Love Letter From Laura-Jean

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Shaping our communities one purchase at a time

We all hear the shop local message, and I want to take a minute to share, from a local retailer’s perspective, the impact of that choice.

When you choose to spend your money with us instead of somewhere else, what you do is invest in Toronto’s neighbourhoods and culture- your neighbourhoods and culture.  These communities are a delicate ecosystem and they’re yours to shape.  When you come to get your hair done on our block, have lunch and then buy a dress, those stores stay in business one more day.  It’s that much of an impact.  And when lots of you do it regularly enough, we all stay in business another month and another year.  When you tell your friends, we thrive and the designers we work with thrive as well.

What that means for you is we can invest in more products, upgrade our store, invest in more exciting marketing to improve your whole experience with our business. Our designers can try new styles and materials.  It means next season, we have MORE great offerings for you and your friends, and you feel even better about how you look!  You dress better, you build your wardrobe, you land new big clients and you get a promotion!  You have more money and you come shopping more often!  Everybody wins!

That’s what drives us.  We’re there for you, and we’re grateful everyday that you love us enough to choose to spend with us.  We’re also hugely grateful when you tell us what you’d like to see or when we’ve let you down!  If we’re missing out on your business, we’d like to know why so we can choose more effective strategies in the future.

Once my husband was describing what I do for a living to a friend. He said, “She has these three stores, Fresh Collective, but there’s more to it than just stores.  It’s more like a movement.”

Yes, that’s exactly what I started.  It’s a movement to revolutionize the fashion industry for you.  We aim to provide you with gorgeous, amazing clothing and accessories so that you live the best life possible.  You feel so gorgeous and confident that you fall in love, you take your business to the next level and beyond and you make the world a better and more joyful place just by being you.

My goal everyday is to support our customers to have great lives.  And we are forever grateful that – two decades after I started out as a girl from Saskatoon making sweaters hoping to break into the Toronto fashion scene – you continue to shop with us helping to support our three stores, seven fabulous staff members, thirty five passionate Canadian designers and, by extension,  all our families and the communities we live in.  Your shopping choices shape Canada’s culture.

2014 is going to be an exciting year for Toronto communities and for what Fresh Collective has in store.  We look forward to sharing it with you!

Love; Laura-Jean and the whole Fresh Collective team

 

Love Letter From Laura-Jean

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One evening as we were winding down, my seven year old son Dexter got excited out of the blue and said, “Awesome!  The day after tomorrow is chocolate milk day!”  It was one of those gorgeous little parenting moments that brings tears to my eyes.  I just loved that he could be so excited about this little weekly treat they get at school, and that he looked forward to something so simple with such enthusiasm.

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That attitude stuck with me.  I really took it to heart, and started looking for all there is to celebrate in my everyday life.

Like most entrepreneurs, I still have my share of stress and worry about the juggling act that is my life and my businesses. I see how that stress and worry is just pretty much garbage.  Knowing that it’s garbage doesn’t make it go away instantly, but I can choose a different frame of mind in that moment.

Looking forward to chocolate milk day, metaphorically speaking, is a perfect trick to displace stress, worry or boredom and create a whole new way of being.  We all have tons to celebrate in our lives.  Really, tons.  Take a look right now in your life and see.  What is already there to celebrate?  And what could you create to celebrate?

For me, there’s my amazing business and the people in the community who help it thrive; the designers, staff and you, our wonderful customers – who all believe in this dream I made up 10 years ago – this is one of the best things on my list of things to celebrate.

I have Stuart, my little rescue dog, snoozing beside me as I write this.  He just sighed and snuggled a little closer. Him being this cozy and cute, and our family having found him to adopt is something to celebrate.

Today, everything worked out so that I could pick up my son from school and complete this blog from home.  His friend Jacob was coming with us, and entertained me all the way home with stories about how he is the only seven year old in the world legally allowed to work for money, but right now they just pay him in cookies (it sounds like he helps his mom at the restaurant she works at but it’s hard to know how accurate his story is).  That little joyous walk home with two boys is something to celebrate.

