Looking Forward to Boxing Day!

Monday, December 23, 2013

What with the dramatic ice storm in this part of the world, we here at TEST are hoping you are all safe and warm and not making emergency back-up plans to barbecue your Christmas turkey in case you still don't have power! Stay safe everyone!

If the storm has interferred with your last-minute Christmas shopping plans, we've got you covered. You can now purchase Etsy gift cards in Canada so your loved one can get exactly what he or she wants. You can email the gift cards directly or print them at home, so there's no delay.

We also have some good news - something to look forward to, if winter so far has been tough...

This year marks Etsy’s first-ever Boxing Dale sale in Canada

From December 26th to 29th, nearly 500 participating sellers across the country will offer a 20% discount on their entire shop.  Avoid the lineups and shop TEST and Etsy’s curated collections from the coziness of your couch, featuring hand-made products and fabulous finds. 

We're offering you a sneak peek of participating Toronto Etsy Street Team shops! Check out our curated collection, featured on the TEST Etsy Page, shown below. Be sure to keep checking back as we will continue to add items to our curated Boxing Day Sale collection.

A full list of all participating shops across Canada will be available at: www.etsy.com/pages/etsy-canada as of midnight on December 26th.

Vendor Call: Leslieville Flea

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Are you a vintage or handcrafted enthusiast? Interested in becoming a vendor at the Leslieville Flea? The Leslieville Flea is moving to the Distillery for winter and early spring and is looking for customer oriented individuals with vintage funky collectibles to participate as vendors. The next Leslieville Flea is January 19th, 2014 ( see link below to the Distillery's event calendar).  

If interested, please submit your application online at www.leslievilleflea.com under 'vendors'.
Please be sure to include pictures and please note that presentation of your collection is important.

Christmas Marketplace - Free Workshops & More - Tomorrow!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Glenda of winter garden teaches Beginner Knitting from 12:00 to 1:00Quilter Steff
teaches Snowflake Making from 1:00 to 2:00
Tiapei of Plum Pavilion teaches Traditional Chinese Embroidery from 2:00 to 3:00Emma of Landfill Designs teaches Map Pendant Making from 3:00 to 4:00

Hoping to meet everyone's favorite Jolly Old Elf? Be sure to visit between noon and 4:00 to meet SANTA himself!

TEST's 1st Annual Christmas Marketplace this Saturday!

Monday, December 9, 2013

It's fast approaching and we're getting excited!
The Toronto Etsy Street Team will be holding its first Christmas Marketplace this 
Saturday, December 14th, 11:00 am to 5:30 pm at the Church of Saint Stephen-in-the-Fields
(103 Bellevue Ave @ College St. in the Kensington Market neighbourhood)

Along with our fabulous TEST vendors, the Christmas Marketplace will host 
FREE workshops, live music and... a visit from Old St. Nick himself!  

Browse the Vendor LookBook here

A little press: Toronto Etsy sellers on Toronto Life site

Toronto Life is featuring 10 local Etsy sellers today, and TEST is well represented! Included in their list are Cinders McLeod, Alison Gledhill of Grace Design, Ele of minouette, Marissa of Sea Flower Studios, Michelle of thunderpeep, Anthony of Route401, and Casey Von Esteban.

Congrats to the the 3 other local sellers too... who should visit us in the forums to join the team!

T.E.S.T. Interview: Darling Adornment

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 65th in our series with Michelle of DarlingAdornment.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your shop.

I am a 20 year-old performing artist from New Brunswick, and I recently moved to the GTA to pursue my dreams! I have always been a huge fan of all kinds of art, and I am forever making DIY projects, knitting, or bedazzling my belongings. My friends developed an interest in what I was creating, so Etsy seemed like a perfect place to display what I have been working on and to facilitate transactions!

How do you balance your performing arts career with your craft business?

When I'm not singing or acting, I am usually being artistic in other ways, such as working on my crafts. For me it is a time to relax and still be doing what I love, while managing to earn a few extra dollars.

What inspires your work?

Recently I've been mostly doing custom orders, so the inspiration comes from others. When beginning a new craft, I am inspired greatly by the feminine touch (bows, rhinestones and girly colour schemes). That is how I came up with the name "Darling Adornment", because the items I make are perfect for the "Darling" in your life, and the items themselves are "Darling" as well!

