The business we have created means we’re bound to regularly and frequently come into contact with handfuls of inspiring people, but this particular person stands out to us for many reasons.
We first met Frederique as a determined college student, motivated to be our first social media intern. Our company was barely a year old, and at the time, our team was small, but inevitably growing. Fred showed up to the interview prepared and spoke with confidence and passion. Making her a part of the team was obvious. The surf travel company has been shaped by her presence and her contribution to its marketing, and we couldn’t be more proud of what it has become.
As Barefoot Surf Travel has grown, so has Fred’s drive. A drive that has taken her to the beaches of Bali to open her own clothing store, Les.Basics. She designs her own line called Fred while she works with local tailors and families to produce the product. Just recently, she launched her online store so everyone from around the world can experience her handmade creations from Bali.
When was your first trip to Bali? What was your impression?
My first trip in Bali was in the summer of 2014. I went with Alex and a friend! And I fell in love instantly.
How many times did you visit before deciding to live there?
Once! I was more-so seeking an adventure, rather than ‘’moving’’ to another country. I left for few months for an internship with June Swimwear, and then finally stayed for a year. It was after that that I decided to invest, open my store and create my brand! Everything happened so naturally and smooth. Nothing was a rush.
Which came first — the idea of the business or the decision to move?
The experience came first and the business idea second… The project started to really move forward when the environment and fashion and store situation in Bali grew and Alex’s parents moved and provided me with a beautiful space to open the storefront.
When did you become interested in fashion + design?
I have always been interested in fashion and design. I am a big fashionista and love everything about fashion. I love simple, but elegant, trendy style! I am also a big shopper! I always wanted to create my own t-shirt or pants as I was never finding the right fit for me, but I never thought I would truly be doing it one day. I especially never thought I would make a living off it or even own a store or brand or an online store.
Why is the name “Les.Basics”?
I was sitting in Changai airport with Alex when I thought of the name! I was thinking about different names, and I was always coming back to that concept of basics. Those words were just simple and sound so fun to my ears. I added “Les” because I am French Canadian, and I couldn’t open a store without a French touch! And, like that, Les.Basics was born….
What are the benefits (business related, personal lifestyle related, etc) to having a business in Bali?
The personal benefits are simple, but so important. I’m able to live my passion while driving under palm trees and the shining sun. I’m able to head to the beach on my days off and explore the island or go on a weekend getaway in Bingin or Nusa Lembongan! Living this life has given me the ability to chase waves with my love!
As far as the benefits for having a business in Bali, I’m surrounded by the creative vibe and interesting and colorful culture. I love the way people live in Bali. Everyone is creative, and there is truly something magical about the Balinese culture and the island. Living under the palm trees, the sun…
What is your relationship like with your local workers? Describe your team.
My relationship with my local workers and staff are all about mutual respect. I have a really special team! They are the true color of my company and they reflect what I believe in life and aspire to share with others. My team is more than “staff,” they have a love for life, for fun, for happiness. They dream big, they want to travel, they want to explore the world, play music, dance, laugh, surf…
My local families who I work with to make our clothing are amazing too! They teach me a lot about the job, and we grow together.
I want to respect my workers and give them the opportunity to grow as we grow too. It’s a big, yet small team that we have, and we are one big happy family.
Has everything gone to “plan”? If not, how did you handle those situations?
NOTHING has gone to plan! [laughs] I’ve learned to let go and simplify my life and thoughts. At the beginning, this was not easy since I’m a perfectionist and love to be in control.
What have you learned from this process? What have you learned about yourself?
I am so glad I followed my gut. It was the best move because I discovered a true passion that was hiding inside myself: being a creator of clothing and designing denim! I am obsessed!
I’ve also learned that you cannot control everything in life and that everything will pass — nothing is permanent. Bali has taught me to be humble and slow my pace down, how to be a better person and what I really want in life.
I have also learned how to be a leader and how to help others at the same time. I believe in cheering on everyone next to you rather than tearing him or her down. We build empire by helping and supporting each other!
What was your original vision for Les.Basics? Has that vision changed?
My vision was to create comfortable, affordable, timeless and simple clothes that people could wear everyday. That vision hasn’t changed at all, but many more things have come along the way.
Our clothing is all handmade by local families in Bali while being conscious of the sustainability and impact our product makes on the environment (using less plastic, trying to use better fabric for the environment and so on). We want to make a difference in the big fashion industry. It’s small changes, but at the end of the day, if everyone makes small changes, it will make a big difference.
What do you see for the future of Les.Basics? What do you see for your future?
In the future, I see myself doing what I love, designing and enjoying life surrounded by inspiring and meaningful people. I see myself able to give people jobs and growing our big family!
What do you feel the most fulfilled/successful about? A certain product? Your online store? Your physical shop?
I have to admit, I am really proud of a lot of things.
I feel fulfilled when I see that I am helping others to grow and live their dreams too.
I feel fulfilled when I see my customers happy and wearing their favorite basics around Canggu, enjoying life. I feel honored to be apart of their big adventure.
I feel fulfilled that my store and my new online store launched. When I check up on it, I am always amazed that I built it on my own and now have a big team to help me continue to grow it.
I am also really proud of the denim line. It has been a real bumpy road. It takes months of sampling and remaking it to finally be able to get a final product! I am still learning a lot and still making mistakes, but I was able to create the quality and fit I envisioned. It makes me happy to see that people wear my creation and have my name on their butt! [laughs].
What would you tell someone who has a vision but is too full of fear to follow through?
I would say fuck the fear. It can be hard, yes, of course, but if everything were easy, everyone would do it! I would tell them to listen to that little inner voice and to follow it wherever it tells you. Nothing can go wrong because at least you tried.
What is your personal favorite product(s) that you think everyone should have and why?
Oh, HARD question! I would say The Roll Up Short — they are perfect for any adventure. They have a high waist and are a little bit loose on the leg. They can be paired with a crop top to get that perfect summer look. I would also have to say the Fred Tee in Basic White! Everyone needs a white t-shirt in his or her wardrobe. You can wear it with the girls on a night out or a movie night with your boyfriend! I love how versatile basic clothes can be.