T.E.S.T. Interview: J'Anns Boutique

Tuesday, November 30, 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 tenth in our series, an interview with Jody-Ann (J'Ann) of JAnnsBoutique.

Your Etsy profile refers to your obsession with vintage purses. Give a bit more detail on that - how long has it been going on?!

I believe my etsy store J'Anns Boutique is a glimpse of my experiences as a child. My obsession (healthy love) of vintage purses comes from my childhood days of playing dress up with my mom’s accessories. Stomping around in her patent pumps, lips covered in her classic red lipstick, beaded necklace a must, and clip on earrings to match…

Then there was the purse, ever so neatly tucked between my little elbow fold, providing the grace and poise I needed to make my fantasy of adulthood complete. My mom was (and still is) the DIY dressmaker in our family (too bad her daughter missed the sewing gene), and always had magazines with patterns and outlines of various outfits being modeled around the house. I was always fascinated by the purses the models carried and just how elegant it made them look. So it is only natural that I am still fascinated today by the handbags of yesteryear. However, today they are no longer “mommy’s handbag” but rather “vintage”. It is this love that you see today in J’Anns Boutique and also what I try to bring to my blog.

What is your day job? Do you have a design or arts background?

By day I am a librarian, and by night a femme fetale…

No seriously... My day job is actually a tad on the serious side, I work as a Legal Assistant/ Event Coordinator. Not a very artsy job when you think of the legal aspect, however being responsible for the coordination of corporate events does allow me to get a bit of creativity in, so it balances out (I think). I do not have a design or arts background, but I am usually quite smitten by those who do and the amazing things they can create.

Your blog is delightful - with all the glimpses of gems you find along the way. Is it a key promotional tool for you - or a labour of love? In what other ways do you promote your business? Which do you find the most effective?

Thank you! My blog is actually a bit of both. I originally started my blog at the suggestion of a friend, who thought it might be a great idea to give current and potential visitors to my store, a glimpse into the “mind behind the bag” so to speak. Although started for a different reason, I have found my blog to be a great promotional tool, as visitors to my blog who were not aware of my etsy store before finding my blog have become customers and vice versa. In terms of promotion I honestly do not do a lot, however, I usually try to buy at least one etsy showcase spot per month, and these have proved to be a very effective marketing tool for my store.

How do you see your business evolving in the short and long term?

At the moment my store can be considered small scale in comparison to some of the other vintage stores on etsy. I would love to expand significantly the number of vintage purses offered through my store, and this is something I am currently working on. I am also exploring the possibility of acquiring carts at vintage shows in my city, to be able market my items to a more direct customer base. My next focus is to revamp my marketing strategies, which at the moment is pretty much non-existent except for a few etsy showcases. Advertising on blogs I frequent that might bring traffic to my store is something that I am currently considering.

As a relatively new Etsy seller, what are the most helpful tools Etsy offers? Are there other tools you would like to see that you would find helpful?

Etsy offers an amazingly comprehensive marketplace. I used to sell on ebay, and listing, renewing and cancelling an item is much easier and user-friendly on etsy, and let’s not forget the lower fees, a welcomed bonus! I recently discovered the etsy teams and I find this to be incredibly helpful, as it allows interaction with other sellers with similar interests and/or locations, which can be a great resource for new sellers. I cannot get enough of the Etsy success, Quit your day job, and Featured seller series, great for getting ideas of what may or may not work for your store. Coupon Codes! I am beyond excited about this new tool, before this great tool my method of getting discounts to my customers were by emailing them a coupon, and then refunding the discounted amount on paypal, so I am very excited about this new feature. One tool I would love to see on etsy is a shipping cost calculator. As a relatively new etsy seller, I find depending on the product I do have to keep adjusting my shipping rate. There have been the cases where I’ve charged a customer an amount for shipping and was charged twice as much when it was calculated at the post office. But overall etsy is amazing!

Interviewed by LD of GoodYarns in November, 2010.

T.E.S.T. Interview: Good Yarns

Thursday, November 25, 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 nineth in our series, an interview with Lisa-Dawn of GoodYarns.

Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get started with GoodYarns?

I'm a mother of 3 teens and a little extra blessing who is 5. I have an MA in journalism. I have been busy over the last several years home teaching my kids (the older ones until about 4 years ago). Needless to say it is an exuberant, creative household.

How and why Good Yarns?

As far as knitting goes, mainly I have made things for my kids. I have always liked that DIY allows you to pick from a broader palate of colours, richer fibres and your own choice of styles than can be found at the average local department store. After all isn't personalization what DIY is all about?!