You love to bedazzle. What would be a dream item that you’d bedazzle if you could get your hands on it?

I love bedazzling picture frames, jewellery boxes, and other items that could use a little sparkle to accent a room. I would love to bedazzle a musical instrument like a ukulele, or a microphone! The possibilities are endless when it comes to bedazzling!

What does being a part of the Etsy community add to your life or work?

Being a part of the Etsy community, especially the Toronto team, has made my transition into the big city a lot easier because I realize how many artists share my interests. Crafting has always been a hobby that makes me happy, so Etsy has been an amazing outlet for me.

And what are some of your favourite Etsy shops?

A couple of my friends have Etsy shops that I love. My friend Alex has a handmade jewelry store, and another friend makes crochet accessories. I love browsing people's Etsy shops in my spare time, especially handmade arts and crafts!

Check out the other items available from Michelle in her Etsy shop! You can find more of her work on Twitter and follow her performing arts career on Facebook.

Interviewed by Una of Whistle+Work in December 2013 in Toronto.

T.E.S.T. Interview: Whistle + Work

Sunday, December 8, 2013

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 64th in our series with Una of WhistleandWork.

Can you tell us about yourselves?

Whistle + Work is a father-daughter team. I’m Una - a freelance art director, artist and travel blogger. Because I work on a wide variety of projects I love the fact that no two days are ever the same. This is great kick-start for the creative process.

My father Aleks has spent his career working in architecture, design, urban analysis and illustration — also wearing many hats throughout his working life (sometimes even a beret).

We came together to form Whistle + Work in order to collaboratively create affordable art. Because who doesn’t need a little more art in their lives?

How did you get the idea to form a father-daughter team?

We’ve definitely always looked at each other’s work and offered help and advice, so it was the natural next step to collaborate. I get this question a lot: “What’s it like to work with your dad?” It’s a rewarding experience with lots of mutual respect and trust. I constantly learn new things, but there is room for role-reversal too!

What types of things can we expect to find when looking at your shop?

We are focused on hand-cut 3D illustrations and paper gift boxes. Each starts out as an original ink drawing that is printed and hand cut. The prints are then framed in shadowboxes allowing the layers to play with light and shadow. The gift boxes are assembled into various shapes and some can double as ornaments.

What does Etsy add to your lives?

Etsy is an amazing avenue to reach people globally and in a more personal way. We love the idea of participating in a new type of economy that values sustainability and social good. It’s also a constant source of inspiration and support from fellow artists and the Etsy team.

When did you start Whistle + Work?

We are very new! We started Whistle + Work in November of this year, though it’s something we’ve talked about for ages.

What's the story behind your shop name?

Whistle + Work is basically how we’d define our working philosophy: Working hard at what you love = happiness. We also like the fact that it’s a two-part name representing a two-person collaboration.

Do you sell your work outside of Etsy? If so, where?

In a week or so, you will find Whistle + Work products at the beautifully curated Likely General store on Roncesvalles.

What's next for Whistle + Work?

We just collaborated with Yen Magazine, a cool-kid Aussie publication on a DIY gift box project with an custom illustration. Look for it on their website in the coming days.
In the New Year we will be adding more prints to the shop and looking to participate in local markets.

Check out the other items available from Una and Aleks in their Etsy shop! You can find more of their work on their website and Twitter.

Interviewed by Michelle of DarlingAdornment in December 2013 in Toronto.

Craft News: Wychwood Barns Holiday Art Market

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Don't miss this year's Holiday Art Market at Artscape Wychwood Barns. The perfect place to shop for gifts, the Holiday Art Market features handmade items and unique offerings by local artists and creators. From ceramics to paintings, jewelery to prints, textile works to mixed-media works, you'll find a range of wonderful things at the Barns.

Sunday, December 8
12noon to 5pm

Craft News: Nathalie-Roze & Co. HOLIDAY POP UP (in the Yurt!)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Visit our Pop Up at the Yurt this weekend ~ it's a quirky-sweet venue perfect for lovely & local shopping. Expect a mix of winter accessories, including our popular sweater-toques, obi belts, cowls, baby merch & more, plus Vintage & discounted indie designer clothing, handcrafted jewellery, honey soap, ornaments, cards & prints and lots more cool stuff (most priced under $50). NOTE: There will be some $20 baskets to dig through & a few fabric packs for the crafty gals.

