Photography by Kismet Visuals.
As the daughter of an Army Colonel, Abigail Fredelake spent her childhood in a variety of countries. But over the years spent abroad, her family kept strong ties to Ohio and frequently visited relatives in Columbus. After attending Auburn University, where she studied French and fashion merchandising, and following stints in Germany and France, Abigail moved to Columbus in 2008 for a job in merchandising for a global retailer and has called it home ever since. With a lifelong passion for all things local, shifting from fashion merchandising to editor/ owner of The Scout Guide Columbus was an easy transition. “I truly think that it all comes down to being passionate about what you are doing and loving the ‘product’ you are trying to sell,” Abigail explains of marrying her professional background with her belief in the importance of supporting small businesses. “Everything else can be learned as you go, but if you don’t believe in what you are doing, no one else will either.” The tireless editor, budding needlepointer, and avid traveler will launch the sixth volume of The Scout Guide Columbus in early 2022.
TSG: Tell us about your professional background and career path.
AF: After I graduated from Auburn in 2008, I received a job offer in Columbus with Limited Too. I already had some family here, so it was an easy transition and I have loved living here ever since. After I left the corporate retail world, I went back to luxury sales. I had interned in Paris at a luxury fashion house and have always loved the aspect of selling something I am passionate about and forming relationships with clients. That passion was the perfect segway into owning my own business and handling sales for The Scout Guide Columbus.
Abigail, Andrew, and Carl. Photography by Henry Photography.
I first discovered The Scout Guide in 2014 when my husband and I were planning our wedding in Jackson, Wyoming. Some of our wedding vendors were featured in The Scout Guide Jackson Hole, and we brought the guide to our consults. I still remember the moment I told my husband I wanted to bring it to Columbus. The quality of the publication, the beautiful imagery, and of course advocating for local businesses were key elements that attracted me to it.
I loved my work in the fashion world, but meeting my husband and knowing we were going to make Columbus our forever home spurred on my desire to own my own business. I believe so many events in life happen by fate, and The Scout Guide just seems to be another one to add to the list.
Prepping for a TSG Columbus photo shoot. Photography by Henry Photography.
I started TSG Columbus a year later, and while there are so many aspects of the role I enjoy, working on the creative direction for the guides is definitely my favorite part of the job. I think the photography experience for our members is one of the most fun aspects about being a part of TSG, and helping create beautiful imagery and elevate that experience for them is just incredible. After a year of hard work, being able to physically hold the finished product in your hands when the guide comes out and flip through all the beautiful features is one of the best and most satisfying feelings!
Overall, I’d say the people that TSG has brought into my life are the absolute best part of the job. I get to meet new, inspiring business owners in the community and I love to hear their stories about how they’ve built their businesses. Plus, there’s a wonderful support system through my fellow TSG editors. I don’t know what I would do without their guidance and inspiration.
Styling on set of a TSG Columbus photo shoot. Photography by Henry Photography.
TSG: What is a typical day like for you?
AF: Every day is so different and I absolutely love that! I now have a two-year-old, so having the flexibility to spend time with him and still run my business has been incredible. Right now, my days are filled with meetings, researching potential new businesses, social media, planning events, and answering emails. Once production starts, it’s all about creative—meetings to plan our photo shoots, the actual photo shoots, and sharing all the behind-the-scenes shots on social media. Today I went to a morning yoga class (a necessity to stay centered when owning your own business), planned social media for the weekend, answered some emails, and I’m about to do some photography of our guide for the summer holidays coming up.
TSG: Tell us a little bit about your work/life balance.
AF: Having a child in the midst of owning TSG has really put work/life balance in perspective for me, and I am so thankful to have a job that allows me to do both. When I am working, I work, and work hard. But when I am with my son I try to put the phone down and really be present. Having your own business does make that challenging as you are always “on,” but I feel like I am a better editor and mother when I try to separate the two. I did do 45 photoshoots for our Volume 4 when my son was just a month old, but other than that it’s been smooth sailing! (I don’t recommend that, by the way!)
Abigail’s son Hugo helping on set. Photography by Kismet Visuals.
TSG: How are you enjoying downtime right now?
AF: My free time is pretty limited these days with a business and a two-year-old. But when I do have a few spare moments I enjoy antiquing, needlepointing (a hobby I picked up during our pandemic year), and bike rides with my family. I’m also an avid traveler and with the world opening up again, we’re starting with some smaller trips with our son to Chicago and Seaside, Florida. But we are planning an international trip to France and Switzerland to celebrate my 40th next year.
TSG: What do you love most about your city?
AF: There are so many things I love about Columbus, but at the top of the list has to be living in a large city that has a small town vibe. I absolutely love all the different neighborhoods, where you can spend a day exploring each one. From shopping and eating your way through the Short North to checking out the amazing cafes and local shops in downtown Worthington, there are so many darling gems throughout our city. Not to mention, it’s an absolute ideal place to raise a family.
THE HIT LIST: ABIGAIL’S FAVORITES
Date night: One of the things I have missed most this past year is live performances and I am so looking forward to planning a night out with my husband with dinner at one of our favorite downtown restaurants, The Keep (located inside of Hotel LeVeque), and enjoying a performance from BalletMet or ProMusica Columbus.
Activity with kids: My son LOVES trains, so visiting Franklin Park Conservatory’s outdoor train exhibit and their Childrens’ Garden is definitely top on the list. We also have one of the best zoos in the country, so that is always a frequent activity for us throughout the year.
Way to unwind: A nice glass of wine in the evening always takes a little bit of the day’s stress away.
Favorite flower: Fuchsias
Music genre: I play classical music at home and in the car, but I also love some ABBA!
Meal: I am so thankful to have a husband who loves to cook (as I do not!), and one of the best things I gave him when we first started dating was a pasta maker. A dinner at home with good music, wine, and one of his homemade pasta dishes is the best.
Drink: Hugo. It’s actually our son’s name too, but this cocktail is on a lot of menus in Europe and we make it at home all the time now, too: St. Germain Elderflower, dash of soda water, Prosecco, fresh mint, and lime.
Book: Suite Francaise by by Irène Némirovsky and The Greater Journey by David McCullough
Movie: Les Miserables
TV series: Any British crime drama will do!
Vacation spot: My favorite city will forever be Paris, but I love exploring new places on vacation and mixing it up.
Accessory: Silk scarves; I’ve gathered a collection over the years.
Piece of clothing: I have a couple of ball gown skirts in my closet that I never actually wear, but I love looking at them!
Time of day: Morning—fresh cup of coffee, and working in my office.
Treasured possession: Photo albums. We have old ones dating back to when my parents were young, and of course the thousands of photos on my phone. I always love looking back at them and it will become the only way the stories and history carries on for the next generation.