T.E.S.T. Interview: SoRad

Sunday, January 31, 2010

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 fourth in our series, an interview with SoRad.

Tell us about your shop.
I opened my shop last summer in hopes to sell some extra cards I had printed for a craft show. Right now, my shop has greeting cards, prints and some baby and kids clothes.

How is your Etsy experience so far? What have you learned about yourself? How does your store fit into your life?
So far, not so bad. I was hoping for more sales, but I'm sure most people are when they first open a shop! I've learned that I definitely love working for myself. I like having all of my stuff online, available to the public and I really like having my own shop! Having a shop on Etsy seems to give me motivation to create more stuff. When you work for yourself, it's SO easy to slack.

Tell us about your creative process - what is your favourite medium to work with?

Creative process.. funny, I had someone else ask me to write an article about my creative process and I'll be honest, it wasn't too long. Ideas just come to me out of the blue. I might get stuck on wording and spend time talking to myself for a day or so, but then I'm back on
track. A bit of my background might make this make more sense - I used to be a digital illustrator for clipart.com. I worked part time and my
monthly quota was minimum 60 illustrations, I sometimes did 90. I also did freelance for liquidlibrary.com and had another 4 (more beautiful) illustrations per month. My favourite medium is the computer! My mac book pro and my tablet *sigh*... My husband said I looked just as excited when I got it as I did when I had my son! haha

Your artwork has quite a bit of variety, how would you define your style?
Being a digital illustrator, you tend to have to adapt. I love lots of styles and wish I could do more even, so I guess maybe I am still searching for my own style. I have been told, I do have a specific style and I need more diversity, so go figure!

Love your monsters! How were they born?

Like I said, I love lots of styles. One in particular are those japanimation characters and creatures. I also love simplicity and wanted something I could work with without too much detail. Something that could be done easily in Adobe Illustrator and resized to 54892 x 7489 if it needed to be.:)

What are your upcoming plans and goals?

I am actually thinking about not doing anymore cards. I love making the artwork and I love the characters (which will carry over into the next endeavor). Right now, I am working on my own baby clothing line - yes, now I am a fashion designer - stay tuned...

Check out more of Jazz's work on her Facebook sorad page, in her blog, follow her on twitter, or on her website and in sorad in etsy.

Interviewed by Zippster on January 28, 2010.

T.E.S.T. interview: Zippster/kltrocks

Thursday, January 28, 2010

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 third in our series, an interview with Zippster, also known as kltrocks.

Tell us a little about you and your shops:
About 3 years ago I decided to turn my sewing hobby into a small business. I opened my first Etsy shop (kltrocks) about 2 ½ years ago, focusing on clothes and accessories for Blythe dolls. As I became involved in other crafts, I decided to open a second shop (Zippster) for non-Blythe items – this shop has a little bit of everything: purses, pouches, pins, magnets, cards, vintage sewing supplies. My other hobbies, such as photography and fabric design, influence what I make.

What do you do as your "day job"?:
During the day I work as a librarian in downtown Toronto, which I find very rewarding but can be mentally demanding. Having a creative hobby helps with the life-work balance.

How did you get started sewing/making buttons/making magnets?:
While I’ve always been involved in something creative, I became more serious with sewing about 3 years ago after I bought my first Blythe doll and I realized I really enjoyed making clothes and accessories for these unique dolls. From that I branched out onto other sewing projects, inspired by both of my grandmothers’ fabric stashes. I really enjoy making small accessories, such as the coin purses and zippered pouches. As a librarian, I also have an interest in printmaking, so after taking a printmaking course I became involved in paper crafts. That then led to the button making. There are so many things I am interested in learning how to do (crochet has been on my list for a while), that it’s a challenge sometimes to stay focused.

How do you choose your imagery?:
Many of my button designs are taken from or inspired by vintage reproductions from books, newspapers and magazines. Some of the designs are born out of necessity, such as the food-themed buttons (No Gluten, No Nuts, etc.). I myself have a severe food allergy, so these buttons are fun but also practical.

As for sewing projects, I really love retro fabric prints: two of my favourite fabric sources are Repro Depot Fabrics and a Toronto company called Tonic Living – they both specialize in vintage and retro reproductions. It’s so easy to get inspired when you have such amazing fabrics to work with!