We'll have different T.O. guest makers joining us each day ~ come see what's on offer. We'll also have a good selection of affordable & thoughtful little somethings appropriate for teachers & caregivers, Secret Santa exchanges, stocking stuffers & maybe a treat for you too.

Bonus: You can have a pint or a serving of sticky toffee pudding at the Ceili before or after you visit us.
Hope to see you there...

WHEN: December 7th & 8th, 11am to 4pm (this Sat./Sunday)

Craft News: Movies and Makers

Movies and Makers is an Art and Craft show featuring 32 of Toronto's finest makers of craft, design, fashion, jewelry and art. This year's show takes place a few weeks before Christmas at the Fox Theatre in the lovely Beach Neighbourhood of Toronto. A great place to find all your holiday needs!

Movies and Makers
Saturday December 7, 2013
10 am to 5:00 pm
Fox Theatre
2236 Queen St East


Presented by: 

T.E.S.T. Interview: Sew It Was

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 63rd in our series with Judy of SewItWasByJudy.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your shop.

I am a mom to 4 adult children, a gramma to 6 kids, and married to a very wonderful guy!
When I was a little girl my grandmother made my dresses. She inspired me to want to learn how to do this, so when I was 13 I took a Singer sewing course. I completed a lovely linen A-line dress with lace sleeves but when ironing it I pressed a full iron imprint into it! Clearly I had a lot to learn!
That was, however, the beginning of my lifelong passion for taking a flat piece of fabric and constructing it into something you could actually wear!
In 2012 I lost my job with TDSB [Toronto District School Board] to budget cutbacks. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, the next few months of sewing and selling at craft fairs was the start of what would become my new venture, Sew it Was.

How did you get the idea for your unique creations like turning shirts into pants and shirts into aprons?

With lots of time on my hands I wanted to make some things for my grandkids, but this time I wanted to make something different. I was ready for a new challenge so I searched the Internet and came across the world of upcycling! This really intrigued me and decided to get it a try. My first attempt was to make a pair of toddler pants from the sleeves of a shirt. I thought they looked kind of cute and my husband said “you should call those Shants” so, that’s what I did!! Very quickly I discovered I loved taking something that once was and reconstructing it into something completely new and wearable. I kept searching and found there were lots of ways to refashion a man’s shirt, pillowcases, silk ties, and vintage linens. Friends and family members offered suggestions and some I came up with on my own.

You say many of your creations come from thrift store finds. Are there any “hidden gem” thrift stores in Toronto you’d recommend checking out?

Ha ha, I wish I did have a “hidden gem” but the truth is I do most of my thrifting at the Sally Ann. I can’t look at a man’s shirt now without seeing shants, skirts, aprons, baby shoes and even earrings! Whenever we do travel the first thing I like to do is check out the local thrift shop. I once found a pillowcase with a large Rocking Horse starting on the front and continuing on the back – it made the cutest little dress!

Where do you sell other than Etsy?

A friend suggested I check out the Arts Market. After I was juried and accepted I needed a business name. I sent out an email to my family (I am the oldest of 10) asking for suggestions. After 3 days I had 101 entries, I chose my top 7, sent it out again and Sew it Was came out on top! I loved it from the moment I said it out loud and it totally encompasses what I do. Many thanks goes out to my brother-in-law Gord.
The Arts Market is in Leslieville at 1114 Queen St. E.
I also have some Shants at Kid Culture, 3124 Dundas St. W.

Do you have any advice for fellow Etsy Upcylers out there, or folks looking to take the leap into something new when it comes to sewing/crafting, etc. in their lives like you did?

One tip I can pass on is something that has proved very useful to me. When I deconstruct an item I now cut a scrap and tape it into a notebook and write pertinent info beside it like fabric care and content. Then when I am adding a new item on Etsy a quick look in my book will give me my listing information. This has saved some much time!
For those that are thinking about taking the leap – just do it! You will never know unless you try. It’s a lot of work to get started on Etsy, I almost gave up but someone said just do a bit each day and eventually you will open.
I love the global aspect of Etsy, being part of this and talking to people all over the world is fascinating and “sew” much fun!

Check out the other items available from Judy in her Etsy shop! You can find more of her work on Facebook.

