Inventor, innovator, and entrepreneur Jasmine Bell shares her story below of how she went from a simple life in a small village in Eastern Europe to inventing what could be the next, big fitness and lifestyle innovation based out of Los Angeles.
My experience as a soul in this body started on a cold December morning, in a small village in Croatia, where I was born.
Growing up in this small village was pretty cool. I had plenty of friends to play with, and we had so much fun running through lakes and rivers that were freely flowing through our backyards, playing with animals and making up our own games and creating our toys since we didn’t have any fancy store-bought toys to play with. That never bothered us, we didn’t know any better. Sticks, rocks, pieces of wood or anything that we could find, would become the most amazing toy for the moment.
Even though my childhood was weary adventurous, growing up in the village demanded strong work ethic too. Very early I have learned how to cook, clean, work in the field and even milk cows and take care of our farm animals. Pretty much every home had a farm and animals. We grew our own food in our beautiful gardens. The soil was extremely fertile, so we grew everything from tomatoes, potatoes, beans, onions, spinach, broccoli, cucumbers, to fields of corn and wheat. Our backyards were filled with beautiful cherry trees, pear trees, apple, peach and plum trees, walnut trees, almonds and many other yummy goodies. Yes, completely organic and free, growing freely in our yards. We would milk our cows and make the most amazing cheeses, butter, sour cream and milk, from scratch, in grandma’s kitchen.
When it was time to pick our corn, most of the village came to help. We arranged the day, people showed up and off to the field we went. We would not pay these people, but we would prepare the food for everyone, and return the favor when their field had to be picked. This was hard work and done by hand, so it usually took a whole day, and sometimes several days. After all, corn was picked, it was brought home, put away, and then everyone had dinner and told the most amazing stories. I always loved these gatherings, after a couple of glasses of wine with dinner; people would loosen up and tell all kinds of interesting stories. We also had a vineyard and grew our grapes that we would turn into wine, of course, with the help of people from the village.
The next day someone else’s field had to be picked, so we went to return the favor and did it all over again. Everyone worked as one because we all knew that we needed each other and couldn’t do it alone.
Even though I thought that my little village was the best place in the world, since I really haven’t been exposed to any other place before, somehow I felt that there was more out there that I had to explore.
My friends and I used to watch American movies every Sunday afternoon, and we imagined that people in America are so fortunate and lucky and that they have absolutely everything that they could want and wish for if only I could get there…
…and I did.
At the age of eighteen, I had the opportunity to come to America. It was like a dream come true. At that time the war in Croatia was coming to an end, and after experiencing it, I was more that willing to experience America. I came to America with $50 in my pocket, one suitcase and not speaking any English.
At first, I was cleaning homes for a living. In those American movies that I used to watch in Croatia, I saw that American families had someone to help them with housekeeping, so I put an ad in the paper. I was never afraid to work, and housekeeping was hardly work compared to milking cows and all the farm work that I used to do. I worked hard while going to school to learn English, I saved some money and enrolled full time in cosmetology school.
This time was very difficult for me. I was adjusting to a completely new culture and now lived in a completely different world. I have questioned my decision to stay in America, and it seemed that all I constantly did was work and go to school. I missed my family. I remember hugging my sister goodbye and felt such sadness, I felt as I was betraying her and leaving her when she needed me the most. She has just turned thirteen and wasn’t I supposed to be her big sister and guide her through her teenage years?
I would think of my family and friends often, but I felt this urge to stay in America and move forward. I felt this voice inside of me, that I didn’t quite understand. People along the way told me many times how difficult it will be for me to form my life here, but there were also those that encouraged me and told me how brave I was. I didn’t see myself as brave but doing everything that was in my power to move forward.
Hard work has paid off, just under three years later, I had passed my cosmetology state board exam at first try. All the English classes, dictionaries and asking people to correct me when I speak (convincing them that they will not hurt my feelings) has worked.
I couldn’t wait to start working as a hair stylist. I choose an upscale salon in Sherman Oaks that was a perfect fit for me at that time. After working at this salon for a couple of years, I wanted to move on and start working for myself independently. I have shared my vision with the manager and was very surprised at his reaction. He was letting me know how expensive this would be and much more difficult, and why would I want to do that. Why would I?
