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My undying passion for headpieces and the business I never imagined owning

After 10 years in the TV biz and 8 years as a competitive boxer, all my passions collide to bring a fresh, fun and often sassy perspective on all things fitness and lifestyle.

Hi, my name is Caleigh and I'm not ashamed to admit that I am complicated. I'm not talking complicated in a "cry in the bathroom because my boyfriend is ignoring me" kind of way; rather, I'm complicated in more of a "my personality is an oxymoron" way. Allow me to explain.

One example: By day I'm a professional celebrity gossip (aka entertainment television producer); praised for my abilities to recall any and all of Rihanna's outrageous (and gorgeous) outfits as well as list Leonardo DiCaprio's (also gorgeous) girlfriends, in order, on command. By night, on the other hand, I'm a professional fighter; praised for my abilities to throw a crippling body shot to the liver, teach others how to throw crippling body shots to the liver and beat up most guys in the boxing gym.

Image: Nile Jajo

Another example that conveys my variety of interests: Over the years I've developed a reputation for having my own distinct personal style. Check out Jeanne Beker's take on that. But, every Tuesday night I swap my sharp ensembles for a sharp axe. Literally, I'm in an axe-throwing league and even made playoffs last season.

And, if my "extracurricular" schedule isn't full enough, when I'm not boxing or axe throwing in my spare time, you might find me designing headpieces. Yep, a few years ago I started my own line of handmade floral crowns, and it pretty much happened completely by accident. If I'm being totally honest, despite my lifelong love for headwear, I've never been crafty. Not for lack of creativity, but "do it yourself" just never "did it for me." But that all changed when my passion for head accessories grew quicker than the options available for purchase. It started with an overwhelming passion for hats and then grew into a full-blown obsession with all head ornaments: beanie caps, bucket hats, wide brimmed, newsboy, baseball, cowboy, fascinators, visors, turbans, cat ears, devil horns... you name it, I own it (and probably in a variety of colours). I've even been known to plan trips around the locations of my favourite hat stores around the world. (P.M. me if you're looking to grow your international accessory collection!)

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Eventually, my lust for headwear officially surpassed what was available in stores and my ideas for what I wanted to wear only continued to grow. I had such specific ideas and nowhere to turn with my VISA card. Finally and reluctantly, I decided to take matters into my DIY-virgin hands. I started finding headpiece material in random objects, like old gift-wrap ribbons, Christmas ornaments and I think I even once used a napkin ring made of branches. Basically anything and everything I could fasten to my head, I did. Maybe not some of my best work to date, but I was desperate!

Then, I discovered this little, dirty, dingy, disorganized and over-merchandized bridal fabric store in Toronto's fashion district. Among the buckets of sequins and barrels of chiffon were these incredibly delicate paper flowers, available in every size, every colour. I immediately knew that I had found it... my distinct headpiece style. The exact look I'd been looking for. #GameChanger.

I started making crowns for myself in all different patterns and palettes. The idea that I could have a brand new, totally unique piece for every outfit, every occasion, and satisfy every mood was enthralling and only fed my desire to keep designing. When I started wearing my creations out in public, the collection of compliments was flattering at first, but when people started asking me if they were available for purchase, I started feeling incredibly possessive. I'd think to myself, "Pfft. Absolutely not. Beat it and get your own look." But, cooler heads prevailed when I realized there was potential to start a real business and potentially a headpiece revolution. That was it; Crowns by Caleigh was born.

I started off by making customized crowns for co-workers, and suddenly I became completely entranced with the idea of designing for other people. It became my personal challenge to perfect the specific styles for the specific personalities; make them different and distinct.

Two years later, that challenge continues to excite me; getting the call from a new customer and figuring out exactly what colour scheme and arrangement is perfect for them and their needs. From beautiful brides to beach babes, risk-takers to risk-resistant, moms, children, friends and strangers, CbyC's clientele is constantly growing in size and diversity, almost as fast as my love for constructing the perfect custom crown.

Image: Candice Kaye

Tell us what you’re doing to reach your goals this year! Follow us and tweet #PursueYourPassion for more inspiration.

More on Pursuing Your Passion

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