Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Toronto Etsy Street Team at hte AdHoc Pop-up Holiday Market!

The Toronto Etsy Street Team is excited to be a part of the AdHoc Pop-up Holiday Market!

Featuring eight team members, we'll be out each weekend for the duration of the show!

C'mon down and see our great team members, as well as all of the amazing vendors and food trucks, its going to be quite a show, one that you can't miss! Literally, you can't miss it, it's right on Yonge street, one street north of Dundas at the corner of Yonge & Gould. C'mon down and support some local makers this holiday season! (And don't forget the #localTOmrkt hashtag!)

Come down and say hello to the following team members: 

Fold it Creations
https://www.etsy.com/shop/folditcreations Saturday November 29th & Sunday 30th

Rong Designs
Saturday November 29th & Sunday 30th

Crass Stitches
http://www.crassstitches.com/#!etsy-shop/ca9r Saturday December 6th & Sunday December 7th

Sex on a Stitch
Saturday December 6th & Sunday December 7th

Lynns Lids
Saturday December 13th & Sunday December 14th

The Vexed Muddler
Saturday December 13th & Sunday December 14th

Your Hearts Haven
https://www.etsy.com/shop/yourheartshaven Saturday December 20th & Sunday December 21st

Amita Sem Gupta
Saturday December 20th & Sunday December 21st

 If you're interested in becoming a vendor at the AdHoc Pop-up Holiday Market please apply here:
There are still some tables available!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Get Your Creative Business Organized

Is one of your goals as a creative entrepreneur to get more organized in 2015?

Admin Guru Lisa Kelly offers administrative consulting, support and coaching for creative and conscious entrepreneurs who are too busy and/or dislike admin. In her own words, "I help small business owners achieve organization, obtain peace of mind, gain more time, and carry a lighter load." 

Doesn't that sound like a great way for creative business owners to start the new year?

Lisa Kelly has a special offer for members of the Toronto Etsy Street Team - 15% off her Organization 101 workshop being held at Artscape Youngplace. TEST members can use the discount code organizeme.


Organization 101: How right-brainers can stay on top of their admin

Thursday Dec. 4, 2014
6:30pm – 9:30pm
Artscape Youngplace
180 Shaw Street, Toronto ON
Instructor: Lisa Kelly

In this three-hour workshop, Admin Guru Lisa Kelly helps creative entrepreneurs streamline their operations and automate key areas to eliminate “admin overload.”
Admin doesn’t have to be messy. With Admin Guru you’ll learn to simplify your workflow and integrate disparate systems using the latest technological tools. Even technophobes can grasp her easy-to-learn steps to an organized business.

More info and to register: http://www.admin-guru.ca/workshops/

*This workshop is part of the Business Skills for Growth workshop series, an Artscape Launchpad initiative. To find out more about Artscape Launchpad and the Business Skills for Growth workshop series, please visit www.artscapelaunchpad.ca

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Ornament Making Workshop

Ornament Making Workshop
when: Saturday November 22, 12:30 - 2:30pm
where: Arts Market, 846 College St. Toronto

Learn how to make your own handcrafted holiday book ornaments!
In this 2 hour workshop you'll learn the basics of bookbinding and the tools of the trade.  This is a hands-on workshop where you'll create a personalized, unique book ornament. We will touch on the basics first, and then dive into the main project - you will leave with your very own handcrafted ornament!  
No previous art or bookmaking experience is necessary.  This is an easy, stress free workshop that will be sure to put you in the holiday spirit!  And it's the perfect time to start making gifts and ornaments.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Vendor call: Pop Up Christmas Market at Placebo Space

Unwrap Etsy Holiday Pop-Up

This holiday season, we're encouraging people to select something special from our fabulous local small businesses: artists, artisans, craftspeople, art and craft suppliers and vintage purveyors by buying their gifts from our Etsy sellers, rather than say, shopping at the mall. Give something unique, handcrafted or vintage. Give TEST sellers wares so your loved ones can unwrap something special!

In Vancouver, Montreal and here in Toronto, Etsy Canada is also giving you the chance to shop Etsy offline and in person at pop-ups! From November 21 to 25, at Huntclub in Little Italy at 709 College, you'll find the Etsy Holiday Pop-up featuring a selection of local sellers includint TEST's own aidebodycare, bakedsoapco, BubyNoacovensk, crassstitches, fionnahanna, GraceDesign, GreenBeanThings, handsomeandlace, herprettybird, loveatfirstblush, nathalie-roze, MaleebyNature, minouette, saidtheking, Sea & Lake Paper Company, SlashpileDesigns, stitchandspoke, and more! 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

TEST Interview: FlockofTeaCosy


We hope to introduce you to all the great etsy sellers to be found right here in Toronto. Here at the T.E.S.T. blog, we plan to interview them all. This is the 67th in our series and is with Michaelle McLean of FlockofTeaCosy.