I thought about it and asked myself the same. Why leave the salon that’s feeding me clients constantly and providing all the hair products needed to service my clients? Why leave the salon that represents security? Because after a while, I felt that I have outgrown this place. I felt very thankful to have worked here, but my freedom was taken away. I wanted to create my own schedule and my own hours and take care of my clients the way I envisioned it. This was a huge step for me, I thought about it and thought about it, and then thought about it again, and then I did it. I have moved on and never looked back, Jazyhair was born (www.jazyhair.com) / (@jazyhair)
I feel truly blessed to do what I love. My clients are amazing people, many of them have been with me since my beginning, and I always welcome new ones as well. There have been many challenges along the way, but those have always made me stronger and taught me lessons.
Being a single mom, my business allows me freedom and flexibility to be here for my son and all of his school activities.
Even though my life was full and I felt a huge sense of accomplishment, I wasn’t completely satisfied. I felt deep in my soul that I have to do more.
One morning I was jogging in the park like I often do. I always see parents running with their babies in their jogging strollers, and this morning was the same, except that it wasn’t. In an instant, I felt this light going off in the depth of my soul…I knew that I had to change the way people use strollers, I had to change it for better. I had this idea that I had to create this amazing stroller that would allow upper body movement and eliminate stiffness caused by standards strollers. Natural arm movement happens when we walk or run, so it was so clear to me that this had to be incorporated into a stroller. This stroller is like no other stroller out there because it provides full body movement, upper and lower and this is how I came up with it. It is patented and ready for licensing and I am interested in finding the right buyer/ manufacturer.
I run and jog in the park and see many parents doing the same while pushing their babies and toddlers in their strollers. It was very clear to me that the public needed this stroller after I witnessed many times parents using strollers for power walking or running, but it was very obvious that they were not comfortable, and a consistent flow of mobility was limited. They would use all their strength to push their stroller way ahead of them and would then tirelessly make efforts to catch up to their standard stroller, while attempting to use natural arm and body movements needed for power walking or running (back-and-forth arm motion) Sometimes they would hold on to their stroller with one hand and move the other hand in a back-and-forth motion, then they would switch hands. This was extremely unsafe, and it was clear that there was a need for The Exercise Stroller (TheExerciseStroller.com / @jazzystroll, I call it JazzyStroll), so I thought of a stroller that would offer complete natural hand to arm mobility allowing the rest of the body to flow naturally through exercise. It’s a perfect solution to this problem.
JazzyStroll is a modified jogging stroller for babies and toddlers that allows parents to exercise their upper body as well as move their arms in more natural motion while power walking/jogging. Instead of having the usual padded cross-bar style handle, JazzyStroll incorporates two arm action handles, similar in design to those found on dual-action exercise machines that work both, upper and lower body. The handles allow the adult pushing the stroller to maintain a natural back-and – forth arm motion as he or she walked or jogged with the child. This unique and ergonomically correct design could improve posture and eliminate stiffness of upper body (including lower back), by allowing this natural movement of human arms.
The resistance of the arm action handles on JazzyStroll could be adjusted to provide a more or less intense upper body workout. The length of the handles could be adjustable for taller or shorter individuals. The arm action of JazzyStroll could also be deactivated and the handles could be connected and locked together to form a standard stroller handle whenever the user desires.
This product will help many people, this is my big project and I really believe in it. It is patented and the prototype is available, and I am interested in licensing it with a manufacturer.
Creating this stroller was a process, at times I thought of giving up, but then I always saw a “sign” that helped me get back on track. During one of those times, I received a call from a new hair client requesting an appointment. This woman walked into a salon, and after a consultation, I proceeded to wash her hair. She started telling me about her invention and how her life is like a “real magic”. I just happened to be reading a book written by Wayne Dyer called “Real Magic” at that time, so I took this as a “sign”, as she proceeded to tell me further about her invention. Then I decided to tell her about mine. She loved the idea and asked me if I had a prototype. At that time I didn’t have one and she has advised me to create one and explained why. This put a fire back into my heart and I called my father instantly and asked him to help me with the prototype. Soon after we had a working prototype. It’s amazing how easily guided we are if we allow it. If you are reading this right now and have ideas in your heart and are looking for something different to happen, just go and do it. There will be people trying to stop you, but who cares. Live your dream, allow it to happen because you will also come across some amazing people that will help you along the way and they will show up at just the right time, just like this woman did for me….she was just passing through and of all salons in Los Angeles choose mine, and had a message that I had to hear.
