T.E.S.T. Interview: Afrodelik

Saturday, December 27, 2014

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 70th in our series and is with Desiree from Afrodelik:hand drawn funky t-shirts who was interviewed by Amy Eaton of NightlyOwlKnit.

When did you open your shop? Why did you decide to open? 

I opened the AFRODELIK shop on etsy this year, 2014. I have an Afrodelik online store and wanted to introduce my tshirt brand to a bigger audience 

How long does it take you to design a new piece? 

It varies. I am a bit of a perfectionist, and am meticulous with my art. Because every design is first hand drawn with pencil, I spend a lot of time making adjustments to the design...thank goodness for erasers. The design can vary from 3-4 hours along a 1.5 week period. I rarely draw a design within the same day. I prefer it that way as I get a fresh look every time I revisit it. 

What is your background/what do you do for a day job? 

Aside from running and drawing for Afrodelik, I work as a Video Editor at one of the biggest broadcasting companies in the country. 

What brought you to Etsy? Where else can we find your products? 

 I have purchased products off of the Etsy website, because of their uniqueness, and I couldn't find it anywhere else. Etsy has some of the most creative products I've ever seen, and the best quality. You can find Afrodelik on my website at http://www.afrodelik.com/ and you can purchase it in person at Brimz Hat Boutique on Queen St West in Toronto.

What inspires your work? 

I am a huge music fan and I enjoy images from the African diaspora. I am inspired by African images, African art, music, culture and spirituality. I love art and enjoy going to galleries and checking out some of the local artist in Toronto, or any other city that I might be visiting. I am definitely inspired by fellow artist. The depthness of rhythms and melodies in music inspire me. It's about the flow that I feel and I go with it. 

What are your goals for your business in the coming year? 

I am looking to draw a new collection of tshirts that will be accessible to an even bigger audience, keeping true to Afrodelik's message. I will be adding more designs on the etsy store, and as well, I would like to make Afrodelik my full-time gig. 

What memorable responses have you had to your work? 

My customers and admirers of the brand love the bold colours that I use, and comment on the colour combos that I put together. They love the images uniqueness and comment how they can distinctly recognize an Afrodelik tshirt design. 

What's next for Afrodelik? 

More designs, Bigger shows and more time on making Afrodelik full-time. 

Check out the other items available from Desiree in her Etsy shop. You can also find her on these other social media outlets:

Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/1976Dezi  
AFRODELIK Commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Blw-U4HW8Ww

Desiree was interviewed by Amy of  NightlyOwlKnits, December 7, 2014. 

T.E.S.T. Interview: Nightly Owl Knit

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 69th in our series and is with Amy Eaton of NightlyOwlKnit who was interviewed by Desiree of Afrodelik.

What is the story behind your shop name Nightly Owl Knit?

When I finally decided to open a shop the first thing I thought about was a name. A lot of my friends in the city are writers so I decided to ask for help. When one friend sent me a list of five or so I wasn't keen on any of them. It wasn't until she asked me about it in person and said the name Nightly Owl Knit out loud that I realized she was playing with the words nightly I will knit (I thought I was the only one who missed the joke, but turns out my Mom, who works with me on the shop, was also in the dark until our first show when I pointed it out). After that I knew I had it and got started on a header for my shop.  

When did you start knitting? What was the first piece that you created?

I'm not sure exactly when I started knitting, but I think I was about ten. I know it took me a few tries to learn, but my Mom was a patient teacher. My first project was a scarf, funny because now they are my least favourite thing to make!   

Can you tell us more about yourself?

Sure! I love all kinds of crafts and really enjoy going to workshops to learn new techniques (I tried out loom weaving a few weeks ago and had a blast). I like to buy vintage and used items and remake them into new things. Some of my best projects are a 70's prom dress that is now a fun party dress, and a set of granny square pillows that I crocheted out of a deconstructed sweater. During the day I work as a graphic designer at a publishing company downtown. On evenings and weekends I like to play volleyball, floor hockey and go running with a local group (I like to joke that I'm a bit of a jock haha).

