Before Fresh Collective, there was Fresh Baked Goods

It all started with Fresh Baked Goods, my knitwear label. 

It was 1994. I had graduated from Fine Arts at Concordia University in 1992, moved to Toronto, and wondered how on earth I would start a career. 

I knew I wanted to do something creative, knew I wouldn’t fit into the corporate world and wondered if I could make things and sell them. 

I had been sewing my own clothes and making jewellery since high school but growing up in Saskatoon, I couldn’t imagine how to turn that into a career. Once I arrived in Toronto, I dabbled around taking some classes and workshops while working in restaurants as a waitress. 

I took jewellery making, silk-screening and film courses, but it was a machine knitting course I took in the basement of Romni Wools on Queen West that got me hooked. 

I borrowed $600 off my roommate to buy my own second hand knitting machine and set up in my living room, knitting sweaters. 

The first few years were spent doing local craft shows and selling on consignment in local shops like Peach Berserk, Noize and 290 Ion, while wondering what it would take to have my own shop.

In 1998, when I was 28, my boyfriend left me for a 26 year old model (!). I moped for 2 days and then decided I needed a distraction, so I went out looking for a shop to rent. 

My search started on a Monday – going around my favourite neighbourhoods and looking for signs. By the way, that was how things were done in those days! The internet was barely a thing then.  

I found a former tailor shop on Augusta Ave. in Kensington Market, and when I found out the rent was $650 including hydro, I sealed the deal as quick as I could. 

By Thursday that week, I had signed a lease and was setting up shop. 

The first few months were scary as I opened up a sweater shop in May, and it was a long hot summer. 

But tourists were finding me and bringing home one-of-a-kind creations. And by fall, I had hit my stride as Toronto’s Laura-Jean the Knitting Queen and my clientele was finding me. 

The shop was a colourful and busy little zone of chaos. I had a small studio in the back with knitting machines and often Knitting Princesses (that’s what I called my assistants) in working with me. 

The machines were noisy and production would stop when shoppers came in. Often, we would have stashed a fresh delivery of yarn in the changeroom, and when people wanted to use it, we’d have to unpack it and make room for them. 

Brenda was my beautiful Sheltie from 1989-2004. She always came to work with me and despite having a perfectly good bed, she loved to sleep in the sale baskets.

Knitting Princess Jaclyn and I in the studio. Jaclyn is still one of my best friends in the whole world. She loved to organize the studio and keep everything tidy, so her work was cut out for her. (I’m super messy and create clutter everywhere I go!)

She went on to start her own Professional Organizing business, now relocated to Bloomington, Indiana. 

Here’s me at my knitting machine. I wonder how many millions of times I zipped the carriage back and forth to make thousands of sweaters over the years!?

I rode my bike everywhere in those days. You can see it locked up outside the store in the exterior shot above, as well as in the Toronto Star article. 

And Brenda was my constant companion. 

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This was where my career in fashion started. I remember not being able to believe that I was actually doing it. I had my own business. My own shop. I was a fashion designer! 

What an amazing 25 years it’s been! So many of today’s Fresh Collective shoppers found me at my cute little Kensington shop so many years ago. 

I am so grateful that so many of my customers have grown up with me and supported the business along the way. 

xoxo

Laura-Jean

 

Julie Sweater FLASH SALE!


SURPRISE FLASH SALE!

The brand new Julie Sweater by Palette, our in-house line, is NOW $20 OFF during our limited-time flash sale!

 

The Julie Sweater is a wonderful piece to build any ensemble with! Its fabric is silky smooth and cozy at once! It has a generous stretch and fits comfortably, with a flared waist that gives it a lovely draped effect.

This beautiful winter sweater is available in 8 different solid colours and proudly made right here in Toronto!

SAVE ONLINE & IN-STORES!

To shop & save online, simply enter our special promocode at the checkout on our webstore:

JULIE20

OFFER ENDS FEBRUARY 20th!

SNOW DAY SALE! TODAY ONLY!

TODAY ONLY, LADIES!

Enjoy some great savings during our Snow Day Flash Sale, happening online and in-stores!

 

To shop & save online, use our special promocodes at the checkout:

SNOWDAY20

(for $150 purchases)

 

 

To shop & save online, use our special promocodes at the checkout:

SNOWDAY50
(for $300 purchases)

 

Stay warm out there!

Our FIG Clothing GIVEAWAY starts TODAY!

Our FIG Clothing Giveaway Draw has begun!

 

Until October 5th, enter one ballot per each piece of FIG apparel you try on at Fresh Collective, and you could win $100 worth of FIG Clothing!

 

This giveaway is IN-STORES ONLY, so drop on by any of our 3 Toronto locations to try on some FIG pieces and enter for your chance to win!

 

FIG Clothing is a Quebec-based line of versatile, ultra-comfy, hassle-free designs that are perfect for travelers and ethical consumers!

