T.E.S.T. Interview: Beyond The Jar

Tuesday, March 26, 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 49th in our series with Flavia and Dona of BeyondTheJar.

How did you two get started?

We crossed paths during our early years of university and since we have been tight like a lid on a jar! Over the years, our passion for social change, community work and art strengthened our relationship.

Beyond The Jar specifically started with the both of us (Dona & Flavia), as bridesmaids to our really close friend who is getting married this year, landing on some gorgeous decorative mason jars while searching for wedding related decorations and venues. During this time, the idea of starting our own social enterprise was in the works, but we were still unsure what our focus would be! When we saw these mason jars, and the infinite ways to use them, we thought: why not combine our fields of work (one in the environmental sector and one in social work) and upcycle* mason and glass jars, only to then give back to the community? (* upcycling is the process of converting waste into new materials for better environmental value)

Sounds too ideal, right? Well, we’re here now!

We followed through and started this small business as a vehicle to unleash our creativity, while reducing our environmental footprint! When thinking about which population group to work with, we realized that the best group to engage in art would be newcomer youth, since we were both one at one point and this stage truly shaped who we are today.

Tell me about how your creative/collaborative process works.

We are dreamers. Our style represents an eclectic, one-of-a-kind, upcycled and handpainted decorative glass jar art, which reduces waste and supports art projects for newcomer youth. We try to create most of our jars working together - it’s the most fun we have (with music playing in the the background)! We work as each other’s sounding board and we enjoy sharing feedback to enhance each creative vision. At times though, we have to work separately to get customer orders out as quickly as possible, based on the jar designs we have each mastered. This way we can maintain a balance between enjoying the work we do while keeping our customers happy.

Where do you go for inspiration, and how do you come up with your designs?

We get inspired a LOT, by many things we come across (thankfully this world offers so much beauty). A lot of the time we get inspired through browsing the internet, following trendy art blogs and getting to know fellow business owner who upcycle, decorate and refurbish furniture. We also collect pages of magazines and take pictures or sketch anything that catches our eye. Most of the time, we purposefully walk outdoors. Being embedded in the natural environment invigorates us and stimulates the deepest parts of our creative brain and imagination, so we capture that inspiration, and then unleash as soon as the jars are in our hands!

Social justice and environmental responsibility seem to be central to you - can you talk about the role of these values in your work?

Being a social worker, and working with marginalized women, including newcomers, Flavia wanted to create a way to support this community through her own creative, healing and fun enterprise. She has experienced and witnessed how art therapy and art in general helps women find a safe space to express themselves, build friendships and escape their complex and multifaceted realities. She wanted to spread that engaging medium to newcomer youth.

Dona’s heart is set on stewarding our environment and particularly our water resources, and was determined to make sure what we embarked on would have a minimal environmental footprint. In addition, inspired by the books “Walk Out, Walk On” by Meg Wheatley and Deborah Frieze, which focused on how marginal communities upcycle "junk" and inventively transform it to address their most basic needs, and “The $100 Startup” by Chris Guillebeau, they were motivated to adopt the concept of upcycling in their mission statement and just go ahead, trust their guts and venture into the world of social entrepreneurship.

What are your biggest dreams for your business?

We plan to continue facilitating youth art workshops! It’s a really fun and fulfilling part of our lives outside of our daily jobs. We will also be participating in summer hand-made markets (so do come and check us out on Facebook & Twitter to find out where we’ll be!) and we will definitely continue creating beautiful jars.

As long-term and hopeful goals, we’d like to one day open our own studio where we can host workshops on-site with newcomer youth and other marginalized groups (and sell home-made cookies, fresh coffee and tea and listen to International music!). We might even make our way into the wedding market - stay tuned!

Your store is called “Beyond the Jar” – can you tell me a bit about yourselves beyond “Beyond the Jar”?

Flavia is a social worker who works with marginalized and street involved women in a community-based agency. She is also a research coordinator for a participatory action research project at York University. She has been a dancer since the age of 3 and during her off time, when she is not working or creating new jars or updating Beyond The Jar’s social media sites, she enjoys taking Zumba classes, which lets her latin flare out, and hip hop classes! During her entire university career she was part of the university's competitive dance team! She was born and raised in Italy, although her dad is from Ecuador, and came to Canada with her family at the age of 12. Now she lives alone in Canada, while her family is in Bolivia. Throughout Flavia’s childhood and adulthood her mom, who is an eclectic artist herself, instilled in her a love and appreciation for all types of art, all that is handmade and decorating. Her mom is her number one inspiration and supporter!

