Fab Lethbridge (from left)

Family re-creates itself after facing unemployment

A Campbell River family had two choices – to stay or go – and they chose to stay.

A Campbell River family had two choices – to stay or go – and they chose to stay.

In 2008, when Catalyst Paper’s Campbell River pulp and paper mill shut down and the logging industry took a sharp downturn, Eduardo Arriaza and his brother-in-law, James Lethbridge, lost their jobs.

With families to support, they could either find work elsewhere and split up their extended family, or they could stay in town and do something different.

“We had to either leave the area or try to figure something out, and we did,” said Arriaza.

Arriaza, his two sisters, Solé MacDougall and Fab Lethbridge, his brother-in-law James Lethbridge, and his wife Maritte, co-founded Zudora in 2009.

Zudora is a jewelry home party business, similar to tupperware parties or candle parties.

Fab said that the family got creative when the two men lost their jobs, and urges others to expand and open their minds about how they can make a living.

“Something happened in this community,” said Fab. “You can run away – sometimes you have to – or you can move with the times, and think outside of the box, like what else can you do?”

Fab had a jewelry retail store in Campbell River in 2008, but noticed a “substantial” slow down in traffic to her store after the economic downturn. So she and Maritte started selling jewelry at home parties in Campbell River, Courtenay, and Nanaimo.

Fab said the sales were good, and seeing an opening, the family joined together and created Zudora, which is almost like a mini-franchise, according to Fab.

Consultants sell Zudora jewelry, but they market themselves and are considered individual businesses. Since it started, Zudora has grown; it now has an office in downtown Campbell River, and has spread to Alberta, Ontario, and New Brunswick, with consultants on the way for Saskatchewan and Manitoba. And the business is hosting a fundraiser, Shake and Shine for Childhood Cancer Canada Foundation on Fri. Sept. 30, from 6-9 p.m. at the Paramount Music Hall. The event will be filled with latin and belly dancing music, while Stereo Fitness does a massive Zumba class.

Fab estimates that around 200-300 people will come out to shake it for a cause.

Tickets are $10 and can be picked up at Zudora or Stereo Fitness, and Zudora will not be selling jewelry at the event; Fab said it’s all about raising money for the foundation.

“This is all for them,” said Fab. “We believe in this. It’s dear to our hearts and let’s go and do some Zumba.”