*

* Enter to win until October 5th
* Enter one ballot per every FIG piece of apparel tried on
* Entries to win may be done in-person only
* Giveaway winner will be awarded $100 worth of FIG Clothing
* Winner will be drawn at random from ballot box

 

Fundraiser for A Roof Over Their Heads

Shop in person or online and 15% of your sale will go to raise funds for an apartment for a lovely Syrian family of 3. 

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In person, let Fresh Collective’s awesome staff know your purchase is part of the

“A Roof Over Their Heads” Fundraiser. 

Online, use promocode FUNDROOF to make sure your purchase is designated as part of the fundraiser.

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Learn more about this family here. You can also make a direct donation at this link.

 

The LOLA JEANS September Giveaway is happening now!

The LOLA JEANS September Giveaway is

happening now!

 

*

From September 4th – 17th ENTER OUR LOLA

JEANS GIVEAWAY in-store or online for your

chance to WIN A FREE PAIR OF DENIMS from

Lola Jeans!

*

Come to any of our 3 Toronto locations to check

out our stock & enter to win in-person!

 

BEST OF ALL!?

 

Enter an EXTRA BALLOT for every pair of Lola

Jeans you try on in-store!

 

Subscribe to our mailing list to be entered for the Lola Jeans Giveaway online!

 

* Indicates required

 




 

 

 

*Entries close September 17, 2018 at 11:59PM

 

*Random ballot drawing determines the winner

 

*Free pair to be selected by the winner from our stock

 

Surprise FLASH SALE on NEW ARRIVALS! $10 Fresh Bucks, just for YOU!

We’re excited as always about our incoming fall

fashions, so we’d like to give you a chance to

get in on them early with some FABULOUS

SAVINGS!

Grab your fall faves with an EXTRA $10 Fresh

Bucks BONUS!

Spend in-store or online!

 

To redeem in-store, print or show on your mobile device.

To redeem online, use the promocode FALL10

 

* Minimum $100 purchase required
* Only valid on NEW ARRIVALS
* Valid until August 31st

Our HELLO SUNSHINE SALE IS HAPPENING NOW! $20 FRESH BUCKS, JUST FOR YOU!

The weather report tells us we could use a
little extra sunshine this week,
so here’s our…


Hello Sunshine! SALE

 

$20 Fresh Bucks for YOU

to spend in-store or online!

To redeem in-store, print or show on your mobile device.

To redeem online, use the promocode SUNSHINE

* minimum $50 purchase required

* not to be combined with any other discounts, promotions or redemptions

* one use per customer

* valid until August 10th only

Flash Sale – Save $20 off the An-Li Dress until August 7!

Flash sale on the amazing An-Li Dress! 

Dubbed the Heatwave Dress, for its lightweight breezy feel and simplicity, this style can easily be worn right into winter with a cardigan or blazer and tights.

Check out the video below for fall style inspiration! And grab your own An-Li dress today! 

Until August 7, use the coupon code ANLI20 at checkout when you shop online OR print or show the Fresh Bucks above on your mobile device when you shop in-store!

6 great prints to choose from, including Juicy Floral (Black) above! 

Laura-Jean is wearing a size Large in all the photos. Laura-Jean is 5’4″ and her measurements are Bust: 41″ Waist 32″ Hip: 41″

Alicja (in the videos) wears Extra Small. If you have any questions about sizing or your online order, you can call us at 416 966 0123. Message us on Facebook or email info@freshcollective,com.

Don’t forget to use the promocode ANLI20 at checkout to save $20! Only until August 2.

Check out all the awesome fall style ideas for this dress in the video above! This is a versatile piece you’ll love for years to come.

This gorgeous Orange Juicy Floral Print is perfect for summer, but we styled it with a purple jacket over top for fall and tights, and it looks equally fabulous!

Don’t forget to use the promocode ANLI20 at checkout to save $20! Only until August 2.

We’re always dotty for dots at Fresh Collective! This one is a navy background with white dots and you can buy it online here!

Don’t forget to use the promocode ANLI20 at checkout to save $20! Only until August 2.

Black and White Mini-Dots is a great print and very easy to accessorize by adding colours! Shop online for this one here. 

Here are Laura-Jean’s Top 6 Reasons to love this dress! Check them out!

This Delicate Black Floral print is so pretty for summer or fall, and with all the colours in it, you’ll have no problem matching it to tights, sweaters and accessories.

Don’t forget to use the promocode ANLI20 at checkout to save $20! Only until August 2.

Oooooh so gorgeous! This Teal Delicate Floral pattern is so pretty, and again, it’s perfect for summer AND for fall! Buy it online here.

Don’t forget to use the promocode ANLI20 at checkout to save $20! Only until August 2.

Want to complete the look and get ready for fall?

Check out the selection of Carrie Cardigans we have in stock!  

Available  (and on sale!) in cozy fall fabrics …

 

….. or in the lightweight and breezy hemp and organic cotton fabric as shown below.

Shop all Carrie Cardigan styles here.