There has been some sunshine today after a lot of grey days.  I picked up some great cheese from Kensington Market which I forgot about, so I had a surprise awesome snack when I got home.  My mother-in-law’s pasta.  Wearing pink.  A call from an old friend out of the blue.  Brand new socks. Uninterrupted bubble baths.  Family game night.  Coffee dates with girlfriends.  Playing old records.  A Saturday matinee with my son… Once I start listing things, it’s hard to stop!

So really, anytime you’re bummed out, bored or stressed, just take a moment to look at what you have to celebrate.  Remember to create your own chocolate milk days, and then don’t forget to look forward to them!  Dexter may have just hit on the whole secret to happiness in his own awesome seven year old way.

XO

-Laura-Jean

Laura-Jean’s Holiday Love Letter

love letter copy copyEvery year around the holiday season, we hear a lot of women guiltily saying, “I should be buying for other people, but …” as they browse and buy for themselves.

I always joke around and say things like, “You can’t give to others unless you first give to yourself!“. This year, I started looking at this phenomenon a little more seriously.  What is it about women that we feel so guilty about doing nice things for ourselves?  So many of us, whether we’re moms, sisters, daughters, wives, friends or partners give and give all year round.

I’m thinking of my friend Sarah who contributes to her community in so many ways. She plans and runs events at our sons’ school, is on the Parent Council, does fundraising and organizes fun events for us all when we get together.  She’s also the one you can always count on for a thoughtful gesture, a hug or a glass of wine just when you need it.  She’s everyone’s emergency babysitter.  And she does it all with a smile.  She just gives and gives all year long to everyone who knows her.  Her friends, family and community are all so lucky to have her.

Then, there is my friend Jaclyn who can always be counted on for all kinds of amazing things.  When a bunch of her friends who didn’t know each other were pregnant or had babies around the same time, she started a monthly “Mommy Meet” group – even though she has no kids!  While we got to know each other and talked about the perils of maternity pants and diapers, Jaclyn loved every minute of it because she’s just so into her friends and bringing people together.  Seven years later, we’re still all good friends, celebrating birthdays and milestones and even though Jaclyn has moved out of the country, she makes the effort to visit often and stay in touch.  She also makes jam, hosts bike repair workshops and makes quilts for anyone she knows who has a baby.

I have many women like this in my life.  I’m sure you do too, and I’m sure you’re one of them – giving for the pure joy of giving all year round.

So, now, and I’m going to get tough here:  Don’t you go walking around feeling GUILTY about giving to yourself!  You go out and buy yourself whatever lovely treats you want this year!  You ask the people in your life for what you really want!

Think about all those great women in your life who keep your family running smoothly, who help take care of your kids, who contribute to your communities and who just make your life better and more fun by being in it.  Maybe they could use something nice this year too?

Now, of course, to make it easy, we have a great selection of presents at Fresh Collective. We have earrings, necklaces, nail polish sets and tights, all under $25.00, and we have our favourite gift, The Best Gift Ever.

The Best Gift Ever is a Fresh Collective Premium Wardrobe Makeover Service with a gift certificate amount between $250 and $1000. This means you or your favourite person gets a two hour consultation with our style staff, and the biggest and best gift of all, everything they want! Based on their body type, style, life, and work, we work with the recipient to have them look as stunning as they are. Our Best Gift Ever is perfect for the hard-to-buy-for person on your list. It’s The Best Gift Ever to request for yourself too – It means you don’t get a frumpy sweater from some chain store that everyone else has; you get YOUR LOOK. Picked just for you with the help of our Style Staff.

How awesome would it be this holiday season to have everything you want? How rewarding would it be for you to give someone on your list this holiday season, everything they could ever want, and might not know to ask for?

