Former Police Chief Starts Clothing Business
Fond Du Lac Reservation — Herb Fineday has been sewing for over 30 years.
“I learned from watching my mother and picking it up, just watching her,” said Fineday.
Fineday is the owner of Round Lake Traditions, a clothing shop located in the Brookston Community on the Fond Du Lac Reservation that sells Ojibwe-themed apparel.
“I specialize in applique designs with a Ojibwe floral,” Fineday said.
Before he made clothes, Fineday was Chief of Police for the reservation. There was always one career he always had in mind.
“Growing up, I actually wanted to be an artist before I wanted to be a cop,” he said.
He made the decision to retire from his law enforcement career when he was only 48 to pursue his dream.
“I said if I wanted to retire, this is probably something that I can make work,” Fineday said.
After starting in his basement, Fineday now crafts and sews in a small shop he built next to his home. He was able to build his shop in just 17 days.
From moccasins to vests to so much more, Fineday makes a wide variety of Ojibwe-themed apparel.
Fineday wants each piece of clothing he makes to feel unique and one-of-a-kind. So when he makes sure that no two pieces of clothing he makes will ever look alike.
“I’m never going to re-create anything,” said Fineday. “If I design a vest, that floral arrangement that’s on that vest, I’m never going to re-create that again.”
The hours Fineday works to craft his apparel can be long at times, sometimes ranging from noon to midnight. Even though the hours he works might make him feel like he’s still the police chief, Fineday knows he made the right decision.
“To me, this isn’t work,” said Fineday. “I just enjoy what I do.”
Seeing the reaction on the faces of his customers is something that Fineday loves to see.
“What I’m doing is more than just making clothes,” said Fineday. “Those one-of-a-kind pieces are what people want for themselves and I enjoy that. It actually makes me smile and brings a lot of joy to me also knowing that.”
Fineday plans to launch a website for Round Lake Traditions sometime soon. For now, he uses the company’s Facebook page.