Dona works as a Hub Manager (for Southern Ontario) with Waterlution, a non-profit organization, acting as a community-builder, host and facilitator for multi-stakeholder dialogue around water. Outside of her day job she has an admiration for languages and is currently taking Spanish courses (already speaks Arabic and French fluently) and loves adventurous and cultured travel. She was born and raised in Lebanon and moved with her family to Canada at the age of 14. She has taken art classes since a child, entered competitions and won awards. She always found art to be the perfect outlet for her creativity and for the extensive alone time she spent as a kid. Today, in her spare time, Dona likes to browse coursera.org and take (free!) classes on innovation, creativity and business management.

What is your biggest passion outside of your craft business?

Flavia’s biggest passions include social work, community based research, dance and photography. She also loves to knit and is looking forward to learning how to sew. And of course food and travelling! For Dona it’s really simple. Water stewardship, travel and exploring creativity.

Toronto Pride: What’s your favourite real-life haunt or neighbourhood around the city, and why?

It’s a hard to pick one because we have two! Queen Street and Kensington Market place equally on our favourites list! We love all the unique shops, restaurants and artists who occupy both areas!

Beyond The Jar will be at the Blooming Earth Festival Handmade Market + Fashion Show in Kitchener on April 27, 8am-4pm and at the Gifts of My Hand Market at the Sorauren Park in Toronto on May 27, 3-7pm.

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

Interviewed by Sarah of BllkBox Clothing in March 2013 in Toronto.

T.E.S.T. at the Spring One of a Kind Show!

Friday, March 22, 2013

'TEST zoo at the One of a Kind!' by minouette

A whole zoo's worth of animals (& carrots) from the makers on the Toronto Etsy Street Team who will be selling at the Spring One of a Kind show, March 27-31!

Fibre Art, Psyche, Butterfly...

bear over mountain (5 x 7 pr...

Hibernating Black Bear

Small Bunny Rabbit doll Wald...

New Baby card with Goose Fam...

Elk Herd - 36x48 Plotter Pos...

Malayan Tapir Linocut

Polar Bear 1" Button

Set of 4 Elephant bookmarks ...

Carrot Earrings

Hedgehog Letterpress Notecar...

Eco friendly "mini moos...

Hello owl illustration blank...

Fish Plate, Decorative hand ...

SALE Valentines Day Mouse d...

Santa Fe Table Runner

Treasury tool supported by the dog house

The Spring One of a Kind Show is the largest spring show in Toronto, with over 450 vendors. TEST is well-represented. Find handmade creations by: bubyNoa, Clayshapes, thunderpeep, stitchandspoke, GreenBeanThings, crywolf, minouette, stevenbeckly, charlynw (HOPSCOTCH), morico, Avril Loreti and eyespotdesigns!

2013 One of a Kind Spring Show and Sale
Wednesday, March 27 to Sunday, March 31, 2013

Weekdays & Saturday 10am–9pm
Open Good Friday 10am–9pm
Open Easter Sunday 10am–6pm

Thursday, March 28 - Open late until 11pm

Venue location

Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place
100 Princes' Blvd., Toronto ON M6K 3C3 Canada

Make Your Living videos for Canadian Etsians featuring Victory Patterns

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Etsy is announcing their new Make Your Living video series launching today –profiling Canadian artists who make their living using Etsy! Their first video, above, features T.E.S.T.'s own Kristiann Boos of Victory Patterns and her Kensington Market design studio.

Poppytalk writes:
"There are over 800 000 small businesses on Etsy, in over 150 countries with over 25 million members. Etsy is investing in Canada in support of Canadian artists with projects like Make Your Living, taking the spirit of DIY to heart and giving Canadians a head start by offering a limited time offer of 20 free listings to try it out with the promo code "makeyourliving" redeemable at etsy.com/promotion"

Congratulations Kristiann!

Vendor call: Gift of my Hands shows

T.E.S.T.'s own Nici of gift of my hands says:

I'm very happy to say that Gifts Of My Hands is doing more shows! 4 actually!

If you didn't get a chance to participate/attend the last show it was a great success with a great turnout!

I'm really excited because these 4 shows will be happening on the last monday of may, june, july and august during the sorauren park farmers market. If you have never been before you're in for a treat. It's a really fabulous organic market which not only has yummy local food, but live music and lots of good vibes.

the dates are May 27, June 24, July 29, and August 26
set up from 2-3 show from 3-7 wrap up from 7-8

Whats great about doing the show alongside the market is that the market is already very well attended, so unless theres a crazy storm there will be a great turnout. ALSO. On mondays starting in mid May- early August There is soccer in the park which also brings in hundreds of people.

This show is going to be smaller than the last one. 15 vendors instead of 25. We will only be using the top floor.

I will go the same route with advertising the same way that I did last time, but I likely wont put up flyers as they just get covered and torn down.