You can pick this gift up at any one of our three stores now. We love The Best Gift Ever and we hope you will too! Check out our Wardrobe Makeover Page for all the details on our Premium Wardrobe Makeover, which comes with The Best Gift Ever gift certificate.

 

Love Letter from Laura-Jean

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Editor’s Note: Read through to the end to find Laura-Jean’s giveaway for a complimentary Wardrobe Makeover!

Helping a customer during a Wardrobe Makeover last week, I saw a transformation happen before my eyes.

She came in looking like a 23 year old hipster.  Lovely, fun and awesome, but not necessarily someone you would trust with a $100,000 marketing budget or assume she could ensure a staff of 7 would get a project done on time.

A couple hours of her trying different looks in the change room and I saw her differently.  This cool and colourful young woman started to look to me like an Art Director with a capital A, a Marketing Manager or a Filmmaker who could make the film, on time, on budget AND accept an award for top grossing independent documentary.

It was a TOTAL transformation in who she seemed to be, and all this was in line with the career she wanted to create over the next few years.

I’ve built Fresh Collective over these years to provide women in Toronto a place to find the outfits that allow them to project the best version of themselves.  Like it or not, fashion is a language.  It’s like hanging a sign around your neck telling the world who you are.  When we think of it that way, what does your sign say? Is there something you’d rather it to be saying?

When we do a Wardrobe Makeover, we start with a Style Profile.  You fill out a quick survey that tells us about what your style preference is, what you want it to be, and what your lifestyle is like.  We specialize in awesome looks for real life. We know how to create looks that work for you and work with you.

We set an appointment to work with one of our Style Coaches who pre selects looks based on your style profile. All the browsing is done for you to make it easy and simple for you to find whatever you’re looking for. When you show up for you appointment, the fun begins.

Many women book a Wardrobe Makeover when their life is changing, but it can be done anytime, and the holiday season is a perfect time for women to use the service to find the perfect holiday wear.  One of the biggest advantages is learning what works and doesn’t, and having an experienced professional help you build a wardrobe that all works together.  Too many women experience that old cliche: “A closet full of nothing to wear.”

We help you make smart choices, choosing versatile pieces that work together, fit and are comfortable so you have fun creating new outfits and getting a lot of wear out of each piece.  We also help you stay focused on dressing for that life you are creating!

You’re newly dating and you want romance?  Dresses, fun and colour are what we’ll steer you towards!  The Wardrobe Makeover is time set aside for you to experiment with this new language of fashion and watch yourself transform in the mirror.  Women often surprise themselves, saying things like “I didn’t think I could wear this colour!” or “I usually wouldn’t try something this bold but I LOVE IT!”

Want to jump start your career?  A polished yet creative look positions you as a leader, a problem solver and someone who can be trusted to get things done.  We’ll choose the pieces to help send that message out into the world, everywhere you go.

Think it’s too expensive to build a fantastic wardrobe?  Take a look at your closet and add up how much you’ve spent on clothes you didn’t like, never fit right or didn’t go with anything.  We’re committed to wardrobe building- choosing quality pieces you love that you’ll wear for years to come.

Worried it’s too much work to look good?  I am the laziest dresser out there.  I have NO time to spend on primping and fussing.  I throw on a dress, a cardigan, a bracelet and boots and fly out the door.  With a son, 3 dogs, 2 businesses and taking classes in the evenings, I’m just like so many of our customers.  Each season our store staff take on making my life easy by putting together the perfect looks for me to get ready in a second.

If you’re in the market for the perfect holiday dress, or maybe the perfect wardrobe to kick off your career in 2014, I’ve included our style profile form for you to complete. We’ll pick three lucky ladies who have completed this form, to participate in a complimentary wardrobe makeover at any of our stores. We’ll notify the winners by November 30th.

If this sounds like something you want for yourself, please fill out the style profile and let’s get to work!

 

Love Letter from Laura-Jean

love-letter-copy-copyPeople often ask us how we choose what product to sell in our stores. With the new, fresh, fall season upon us, what better time than now to let you know a bit of our product selection process.