For classic patterns - over the years I have hunted for classic items for family members that you just can't find in stores - for example the basic kitty ears balaclava for toddlers and sailor's watch cap for men. My Etsy shop allows me to help others resource these classics too.

Satisfying a creative need - I've always liked the portability of knitting - you can take it along to doctor's visits, baseball tournaments or whatever. It's been a sanity saving creative outlet for me. Someone said in conversation a few years ago that she wasn't "a maker." This dumbfounded me. I didn't know there was any other way to be!

When choosing a name for my shop, I asked my older daughter for an idea for a name that combined knitting and writing, and she immediately blurted out, "Good Yarns." There you have it!

Apart from creating knitted items, what do you do? What is your day job?

My day job is still teaching my youngest son, who after a year of walking on eggshells through Junior Kindergarten (JK), boycotted Senior Kindergarten (SK) this year. No biggie - we just carry on with reading & math games, etc. He loves making things, anything to do with letters, markers, paints. And digging. He can hardly wait for snow so he can get his snow shovel back out (me, not so much)! We go on what he calls 'adventure walks' on trails in local conservation areas whenever we can. He loves every hat and toy that pops off my needles, believing they are all his. This has led to some heart breaking sobbing and wailing when someone has bought something from a craft table that he didn't think was mine to give away.

What goals or plans do you have in store for your business?

I actually have no plans whatsoever to go back to a day job. Why would I when I can make things, go on adventure walk whenever the sun shines, and enjoy these precious moments with my little boy (and my big kids too). I guess the future holds more knitting, more writing - more joy! Oh and here's an alien notion - more time with my best friend, my beloved spouse, who has supported me in my mothering, teaching and creative imperatives over the years.

How do you promote yourself? and what is your best marketing tip?

The marketing strategy that works best for me is - my kids as walking billboards! Not that I force them to wear stuff just so people buy it - but so many times I have had inquiries and/or commissions out of the blue based on something the kids have been wearing. After that, Etsy is a great and simple way to get your stuff out there and enable people to obtain it easily if desired.

What advice would you give to new etsy sellers?

I always cringe a bit at the site interviews that give top priority to great pictures. Sure, bad pictures don't do your product justice. But I find I have more personal tolerance for photos that aren't just the bland studio white. Better I think is the advice that you should make or sell what rings your bell. It's that passion that is contagious to others.

Intereviewed November, 2010 by JAnnsBoutique

OCAD Book Arts Fair

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

OCAD U presents
the 26th annual Book Arts Fair!

10am – 5pm

On Saturday, December 4, 2010, OCAD U holds its 26th annual Book Arts Fair, where, in time for the holiday season, visitors can browse and purchase hand-printed and bound books, prints, artist multiples, handmade paper and cards, buttons, totes, letterpress posters and much more.

Fifty to sixty book artists, printmakers, very small publishers, ‘zine’ makers, OCAD U students, professional artists, letterpress printers, papermaking and printmaking suppliers, and cooperative print shops will all be on hand offering unique gifts, collectors items and other treasures. The OCAD U Book Arts Fair is a long-running annual venue for showcasing book arts, a passionate, underground form of visual arts that has been growing in popularity.

This year, the OCAD U Book Arts Fair is pleased to welcome musical guests Lemon Bucket Orkestra, who will be playing live throughout the day.

Proceeds from mounting the Fair, and from donations and the sale of raffle tickets support student book artists and printmakers in OCAD U’s Printmaking program.

Participants include T.E.S.T. member missquitecontrary.

Any other T.E.S.T.y people going to be there? Let us know!

Art Show: A Hidden Place

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Two of our T.E.S.T. team members, Ron Caddigan (aka Cyclops And Owl) and Ele Willoughby (aka minouette) along Chris O'Brien, Reynardin and Faunalia (possible future T.E.S.T.y people) will be having an art show entitled A Hidden Place at 1254Art. Please join us for the Opening!

Place: 1254Art, 1254 Dundas St. W (at Dovercourt)
Time: December 3rd, 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Info: The show can be viewed throughout December, by appointment. Please contact ahiddenplace '@' gmail.com

CBC Charity Craft Sale

Monday, November 22, 2010

December 1, CBC Charity Craft Sale (250 Front St) - will include T.E.S.T. team members papermusedesings and Knotted Nest.

Any other TESTy peeps participating?

Do you have other shows you would like to share? Let us know!

Up-coming Craft & Art Shows featuring TESTy Sellers

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Check out the artists and artisans at The Collective, a gathering of creative artists and artisans for 12 days in December, from December 2 to December 14, 2010 at Triangle Gallery, 38 Abell St., Toronto, Ontario - including team members lurearts, Torched Studio, Piperinapeartree and minouette.

