Diving into fashion head first
by Asha Siad
When Courtney Sokal, 24, and Kelby Price, 21, were showing swine flu-like symptoms last August, they had to be quarantined for a week. Fortunately, it wasn’t swine flu, but what they came down with was an idea.
While in quarantine, Sokal and Price decided to pass the time by making headbands. The two began creating unique hair accessories made from anything they could get their hands on, ribbons, feathers, sequined flowers, pearls, etc. Courtney’s younger sister Vanessa, 19, soon joined in on the fun.
“We were bored, so we were like, ‘What are we going to do?’ We just started making headbands, and then Vanessa came over and she said it was cool so she joined in. Then our friends saw them and said, ‘You guys should sell these’,” Sokal explained.
And so they did; the Sokal sisters and Price found their niche in the fashion industry and as a result, began a business.
“Together we came up with Freda Loves Porter and knew right away that it was the perfect name. Freda is our grandmother and Porter is Kelby’s late grandmother’s maiden name,” Vanessa Sokal said.
“We have a very close relationship with our grandma and Kelby’s had just recently passed away so we liked the idea of being able to pay tribute to these wonderful and strong women.”
With that said, Freda Loves Porter was formed and is literally taking the fashion industry by their heads.
Despite the ongoing recession, the girls have managed to make a successful business out of selling custom made headbands and although they are quickly making a name for themselves, they still aren’t sure that this venture will be a lifelong career.
“We all have backup plans, you know this isn’t our sole source of income, that’s why we’re getting our degrees, so we’re trying to keep level heads about everything and make the best choices and secure our futures,” Courtney said.
Courtney is in the midst of getting a degree in international business with a minor in sociology and a focus in French at the University of Calgary. Vanessa is currently in open studies and is exploring her interests in the bachelor of arts program at Mount Royal University. Price is finishing up a commerce and international degree at Dalhousie University.
“I don’t view them as so much as backup plans though as other goals. You need to have lots of goals in life and I think that’s really important,” said Courtney.
The three expanded production of the headbands quickly and found their target location for sales at special events for women held in Alberta, such as charity fashion shows and Market Collective events.
The task wasn’t easy, due to the competition from other vendors twice their ages with greater amounts of experience in marketing, but the girls of FLP had an advantage over other products being sold — the price range.
“When we go to these events, there’s a lot of higher-end stuff,” Courtney said. “A necklace will go for over $100 and it’s refreshing to come over and hear the price range is $16 to $25. People are like ‘Oh, I can actually afford this and I have that much cash in my purse right now’.”
While balancing school, work and headbands, Courtney, Vanessa and Price have proven to be unstoppable in the midst of struggles.
“We have such big goals we haven’t even begun to reach for them yet. But the fact that we’ve started and we keep putting ourselves out there and taking risks and taking chances and you know, just taking an idea and, running with it,” Courtney explained. “It’s fun, it ends up not being quite as bad as you would think and as hard as you would think.”
Although they may have different goals for themselves, they have one in mind for Freda Loves Porter.
“We want to expand eventually and actually make it into a brand so there’s an entire line not just of headbands but hopefully clothing that [are] our designs,” Vanessa said.
You can catch these ladies in action at the Market Collective in Kensington on Feb. 13 and 14, or head over to www.fredalovesporter.com to peruse their headband creations.