Interviewed by Tanya of TanyaHarrisonPhoto in November 2013 in Toronto.

Craft News: Gladstone Flea

On the hunt for unique gems, fashion finds, vintage scores and other market must-haves, but hate the idea of spending the weekend knee-deep in thrift store piles?

We've teamed up with Anita Clarke of I want - I got and Haley Mlotek of Worn Fashion Journal to bring you a curated, handpicked, holiday marketplace for December 7. Packed with purpose, artist goods, reclaimed vintage, craft, design, jewelry, clothing, and more, Gladstone Flea curates the market to help save you from the thrift store itch.

Saturday, December 7th
10am to 4pm

Gladstone Hotel
1214 Queen St. West

T.E.S.T. Interview: Tanya Harrison Photography

Thursday, December 5, 2013

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 62nd in our series with Tanya of TanyaHarrisonPhoto.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your shop?

I'm a planetary scientist (which means I'm a geologist that specializes in other planets — in my case, mostly Mars) partially turned photographer from Seattle, but currently living in Toronto. I've always loved photography, and when I was 18 I went to the mall one day to buy my first "nice" camera after having saved up for months. It just so happened that there was a game show casting at the mall when I arrived, and long story short I ended up winning some money on the show, which allowed me to purchase an even better camera than I'd planned. After that I began inundating Flickr with my photos, and over time I started getting requests from people to purchase photos. So, in 2010 I finally got around to actively trying to sell my photos, and ended up opening shop on Etsy in 2011.

You've been interested in photography since you were young. What do you think led you in that direction?

My mother and grandfather (who lived with us when I was young) were both into photography. Even though I was born in the 1980s, a lot of my early childhood photos are in black and white from film that my mother shot with her Minolta SLR. I remember always being really excited to see photos when they came back from the lab, so I think the love of photography was just ingrained in me from a very young age.

You have a very interesting day job. How do you balance that with your Etsy shop?

It's very difficult! My days are filled with analyzing data, writing papers and grant applications, and I have to (or should I say "get to?") travel a lot. On the one hand, this cuts into the time I would like to be able to devote to photography. However, as a geologist I get to travel to a lot of beautiful locations to study them from a scientific standpoint, and I can photograph them while I'm there. For example, most of the desert landscapes in my shop were taken during a 2-week geology field expedition in Arizona and Utah. Photography is my way of de-stressing from the science stuff.

You state you are based in 4 different cities. Why is that and how are you able to manage your shop then?

Right now I am a Ph.D. student at the University of Western Ontario in London, but I commute between there and Toronto. I moved here from San Diego, where I worked for a NASA subcontractor for a few years. My partner still lives in our house down there, and so San Diego is still "home" at certain times of the year. My family still lives in Seattle and so that is my other home at times, although I (regretfully) rarely make it back there anymore. All of this travelling can definitely make managing a shop tricky. I have access to printing equipment in both Toronto and San Diego, which allows me to fulfill orders quickly, but if I am out in the field or in Seattle then I have to put my shop in vacation mode or post a note in the listings saying shipping will be delayed until a certain date.

What does Etsy add to your life?

Etsy is a way for me to use the non-science side of my brain, which I find fun. It's also incredibly gratifying when someone purchases a piece of your art to hang on their walls—to know that someone was moved enough by a photo to want to display it in their home. I often get messages from my buyers saying they chose a specific photo because it was from their hometown, or held an emotional significance. In one case, a woman bought a photo that happened to be of the location at which her now-husband proposed. Another customer purchased a photo as a birthday gift for her boyfriend of a place they'd vacationed together earlier that year.

I've found Etsy to also be a great way to interact with other artisans with a wide variety of styles and backgrounds, from the local to the international level. There are so many amazingly talented people on Etsy!
Photo of Tanya Harrison by Jean Fillion
Check out the other items available from Tanya in her Etsy shop! You can find more of her work on her blog, Twitter and Facebook.

Interviewed by Judy of SewItWasByJudy in November 2013 in Toronto.

Craft News: Maker's Cartel Winter Market

Maker's showcases independent, local talent that make quality hand-crafted goods.

