We had the good fortune of connecting with Alicia Pearce and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Alicia, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Leo + June came one day in the whirlwind year, 2020. We had a family birthday party to attend. I knew that there were many days ahead where home entertainment would play a vital role in survival for our toddler cousin and his mommy. Haha!  In all honesty, I truly wanted to make a personalized gift that I thought might keep him busy and learning and exploring. After the completion of this gift, my wheels started turning and my husband started asking questions like “Do you think other people would want something like this?”. Our children love open-ended play and as an educator, I know how important this kind of play is for their growth and development. I got online and started searching for quality products that would equip each kit and maximize engagement and consequently invite a desire to explore textures, smells, colors, and sounds. With his encouragement and my racing mind, Leo + June stuck around and took off.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?

I am a teacher by trade and a learner by heart. I was the kid that always wanted to play “school” growing up. I love kids and knew from early on that becoming a teacher is where I would end up. After having my own children, I left the classroom and became a mom, fulfilling my biggest dream. Now I get to play school every day as a grown-up and it’s the best job in the world! We started sensory play early with our kids and they are not afraid to dig in and get their hands dirty. Or my floor/table/counters… the list goes on.

Kids learn best through play!  Play is fun, engaging, inviting, and always present in our home.  I wanted to offer a way for busy parents to give their children a “toy” that provides learning through their senses because research shows that’s how they learn and retain new information best! I gave my nephew my first “sensory kit” not knowing what would happen after. I quickly learned that during a pandemic, moms needed something like this!  Mommies wanted something like this and I was honored to have their trust in my “rookie” product.  Growing Leo + June has brought some challenges, like nailing the perfect playdough recipe and finding a healthy life balance of all of my moving parts however, I wouldn’t trade it for the world as it has blessed my family and other families like I never dreamed. Starting my own business was not something I thought I would ever say I could check the box on but, here we are and here it is!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh, man. Fort Worth is the greatest! We kinda have to start with the Zoo. It’s the #1 Zoo in the country and it just keeps getting better! It might just be me but sometimes I go just for the french fries. Not really, but they are pretty good! After the Zoo, you’d probably want to go take a walk down the Trinity and eat at one of my favorite places, Press Cafe. You can hang out and watch all the action on the trails while you eat one of everything on the menu. Ha! It’s that good. We always meet new people there because there is a large area for the kids to play ball in the grass or bury treasures in the gravel. You’d be remiss if you skipped out on the historic Stockyards. The cattle drive is really fun to see and is a huge part of our city history. Every part of the twice-daily cattle drive is authentic and historically true so soak up all the history right before your eyes. You’d also have to check out the petting zoo where you can see and feed all different kinds of animals. To top off your trip to Fort Worth, end the day eating once again, at the 1935 staple, Joe T. Garcias restaurant. Fort Worth is a big city with small town feels. It’s such a fun city to live in and we’d love to have you anytime!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Hands down, my family. They have helped me make massive amounts of playdough, pulled consecutive all nighters, and watched my kiddos so that I could attend different pop-up events. Hubs gets the most credit for the grace he gives me on a daily basis when I forget  or “table” something that I would typically have completed. Last but not least, are the inspirational tiny tots that keep fresh ideas in motion.  My two kiddos have been so understanding when mommy needs to make playdough or work on kits.  Im the luckiest lady in the world and have the best support team!

Website: shopleoandjune.com

Instagram: @shopleoandjune

Image Credits
Canon Sawyer

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