Interview with Liya Brown, Yemi Jars

I got to have fun chatting, eating whiskey cake, and smelling soap with Liya Brown of Yemi Jars. She is a local artisan food business out of Arlington, Texas. I absolutely adore her and I adore her yummy treats!

What inspired you to start Yemi Jars and Do It on Purpose?

Liya: My first inspiration is my mother. I grew up watching her use food as medicine and making delicious, healthy meals. I think that was my first inspiration to enter the health and fitness field. As a dance fitness instructor , over the years, I noticed that people’s main struggle was not exercise and fitness, but actually nutrition.  I decided that healthy food doesn’t have to be bland or boring, you don’t have to eat the same things over and over. So I came up with some options where you can have healthy, you can have colorful, and delicious food. I actually named Yemi Jars after my mother, because Yemi means “happiness”.  It’s a play on words, “happiness in a jar”, because the other special, unique thing about my business is that everything is in a jar. If you go to DoItOnPurpose.org, you’ll be able to see pictures of the salads in a jar that I’ve created, as well as some of the Indulgence line that we are featuring today.

How are you encouraging our local community to be healthy?

Liya: Honestly, I had to start by working on myself and sharing my journey, being transparent about my struggles. I think we all, pretty much, have the same struggles. Honestly, I don’t enjoy cooking. I enjoy good food, but I don’t enjoy the time that I spend in the kitchen. I really don’t like bland food either. So, I think that’s where I started. How can I work on myself and encourage other people in the process?

How is your creativity reflected in Yemi Jars?

Liya: You know, they say we eat with our eyes first. Right? So, when I’m looking to create a jar, I look at it as a painting. I look at the color combinations.  I look at the composition of the jar. I break it up to where I may put red, yellows, greens in there and make it inviting to eat. I think that’s where my creativity comes in.

When I go on her website and see her salads in a jar, they are very colorful. I am a huge proponent of color when you’re eating. I run a produce co-op and one of the biggest things I say is, “Eat the rainbow,” because otherwise you’re not getting all the nutrition. So I appreciate that about Yemi Jars.

Liya: And it makes it simple, to just eat the rainbow. You don’t have to count calories. You just eat as many colorful things as you can.

How do you want Yemi Jars to contribute to our local community?

Liya: I love being accessible. I try to use as many organic and local produce and products as I can. I want to be an asset to our community, so you don’t have to order from across the country. I’m right here and it’s a nice touch to be able to have that local person. We all bring our different talents and skills together for our own community.

Those of you who know me, know that I love bringing the local community together. I love networking. Not necessarily because it boosts your business, which it does, but because you get to know people. You get to know people on a more intimate level, to where I can say, “I recommend so and so because…” I know who they are. I know that they are going to stand behind their product and the name that they have put out there for you, and that’s very important to me.

Watch the video for the Whole Orrdeal and Yemi Jar cross promotion, collaborative reveal.

What do you find to be the biggest advantage to social media for a local artisan business?

Liya: I love that I can market my products and myself for next to nothing, and reach so many more people than if I had a shop and I waited for people to come to me.  Where the location would matter. There would be more overhead costs. I love that, even right now, we’re accessible. That you guys can be in a relaxed setting and watch us wherever you are.

At the end of the day, sometimes it’s just not fun. There are days we are trudging through life and we need a pick me up. What are three things that keep you going, when it gets tough?

Liya: First and foremost, God.  He placed this purpose on my heart, so I’m determined to not die without fulfilling that.

Second, my husband. He truly supports and sacrifices so much to make sure that  I can follow my dreams.  I just love that.  My kids, they have to make sacrifices too, when I’m cooking and doing things, and having to go to events and shows.  Just being understanding and supportive.

Finally, my friends. My community. All the people who order from me, and come back,  and give me such encouraging advice. and tell me how good it is. That just makes me want to do more and serve my community.

Thank you Liya, for your time and willingness to be a part of the Whole Orrdeal’s mission to encourage health, creativity, and community.

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