This is their second year organizing the winter market and are very excited and proud of all their makers. This year the market will be held:
Saturday, Dec.7: 11 - 8pm & Sunday, Dec.8: 11 - 6pm
Location: The Foundery, 376 Bathurst St. Toronto, ON (Bathurst & Dundas) 

More info and vendor list can be found around their social network sites:

Test Members you can find at the show include Bread and CircusGrace Design,  Jack and Willa and Seaflower Studios

TEST at the 2013 Christmas One of a Kind Show

Friday, November 29, 2013

At this years Christmas One of a Kind show (November 28th to December 8th) you'll be able to find more than a handful of TEST members so be sure to check them out when you head down to the show!

TEST Etsy Page

Monday, November 25, 2013

Earlier this year, Etsy introduced Pages as a way to allow people to "Explore the marketplace through your favorite tastemakers". Think of Pages as curated collections by some of your favorite brands, magazines and blogs, full of their favorite Etsy finds.

Our friends at Etsy Canada were kind enough to invite us to take part in a little beta testing of new Pages for Etsy Teams! Some of you may even have noticed how we've been gathering your fabulous listings into a variety of collections for our very own TEST Etsy Page. Check it out!

We've been carefully curating collections to highlight our sellers for the TEST 1st Annual Christmas Marketplace -which will be here before you know it on December 14. You can see some of the fabulous wares which will be on offer, or shop the collection even if you cannot make it in person! We, of course, had to make a TEST ♥ Newbies collection for our talent newest members. The best things about winter are celebrated in our Winter Wonderland collection. Looking to prepare for the holidays? We've got you covered with TEST Gifts for Him, TEST Holiday Fashion, TEST Gifts for Babies, TEST Gifts for Kids, TEST Gifts for Her, TEST Gifts for the Crafty, TEST Gifts for the Home, TEST for the Pet Lover, TEST Stocking Stuffers, Santa's Nice List, and Santa's Naughty List (for your more naughty and adult gift buying needs). We also love our hometown and put together a TEST ♥ Toronto collection. Plus, if you're planning your winter wedding, check out our TEST Weddings collection!

T.E.S.T. Interview: Pepin D'Or

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

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 61st in our series with Katharina of PepinD'Or.

Tell us about how you started creating jewellery.

I remember making dresses and accessories out of leftover fabric pieces and whatever else I could find for my dolls when I was about 10 years old. They didn’t really look like much but I always had fun playing dress up. My first wearable jewelry, I made about 10 years ago, after one of my dear girlfriends taught me the wire wrapping technique. I had seen some of the rings and earrings she had made and loved their uniqueness. I wanted to learn how to make jewelry like that right away. I fell in love with it. Then throughout my extensive travels to Colombia and Ecuador I learned more techniques such as beading, knitting with beads, macrame, the process of sanding, dyeing and polishing natural materials. Even some welding by some very talented artisans.

Describe your style.

Bold eco chic jewellery with a tribal yet urban touch.

What are your sources of inspiration?

I get my inspiration mainly from nature, places I have travelled to, their cultures and people. I am half German, half Ecuadorian. Two very contrasting countries in every way possible. I try to combine these two opposing cultures also in my jewellery. The urban modern western world and the tribal, ethnic more naive cultures of third world countries. One thing both have in common is the ecological awareness. Indigenous and tribal cultures that I have had the privilege to get to know, use natural fibers, seeds, shells, animal skins and other natural materials. I love the raw beauty of those materials. In Germany on the other hand, recycling, up cycling, repurposing of all sorts of materials are methods we are taught from a very young age. I try to express myself through my jewelry. By naming each piece I try to tell a story, even share what inspired me to make that particular jewellery piece.

What tools and techniques do you use to create jewellery?

I love experimenting with paint, resin and natural materials such as horn, seeds and nuts. I try to not use too many complicated tools... I guess the most complicated ones would be my drill. :) For the sanding I prefer to use sanding paper rather than an electrical attachment on my drill.

Did you receive any professional training?

My teachers have been artisans from all sorts of backgrounds but I never attended a school to become a jewellery designer.

How do you promote your products?

Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. I also try to be a guest blogger and sponsor giveaways.

Other than Etsy, where do you sell your products?

Etsy is the only site I sell my jewellery at but I try to participate in as many shows as possible. I find it is important for potential buyers to be able to see, touch and try on my pieces, especially since a lot of people can't envision themselves wearing such bold pieces when looking at them online.

