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    Freda Girl

    Team FREDA: Meet the Founders

    The FREDA SALVADOR story begins and lives with co-founders, Megan Papay & Cristina Palomo-Nelson. Read on for more about their lives before FREDA and advice for young designers.

    Meet Megan Papay, Co-founder & Designer

     

    What’s your title, what does it mean and what do you do?
    Co Founder and Designer, which means there are very few moments in the day when I am not thinking about FREDA. Design and experiential marketing is what I love the most. Building the brand by interacting with the FREDA community face-to-face. Getting to know the girls that wear our shoes is so rewarding and inspiring.

    WHERE WERE YOU WORKING AND WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE?

    I did a lot of things before I started FREDA, but my favorite was styling celebrities for Calvin Klein. I worked there in the late 90’s, which was an incredible time in fashion.

    I also went back to school and got a masters in Elementary Education. I taught first grade for two years and coached upper school hockey and lacrosse at the prep school I attended, which was really special.

    Take us back to the beginning. How did FREDA come to be?
    Cris and I met while working on the design team for another footwear company. We would travel to Italy together and day dream about starting our own brand. We wanted to offer women shoes that were equal parts stylish and comfortable. The cool girls ‘go-to’ shoe. We decided to take a leap of faith in July 2011 and launched our first collection for FREDA in Fall 2012.

    What’s one thing that surprised you in your path from here until now?
    How work does not feel like work because FREDA is my passion. I could have never imagined how much blood, sweat and tears it takes to start a business. People talk about it, but unless you are in, it’s hard to grasp. Kind of like being a new mom! You don’t really know what’s going to come next, but you love it, so you just battle through.

    What’s one piece of advice you can offer to someone who wants a job like yours?
    Unless you are truly, 100% passionate about the business you want to start, don’t do it. Work for a company, enjoy your job and enjoy your time off!

    Describe FREDA in 3 (or a few) words.
    Unique, no nonsense, comfortable, makes me feel put together even when I am not put together.

    What’s one fun fact about you?
    I played ice hockey when I lived in Hawaii with a bunch of Navy boys. I was the only girl in the league.

     

    Meet Cristina Palomo-Nelson, Co-founder & Designer

     

    What’s your title, what does it mean and what do you do?

    Co-Founder + Designer

    WHERE WERE YOU WORKING AND WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE?

    I was designing shoes for another women’s shoe company – this is where Megan and I met! Before that I studied technical footwear design in Italy, received an MFA in fashion and worked in personal styling!

    Take us back to the beginning. How did FREDA come to be?

    “I always knew I wanted to design shoes. My family has a footwear manufacturing business in Central America so I was basically raised in the factories. I was always a more creative soul and working in fashion was what I dreamed of as a little girl! Starting my own brand was my ultimate dream.
    Megan and I met while designing together for another company. We had amazing synergy and our goals were aligned from the start. We wanted to offer pound-the-pavement / statement shoes for the urban girl. So we started FREDA! ”

    What’s one thing that surprised you in your path from here until now?

    Starting a brand so young! But the stars aligned and it was an opportunity that I am so happy I didn’t pass on! I feel so blessed to have found the most amazing partner, founded a great brand, built an amazing community and get to share it all with the best team!

    What’s one piece of advice you can offer to someone who wants a job like yours?

    Be incredibly passionate about what you do! The days are long and you never fully shut off when you own a business. You have to sacrifice SO much so you really have to be passionate what you are building. There are so many ups and downs but staying focused and true to your vision is essential. With so much noise out there it’s easy to veer off course!

    Describe FREDA in 3 (or a few) words.

    Easy, Authentic, Badass

    What’s one fun fact about you?

    When my brother turned 7 he told all his friends he wanted pets for his birthday. We grew up in El Salvador so “domestic pets” doesn’t have quite the same parameters. After his party, our pet roster included a spider monkey named “Pancho”, an armadillo, a hawk, countless reptiles… gerbils and a guinea pig! My poor Mom!!!