Also, check out:

The Artisans' Gift Fair 2010 - including team members foundlingsvintage and wintergarden.

Sponsored by
Tranzac club

Starts: November 27, 2010
Ends: December 19, 2010
Time: 12:00 to 06:00

Price range: Free

Every year during the holiday season, The Artisans' Gift Fair hosts a fine collection of affordable one-of-a-kind gift products that range from the contemporary to the classic favorites. Vendors gather at the Tranzac club in the heart of the annex.

Free admission
Nov. 27, 28
Dec. 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19
12:00 - 6:00pm

For more information contact:
Phone: 647-346-0528

Tranzac club
292 Brunswick Avenue
Bloor Street & Brunswick Avenue

Also, check out the Crafternoon Tea, where you can find team members Torched Studio and papermusedesigns.

The Crafternoon Tea is at Queen St. E. Presbyterian Church, 947 Queen St. East
Saturday November 27th, 11am to 5pm.

Torched Studio will also be at
SpeakEasy Holiday Sale
The Gladstone Hotel
1214 Queen Street West
Thursday December 2, 7pm to 11pm

and also:

Parkdale Holiday Bazaar
Masaryk-Cowan Community Centre, 220 Cowan Ave.
Saturday December 4th, 10am to 5pm

Snow Day Holiday Market at the Gladstone Hotel
Dec. 5 noon to 5pm
will include T.E.S.T. member spontaneousreality

New Etsy Teams Feature

As many of you regular Etsians know, Etsy has been working on a new teams feature. Now the Etsy Community Page has this new tab called Teams. Our T.E.S.T. team has our own new forum at the T.E.S.T. Toronto Etsy Street Team page. We can have public disscussions and announcements, as well as members-only discussions. It's a handy place to link to all our other places on the web, such as the TEST Facebook Fan Page, this blog, The T.E.S.T. flickr pool. This is a great place for all Toronto Etsians. If you are on the team, you should have received an invite to join. If you are an Etsy seller from Toronto and would like to join, just follow this link now!

Please feel free to place announcements of art/craft/vintage events in the GTA in the forums.

We look forward to seeing you there!

List of Seasonal Craft Shows from the TCA

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Toronto Craft Alert provided this reminder of some of the winter craft shows. This will be of use to those of you planning to buy handmade & local this holiday season!

If you will be participating in any of these (or other) shows, be sure to let us know!

Holiday Dreams (Scarborough Arts Council's Annual Holiday Members Exhibition & Sale)

Date(s): Thursday, November 18 to Saturday, December 18

Times: Monday to Friday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Location (venue, address, city): The Bluffs Gallery, 1859 Kingston Road (at Birchmount Rd), Scarborough

Website/contact info: http://www.scarborougharts.com/2009/11/26/holiday-dreams-sac-members-show-november-26-january-12/

Local artists, unique handcrafted gifts, painting, pottery, jewellery, cards, photography & textiles - reasonably priced.

One of a Kind Show & Sale

Date(s): Thursday, November 25 to Sunday, December 5, 2010

Times: Weekdays and Saturday 10am-9pm, Sunday 10am-6pm

Location: Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place, 100 Princes' Blvd., Toronto ON

Website/contact info: http://www.oneofakindshow.com/xmas10

Admission: $12/adult (save $2 if you purchase online), $6.50/seniors & students, children 12 and under are free

The One of a Kind Show and Sale features an endless selection of handcrafted items created by talented artists and craftspeople.


Date(s): Saturday, November 27 and Sunday, November 28

Times: 11 a.m. - 6p.m., with an opening reception on November 26 from 6 - 10 p.m.

Location: Gladstone Hotel, 2nd floor, 1214 Queen St. W. (at Dufferin),Toronto

Website/contact info: http://www.gladstonehotel.com/events/exhibitions/piecework

Gladstone Hotel's Annual curated "Pop-UP" textile and Fibre Show and Sale. Participating artists will present unique artist-made objects, wearables, fashion accessories, and home décor items for sale.

6th annual Crafternoon Tea (hosted by Nathalie-Roze & Co.)

Date(s): Saturday, November 27

Times: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Location: Queen Street East Presbyterian Church, 947 Queen Street East (at Carlaw), Toronto

Website/contact info: http://www.nathalie-roze.com

Over 35 indie vendors of handmade goodies ~ most items priced well under $50 (nothing over $75), plus an English-style tea service for neighbourhood charities.