My greeting cards make use of my own photography, linocut prints or silk screen prints. We’re very lucky in Toronto, to be part of a vibrant city but to also have access to large green spaces, such as High Park and Edwards Gardens, where many of my photos are taken.

How do you promote yourself?:
As an introvert, self-promotion is not something that comes easily to me, but I do make use of all the online options, such as Flickr, Facebook, a blog, and message boards. I’m actually in the process of setting up a website, which will bring all the pieces together in one spot.

Do you have any upcoming craft shows or other events you'd like to tell us about?:
For the last 2 years I’ve been fortunate enough to participate as a vendor at quite a few craft shows. This spring and summer I’ve decided to focus more on wholesale.

Any advice for new sellers on Etsy?:
Patience: it may take weeks or even months to start getting regular sales. There may even be weeks or months in between sales. Don’t take it personally, it’s not something you have control over.

Inform yourself: read Etsy’s DOs and DON’Ts, read the FAQs, read the Storque articles, read the forums, learn everything you can about how Etsy works so are fully prepared and your shop is properly set-up (including filling out your shop policies – do this! Please!).

Have some sort of a plan: Decide how much time you want to spend on promotion, and where (Google Analytics helps with this). Make sure you have packaging and shipping supplies and familiarize yourself with postal rates and services. Keep on top of upcoming international holidays, seasonal trends and other special days (have a sale or create special items).

Oh, and have fun creating!

Check out more of Karen's work at Zippster, kltrocks, on her blog 'librarian karen', and in her flickr photostream.

Karen also wrote the wonderful, thorough, and extremely useful Tips for Indoor Craftshows article for the T.E.S.T. blog in November.

Interviewed by SoRad, January 27th, 2010.

Team Meeting

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hey Toronto Etsy Street Team! A friendly reminder we have a TEAM CHAT ON MONDAY at 8pm on Etsy Chat. Hope to see you all there!

Craft Relief for Haiti

Friday, January 22, 2010

In case you missed this information on the Toronto Craft Alert, I'd like to draw your attention to an event here in Toronto, tomorrow, Saturday 23, 11 am to 5 pm, at the Queen E Presb. Church in Leslieville, at 947 Carlaw - a craft/rummage/bake sale and silent auction for the Canadian Red Cross' Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund organized by nathalie-rose.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

It's one month until Valentine's Day. Now's a good time to get tokens of love for your loved ones. Today, we start our survey of handmade goodies in the city, with some of the newest members of the T.E.S.T.:

Need a symbol of everlasting love? Check out the Lovers Locks Photograph by poise101. "The locks on the Ponte Vecchio are put there by lovers. Legend has it that if lovers place a lock on the Ponte Vecchio and toss the key over the bridge into the Arno River, their love will last forever."

Roses are a traditional gift - here's a twist: the Red Rosebud Wool Felt Hair Clip by claraclips

For a sassier gift, get the Coral metallic leather silver bracelet. Vibrant and hot. SASSY AND CHIC. by shopelegante

What says love like Paris in the springtime? Get Paris Pink by Melanie Hillier and enjoy free shipping within Toronto.

This necklace is even called Eternally in Love - Encrusted Multi-Gem Heart Pendant Necklace with Pink Corondum Quartz, Carnelian, Amethyst, Bear Quartz and Czech Glass by SolBijou

Looking for kisses? Try the Smooches Handkerchief by Avril Loreti

Dress for the occasion with FREE SHIPPING Le Collier Sobet by cocoboudoir

For you Love Birds, check out this card by Bebbers

Send a message with the I heart you - greeting card- in pink by kiwipunch

Tell your favorite zombie, or anatomist he's in your thoughts. Thinking of You Valentine VI - Multimedia Linocut Card by minouette

What says love like a mixed tape? Mix Tape necklace Hot Pink by ratgirl

Coax someone inside with It's Warm Inside Greeting Card by SoRad

TheGirlInYellow offers some naughtier sentiments, like Naughty pinup cards for your baby

Wear your heart(s) on your belt with the
Four Blue Hearts - Fused Glass Belt Buckle by urbanfusions

For your favorite infant or new parent, get Wishy Washies - Organic Cotton Terry Washcloths Set of 2
by littledenim

Show your love for your pet with this Pink Leopard collar - Size XL by peachykeenpets.

Express a love for something you can rely on with the I heart books pinback button by Zippster

Show your Etsy love with the I heart ETSY - beer cozie!
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