Feature and Giveaway
Meet John Frechette!
John Frechette was born and raised in the North East, cheers religiously for the Red Sox, plays hockey and enjoyed a successful career on Wall Street. The development company he worked moved him from New York City to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to open an office for their newest project. Three years later, in 2008, the company went bankrupt.
“After my employer went bankrupt, I was “strapped.” Strapped for cash and strapped for a job.” and in one of the low points of John’s life, something amazing was born. He started his own business and named it appropriately, “Strapped Belts.”
“Strapped started as a fun, creative outlet. I have always been an artist, but for a long time, it was not a priority. I began exploring fused glass, and it quickly became an obsession. When I began showing the work to others, it was a big hit. I sold my glass work for the first time at a Christmas Bazaar in Jackson Hole that I sort of got coaxed into, and I have not looked back since.”
John Frechette is a human “Creation Station”! He attended high school at The Taft School in Connecticut and then continued his education, with a double major at Amhurst College. He followed in his two brother’s footsteps, majoring in Economics, destined for Wall Street. “was convinced I needed Wall Street to make money, and I had not found an outlet for my art.” His second major was “Art History.” ” I did a lot of art. Mostly photography in high school, and a lot of different things in college but never glass and I actually never took a painting class!”
Don’t let “never took a painting class” fool you. He can paint. He admits, “I never painted until I had been in New York City, but I had my first art show in Jackson in 2005, and it has grown from there.”
“You can view his original oil paintings at his John Frechette-Art site. I love his silhouettes, they seem to capture a moment and freeze it in time. This one of a child doing a hand-stand brought back memories of my childhood and warmer days watching my children laugh and play.
Strapped Belts is a unique art form, made from fused and kiln formed belt buckles. Why belt buckles? “I live in the Wild West! Jackson Hole has been a big inspiration, but I really wanted to create something that both guys and girls could wear. The response has been great. The line grew from just belt buckles, to include cufflinks and earrings, we have now added rings and pendants, and customers are always coming up with new ideas – coming soon are housewares from plates to glassware and hairpins, etc.”
Frechette says his product is set apart from others because “I feel like my glasswork has separated itself from the masses by being clean and focused on design rather than glitz and glitter. I produce simple designs and good color pairings. Plus most of my designs are all one of a kind, so not only are customers getting something beautiful they are getting a truly unique piece of wearable art.”
Given his vast talent, I asked Frechette, what his absolute favorite creation has been so far. Without hesitation, he answered, “My family (2 Brothers, 2 Sisters, and 18 Nieces and Nephews) kept harassing me to create a Red Sox buckle, we are big Sox fans and when I finally mastered the pair of “red sox” the whole family thought it was time to celebrate!”
As if painting, photography and fused and kiln formed glass wasn’t enough, Frechette might soon be learning a couple of new talents, “I would love to learn how to blow glass, also I think blacksmith work looks really fun!”
When he’s not creating art, Frechette says, “I love to play and coach hockey. I have been a hockey player all my life and all through college. Now, living in Jackson, I coach an adult women’s hockey team, it is a great bunch of women and something I really enjoy. And living in Jackson – I love to ski – of course!”
Of course, moving from the North East to Jackson Hole might be a culture shock to most of us, Frechette says, “Jackson has been a great creative environment. The people here are great at supporting local art, and it has definitely fostered my art. As far as the east coast I mostly miss my family and friends, but I have gained so many new friends a new family out here. I also really miss going to Red Sox games.”
John Frechette is living the dream. He took an unwelcome event and transformed it into an opportunity. What does he consider his greatest accomplishment so far? “Tough Question – but I am pretty proud of figuring out how to pick up the pieces after losing my job due to the recession and corporate bankruptcy and beginning a start-up company during a horrible market. Strapped has been a blast but it also started as a necessity.”
Where does he see himself ten years from now? “In Barneys but if you know Martha Stewart that could work too!”
Featured as a Great Gift For Dad, “Strapped Belts” was featured in the December 2009 issue of Pregnancy and Newborn–the magazine wrote:
“Cuff links for the not so stuffy businessman “
Grandpa Jack would be proud that Frechette modernized the Belt Buckle!
“Strapped Belts” line of belt buckles, earrings and necklaces are available online at http://www.strappedbelts.com/ or through Mountain Khakis
Paper and Grace – Jackson WY
Native Sun – Sudbury MA
Habitat – Driggs ID
Lily and Co. – Jackson WY
The Trailhead T9 – Missoula MT
Box and Bow – Winchester MA and Newburyport MA
Wellesley Boutique – Wellesley MA
Barbara Eclectic – Upper Montclair – NJ
Portobello Row – Vestal NY
Poppy – Columbia MO
The Twisted Daisy – West Point GA
Team Blonde – Forest Park IL
The M Shoppe – Nyack NY
Spaghetti Western – Parkville KS
Frosty Darling – Salt Lake City UT
Teton Lodge – Teton Village WY
Casa Luca – Montreal Quebec
DIGS – Northfield MN
Gadgeteer – Omaha NE
Frecklefarm – Lakeside MI
The American Institute of Architects – Washington DC
Vaguely Reminiscent – Durham NC
Verde – Philadelphia PA
Clarity Solutions – Greenwich – CT
One of the qualities I like best about John Frechette is he is generous.
Buckle and Belt Set!!
10 entries – Buy any item from Strapped Belts Store Front come back here and leave ten comments that you did
2 entries – Friend Strapped Belts on Facebook
1 entry— follow me on twitter @jonbonjovious
2 entries – Grab my button for your blog
5-Entries–Complete the survey that pops up when you come to Mommy’s Memorandum
1-Entry–Follow me on Google Friend
1 Entry–Follow me on Twitter @jonbonjovious
1 Entry–Tweet about this giveaway and leave a link to your tweet (Can tweet 2x daily). Please mention @jonbonjovious in your tweet.
1 Entry–Subscribe to my blog via email
2 Entries–Post my button on your blog and leave a link to your blog.
2-Entries–Post this giveaway on an online forum or bulletin board (yes, for clarification, Facebook counts, on your wall, or another Facebook page) – be sure to give us the exact link to where you posted the giveaway in your comment
2-Entries–“Digg” this giveaway on Digg
2 Entries–Enter my smArtee Giveaway here (ends 2/02)
2 Entries–Enter my Valentine Crow Giveaway here (ends 02/02)
2 Entries–Enter my Wordtoons Giveaway here (ends 01/27)
2 Entries–Enter my Betty Crocker Cookie Pouch Giveaway here (ends 01/29)
2 Entries–Enter my JCEarrings for the love of Jody Coyote Giveaway here (ends 1/31)
2 Entries–Enter my Baby Bean’s Bowtique Zebra Tutu Outfit and Bow Set Giveaway here (ends 1/31)
2 Entries–Enter my Custom Child’s Snugglie and FREE pint of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Giveaway (ends 2/6)
1 entry-Follow The Trendy Treehouse via Google Friend Connect
5-entries-Blog about Strapped Belts/John Frechette and this giveaway (post must have a link to “Strapped Belts” and back here) for an extra entry include a picture of a Strapped Belts product
This giveaway ends Tuesday, February 2, 2010, at 11:59 PM (MST). Open to US addresses only. No PO Boxes. Winner will be chosen by random.org and contacted by email. Please respond in 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen. To be fair to everyone comments not meeting requirements will be deleted.
I entered your Baby Bean’s Bowtique Zebra Tutu Outfit and Bow Set Giveaway #2