Gypsy Freedom: The home of sustainable fashion in Syracuse, NY
When I started Teddy Locks I knew that I was going to be transparent about where Teddy Locks socks are made and what they are made from. Why? Because of traceability and trust. It would mean that each of you eco-soles could experience the journey they go through and the positive impact they – and you - are having.
I am also transparent because I am PROUD! Proud to be working with the people behind the scenes who spin, dye, knit and finish all of our socks.
But, beyond the socks, there are also the amazing people that I get to partner with – and Caeresa Richardson is one of them!
When I was first in touch with Caeresa I didn’t know that she was a fellow lady of STEM. What I knew was that she shared my values about sustainability and that she was taking huge steps in helping others to shop consciously.
Just a couple of months after Teddy Locks went live Caeresa opened Gypsy Freedom, a women’s boutique in Syracuse, New York. She was stepping away from her engineering career at the same time as I was stepping away from mine in wildlife television production – and finding her felt like fate.
Over the past year, Caeresa has been sharing the Teddy Locks mission. She’s given me the privilege of appearing in one of her fantastic IGTV live Sip and Shops and even featured Teddy Locks as a guest brand at the virtual Impact Fashion holiday event.
And now I am thrilled to be sharing her story with you.
How it all Began:
- What sparked the decision to start Gypsy Freedom?
I worked as an engineer for a number of years. During that time I grew a personal interest in lowering my carbon footprint and becoming more conscious of my impact on my surrounding environment. Eventually, this made me into a more conscious consumer. I found it challenging to find fashion brands that held my values of sustainability, ethical practices, and social consciousness. I created Gypsy Freedom as a way to fill this gap and meet this need for other women.
- What advice would you give others looking to make such a big career change?
Try to plan a strategic exit instead of a big jump. Save up money over time that you can use to invest in a business venture. Once you decide to make the change commit to this decision and make a plan to exit that you can stick with.
- What is your favorite thing about running Gypsy Freedom?
I love learning about new materials and learning the impact that all of our brands are making around the world. I also really love working with women one on one to help them realign with their style and values.
- How do you find and source brands for the space?
I find many of my brands through research and collaborations. The sustainable fashion industry is small and very collaborative. I have been introduced to new brands by my customers and clients as well as through other brands that I work with. I also attend retail buyer conferences and enjoy meeting brands in person at their various show rooms.
- What should people looking to switch to slow fashion brands be looking out for?
I start my evaluation of any brand with their production practices. I first want to ensure that they are using fair and humane practices that fairly compensates their artists and garment workers. I then look at the materials they use to find some of my favorites. Finally, I like to consider brands that are socially conscious and contribute to charities or raise awareness of social causes. This is the same process that I go through when evaluating whether a brand should be carried at Gypsy Freedom.
- What are your top 3 sustainable fashion tips?
Try to look for natural plant based and preferably plant dyed materials. If synthetics are involved try to start with recycled polyester or upcycled deadstock materials.
Looking to the Future:
- What impact would you like to have?
I would like to have an impact on making conscious consumerism our new normal. I would also like to continue to be an example to women and girls of their ability to go after and achieve their personal and professional goals in life.
- What do you hope your daughter will learn from your work with Gypsy Freedom?
I want my daughter to know that there is nothing that she cannot do. I would like to serve as her example that the sky is the limit for what she chooses to dream and achieve. I want her to know that she can commit herself to achieving these things in a way that is humane and in alignment with her values so that she can live with the peace of being her truest self.
If you are in Syracuse, New York make sure to visit Gypsy Freedom – say hi to Caeresa and check out Teddy Locks IRL.
Caeresa Richardson is the owner of Gypsy Freedom which is Central New York’s first sustainable fashion boutique. After spending many years as a corporate engineer Caeresa created Gypsy Freedom to unite style and awareness, making them accessible for the everyday woman. Through her unique perspective, both technical and chic, she empowers women to express their social values through their personal style.
Caeresa is a Buffalo, NY native and is very active in the CNY community. Most notably, she is a business consultant at the WISE women’s business center, a board member at The Gifford Foundation, and a member of The Women’s Fund Leadership Council at The Central NY Community Foundation.
Caeresa is an avid reader and traveler who currently resides in Liverpool, NY with her dear daughter, Sharon Rose and loving husband, David Richardson.