It sounds like your business began almost by accident, when you made a tea cosy for yourself, and then for friends. Had you ever had a business before, or did you ever intend to? Is it your full time job?

You’re right it was an accident. I’ve worked freelance most of my career but not making things nor in retail. There is art college in my training though (OCAD, Banff School of Fine Arts), and I've always made things.  When I discovered this beautiful, brilliantly coloured, crisply made wool felt it was at a time when I had some time on my hands. I can’t remember how I discovered Etsy but it just seemed a no brainer to give it a fling. Although tea cosies are very traditional my designs are not, so they’re not for everyone. But being available to an international audience via Etsy made it so much easier to finding those fellow modern-aesthetic tea drinkers. It is not a full-time endeavour for me but one that I enjoy immensely. It gives me a great creative outlet. I sometimes wrestle with making more of a commitment to it as a business, but then I get sidetracked!

I know that felt is such a wonderful material for so many things - how did you discover and begin working with it?

I’m a regular user of a tea cosy and have lots of great memories of sharing a house during college with girlfriends where there was always a pot of tea on the table, and a tea cosy on top of it. But in recent years I just couldn’t find a tea cosy that I liked and that I thought looked modern and smart on my table. Being a sewer and a maker I knew I’d have to build one myself. I first came across some thick, fluffy felt made for ironing boards. It was floppy so needed to be covered in another fabric. It did the job but wasn’t that interesting to my eye. Then I was in MacFab (a fabric store in Toronto) one day and they had a few yards of 3mm French-made wool felt – bingo! I was in love. Felt, as you know, is an ancient fabric and its density makes it brilliant at insulation. Keeping something warm like a teapot was a natural for it. I love that highly functional aspect of it, and keeping the tea cosy design very simple – but elegant -- was important. There’s an industrial-chic aspect to it that I find very appealing.

You have built and named your business around one specific product. Have you ever been tempted to expand into different products?

Again, by accident really. Because the wool felt is so dear, I keep practically every little scrap (waste not, want not) figuring something would emerge in my little brain that would be perfect for them. Because I’m drawn to the functional quality of this felt – its density makes it brilliant at insulation – I am drawn to create things from it that exploit that quality. This year I started puzzling the pieces together into trivets and table runners which I’m having fun with – although the tiny pieces and tiny cuttings do create a lot of tiny fuzz which gets up my nose. I also run some tiny pieces into long rows to make holiday garlands for the tree which has absolutely nothing to do with its insulating quality but looks pretty.

I know that felt fabric can be quite difficult (and expensive!) to source. Did you have trouble finding just the right stuff for your cosies, or did you stick with that first French stuff that you found at MacFAb?

http://tidd.ly/56548366 MacFab didn’t continue to carry it I assume because there wasn’t much call for it, and it is dauntingly expensive. Although there are no longer any fine decorative wool felt makers in Canada (that I can find) there are still a few in the USA but the best is really in Europe. The internet is helpful for tracking down things and that’s how I found the stuff I use now.

You are a certified tea sommelier. As a fellow tea lover, that sounds amazing! Exactly what does it entail? I recently heard of someone travelling to India in pursuit of a specific tea - have you ever travelled for tea? And do you have a favorite tea?

Let’s hear it for tea! I’ve always enjoyed tea and noticed that George Brown College had a series of Tea Sommelier night courses as part of their Culinary Arts program. At the end there’s an exam presented by GB and The Tea Association of Canada and so I have a Tea Sommelier Certificate. I took it for pleasure not business and have been thrilled with the world of flavour and variety it’s opened up for me. And yes, last year I went on a tea tour to China with four fellow-tea lovers led by a fellow who owns a tea store here in Toronto – a very, very special trip.

My favourite tea? Ha, all of them. (Although I must admit that the charms of white tea rather elude me). I was raised on black tea and was thrilled to discover the Yunnan Golds and various black teas called Golden Monkey from China which feature lots of teeny golden leaf buds which impart warm caramel notes to the tea. Yum. I was hooked on Japanese Gyokuro green tea for a while which I was getting at a local Japanese grocery store. It has a distinctive silky mouthfeel and a sweet marine flavour. I was just given some Taiwanese oolong which is pretty divine too and a perfect afternoon tea. Okay, I’ll stop now!

You mentioned the international aspect of selling on Etsy - what's the most exciting (for you) place that you've sent one of your cosies?

The first cosy to anywhere is pretty exciting really, but it is fun to think of these little cosies making their way to teapots all the way across the seas in Australia, the UK, the Netherlands, etc. 

Check out the other items available from Michaelle in her etsy shop.   You can also follow FlockofTeaCosy on Twitter and Pinterest, and see more of the flock on her own website

Michaelle was interviewed by Julie Sinden of JulieSindenHandmade, November 11, 2014.

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