What advice would you give to someone who is new to Etsy?

Photography speaks 1000 words! Make sure you have some eyecandy. Quality control and customer care are very important components of being successful in this business. However the best advice I have ever gotten from a fellow artisan is to be patient, to create with care and love and to believe in yourself no matter what people might say.

Katharina has an upcoming show at the Leslie Fleamarket on December 15th.

Check out the other items available from Katharina in her Etsy shop! You can find more of her work on her Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Interviewed by Sophia of Affectionately Yours in November 2013 in Toronto.

Etsy News: Prototype team for Canada Post Shipping Labels!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Just in time for the holidays Etsy is announcing their plan to give Canadian sellers new shipping tools.  You can start testing out these tools and give your input into how they should work by joining a brand new Prototype Team for all sellers on Etsy who are based in Canada: Canada Post Shipping Labels! This Prototype will help Etsy test new shipping services for Canadian sellers, and has already been vetted by a small group of sellers in a closed Prototype.

If you join the team, you'll be able to purchase and print postage for your orders through Canada Post - right from your Etsy shop for domestic orders and methods for shipping to the US. On the domestic front, there are three shipping services to choose from: Priority, Xpresspost, and Expedited Parcel (similar to Regular Parcel but with added benefits!). When shipping to the US, you will also enjoy the following services: Xpresspost - USA, Expedited Parcel - USA, Tracked Packet - USA, Small Packet - USA Air, and Light Packet - USA. Most services are offered at a discount to sellers on Etsy compared to going to a Canada Post retail counter. Etsy are working hard to introduce more international options to the mix too, so stay tuned!

Any Canada-based seller can join the prototype here:

Managing your postage needs on Etsy is one more way to help streamline your workflow, and Etsy are excited to hear your feedback on this new feature. Plus, if international shipping is on your mind, be sure to join now to take advantage of our international postage updates in the future. If you have questions, you can join the Protoype to get them addressed. Etsy is very keen to hear what you think!

Find out more on the FAQ on this Prototype Team

Looking for some advice on tackling shipping in general? Be sure to read our

TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 8 Shipping & Packaging

You can join our Etsy Newbie Bootcamp at any time, just drop us a line at TorontoEtsyST@gmail.com. Etsy itself published a great article called Canadian Shipping Demystified which is a good place to find a primer on shipping services available to Canadian Etsy sellers through Canada Post.

T.E.S.T. Interview: Keepsake

Sunday, November 17, 2013

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 60th in our series with Deborah of KeepsakeToronto.

What is your photography background?

I studied for a bachelor of Fine Arts where I majored in photography. This is where I discovered my passion for the traditional medium.

How much of your time is divided between Keepsake, and your fine art photography?

It's tough to not favour one over the other. Because of my background in photography, I already have quite an extensive body of work. Keepsake is only a year old, and there are more opportunities to sell Keepsake jewellery than there has been to sell art, so when I have free time I work on building the collection. I did promise myself that I would only create brand new Keepsakes once the photographic work has been printed and publicized; I only produce brand new subjects for Keepsake as fast as I create and publicize brand new subjects in my photographic art. Its a challenge, but it motivates me.

What is the biggest challenge you've faced in your career and how did you overcome it?

It's tough trying to pursue a career as a photographer. Particularly in the arts industry. I have been searching for ways to make my product more marketable to the general public; I always thought my photographic art would translate well to jewellery. It took me a little while to figure out how to accomplish this, but sure enough, after some years, I figured it out. Keepsake is what is helping me overcome my challenge in trying to 'make it' in the arts. In other words, Keepsake is what has attracted more awareness to my art and vice versa. Both art vehicles to building awareness for each other. Its something that will be a continuous challenge, but it keeps me on my toes, and from getting bored. It makes success taste that much sweeter.:)

Was there a moment you can pinpoint that led you to work with the idea of capturing memories?

When I think back to my childhood, totally pre-photography, I just remember my father letting me borrow his little point-and-shoot camera when we went out on a walk. I was 8, and I was snap happy. The element of chance excited me. I took these photos, had no idea what they would look like other than what I saw through the view finder, but I had these moments collected and stored in a bank.
I've also always been fascinated by historical documentation. How is it possible for something to capture a reality and then display that reality so perfectly, in a future setting? It still blows my mind. Here, you can actually make time stand still.

