Bronté Freeman is the owner and operator of Victoria custom fabrication and design business, Freeman Fabrication. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

Bronté Freeman is the owner and operator of Victoria custom fabrication and design business, Freeman Fabrication. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

Female-owned welding business is a Victoria trailblazer

When Bronté Freeman first tried welding five years ago she was ‘instantly mesmerized’

Just five years after stumbling upon welding for the first time, Bronté Freeman owns and operates a successful welding business in Victoria. It’s a feat that would be impressive for anyone but is far more rare for a woman.

“Sometimes it feels like it just happened, but it didn’t,” Freeman said. A lot of hard work has gone into where she is today.

Five years ago Freeman was living in Whistler. She had just finished her kinesiology degree at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia and, equipped with the knowledge that she had no idea what she wanted to do next, bought a giant Bernese mountain dog and moved across the country.

(Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

It was there, while helping out a friend over the Christmas holidays, Freeman discovered a passion for welding.

“I was instantly mesmerized. I just loved it.”

Growing up, Freeman said her dad was super handy and happily introduced her and her three sisters to various trades.

“We always had bikes and tools around the house. He was always super keen to show us.”

But welding was not among those trades, and Freeman said she had always assumed it would mean going up north and working on the oil rigs.

As she began to look into the trade, Freeman realized it is quite versatile. Interested in more of the design and build side, she decided to attend Camosun College where she earned her Red Seal – the national standard of excellence for skilled trades in Canada.

What followed were two years of working in shops to afford to work on her own projects that her parents frequently purchased to help pay for her rent. Throughout it all, Freeman was driven and determined. She wanted to build her own business – one that focused on high-quality finishing work and customer experience.

“I just kind of knew that I could do it and that I wanted to do it.”

Two years ago, an opportunity presented itself. Bill Hooson, the owner of Steelcraft and Peetz Manufacturing, was retiring and looking for someone to purchase his tools and take over his lease and decades of clientele.

Today, she runs her shop a little differently than most she’s worked in.

“I like to involve the customer in the design portion and I like them to feel a part of the whole process,”

Customers are tired of feeling like they’ve been left in the dust by trades people, she explained. With Freeman Fabrication, she works to communicate with each client.

And she also has different ambitions for her business.

“I would love to be able to open up this space to training and be able to offer mentorship to females in the trade.”

Attending Camosun, there were plenty of women in the program, but not a single female instructor. Not having female role models in the trade never deterred Freeman from entering it, but she knows it could discourage others.

“I’d really like to be a place that can offer knowledge and mentorship.”

It’s her five-year goal to be able to offer workshops to interested women. Self-sufficiency is empowering and rewarding.

“It’s very satisfying to have something in your home that you built with your own hands.”

Freeman’s projects can be viewed at her website, freemanfabrication.ca, or on social media.


Do you have a story tip? Email: jane.skrypnek@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

entrepreneurGreater Victoriaskilled tradesVictoriawomen entrepreneurs

Just Posted

The Victoria International Airport saw its revenues plummet in 2020. Officials hope a proposed warehouse will be a significant revenue generator. (Black Press Media file photo)
Head of Victoria Airport Authority makes economic pitch for Sidney warehouse project

Geoff Dickson said Sidney stands to earn $325,000 in annual taxes

A building in the 300-block of Mary Street sustained significant damage Saturday night after a suspicious fire was started. Police arrested an arson suspect Sunday. (Courtesy of Victoria Fire Department)
UPDATE: Vic West shelter resident to be evicted following suspicious fire

Building in 300-block of Mary Street sustained significant damage Saturday night

Discarded construction materials make up nearly 40 per cent of all materials sent to the landfill from sources in the city of Victoria. (Zero Waste Victoria)
Victoria looks to curb construction waste

Victoria wants to see buildings deconstructed instead of demolished

Participants take part in a previous Walk for Alzheimer’s. This year’s event is being held virtually and participants are asked to set a walking or fitness challenge during May. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria residents invited to set fitness challenge for Alzheimer’s

IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s goes virtual during the month of May

Sofia Watts, Charlotte Magill and Harriet Knight were among the KELSET Elementary School students releasing salmon fry into Reay Creek May 7. (Ian Bruce/Submitted)
Saanich Peninsula elementary students help restock, clean up local creeks

Salmon fry releases took place at Reay Creek and Tetayut Creek

Conservation Service Officer Kyle Bueckert holds a gold eagle that was revived from acute rodent poisoning Monday, May 12. Photo: Submitted
‘Obviously, he’s a fighter’: Golden eagle, recovered from poisoning, back in Kootenay wild

CSO Kyle Bueckert released the eagle into the wild Thursday, May 13

Capt. Jenn Casey died in a crash just outside of Kamloops, B.C., on May 17, 2020. (CF Snowbirds)
Snowbirds to honour Capt. Casey, who died in B.C. crash, in 2021 tour

Tour will kick off in Ontario in June before heading west

A pedestrian wearing a mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 is bundled up for the cold weather as snow falls in downtown Vancouver on Saturday, February 13, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Snow possible in mountain passes as cold front hits southern B.C.

Much of B.C.’s southern interior will see temperatures plunge from highs of 30 C reached over the weekend

A fledgling white raven was spotted near the end of Winchester Road in Coombs. (Mike Yip photo)
Legend continues as iconic white raven spotted once again on Vancouver Island

Sightings rare everywhere in world except for central Vancouver Island location

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Most Read