First, our specialty is independent Canadian designers with a focus on Toronto based lines.  We carry boots, shoes, and tights from international brands so we can offer a complete look for our customers.

When looking for product, we really have your life in mind.  We know our customers well and are always looking for what’s going to work for the lives YOU live in the clothes.

For instance, when sourcing tights and leggings, we’re thinking about what you’re doing in them. We know you’re living big lives – going from daycare drop off to a client meeting to grocery shopping and back again…  Or working a full day, then planning your art show or new business launch at night…  Or maybe you’re finishing your PhD and working part-time while dating a hot new guy and training for a 5K run.  Our job is to pay attention to the quality of the tights, knowing that they have to stand up to your full, busy lives, and has to be a high quality, as to not run or catch when your dog jumps up.

WE KNOW!  It’s crazy, right?  And really, would you have your life any other way?

So that’s why we source cute dresses you can ride your bike in.  Boots that look sexy but you can walk all day in.  Soft and cozy cardigans that take you from the office to a date.  We look for comfort, practicality, quality AND great style, flattering cuts and awesome colours.  We seek out timeless shapes, versatility and pieces that can build a great wardrobe.

Then, we let YOU decide.  We try out lines based on our best instincts, and then we keep and expand on the lines that are selling.  Every week we analyze our best-sellers to see why they’re succeeding – what it is that you like about them – and then we work to replicate and expand on that in future choices.

We believe fashion should be easy and fun and support the big stuff you’re up to in life.  We do the legwork so you can be gorgeous, free, comfortable and look like a million bucks with ease.

And with that, I’d like to introduce two of the lines we’ve launched this fall; enCircled and burfurtART.

This fall, we were intent on finding pieces with “convertibility”, the ability to wear it more than one way and to provide our customers a versatile piece for your wardrobe that can last you season after season. Both burfurtART and enCircled fit this bill perfectly with many different ways to wear pieces in each of their lines.

enCircled creates The Chrysalis Cardi. We loved this piece because it can streamline your wardrobe, so you can maximize your closet (and suitcase) space, and make space in your life for other more important things, like travel, friends and family.

The many looks of the enCircled Chrysalis Cardi

The many looks of the enCircled Chrysalis Cardi

We loved that enCircled creates products thinking versatility first. Innovative design, iconic style. Sustainably & ethically produced, to give people more with less.

Kristi is the Chief Fashionpreneur of enCircled. enCircled creates ethical, sustainable and versatile women’s apparel, manufactured in Canada from eco-conscious fabrics.  enCircled’s first design, the Chrysalis Cardi is available at all Fresh Collective locations in Raspberry, Black and Cobalt. For more information, check out http://www.encircled.ca or follow enCircled on Facebook.  (http://www.facebook.com/getencircled)

Check out her most recent blog post here.

Salome is the force behind burfurtART. We love her line because it is as quirky and fun as she is, AND the ch-ch-chains collection sold us on the versatility. It can be worn as a bracelet, or a necklace with an extender. With two bracelets, you can increase the drama of the necklace for a real statement piece. It’s a collection that you can have for years, and add new ch-ch-chains pieces to refresh the look.

Laura-Jean modelling the pieces from the ch-ch-chains line

Laura-Jean modelling the pieces from the ch-ch-chains line

She told us in her own words why she does what she does:

“I know that I’m not the only jewelry crocheter in the world, and that’s cool. But I do strive to be as distinctive and unique as I possibly can.

 

I make, really and for true, one of a kind.

Everyone of my pieces are individually hand made by me, never to be exactly reproduced again. I’m not comfortable with re-making the same piece.

 

I use high quality stock, and buy small amounts of semi precious stones. agates, amber, carnelian, coral, jaspers, Canadian labradorite, pearls…I could go on forever.

These are but a few of the stones that inspire me.

As often as possible,  I strive to ensure that the piece you own fits you perfectly. When you wear my jewelry, you get noticed. When you get noticed, you feel good… When you feel good – I’ve done my job.

