2010 Winners

Sudbury | Young Entrepreneur

Darby-Reed Massimiliano & Brenna Massimiliano

Darby-Reed Massimiliano & Brenna Massimiliano

Fric and Frac. It is a term of endearment used by Brenna and Darby-Reed’s mother, Sarah, when she refers to her two girls in a fun-loving way. Little did the family know one day it would be on their business cards.

Two and a half years separate the Massimiliano sisters who moved with their family from Toronto to Sudbury to care for father Carmine’s relatives five years ago. Carmine’s brother, Tony, came for a visit and brought over a jewelry beading kit for the girls. The rest, they say, is history.

Sarah didn’t want to get involved in it, knowing full well that it would be another venture that would land on mom’s lap. However, once Brenna, aged nine at the time and Darby-Reed, 11, began making jewelry, the creative juices began flowing from mom, too. Sarah went online to order some hemp string and high-quality glass beads for the girls who made exquisite pieces for their friends and relatives. In fact, one relative, who came for a visit from Italy, thought the girls had such talent she recommended they open their own store. Perhaps this was when the seed was planted. Darby-Reed wanted to visit Italy, and her father told her to “save your money, do your business.”

The girls took that quite literally. Sarah helped them register their business, and Carmine scouted for places where the girls could show their wares. Ray Boyer, a local hot tub/pool retailer (Sunshine Pools), was working at a trade show in the coming weeks and asked the girls to join him.

“We made more money in 15 minutes than dad did in a day,” Brenna squeals with laughter.

Since then the girls have come a long way from a home-based business to a Fric and Frac Jewelry store in the Rainbow Centre to a south-end Sudbury location that is bursting at the seams.

A morning for Brenna, now almost 14 and Darby-Reed, 15, begins with home schooling and then work in the afternoon. They take turns switching days since the weekend is usually a busy time when they are both needed. The self-taught beaders search for new ideas online and in magazines. It is their sheer imagination that results in some remarkable one-of-a-kind items.

“It is not as complicated as people think,” Brenna says, adding she and her sister provide classes and instruction daily to a group of six or more, except for Sunday and Tuesday.

It takes anywhere from a half-hour to five hours to create some gem pieces, says Brenna as she attempts to fasten two strings together with glue.

“Mom, can you help me with this?”

They are getting ready for a fashion show with Nelia’s Designer Fashion on Notre Dame. Nelia sought them out after witnessing some of their work at local markets.

Some of their material is purchased locally through Cathy Carr, who makes glass beads, and through Denise Garbutt, who manufactures dichroic pendants.

Marketing is a huge part of the business, says Carmine. For the summer, the two girls are booked in the Farmers’ Market, Northern Lights Festival Boreal, Sudbury Ribfest and the Sudbury Arts Council tour. They are also part of the Chamber of Commerce and Business Professional Women organizations.

“It is good for promotions,” Carmine said.

Where do the girls go from here?

To fishing lures, of course, and wind chimes, Darby-Reed pipes up. They want to diversify their business to include these and other items such as beaded purses and shoes.

“I want it to be bigger and better,” Brenna smiles, threading more precious stones to a chain.