MEET SMASH + TESS: Introducing the babes behind the gorgeous Vancouver loungewear company, Smash + Tess. After struggling to find cute, comfortable pajamas for their family, Ashley Freeborn and her mom, Teresa Freeborn, decided to create a solution! Over several years, these babes spent their time brainstorming, learning about the business of fashion and designing their own collection - and in 2016, Smash + Tess was born. Ashley's lifelong best friend, Mercedes LaPorte, came on board shortly after and together they have created an amazing brand that has girls #rompingsohard across the country. Smash + Tess is about celebrating women of all beautiful shapes and sizes, and creating clothing that is ethically produced, designed to flatter and made to last.
What does babes supporting babes mean to you?
It means lifting, collaborating, building, and innovating. It means respecting each other’s ideas and helping each other grow.
If you could choose your nickname, what would it be?
Beyonce. Just kidding…. But really.
What is your spirit animal?
I would say a bear. I’m super protective, fierce… but also my husband likes to point out that my hands resemble bear paws. #chubbyhands
What is your proudest babe moment or achievement?
Our most recent #reasontoromp campaign. We created a romper for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada and donated all net profits and also asked our networks of supporters and customers to share how their romper brings them comfort or their #reasontoromp. I struggle with Crohn’s and it felt really good to do something to give back and help support the search for a cure. The response was heart-warming and inspiring.
What is the most unexpected thing you have in your purse or wallet?
An errant M&M from the movie theatre last week.
Tell us about a time where you were faced with a situation that you could have been unkind, but chose to be a babe instead?
Every day in business we’re faced with a challenge that is going from 0 to 10 in a matter of seconds. When your business becomes your baby, everything is personal. Whether it’s hurtful comments, clashing ideas, or just the day-to-day grind- our mantra is “be kind always… no exceptions.”
What product would you seriously stockpile if you found out they weren’t selling anymore?
L’Oreal Infallible 2-Step Lip Color… It stays on forever and I can’t imagine life without it!
If you had a yacht, what would be the name of it?
What was the best piece of advice you received when you were first starting your career?
The importance of networking – or ensuring our net is working! Smash + Tess does some of our best work when we are collaborating with like-minded business partners and artists.
What is the best piece of advice you have received now that you are in your career?
To be kind always- no exceptions.
When I dance I look like….
I’m in my happy place! And also in a 90s teen movie flash mob scene. Mercedes and I are known for our choreographed dances.
Tell us about a Babe who has supported you?
My partners- Mercedes and Mama Tess. We support each other every day… and I’m so appreciative. Not only is it SO helpful to have a team to bounce ideas off of, but it’s also way too much fun!
Who do you channel when you’re about to do something that scares you?
My mom. She’s totally fearless in business. It’s so badass.
What is your favorite destination to visit?
Home! Having moved to LA about a year ago, I love nothing more than coming back to Vancouver and seeing my friends and family and spending time at S+T Headquarters! Also, our baby girl, Frankie, loves spending QT with her fam!
What is your favorite meal to eat?
White Spot- Grilled cheese and fries. Done.
What is the most fulfilling part of your career?
Bringing women comfort and joy! It’s why we started Smash + Tess and this mission is at the core of everything we do.
Where is your favorite place to draw inspiration from?
Girls, girls, girls! Street style is everything and we let it inspire us daily. Also… we also get a ton of inspiration from our social networks. We are always getting messages from #smashtessgirls about what colours, styles, vibes, they would love to see! We listen. :)
What is your guilty pleasure?
Reality television. Bravo on-demand is my homie.
What quality are you working on yourself right now?
My ability to let go. I’m a touch high-strung and continue to work on my ability to be in the present and to worry less about things I cannot control.
What is the biggest hurdle you’ve had to overcome in business?
Production and fabric flow. It’s a constant challenge as we continue to scale up and grow, but keep it local. There isn’t a perfect science, but every day we get a little bit smarter! Huge props to Mercedes who keeps this part of our business on lock!
If you had an unlimited budget for 2 hours shopping where would you go?
I’d be on a red eye to London and I’d be hitting up HARRODS. Am I right, Mom?
What is your favorite movie?
So many… but I think it’s a dance battle between Pulp Fiction and Dirty Dancing.
Check out our website www.brunettethelabel.com and put together your favorite outfit!