 

On a different note…

 

The first cat I ever had the pleasure of being an owner to, was wonderfully fun, charming and beautifully awkward. After he passed away, I promised myself that at some point in my life he would be honoured.

 

So, I named my company after him.”

You can read more about Salome’s journey to Fresh Collective here, and see pictures of her fantastic lines, including her convertible ch-ch-chains collection here.

Love Letter from Laura-Jean: Four Simple Questions

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I’ve been on a mission to better myself as a business leader, including taking a lot of development courses. What these courses have opened up for me was much more than I expected. In every area of my life – business and personal – the same themes play out. I stop myself in the same ways from creating what I say I want in my life.

I’ll share with you one little exercise I’ve been doing that you can take on if you really want access to having everything work in your life. Continue reading

Love Letter from Laura-Jean: A Summer of Having it All

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This summer I’m taking on a new challenge in having it all.  My son Dexter is going into Grade 2 in the fall and he wanted to have a free and easy summer with no camps or babysitter.  He has the whole rest of his life to adhere to schedules and get places on time, so I’m going to do my best to make this work for him.

Part of the reason I wanted to have my own business back in 1994 was to have the flexibility to spend time with kids when I had them. 19 years later, I have one almost seven year-old kid and a solid schedule of meetings, planning, documents to complete, 71 emails in my inbox and reports to compile… and I have this blog post to complete which has been on my list for six days now!

 

So here’s what I’m doing today; I grabbed a sheet to sit on, my cell phone, my laptop and Dexter and I headed to the park.  He’s practicing riding his bike and I am set up in the shade to write about wearing Fresh Collective clothing for all your summer outdoor activities.  How perfect could that be for what I’m up to today?!  I’m out at a park, writing a blog post for work, while my son plays and I’m wearing the Andrea Drape Dress from Rita Di Cesare, comfortable and casual “Chaste Skimmer” Hush Puppies flats and earrings from iMonique.

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Two sentences into this post, we had a slight hitch in the plan as the daycare kids came outside and needed a place to do their parachute play.  No problem!  I grabbed my office (my sheet), my purse and laptop, slipped on my Hush Puppies and Dex and I relocated.

 

Tonight we’re having friends over to our backyard.  This outfit will do just fine for that too, and for the bike trip to the wine store and grocery store I’ll need to do after this to prepare.PhotoGrid_1372796679364

I bet as you’re reading this you’re thinking “Your life doesn’t sound much different than mine – you’re here and there, juggling work, fun and family.”  IT’S TRUE! I’m A Fresh Collective customer, so we have a lot in common (hey, what a surprise!) and we both live full lives, really pursuing having it ALL in life.

Today I had a dream day.  A morning at my office with my team, an afternoon working and seeing my son master bike riding skills, errands and then tonight, hanging with friends… And, I did it all looking pretty darn awesome and polished, head to toe in product from our shops.

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I love that our shops can help outfit you for your dream days this summer and beyond.  Our dresses are there when you’re dating or working; starting a new career or closing a chapter.  Today I had it all – I really had it all – and as I put off this blog post just another few minutes to run alongside Dex on his bike encouraging him as he was still wobbly and just starting to gain confidence, I just really felt grateful and happy to have this summer to enjoy with him.





Love Letter from Laura-Jean: A Happy Family Day

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When I think about the things we did as a family when I was a kid, they were pretty simple – picnics, bike rides or car trips to see my Grandma Becky. Whenever we asked my Mom what she wanted for her birthday she would say, “”Oh, I don’t need anything. I just want a happy family day!””

At Fresh Collective, we are clear that you don’t need more things. And we’re clear that you, like my Mom, would always choose a happy family day or a fun time with friends above all. We know the world doesn’t revolve around the “stuff” in our stores.

