Hanging by a Fred was created as a way for designer Freddie to commemorate her late father's memory and his passion for climbing. Upcycling the leftover climbing ropes of his, Freddie handcrafts unusual and unique jewellery. Learn more about Freddie's inspiration behind her jewellery pieces and much more in today's interview.
How did your brand begin?
Hanging By A Fred is a small business based in Northumberland in the United Kingdom. I was inspired to create HBAF after the death of my father in 2015. He was an avid climber and left behind a collection of beautiful ropes. Not wanting to throw them away I decided to upcycle them into gifts for family and friends. Mementoes of a life well-lived.
After encouragement and support from those around me I decided to take the plunge and enter the world of self-employment, and 7 years down the line I am still here, creating my statement jewellery, gifts, and accessories for those with a love of the bold and beautiful.
When did you first fall in love with designing and knew you wanted to become a designer?
I fell into design. My background was archaeology and museum education, but after stepping away from that beloved career to care for my dad I was at a loss after his death.
I found a creative outlet for my grief, and before I knew it had a range of designs, products, and a business plan. This was, indeed, a happy accident for me.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your designs?
I think my inspiration comes mostly from my love of ancient history - I named all of my necklaces after Roman goddesses. I also love to introduce climbing knots in my designs as this harks back to the nature of the material I have chosen to use. You might even find the odd Celtic knot in there.
How are your products made?
My products are all handmade by myself in my small, at home, studio in Northumberland, United Kingdom.
How do you source your materials?
As I began my business with the upcycling ethos at its core, I still try to maintain this focus. My dad had many climbing friends and was a member of different clubs, some of those guys still support me to this day.
I also have a loyal following of fans who answer the call when I request donations of old rope. 'Shy bairns get nowt' as we say in the North East. I literally ask organisations, individuals and centres for donations, and people are very generous.
Are there any celebrities you would love to see wearing your designs?
I would love to see one of my necklaces on Pru Leith! I am a fan of both the Great British Menu and the Great British Bake Off, and in every episode, I admire her accessories and think, 'oh you would look amazing in an HBAF original'. Maybe one day Pru.
Who is your favourite artist?
Kevin Day. He is an amazing local artist who I have been lucky enough to meet, and even more fortunate to have a miniature oil created of my stall and me at Newcastle Quayside Market back in the early days before I understood visual merchandising.
What are your go-to style tips?
For me it is all about the earrings, I love to make a statement with accessories. Jewellery never lets you down on days when you feel bloated and icky.
What drew you to JewelStreet?
I was contacted by JewelStreet a few months ago, and after a few discussions with their amazing staff, I felt that our vision and ambition aligned. They saw the beauty in my quirky designs and understood what HBAF was all about. I decided to join the team and here I am, at the start of my journey.
If you could only wear one piece from your collection, what would it be and why?
Only one?! What a cruel thought! I like to accessorize every outfit with something different, I love bold colours and statement pieces... but if it were just one??? No, that is too hard a decision, and as I have never been one to follow the rules, I can't answer that haha.
Thank you for talking with us Freddie!