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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

A little bit of bling goes a long way: The earrings hitting the national stage

Newcastle local Katie Weaver can still remember staring, mesmerized at the accessory wall at Sportsgirl as a 16-year-old girl.

“Every payday I would shop the latest and greatest earrings, parading my new purchases around the local shopping centre,” Weaver said.

It’s from here, her love of earrings began, and dramatically grew into what’s now a thriving business.

“I have never considered myself to be creative or design oriented, however I knew I had an eye for earrings,” she said.

“It started innocently, getting compliments for my earring choice when I went out.

“It became a bit of a running joke between my fiancé and I, ‘How many compliments would this pair get?’ This cemented to me that I had an ‘eye’ for earrings.”

When that love meant she was starting to become unsatisfied with what was on the market, Weaver took to making her own earrings.

“I couldn’t find what I wanted in stores,” she said.

“They were either cheap and lasted one or two wears, or extremely expensive.”

So, she did a course in laser cutting and designing, making pieces for herself and friends for two years until she had the confidence to unleash her own brand, Fred & Ginger.

“We now have over 85 styles and are the busiest we have ever been, even with COVID people are still supporting us and we are so so grateful.”

That success has also been thanks to a few incredible opportunities.

A collaboration with Nikki Parkinson from Styling You and Styling You The Label saw Fred & Ginger featured in her Spring/Summer 2019 collection and on her catwalk show at Brisbane Fashion Week.

Then came Shannon Dooley from Retrosweat, who reached out to promote Fred & Ginger pieces through her virtual workouts.

“I am a huge fan of Shannon and Retrosweat, I think I remember replying ‘HECK YES I want to be involved,’ given our pieces have an ever so slight nod to the 80’s,” Weaver said.

While watching Melissa Leong on MasterChef Australia, Weaver picked up on Leong’s love of earrings and took the leap to message her team to see if she’d be interested in wearing Fred & Ginger.

“Through the help of some friends and Instagram stalking, I tracked down Melissa’s stylist, and reached out to see if our pieces may be of interest,” Weaver said.

“Charmaine, Melissa’s stylist, said our pieces would work for her, and I sent a bunch off not expecting anything.

“I was ecstatic to find out that the Horse Shoe Statements had made the cut and looked amazing.

“Charmaine and Mel are doing a lot for Australian fashion and accessories designers, they are both incredibly supportive and eager to use their platform for this purpose.

“Again, this really put Fred & Ginger on the map and introduced us to a whole new bunch of women who love earrings as much as we do!”

Currently Fred & Ginger is only available online, however there are big plans in place for the brand’s future.

“We want to add more designs and colours to our growing collection, and we also want to expand into other accessories and other materials,” Weaver said.

“We are looking for stockists, I would love to have our pieces in stores so people can see and touch and take them in.

“Our website is fairly descriptive though, we have all the sizing information online, however there is nothing like holding a pair of earrings up to your ear and getting that instant ‘yes’ feeling!

“Down the track a bricks and mortar shopfront is the goal, a place to create and a place where people can come and get lost in a world of colour and sparkle.”

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