What we really care about in the Fresh Collective community are relationships. There is nothing more rewarding and valuable than sharing a fun time with people you care about. And that’s what our stores are about. We’re building a company culture that reflects that. We take a stand for the people who work in our business having happy, well rounded lives, going for their goals and having their work life be a support for that.
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Love Letter from Laura-Jean: Celebrating Ten Years of Fresh Collective

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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

Love Letter from Laura-Jean: Unleashing Your Inner Pin-Up Girl

love letter copy copyThis month, we’re having a lot of fun unleashing our inner pin-up girls!  We’ve been talking a lot behind the scenes about just how to go about choosing models for our marketing.  Professional models pose and emote beautifully, and we’ve used them in the past.  But in the end, I end up feeling, “Who are they to us and our customers?”

Our business is about so much more than pretty dresses.  It’s about women feeling confident, powerful, self-expressed and yes – pretty and sexy too!  It’s about a celebration of life and all that it offers us in relationships, love, creativity and beauty.

For this spring photo shoot, we chose models from our own community who we thought represented our mission of  being beautiful and amazing, inside and out. They are women who are living the Fresh Collective lifestyle; creating amazing lives for themselves and the people around them.

Dress: Brenda Beddome, Shoes: Hush Puppies (Coming Soon!)

Dress: Brenda Beddome, Shoes: Hush Puppies (Coming Soon!)

Of course – with the theme being “Pin-up Girl” – I was the first in line.  I am a mom, an entrepreneur, 43 years old (I still can’t quite believe I’m a grown up!) and loving life more with each passing year!  I love being a woman and I am continually working on being a great leader in my business, community and family.  I am committed to making the world a better place.

Kat Shura looking great in a Melow top and Brenda Beddome pants.

Kat Shura looking great in a Melow top and Brenda Beddome pants.

We also asked Kat Shura, the designer of Curious Oddities jewellery who has been working with us for several years.  She joined us when her business was in it’s early days and we have watched her (and the business) grow in leaps and bounds.  Kat is a person I feel blessed to know;  as an entrepreneur she is driven, committed and just making it happen. As a friend, she is caring, thoughtful and present. She’s a real inspiration in so many ways.

Kathryn Barlow looks ravishing in a Michelle Carey dress and shoes by Hush Puppies

Kathryn Barlow looks ravishing in a Michelle Carey dress and shoes by Hush Puppies

Kathryn Barlow is another awesome woman from our Fresh Collective community.  She’s been designing our website and most of our graphics for several years.  I think she may have been heaven sent, as she was shopping in the store one day years ago and overheard me saying my web designer had disappeared on me and I wasn’t sure what to do.  She popped out from behind a jewellery case saying “I do websites!” and we made a plan to meet.  She is the easiest person to work with, always getting things done more beautifully than I expected and on time.  She’s just a dream girl, and cute to boot!

The lovely Emilia in a Paper People Clothing dress with Hush Puppies shoes.

The lovely Emilia in a Paper People Clothing dress with Hush Puppies shoes.

Emilia Farrace is a new friend who is also an entrepreneur.  She’s the owner of Simply Elaborate Creative Agency and I’ve come to know her as a woman of integrity and commitment, with a bubbly energy and contagious smile.  She also is working on a personal project – The Empowerment Initiative – to make the world a better place by providing mentors from the business community to teens.

I am blessed.  I look around me and I’m inspired by the women I know and all that they are up to in life.  I have amazing friends, fantastic neighbours and awesome colleagues.  We have a large community of designers at Fresh Collective who have taken the brave steps of running their own businesses and a wide variety of customers who are doing incredible things with their lives.

So this month we’re celebrating womanhood and having a bit of flirty fun with inviting all the inspiring and amazing women in Toronto to unleash their inner pin-up girl!

As always, we LOVE your feedback on everything we do.  What kind of campaigns would you like to see from us in the future?  Do these photos inspire you to unleash your inner pin-up girl and have a little fun with fashion this spring?  Please email us at media@freshcollective.com. We’d love to hear from you!

xoxoxo

-LJ