Because of the small number of tables availble and for the sake of bringing in a lot of differents artists I'm only allowing vendors to participate in 2 of the 4 shows. the table cost is $40 but if you sign up for 2 shows its $70 for both.

If you are interested in participating please let me know which date(s) you would like to attend and I will send you along the contract.

Please email

Vendor call: Market 707 Pop-ups

Market 707 Pop-ups

INTRODUCING: Market 707 Pop-ups! Pop-up retail is gaining momentum in Toronto and it’s next stop? Market 707! In April 2013, Market 707 will be opening 5 new container stalls available to vendors for short periods of time (typically a month). This limited-time opportunity might be the opportunity you have been looking for to get your idea off the ground! What better space to launch your business, test our product, showcase your art or build your customer base than in this urban container market?
What is a pop-up shop? At Scadding Court, Pop-up Shops are temporary stores that take over, transform and launch their product, business or art out of Market 707 – a market made of salvaged shipping containers located at the corner of Dundas and Bathurst Streets. The goal? Pop-up retail allows you to create a unique environment that engages your customers, in a relevant and interactive way. Think you have a good idea and just looking for a way to gain momentum? This might just be the perfect opportunity for you.
What are the spaces like? We’ve redesigned these new container stalls to be better suited for retail, art and services.

Market 707 Pop-up includes five stalls, four of which are 10’ x 8’ and the fifth is 20’ x 8’. The spaces are provided to you as a shell with walls, insulation, windows and electrical capacity.
How can entrepreneurs or artists get involved? Pop-up spaces will be available for rent from April to May 2013. Applications to rent a space are open now! What do vendors need?:
  • Existing or capacity to establish online presence
  • A plan to ensure their business will draw foot traffic
  • Any relevant fixtures, furniture and signage to display or present your product, art or service
Interested? Fill out a Pop-up Application Form and contact Nikki at 416-392-0335 or marketplace@scaddingcourt.org for more details.
About the local neighbourhood:Located in the up and coming Dundas Street West neighbourhood, Market 707 is positioned between Kensington Market, Queen Street West and Chinatown. The placement of the pop-up containers will be ideally located between the existing Market 707, near the high-traffic Alexandra Park and outdoor swimming pool. Vendors will also benefit from the multitude of summer events planned at SCCC’s Market 707.

Note (from comments): The first round of applications (for the first few months) is due April 5th! Check out our website for the most up to date information: http://scaddingcourt.org/market_707_pop_ups/

Vendor Call Wychwood Barns Art Market

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Attention Artists, Craftspeople and Designer/Makers
Barns Art Market
Weekend Exhibition Opportunities at Artscape Wychwood Barns
Artscape is currently accepting submissions from visual artists, craftspeople and designer/makers who wish to participate in the Barns Art Market, taking place one Saturday a month from May to October 2013.
Applications due April 1, 2013
Participation Fee: $73.45 ($65+HST) per market
Now in its third year, the Barns Art Market is a fine art and craft show at Artscape Wychwood Barns, an award-winning arts and community hub in midtown Toronto. The market takes place one Saturday a month from May to October. Each show features 25+ exhibitors selling jewellery, paintings, prints, ceramics, clothing and more. Participants in the Barns Art Market will be selected by a professional jury, with consideration to diversity of medium and quality of work being sold. Artists are welcome to participate in a maximum of three market dates in 2013.
The Barns Art Market coincides with The Stop’s popular Farmers’ Market, which attracts hundreds of people to the area every Saturday. The market is also a great opportunity to visit the many vibrant artist studios located in Artscape Wychwood Barns.
For further information about the market’s location, audience, marketing, exhibitor load-in and amenities, please read the Exhibitor FAQ.
Market Dates:
  • Saturday, May 25 – 9am to 2pm (participating venue in Doors Open)
  • Saturday, June 29 – 9am to 2pm
  • Saturday, July 27 – 9am to 2pm
  • Saturday, August 31 – 9am to 2pm
  • Saturday, September 28 – 9am to 2pm
  • Saturday, October 19 – 9am to 2pm
How to Apply
Interested exhibitors are asked to submit by April 1, 2013: a completed Application Form, visual documentation of their recent work and the participation fee of $73.45 ($65+HST) per market. Please visit us online to view the Call for Submissions and download an application form.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Toronto's Premier Night Market. Pairing Music, Drinks and Streetstyle Food with Top Choice Vendors is holding a series of events. This Saturday, March 16, 2013, vendors include T.E.S.T.'s own Jordan of Hexagon Inc. The event is from 8pm to 2am, with sales until 12 am, at 2nd floor events space (461 King St. West, Toronto, ON). $5 cover.
Find out more on their Facebook page

DJs, food and shopping makes for an awesome evening!

