By Katherine Ellis
Photography by James Park
Making a splash on the Ottawa fashion scene more than six years ago, Sid Cratzbarg, owner of Accessories by Sid, local television personality and fragrance stylist, believes that every perfume has a story. Originally a teacher and motivational speaker touring the U.S. and Canada, Cratzbarg wanted to follow his dream of fashion prior to his retirement. During that time, he expanded his own business with fashion shows, has had numerous guest spots on television and radio, and has made his way into the fragrance industry.
FAJO Magazine spoke with this incredible entrepreneur about his experiences launching world exclusive scents and following his dream!
KATHERINE ELLIS: You do many things related to the fashion industry, from running your business Accessories by Sid, to hosting fashion shows and promoting fragrances. When did this start and what fragrances have you launched so far?
SID CRATZBARG: I represent two large companies, Quadrant [Cosmetics Corp.] and Krikorian. We have some of the biggest names in the industry, like Gucci, Versace, Ferragamo and Blumarine, and the list goes on and on. I’ve launched world exclusives, including the Bois collection, based out of Florence, Italy. [Out of the 1920 hand-crafted bottles made], I think we only got 150 for the whole country. And I am the guy who sold 90 per cent of them. Come L’amore was the women’s and the men’s was called Oltremare. I pre-launched Signorina by Ferragamo too. That’s my talent, that’s what I love to do and I love talking to people!
How did the fashion dream begin?
I used to be a primary school teacher and a motivational speaker in the field of education, who traveled across the U.S. and Canada. But I had a dream to do fashion, so I decided to get into this industry. I felt there was a real problem in the world of fashion: there are so many young, beautiful people out there, but I wanted to look at the older woman who also has style. There is so much out there in the fashion world for the 20 or 30 year old, but for a woman who is 50 or 60 and is drop-dead gorgeous, some of the styles really don’t work.
I started my business about six years ago and was becoming really well-known, but then I got deathly ill. For two years, I was so sick I had to stop everything. I was diagnosed with one of the worst cases of ulcerative colitis [at the time] in Ottawa. I was in and out of the hospital for almost two years. After being released, I collapsed and they had to do emergency surgery – they didn’t even think I was going to come through. You really have a different perspective on life after something like that. Our daughter had gotten engaged, and all I said was I just want to be alive to see my daughter get married.
After I got better, I said okay, there is a lesson to be learned and I have to keep going. And so Accessories by Sid flourished, and people started to hear about me: I did some fashion segments for CBC, and they said: “We love what you do and we’d love for you to do 20 segments for us on fashion.” And that’s how all my television work began.
With your business Accessories by Sid, what is your motto and what do you do for your clients?
I buy the items and then put them in my shows; I have about eight per year in Ottawa, including Fall Into Fashion. That’s how my business works: I simply put together a fashion jacket worn with the right purse and jewelry to create a drop-dead gorgeous look – a million dollar look for $100 to show women they can look fabulous without robbing a bank. And smell wonderful. [laughs]
It’s a lot of work, but I love it, absolutely love it! It’s an exciting career. I’m a happy guy who is chasing the dream, and the greatest reward for me is when people say, ‘Oh my God, Sid, I wore your jacket and I had on your necklace and your bag, and everyone was asking me about it.’ That’s a real compliment.
If you had to pick a favourite perfume for men and women, what would it be?
I could go on for three hours on that! A lot of it has to do with the age. For women who are in their mid-20s to 50: I can’t just give you one, I have to say Versace and Ferragamo. Vanitas by Versace is exquisite: it has roses, jasmines and orchids form Tahiti. And the other one that is amazing is Signorina from Ferragamo. It has roses, jasmine and an airy texture of panacotta, that rich Italian dessert. It’s luscious.
For men: anything DSquared2. And for the young guys – without a doubt – Bulgari, Versace and Gucci. They are unique, the smells are fabulous and they’re masculine… Another one is Dolce & Gabbana – for women and for men.
How would you describe your style?
I love glasses, they are a trademark. I have many different pairs and they are all large. I do have a fetish for my watches, I have about 70. I’m a suit guy; I am not ‘casual Sid.’ I think women can make a statement when they walk in a room with the shoe and the purse, for guys like me, it’s glasses, watches, ties. [laughs]
I love ties! Unique ties, things that are different, but they have to be silk! Don’t ever give Sid a polyester tie.
I don’t follow trends, I just put it together based on how I feel I want to look, and that’s what I feel fashion is. You can add a trend here and there, but I think you either have it or you don’t. You can be taught style, definitely, or given a few ideas, but I just think being yourself, wearing what’s you, what looks good and what makes you feel good is what it’s all about.
Any future aspirations or future projects?
I’d like to do more marketing and more training across the country on fragrances. I want to be the guy who travels in certain cities across the country and says: here are the lines and I will tell you all about them.
And…you know what I’ve always wanted to do before I die? You’ll laugh. I want to be on the Shopping Channel! But it has to be something that I love and I think is amazing in fashion. I would love to go on, be a spokesperson for someone and say: ‘You are going to get Siddified in this whole collection.’ That’s what I would really love to do!