Love Letter from Laura-Jean: Celebrating Ten Years of Fresh Collective

love letter 10

Hello lovely community!

This year marks our tenth year and from what I hear around the office, the marketing team is planning some kind of big celebration! I’m going to sit back, relax and enjoy what they prepare right along with you!

It’s pretty cool to look back and see that we’ve made it through ten years and grown. When I look back at who I was when I started Fresh Collective in 2003, I see an idealistic and passionate young woman who wanted to create something amazing for the community and for designers. I wanted to show the world how awesome Toronto designers are and bring these great fashions to the wonderful women who were looking for something different that would make them feel great. I knew that fashion meant something more to me, and to others. I just couldn’t quite put it into words, but there was a passion that just drove me forward.

Laura-Jean "the Knitting Queen" circa 1996

Laura-Jean “the Knitting Queen” circa 1996

As I sit here in 2013, I spend a lot more time looking forward. I see that I am even more idealistic now. My passion for fashion and business has become stronger and more refined. I’m just so damn excited about the future of Fresh Collective!

I see fashion as a fun art form we can practice every day. It’s a way to feel great and tell the world what we’re all about. It’s a daily form of self-expression that just can’t be beat. I love the way fashion makes me feel, gives me a role to play and creates who I am in the world.

I also feel that the art of fashion is a gift to our communities. When a woman shows up looking put together, colourful, joyful, inspiring or just plain old cute, it brightens people’s day. To me, looking great and feeling amazing is access to confidence and inspiration. Helping women find that daily in our stores is what we’re all about. When women feel great and know they look good, they spread joy everywhere they go. They get up to big things – like getting promotions, falling in love, starting businesses and having exciting and new conversations with their partners, friends and kids.
To me, Fresh Collective is my contribution to filling the world with joy and inspiration, and the people who join the team and who shop with us, seem to get that about Fresh Collective. Our business is not just a “job” to any of our employees. It’s not just “a store” to our loyal customers. It’s a movement to make the world a more inspired place.

I am thinking bigger, bigger, bigger and I’m ready to lead this company to more, more, more! I see how it will benefit everyone who has joined our community – customers, designers, superfans, employees, friends and families. I feel I owe it to you all and to the city of Toronto that I love so much, to really make this business all it can be.
As we transitioned from a co-op-like organization to a corporation with 10 employees, I started to see more possibilities for how we could grow and fulfill our mission. Things that I resisted years ago – structure, planning, policies and procedures – I see now as the ticket to freedom to grow, prosper, innovate, and produce excellence. I once thought those things robbed me of creativity and spontaneity. I see now they are the things that free us to have unbridled creativity, do great work and succeed.

There is no nobility in having a poorly run, sloppy and poverty stricken business, and so what my team and I are committed to for the future is excellence for our people – our designers, our staff and our customers, and by extension our families, friends and future investors.

2012 was the year I let go of the idea that this was still “my small business”. We have grown beyond that, and to support that growth, I created a decision making board to ensure that any change in the business was sure to be supported by all areas. We also partnered with a CFO with experience in international business and financial planning, and he is working with us to create an exciting financial plan to build our future on.

Our next ten years look amazing. We have fantastic people on board who really believe in our company and vision, and we’re putting everything in place we need to grow.

My commitment to all of you who have helped us come this far is that I will be a stand for excellence and awesomeness in our business so that our next ten years will contribute tons more fun, joy and inspiration to your lives through fashion.

xoxoxoxo LJ

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