For Keepsake, do your subjects mostly hold personal significance?

All of my subjects hold personal significance. These subjects caught my attention, and I felt the need to capture them and show them to the world. I am my artworks and my artworks are extensions of me.

What would you say is the main selling point of your products and how have you marketed that to your customers?

People have responded really well to the fact that my Keepsakes are miniature artworks. Most, if not all that have seen my work, mention how they have never seen this done before and how it is such an original idea. To hear that is such a compliment. All of my artwork (Keepsake and photographic works) are created the traditional way: either with my Nikon F2 or my Pentax point-and-shoot, 35mm film and a dark room. My pieces are mostly limited edition if not one-of-a-kind as well. Also, I have recently created a Keepsake vintages collection where I sought and source vintage jewellery from different places and re-purpose them with my fine art work. There is only one of each kind of these pieces. People have expressed the appeal to all of these aspects to them.

I find your product shots full of story, incredible depth and texture. Could you tell us what you use for the background?

Moving from South Africa to Toronto and acquiring all sorts of vintage furniture from late grandparents, my apartment is dressed with some of these pieces. The background you see in my product shots is of a hand carved vintage wooden table, I think from China. I feel it compliments my pieces really well.

Deborah's upcoming shows:

  • Midnight MRKT: Nov. 22, 9 pm - 1 am, 461 King St. W, Toronto, ON
  • Let It Snow Market: Nov. 23, 10 am - 6 pm & Nov. 24, 11 am - 5 pm, Annex Art Center, 1075 Bathurst St., Toronto, ON
Check out the other items available from Deborah in her Etsy shop! You can find more of her work on her website, fine art photography website,Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook.

Interviewed by Christine of StoryFolk in November 2013 in Toronto.

Craft news: Vendor Queens

Friday, November 15, 2013

Vendor Queens, the new local weekend artist & collector market for handmade and vintage goods on Queen W, has its first market tomorrow. Vendors include T.E.S.T.'s own Sprouts Press Designs.

Saturdays & Sundays, 10AM-7PM
(Nov. 16th to Dec. 29th)

Thursday, November 21, 8PM-1AM

December 12, 8PM-1AM

December 26, 8PM-1AM

1093 Queen Street West @ Dovercourt Road.

Craft News: Toronto East Rotary Club 4th Annual Arts and Crafts Sale

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Check out the Toronto East Rotary Club 4th Annual Arts and Crafts Sale this Saturday at the Eastminster United Church, 310 Danforth Ave, 10 am to 5 pm!

Featuring T.E.S.T.'s own FabriArts, yourheartshaven, imwyred,

TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 15 Etsy Local & Selling Offline

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Welcome to our Etsy Newbie Bootcamp! If you want to take part in Bootcamp and get one-on-one mentoring, or answers to any of your questions, please drop us a line at TorontoEtsyST@gmail.com.  

If you want to open an Etsy shop, just follow this link!


Then, be sure to check out:
TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 1 How to Open an Etsy Shop
TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 2 Branding & Shop Banners
TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 3 Shop Profiles Bios and Photos
TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 4 Make Listings Tempting
TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 5 About Pages

TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 6 Shop Policies
TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 7 Communication
TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 8 Shipping and Packaging
TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 9 Social Media
TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 10 The Dark Art of Pricing

TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 11 Shop Stats
TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 12 Holiday Prep in Bite-Sized Pieces

TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 13 Getting Press
TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 14 Sales and Coupon Codes
Put yourself & your events on the map with Etsy Local and
get Toronto Skyline License Plate Art from Route401
for the Toronto lover in your life
This Etsy Newbie Bootcamp Class is something for new and experienced Etsy sellers alike - because it's just been introduced!  Etsy Local is a new tool to let Etsy sellers promote their craft fairs, markets, pop-up shops, open houses and special time-limited events where people can buy their wares - just in time for the holiday craft show season. It connects local buyers and sellers and gives Etsy fans a chance to interact directly with their local artists, artisans and vintage purveyors. When you visit Etsy Local the first thing you see is a call for buyers to shop Etsy offline, and find out where and when their local sellers will be holding events. Users can set their location (it defaults to wherever your location is set ....which, by the way, it really should be as an Etsy seller!) and it allows user to select a time range: 'This Year', 'This Month' or 'This Week'. Below that is a 'Create an Event' button to allow event organizers or Etsy sellers to add a new craft show or market (if it isn't already listed). Etsy sellers need only to 'Join' any already listed event.

