My name is Sandra Etherington Rodwell, and I have been a working artisan for more than 20 years.
FRED – a store opened in 1995 as a retail gift shop in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, as the fulfilment of a lifelong dream to run my own business.
Why the strange name? Well, I can tell you that it sprang forth after a long and exhaustive brainstorming session with my mother. We tried a wide range of likely names, but all ideas seemed too conventional for my liking. We started trying out human names like ‘Bob’, but that didn’t quite fit. Then came the name, ‘Fred’. From there it was a very short leap to ‘Fred – a store’, a play on Fred Astaire, and I knew I had found the right name for my store!
It was a tough decision to close the brick and mortar shop in 1997, but as any artisan can tell you, the urge to create will not be denied!
I moved to Hamilton, Ontario following Fred’s closure, and I have continued to design and craft many styles of original costume jewellery and gift items, one piece at a time, from the 3rd floor loft studio of my home in Hamilton’s historic Corktown neighbourhood.
If you happen to be near Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, you can find my work for sale at:
- Way Back When: Historic Bridal Fashions 229 Locke St. South, 905-525-9292
‘Fred’ also holds occasional mobile sales around Hamilton – check my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Fredastore for up-to-the-minute listings!
If you prefer to shop from the comfort of your own home, now you can find my ‘Fred – a store’ creations available for sale online via my Shopify store on Facebook:
You never know what creative items I might come up with next, so stay tuned!
-Sandra Rodwell, founder, Fred – a store
Awwww, this was a nice read… but what exactly happened to Fred? I am just starting out on a new business here and though it is fun – there are those challenges right?
Oh – and I know what you mean about those glasses…. ugggghhh 🙂 I need to keep a pair everywhere these days.
I’m afraid I couldn’t afford to keep the brick and mortar “Fred” store operating – a common problem in the world of business. I closed up shop back in 1997 and moved back to Toronto to look for another “day job”. Alas, I didn’t stay in Toronto long, choosing instead to move to nearby Hamilton which is a smaller city of about 500,000. I found regular employment (eventually) and I also managed to keep the spirit of Fred alive by finding other outlets through which to sell my creations. I joined a local artisan collective called Textures Craftworks, and I have continued to sell my work through their shop on Hamilton’s Locke Street for the past 17 years.
Since losing my long-time admin assistant job that kept me well-provisioned in jewellery making supplies, I have explored other opportunities for making money and supporting myself, one of which has been the rebirth of “Fred – a store…” as an Etsy store, but also doing select day sales around the area. As a small business person, I have had to remain flexible in finding ways of earning an income! The lottery has yet to pan out, but I am also hopeful there… 🙂
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It is such a struggle isn’t it? Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I wish you lots of luck with Etsy, glad you found other outlets to showcase your work.
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