Success Stories

Unique Clothing Proves Popular

Pinawa, Manitoba's Agnes Frechette Designs has proven to be a sought after source of unique, quality clothing throughout Eastern Manitoba and Canada.

Agnes Frechette Designs opened for business in March of 1999, offering custom embroidery, digitizing logos, dressmaking, leather crafts and beadwork and clothing alterations. Client has developed a line of clothing which she calls "Agg's Rags". These unique outfits have been showcased at various community fashion shows and at the Winnipeg Folk Festival.

To get her business started Agnes worked closely with Community Futures Winnipeg River where she participated in the Self Employment Assistance program and received a start-up loan for the business in 1999.

Since opening, embroidery has been a major source of revenue for her, as demonstrated by steady sales throughout Manitoba, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories. Since opening these embroidery sales have increased more than 60 per cent.

However, her success also posed a problem. The business's embroidery machine was not designed for this level of demand. The machine frequently broke down, forcing client to subcontract out work.

In 2002, Community Futures assisted client in redeveloping her business plan and successfully accessing an Aboriginal Bank of Canada (ABC) Innovation Grant. This grant would cover 40 per cent of the purchase price of a larger commercial embroidery machine. With her own resources and additional Community Futures term loan funding, Agnes was ultimately able to obtain an embroidery machine to meet the needs of her growing business.

Agnes Frechette Designs employs one full-time and one part-time student position. She also partners with the local High School in providing students with work experience credits.

Agnes Frechette brings to the business a lifetime of sewing and leather crafting experience. She shares her knowledge by providing leather craft workshops and mentoring throughout the Eastman region.

She has won two awards in community juried art shows and her work has been the topic of several feature newspaper articles.

In 2003 Agnes Frechette was one of the finalists in the Manitoba Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award.