Designer Direct: FreshGenet

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Freshgenet Ruffa has come a long way from when she first approached the manager of the Culver City Farmers Market to ask for a space to sell her embroidered T-shirts. When she first started selling, she had to keep her two-year old under the table, while she tended to customers. That was 10 years ago. Amanwell is now 12, and his younger brother Matteos, is 9-years old.

She remembers how as a little girl growing up, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia she used to make clothes for her dolls and added her own hair to their heads.

And Freshgenet, the business, has also grown up. It has moved up from the Culver City Farmers Market to a Culver City storefront near the Fox Hills Mall. Freshgenet, the business, is built on the passion for fashion that Freshgenet, the owner, has had all her life.  She remembers how as a little girl growing up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, she made clothes for her dolls, and added her own hair to their heads. Gone are the days of needle and thread. Today, the back of her boutique is filled with the sound of the even whirl of her sewing machine, and shines bright with colored fabrics and threads.

But it wasn’t just Freshgenet’s passion that brought her to this point. During the child-under-the-table years, she attended nursing school, even when she was clear about her passion. Eventually, she earned her degree in fashion design and merchandising from Santa Monica College. She spent years selling in farmers markets, in summer festivals and shows. Then one day, the steady clientele she built in Culver City made her consider getting her own storefront.

While she wishes for a location with more foot traffic, she can only afford the rent in her current location. She relies on loyal customers who look for what she knows they want — comfortable clothes which also make them feel pretty and elegant.

West Los Angeles college instructor Sherron Rouzan, is one of Freshgenet long-time clients. She met her at the Playa Vista Farmers Market and hasn’t stopped buying from her since.  “Her items are fresh and light and fit my sense of freeness. I can purchase items for casual and work settings, and she stays very up on what women like to wear. But what drives me back to her is how I feel connected to her, she’s very caring, and she stays upbeat.”

Freshgenet’s ready smile, warm demeanor, and the natural light which permeates her store is a contrast with a typical mall. Even rarer, is meeting the person who both designs and produces the garments you may take home.

Freshgenet is located at 11495 Jefferson Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230.
Contact: (310) 595-6681, freshgenet@freshgenet.com
Website:  freshgenet.com

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