had graduated from a journalism program but wasn't excited about the traditional opportunities available in the industry and found herself in limbo. Thoughts of working for a magazine crossed her mind but its advertising-driven focus left her feeling a lack of creativity. She felt propelled to do something drastic to get inspired by writing again, and that's when the idea for RAOP came to her – she turned to street art and began painting objects around Toronto in pastel colours to brighten the community, and these 'random acts of kindness' were the seeds of inspiration for what eventually became her Random Acts of Pastel brand (and now you know how she came up with the name!). Alyssa discontinued doing street art once her notoriety caught up with her, but it was the catalyst that reinvigorated her creativity and passion for writing; and don't worry, she's still spreading her pastel colours, it's just that her medium shifted from the physical world to the digital space.
What started as a street art project to make her world a happier place has since grown into something so much more – Alyssa launched a shop earlier this month! Shop RAOP features one-of-a-kind items in limited quantities in her signature pastel colour palette. A self-proclaimed treasure hunter, Alyssa chooses unique products for herself over mass produced items, things that she will take good care of and keep for years. This was the mentality behind the curation of the items in her shop – her goal was to provide her readers with special products they won't find anywhere else, and offering them in very limited quantities of a single batch run. Almost everything in the shop is locally made in Toronto, and she's partnered with an incredible assortment of small brands and artisans who jumped at the chance to make goods exclusively for RAOP. Expect to find new flavours of jams and teas, custom-coloured nail polish, lingerie and other clothing and accessories, and more. In addition to specially-made products, you'll also find thrifted items of clothing sourced by the RAOP team that has been given new life by having special touches added to the pieces – I especially love the embroidered denim that you'll find in this category; as well, what's not to love about the sustainability of this sourcing method?!
Something you may not know about Alyssa is her love for animals! There's no doubt that she's currently working her dream job, but I was curious to know, if she wasn't blogging, creating content, or growing her RAOP brand, what would she be doing? You might find her living in the countryside, working on an animal sanctuary, growing flowers, living a quiet life. #RetirementGoals, right?! It sounds lovely, it sounds perfect, and it's right in line with her values as someone on a mission to spread kindness, of which she has more than enough of in her soul to spread around.
If you couldn't already tell, I'm a big fan of Alyssa's. Her ambition and entrepreneurial spirit inspires me; I'm glad she was able to once again find her inspiration and unleash her creativity and I look forward to seeing what she accomplishes in future. Who knows, maybe we'll see her revive her street art beginnings? I wondered this aloud and Alyssa expressed that it would be a dream to be sanctioned by the City of Toronto to paint colourful commissions some day. But until such time, if you're in need of a little mood-booster and are looking for pastel places to visit around Toronto, Alyssa has some favourite colour walls that you can check out – Crown Flora in the Parkdale neighbourhood has a fantastically bright, bubblegum pink wall, and if you're exploring the Trinity Bellwoods area, you'll find a mint wall if you look hard enough. And perhaps you'll run into Alyssa while you're there – just look for the girl with pastel-coloured hair. :)
Random Acts of Pastel is an inspirational site, a dream-like place that will leave you feeling happy. The world is a happier, brighter place with Alyssa in it. You can follow her blog on Wantfolio, and you can also follow her personal profile to see what inspires her. She's loving Wantfolio as a way to collect and organize her ideas, and it's become a great resource when sharing what's inspiring her with her team. So create your account on Wantfolio to start reading, saving and sharing what you want!
Want more? Here's what We Want To Know about Alyssa:
I can't start my morning without...a hot cup of tea and cuddles (dog or human!)
I have a weakness for...all things sugary and sweet- currently caramel apples are really getting me. I've had 3 in the past two days!
Most people don't know that I...have a freckle in my left eye... and used to be a professional mountain biker!
Currently reading...Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, for maybe the 5th time.
I want...for Christmas to come into full swing so I can deck the halls and hit the malls! I'm basically an elf, and I truly live for this time of year.
Want even more? Alyssa has re-launched the social media workshops that she co-hosted with fellow pastel-enthusiast Paige of Studio Bicyclette! The first in their new series of workshops is taking place on Sunday, November 13th - click here to buy your tickets to attend the workshop.
Thank you, Alyssa, for participating in #WeWantToKnow!