With its family ownership and management, Freda’s is a mother-daughter operation in more ways than one. Co-owner Paulina Georgiou explains that, since her mother, Freda, opened the store in 1972, traditional in-house designs have gradually been complemented with input from the younger generation. That contribution has come from Paulina and sister Elaine. “I joined after university in 1997 and my younger sister, Elaine joined in 2004,” says Paulina. “Originally, Freda designed and made her own clothing. When we got on board, we expanded this to include European brands for the younger market.”
So if that’s one way Freda’s is a mother and daughter affair what’s the other way? Simply put, it’s a great place for moms and their daughters to shop for clothing together. Here, all ages, tastes and sizes are catered to with absolute finesse (the store stocks sizes four through 20). And shopping sprees can also be enjoyed online; if you can’t get to the store in-person, you can check out their website and make a call for Canada-wide shipping.
Whether you’re looking for professional wear, an evening gown or a casual outfit, Freda’s is your one-stop-shop. Regular trips to New York and Europe keep Paulina and family up-to-date with the latest styles with long-term staff providing valuable input at pre-season meetings. “Before we design a new line we’ll speak with staff about what they’re noticing is fashionable,” says Paulina. “We might need to drop a length by two inches or make a blazer less boxy.”
All of the family works in the store on busy Saturdays to get a feel for what customers want. This feedback goes into the mix when the store produces its seasonal wear in its on-site workshop. They’re adamant about making their in-house clothing 100 per cent Canadian, too. “There’s a lot of pressure nowadays to have clothing made abroad,” says Paulina, “but it’s important to us to keep it local.”
It’s not only the clothing which is tailor-made at Freda’s, but also the fashion advice. Paulina says that the philosophy of the store is to give ladies suggestions on suitable colours shapes and fits to make them look fabulous. As far as she is concerned, they aren’t providing a full service if they don’t offer a complimentary consultation on what works best for clients. “They’ll come in and tell us they are starting a new job or have a special event and we’ll give them one-on-one attention to find what suits them best,” says Paulina. “Customers are surprised when a colour or cut works for them which they had never considered.”
Freda’s loyal moms and daughters aren’t the only happy customers. The store's fashions are often featured on television personalities. Presenters like Tracy Moore of Cityline and reporter Pooja Handa on Toronto’s news channel CP24 are dressed daily by Paulina, Elaine and Freda. “So long as all our ladies feel better about how they look when they leave than they did when they came in, we’re happy,” Paulina declares.