SpeakEasy's Annual Holiday Sale

Date(s): Thursday, December 2

Times: 7 - 11 p.m.

Location: Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St. W. (at Dufferin), Toronto

Website/contact info: http://www.blttogo.com

An opportunity for the public to see the work of 40 local artists, ranging from quirky one-off ceramics to handmade soap, jewellery and hand painted Christmas cards.

Artist Proof Sale & Open House Fundraiser

Date(s): Thursday, December 2 to Saturday, December 18

Times: Tuesday to Saturday, 12 noon - 5 p.m.

Location: Open Studio, 401 Richmond Street West, Suite 104, Toronto

Website/contact info: http://www.openstudio.on.ca

An excellent opportunity to pick up original fine art prints by both old and new favourites, and a great way to get some unique and interesting gifts for everyone on your holiday gift list. It is also an important fundraiser for Open Studio.

Sheridan Textile Studio Sale

Date(s): Friday, December 3rd

Times: 5-9 pm

Location: the workroom, 1340 Queen St. West, Toronto

Website/contact info: http://www.theworkroom.ca

Hand-printed textiles, cards, handmade textile gifts and delicious refreshments! All proceeds support the third year textiles students' exhibition.

26th Annual OCAD Book Arts Fair

Date(s): Saturday, December 4

Times: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Location: The Great Hall, 100 McCaul Street, Toronto

Website/contact info: http://ocaduprintmaking.wordpress.com/2010-book-arts-fair

Visitors can peruse and purchase hand-printed and bound books, prints, artist multiples, handmade paper and cards, buttons, totes, letterpress posters and much more!

Movies & Makers

Date(s): Saturday, December 4

Times: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Location: The Fox Theatre, 2236 Queen St. E., Toronto

Website/contact info: http://movies-and-makers.blogspot.com

A diverse mix of local makers of fine, cool, funky, sassy art and craft selling their wares at the stunning Fox Theatre in the Beaches.

The Wandering Winter Craft Show

Date(s): Sunday, December 5, Saturday, December 11, Sunday, December 19

Times: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Location: 5th: Canadian Corps. Association, 201 Niagara Street (south of King St.), upper level; 11th: Ralph Thornton Community Centre,765 Queen St. E., 2nd Floor; 19th: The Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St. W. (at Dufferin), 2nd Floor Gallery

Website/contact info: http://www.shopcats.ca/Shop_Cats.html

Three dates, three weeks, three different locations across Toronto!

Lots of different vendors at each show! Come to one, come to two, come to them all!

Methinks Presents 3rd Annual Holiday PopUp Art Shop

Date(s): Friday, December 10 - Monday, December 27
Times: 12 - 6 daily

Location: Project 165, 165 Augusta Ave, Toronto
Website/contact info: http://methinkspresents.org/project165

A playful space of curiosity and wonder showcasing a broad range of contemporary art and craft by local and international talent at affordable prices.

City of Craft

Date(s): Saturday, December 18 & Sunday, December 19

Times: Saturday: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., Sunday: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Location: The Theatre Centre, 1087 Queen Street West, Toronto

Website/contact info: http://www.cityofcraft.com

Admission: $2

Toronto's largest independently run juried craft sale featuring craft-based installations, free workshops, and craft-related programming in local businesses and galleries.

For more shows, visit the TCA Forum.

Free Workshop in Brampton

Hey, T.E.S.T.y people, Here's a message from the Brampton Arts Council, for those of you who live in Brampton:

HACE Business of the Arts Workshops

HACE (Heritage Arts Culture & Entertainment) hosts entrepreneurship workshops that are offered FREE TO BRAMPTONIANS INVOLVED IN THE ARTS SECTOR. This is a tremendous opportunity to tap into a wealth of knowledge from people ‘in the know’ and network with other artists.

Featured presenters this year include:

Barry Siskind - For over 25 years Barry Siskind has been recognized as an expert on exhibiting at trade & consumer shows. This includes both ways to attract visitors to your booth and ways to master the skills of boothmanship.

Dini Petty - We are honoured this year to have reporter, personality, and author Dini Petty. Known for her vivacious free spirit, Petty will share her triumphs and tribulations in the seminar examining her experiences.

Kim McBrien - “Why Blog? Why Now? Blogging for Success” – For artists of all disciplines, including visual arts, performing arts, film and literature, artist, administrator and business owner Kim McBrien reveals the blog as an effective tool for your arts-based business. Look at successful bloggers and see how they got there. Learn how to set up a blog, using free software, how to find a world-wide audience and most importantly, how to keep that audience coming back.

Call (905) 874 – 2919 or email info@artsbrampton.ca
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