Fashion Networking with Fashion Group International

In April, Fresh Collective’s CEO, Laura-Jean Bernhardson, organized and co-moderated an event for Fashion Group International called “Profit’s Not a Dirty Word” along with Natalie Catania, of Entrepreneur Girl.


The guest speakers (seated) along with Natalie Catania (seated second from the right) and Laura-Jean (seated far right) are being introduced by Monica Mei (standing left) and Jessica Jensen, (standing right).
Monica and Jessica are the Co-Regional Directors for Fashion Group International Toronto.

profit flier

Panelists were:
Catherine Choi of SoYoung Modern Family (was unable to attend due to illness).
Jennifer Ger of Foxy Originals.
Victor Casale a founding partner of MAC Cosmetics and current CIO for Cover FX.
Katherine Hague of Shoplocket.
Will Poho of Mooseknuckles.

The panelists shared their personal stories; how they got the start-up cash, when they knew they had really made it as well as funny, human stories about making it work even when the funds were tight and it looked like there was no way things were going to work out.

Each of the four speakers have taken an idea from the very beginnings and grown it to incredible success.

Victor Casale shared how he knew MAC was going to be huge when Madonna was seen jogging in Central Park in a MAC tee-shirt.  And, as everyone knows MAC as a huge global success now, of course, it’s hard to imagine what the early years must have looked like for the founders. Victor gave the audience a real look at what that was like and just what they took on to succeed.

Jenn Ger shared just what it took to grow Foxy Originals from its earliest beginning to a favourite among celebrities and style editors alike. A proudly Canadian Company, Foxy is now a top selling brand in hundreds of boutiques throughout Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, and beyond.

Will Poho charmed the crowd with a hilarious story of how he finally got Mooseknuckles into Holt Renfrew. Persistence and determination finally paid off!  And then when he visited the store and it wasn’t there, he thought they had removed it from the floor, but really it had completely sold out!  Time to get back into production mode!


From left to right: Jennifer Ger, Will Poho, Katherine Hague, Victor Casale
Katherine shares stories of raising $1M in seed money for ShopLocket, and then spending it wisely while growing her company and value for her investors.

At the age of 22, Katherine Hague launched ShopLocket in May 2012 and raised $1 million in seed money to found her company. ShopLocket was acquired in a deal that made Katherine and her partners very happy. She shared some of the challenges and pressure of developing a company with the expectations of hyper-growth from investors.

After the panel discussion, as with most FGI events, there was plenty of time for networking with panelists, board members, members, VIP guests and non-members.  FGI events always bring together a diverse and exciting crowd looking to connect with other professionals from fashion and related industries.


At FGI events, the networking is half the fun. FGI events bring out established professionals looking to connect with people, collaborate and create new exciting partnerships.


will and roger

Will Poho of Mooseknuckles and Roger Gingerich of Fashion Group International. If you are interested in becoming a member of FGI, Roger is the man to speak to!


Fashion Group International’s next event:mennaissance

Interested in what membership in Fashion Group International could do for YOUR career?  Come on out to the next event and ask about membership.  FGI is looking for you!



Fashion Networking – with Fashion Group International

This year, Fresh Collective’s CEO, Laura-Jean Bernhardson, took a position as a board member of Fashion Group International Toronto.  FGI is a global professional networking organization for professionals in fashion and related industries.  Their mandate is to provide networking and educational opportunities to support its members in growing their businesses.  The last Tuesday of each month is a different event to learn and connect with other professionals.


Laura-Jean (left) shmoozing with Roger Gingerich and Ashlee Froese at FGI Toronto’s event “”Protecting Against Fashion Design Piracy” Breakfast Session.

In March, Ashlee Froese, a lawyer at Gilbert’s LLC, hosted an awesome event, “Protecting Against Fashion Design Piracy” Breakfast Session.  She presented a fascinating talk about how to protect your intellectual property; what can be trademarked and copyrighted and what can’t.


FGI Toronto’s Co-Regional Directors Jessica Jensen (left) and Monica Mei, introduce the talk.

Co-Regional Directors of FGI Toronto, Jessica Jensen and Monica Mei have created the theme of “Think Big” for events this year, and 2014 is off to a great start with exciting monthly events and awesome networking opportunities to connect with established fashion professionals.


Natalie Catania and Laura-Jean, co-moderators of April 29th’s event, Profit is NOT a Dirty Word.

FGI breaks the stereotype that the fashion business is cut-throat.  People at FGI are supportive, creative, open and ready to connect to see where mutually beneficial relationships can take root.  Business is all about relationships, and FGI events are the perfect place to start some new ones.

Come out to FGI Toronto’s next event!
Profit is NOT a Dirty Word:
Successful entrepreneurs share stories of what it took to grow their businesses profitably.


Buy tickets here.


If you are a professional in fashion or related creative industries, join FGI Toronto and attend the monthly events.  You can find more info and join here.  Connections are made at FGI events!

Photos by JR Bernstein