Below this is a list of shows, with titles, places, dates and links to participating shops (but only if members report themselves!) and pins on a map. As you can see, buyers can easily move through the map choosing sales in their neighbourhoods. You can click on the blue title of any show to learn more, see hours, read a description, read a blurb from every participating Etsy seller, find the show website and even automatically add the event to their Google calendar.


Adding an event: Nuts and Bolts

Everyone loves maps. Get a Central America Map Bracelet
from DandyTigerDesigns
Visit http://www.etsy.com/local and press the blue 'Create Event' button. Follow the prompts to: enter the name of your event; add a description (what type of event? what will be available? is there a theme? food? other pertinent details); and venue.

The venue is powered by FourSquare. Start typing the name of the place and options will appear. If your venue is in the database, just select it; otherwise,  learn how to add your venue to foursquare.

Follow the prompts to enter start and end dates, hours and event webpage (if there is one).

If you are selling at the event be sure to tick the I will be selling at this event checkbox! If not, you can still add the event (but untick the box). You can also leave a note to buyers about what you will be selling at the event or any other important information.

When you’ve completed the form, click Submit to add your event to the Etsy Local calendar.

Your event will be given a unique webpage URL, like this page for the Toronto Etsy Street Team 1st Annual Christmas Marketplace,  which you can share on all your social media.

Joining an event: Nuts and Bolts

If you wish to add your shop to those listed for an event which has already been entered, all you have to do is find the event and click the Join Event button. You can search events in time and space, using the map to find a pin on the event's location, and/or by selecting the appropriate time range. You can also go directly to the URL which may be linked from your fellow sellers' shops or the event organizers' Etsy profiles.

The details of the event will already have been entered, but you can still leave a note to buyers about what you will be selling at the event or any other important information.

Events you're attending are displayed on your shop’s homepage within the Shop Info box. This option can be turned on and off from your shop's Info & Appearance page. Anyone who follows the links to your upcoming markets will see all of your events and be able to visit the Etsy Local for each one.

Translating Those In-Person Events into Future On-line Sales

Pamper your customers like you would your feline overload favorite cat with this
Reclaimed Wine Crate Pet Bed from DomaineDeDoggie
Check out this Etsy Blog article about how to turn all your events of this busy holiday craft show season and throughout the year into follow-up sales in your shop! Like selling on-line, selling in person involves catching the buyer's eye and expressing yourself and your brand. Advice includes setting up a fabulous booth; you can find inspiration by searching for 'craft show' on sites like flickr or pinterest. Be sure to make a mock-up of your space ahead of time. If you don't have an appropriate table, mark out your area on the floor with masking tape and set up your display to make sure the viewer can see everything you'll have on offer. Use social media - both to promote your own shows, but to engage buyers and encourage them to tag their own photos of your display (with your shop name clearly displayed of course!) Business cards are great, but the digital equivalent can travel further. Note that using while 'Vacation Mode' can simplify any inventory concerns, it can also lower sales, so you'll want to avoid it unless it's really necessary. Get feedback - comments from buyers and visitors can be seen as free market research, worth noting. Consider things which will get buyers (or those almost-buyers) into your Etsy shop including promotional material (like business cards or postcards) and possible special coupon codes (see Class 14 Sales and Coupon Codes). Use what you learn from sales and comments to feature your most popular items, and use their descriptions to optimize your tags, titles, and listing descriptions. Last but not least: take the opportunity to meet and learn from your fellow sellers!

Sometimes shows can be very successful, and sometimes even well-attended shows do not lead to sales that day but you may still capture the imagination of future buyers and make that connection which keeps them coming back to your Etsy shop!

Remember: If you already have a shop, or you open one today, please let us know how to find it! We will be featuring some of our favorite newbie items right here. 

 The Toronto Etsy Street Team loves Newbie shops! You can find some of our favorite listings from talented Newbie sellers, including those featured in this class in our new TEST ♥ Newbies section. Be sure to stop by often to see what's new in this evolving, curated treasury of amazing Newbie finds!

Related Posts with Thumbnails