Instagram Influencer | Hippo Hug

Leslie Brooks is the founder of Hippo Hug Inc., a small business based in Calgary that primarily makes weighted blankets for people with sleep, anxiety and sensory issues amongst others. In 2017, Leslie was a finalist for the Alberta Women Entrepreneurs Emerging Innovator award. Hippo Hug recently moved into a retail and manufacturing space and is now able to complete up to eight weighted blankets per day. Hippo Hug is on track to do 1000 blankets this year, and Leslie says she is thankful to have a product that helps people in such a unique and fulfilling way. The gift of sleep is precious and the Hippo Hug team is humbled to change people’s lives daily. Who else can say they make hugs for a living?

What inspired you to take over the lifeincalgary Instagram account?
I have been following it for a while and it looked like a fun way to share my love of Calgary and Hippo Hug.

Where did you come from and what attracted you to the city?
I was born in Edmonton, raised in Consort, AB (home of K.D. Lang), and came to Calgary for university in 1998 and never left. Love, family and friends are what has kept me in Calgary.

What do you do in your spare time? Favourite Calgary past-time or activity?
When I am not recovering from dodgeball injuries (currently a torn thumb ligament that needed reattaching) you can find me on the court with CSSC, or training for a 5km run with my friends. I love to be out and about with friends catching Pokémon (don’t make fun), reading, and using my sewing skills in various charitable ways (currently doing my best at one handed scout neckers and cage covers for AIWC).

Where is your favorite place to eat or visit in Calgary?
My favourite place to eat and take out of town visitors is Sky360 for a panoramic view of our beautiful city. My favourite spot is Beaver Dam Flats, I don’t go as much now that we said goodbye to our most active doggo, but it is a beautiful and quiet place for walking, biking and enjoying the river shore.

What is a fun fact people wouldn’t know about you?
Tough one! I am not that great at keeping the book of me closed so people who know me really do know me. I think the average acquaintance might not know is that I have a bad habit of always finding ways to make things more efficient, much to the chagrin of my husband.

Any tips or advice for Calgary newcomers or those considering a move to Calgary?
Calgary can be a tough place to be new to because the people are friendly, but long time Calgarians aren’t always willing to open their inner circle. I would say keep talking to people in long lines ups, at work and whenever you have a moment because when you meet those Calgarians that are ready to expand their circle you will end up with lifelong incredible friendships.

What do you tell your friends and family from other cities about life in Calgary?
For me, it is a lot about the people and the spirit of generosity. I feel like other places can boast mountain views and prairie gateways, but Calgarians have this fierceness in their love for each other and willingness to help that I have never seen matched anywhere else I have lived.

Where do you take friends and family when they visit?
Depends on what they are looking for. Recently, we had senior cousins visiting so we did the Calgary Tower, scenic drives and tired them out with stampeding! My son loves to take people to Studio Bell and the Calgary Zoo. My husband would probably take you on a bike ride through Fish Creek or around the Weaselhead Flats.

What do you think is the biggest surprise about Calgary for anyone who isn’t familiar with the city?
I think people are surprised how friendly and accommodating Calgarians are. They love to have a chat and share themselves with out of towners. It is a big city but everyone is connected in a small-town way. It ranges from not getting through a meal because you are having a great chat with the waiter to meeting someone on a new dodgeball team who actually went to your best friend’s wedding!

How has the city influenced who you are or your organization?
I think Calgary has really driven my creative spirit and the love to find new and interesting ways to connect with and help people.


**All photos were taken by @hippohugca and @mrslesliebrooks during their take over of @lifeincalgary.
Want to become an Instagram Influencer and contribute to lifeincalgary? Email [email protected]

Calgarians have this fierceness in their love for each other and willingness to help that I have never seen matched anywhere else I have lived.

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