Tutorials: WonderForest on Adding a Facebook 'Like' Box

Friday, March 8, 2013

Running a successful Etsy isn't just about creating with your hands, seeking and listing great vintage finds or sought-after handmaking supplies; it's important to be found! So, many of us maintain an on-line presence through our blogs and various social media. On the side bar, you'll find the T.E.S.T. Blogroll with all our members' blogs. T.E.S.T.'s own Dana of WonderForest, has a lovely blog to match her lovely shop, where blogs she about style, design, and life and she shares her handmade projects, but also her expertise in web design. Today we're sharing one of her video tutorials to help you bring your social media together in one place. Here she explains how to add a Facebook 'Like' box on your blog or website.

Cubits Organic Seeds

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

T.E.S.T.'s own Cubits is your source for quality, organic grown seeds, rare and heirloom vegetables and herbs - right here in Toronto! Check out their interview with Foodland Ontario above, and their recent seed packing session below. It's starting to feel like spring in Toronto! Might be time to plan how you can get some yummy treats from your gardens.

Etsy + Wave = Accounting made easy!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Etsy, along with Wave, recently held an Accounting for small business workshop here in Toronto. Kate from Nail Kandy attended and wrote up a summary for all those who couldn't make it {Thanks Kate!} 

Wave accounting sofware - waveapps.com
On Wednesday I attended Wave's accounting software workshop. It was a free seminar, for free software and they had free beer!

• Wave is a 100% free accounting software for small businesses. (Typically for businesses for 0-9 employees, but mostly sole proprietors), and it is cloud based, so you can access your data anywhere you are.
• Wave has been in business for just over 2 years and has over 35,000 customers signing up every month. They are now at over 500,000 customers worldwide.
• There are 4 product categories - invoicing, accounting, payroll, and personal finance tools. All of their services are 100% free, except the payroll software, which they use to fund all of their other services with the addition of relevant ads placed tastefully throughout the site.
• Wave has integrated with Etsy, so if you have a shop on Etsy you can integrate your shop with their accounting software directly. Wave will pull together your Etsy transaction info and PayPal income and do your bookkeeping for you, and you can set up more than 1 business (or shop) under the same account & login, including your personal finances.
• You can compare income vs. expenses, payable & owing. You can import your online banking data and credit card transactions into wave though a secure connection that is read-only. Once it is set up, it will automatically update transactions (this is good if you have a separate account/ credit card for your business and you will see all your transactions). You can connect multiple accounts and credit cards.
• If you have one bank or credit account that mixes personal + business transactions together, you can separate them and move expenses into different categories in Wave. You can also split transactions into multiple categories (for example if you have one receipt with both personal and business items on it, you can split them up). You can also separate HST and file it on its own.
• Wave is intelligent and will learn to recognize your frequent categories and will sometimes sort out your transactions for you.
• Soon you will be able to scan your receipts using your smartphone and import them into Wave. It is in Beta testing right now but should be available in the next few weeks.
• For any cash transactions, you can add them manually as you receive them (say you are at a craft show and taking cash payments on the spot, you will be able to enter them into Wave). And then when you deposit the cash into your bank account, you can merge the two so that you don't have duplicates.
• You can create invoices for your customers, and they can include embedded credit card processing functions as well (for a fee).
• Wave has its own credit card processing software offered by a company called Stripe, for 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction and funds are deposited into your bank account in 7 days. (Stripe is on its way to becoming the next Square, in Wave's opinion).
• You can import old bank statements into Wave and enter past transaction data. (Say for example you join today, but you want to have your accounting there from the past year, you can import it all). Just because you start now, doesn't mean you have to start from scratch.
• You can run reports using all the data you have imported. (Income statement, account transactions, income by customer, expenses, foreign currency, sales tax... etc).
• Payroll is a big feature offered by Wave and it is incredibly competitive - $5 per employee per month. This includes direct deposit, T4 and ROE forms. After 6 employees it's $2/month per employee, and so on.
• Just for reference, to compare Wave to the competition, Freshbooks is just invoicing software, not full accounting software.
• If you work with a bookkeeper or an accountant, you can invite your accountant to view your Wave reports. They would need to create their own account, and they can log in and you can allow them to either view only or have full access to the software and sort your data and create reports for you.
• Their fourth service is personal accounting. You can set up a personal budget for all of your expenses. When you flag transactions as "personal"  they will transfer over. You can also track your investments with a real time feed of your invested stocks.
• Free e-mail support is offered Mon-Fri 9-5, and Wave is 100% committed to having a free product. (except for their paid services).

If you are interested in using Wave you can start right away. Signing up is quick and easy, and once you are signed up you can add your banking information.
Written by Kate Bland from Nail Kandy.
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