Now I have found peacefulness in my life and I have surrendered to this wonderful process of life…but it wasn’t always like this.
I had times of struggle in my life, and often I would ask myself: “What is my purpose and why am I here?”. Why do I have to work so extremely hard just to make the ends meet? There must be more to life, it doesn’t feel natural to struggle. I had no idea that thinking those thoughts of lack and fear would bring more of the same to me.
I started researching successful people like Oprah. What I found out was mind blowing to me. She was a little black girl, growing up in the 50’s, and a product of a one night stand. She grew up with a very poor upbringing and got pregnant at age 14. Her son was stillborn. She heard many “No’s” but was raised to believe that with Christ all things are possible. This was her core belief, and look where it got her. She is making a difference in peoples’ lives every day.
So, I thought, if it’s possible for her, it must be possible for me and for all of us. I felt this burning in my soul that I had to do something bigger and that I had to contribute, but I didn’t know where to begin and how to do it. Sometimes I even felt sorry for myself and after a good cry, I felt better. I didn’t want my son to know that I couldn’t afford to buy him a toy that he wanted, so I have turned it into a game. I would tell him: “ We will not get this toy today, but I would like you to imagine playing with this toy as if you have it now, and I promise you that you will have it”. It worked every time. Eventually I would get him that toy, and I felt good about this because he was learning the power of holding that picture of what he wanted in his mind and seeing himself with it, before it manifested physically into his life, and he has trained his mind to believe that he should concentrate his thoughts on what he wants and not on what he doesn’t want.
Then it dawned on me….why am I not doing this? I have started to research the power of our thought and it was so clear to me that whatever I feed will grow. For so long I have concentrated on my fears and lack, thinking fearful thoughts and I was getting more of it. I have decided to give it a try. I have decided that I was done with struggling and that I am welcoming abundance into my life. I stood in front of my mirror, looking deeply into my own eyes saying: “ I love me and I respect me, I deserve health, wealth, love, peace and all of my dreams to come true and I am allowing it all to happen now”. I burst into tears because I felt this overwhelming feeling of peace. I knew that I had to love myself unconditionally, that God has created me and that at the same time that I was trying to find my purpose, my purpose was trying to find me. Just by me questioning my purpose, I was on purpose. From that moment on, I have decided to trust life and to trust that I am always taken care of. I have decided to expect miracles and to fulfill the highest expression of myself as a human being. Consciously I have started training my thoughts to move in this direction. I would pay attention to my thoughts, and if I started thinking about something that wasn’t good and did not make me feel good, I choose to replace it with something that would make me smile. It’s a process and it doesn’t happen overnight, but it is possible and life changing. I meditate daily and this is a regular part of my life. Every morning I look myself in the mirror and tell myself some amazing things about myself, my day and my life, and this sets the tone for my day. Words that we speak are extremely powerful, so I have decided to speak words of victory over my life. Ever since I made that decision, my life has shifted into my purpose. My days are filled with laughter and love and wonderful people. Wonderful abundance flows into my life, divine connections appear, and this puts a smile on my face. I am very blessed and thankful. I realize that every single experience in my life has led me to this exact moment, and hard times happened when I was resisting this flow of abundance and didn’t trust the process. I realize that I grew faster when I trusted my intuition. For me, the right decision feels peaceful, and that’s all I have to ask myself…. “Does it feel peaceful”?
Yes, there have been many challenges, but I don’t think about them and I don’t dwell on them. I concentrate on good things and I teach the same to my son. Being a single full-time mom and the only provider for me and my son, it is my obligation to show him how amazing he is and that there are no limits, and how important is to love ourselves. The only way that he will learn and believe this is if I demonstrate this to him and be an example. We visit Croatia every summer, my whole family is there. It is amazing to see my son experiencing both cultures, thriving and believing in his dreams.
This may seem easier said than done, but I challenge you to try it. Stand in front of your mirror and say some amazing things to yourself, and then if it feels like a lie, say it again. You will start reprogramming your old beliefs and moving into your destiny. It gets easier and you will never be the same again. We have to surround ourselves with positivity and amazing people, we have to know in our hearts that we are here to thrive.