The Knit Boot collection is really neat. What inspired you to create that series?

I finally bought a pair of Hunter boots late last winter and was really happy with how dry they kept my feet. I did not however, love how floppy they were around my calf or how chilly my feet got on cold days. After shopping around I figured that I could make my own socks and got my Mom to help. She sews and knits the liners and I work on the cute toppers. This winter has been great with the socks and I'm already brainstorming new patterns for next year.  

What inspires your work?

Most of my projects start off as gifts for other people. I see something online or at a store and want to try making it myself. It was actually a co-worker who pushed me to open my store. I made her a deer head trophy for her birthday and she was adamant that other people would want them and that I had to open an Etsy shop.  
Where do you enjoy most knitting and crocheting?

I most enjoy knitting at home with my Mom (my Dad hangs out with us too too, but he's not much of a knitter). When I'm not visiting my hometown I usually knit and watch TV, I like to think it justifies my binge watching. 

Check out the other items available from Amy in her Etsy shop. You can also follow her on Instagram

Amy was interviewed by Desiree of Afrodelik, December 7, 2014. 

T.E.S.T. Interview: Fabric and Felt

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

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 68th in our series and is with Ivona Olszewska of FabricandFelt who was interviewed by Melissa Fournier of PenelopePixelArts, December 15, 2014.

Tell me a little about yourself and your shop.
I have been creating for about 10 years now,I started with jewelery then took a break to take care of my family and had my two kids. While being stay home Mom I needed something to work on so I started cross stitching just for fun and that got me into needle works. I tried crocheting, knitting and then sewing and fell in love with the last one. My Etsy store is just the beginning of my life adventure with sewing. 

You have some adorable stuffed toys! Tell me a little about your process -- from coming up with a new idea to completed product.

Every few months I feel the need of creating something new. I usually start with searching thru my books, magazines and the web, then I make few drawings, transform them into templates and start working on the first toy, then the toy goes to my kids for testing while I look out for anything that needs improvement.

What got you into working with fabric and felt?

I love the endless possibilities when working with felt and all the different patterns in fabrics.  

What's your favorite experience related to creating felt products or opening this shop?

I love working with felt because I don't need to worry about fraying.  

Is there anywhere else customers can find your products?

I do only craft shows for this moment but beside my Etsy store I have Facebook page and a Fabric and Felt blog.  

Any new products in the making? If so, can you give us a sneak peak by telling us a little about it?

I started working on few new toys, there is a moose, a mouse and a penguin in works.

Check out the other items available from Ivona in her Etsy shop. You can also follow on Facebook, and read more on the Fabric and Felt blog.

Ivona was interviewed by Melissa Fournier of PenelopePixelArts, December 15, 2014.

Vendor call: Leslieville Christmas Pop-Up

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

They are holding a Pop-Up in Leslieville and have about 10 spots left for some amazing artists to participate! Find out more here.

Annex Flea

Monday, December 8, 2014

The special two day holiday Annex Flea is this weekend! Details, including a list of vendors is here.
They are also in the middle of their 12 day of giveaways-- from December 1 to 12, they are giving away a gift a day to for someone who successfully answers the day's trivia question. Find details on that here. Vendors include TEST's own Black Iris Design, Jennifer Rong Design, Sprout's Press Design, Sudsatorium, Red Rocket Vintage, FoldIt Creations, and more!

Cyber Monday in Toronto

Sunday, November 30, 2014

TEST has got you covered! Check out our pages for curated lists of some of the fabulous wares from your favorite local makers, vintage collectors and artist suppliers with small online Etsy businesses.

We have Gifts for Him

I have to find just the thing for my husband, son, brothers, father, and nephew. Here are just some of the things I know they would like.

Ipad Holder from CanadianWoodcrafters

I, The Jury- Film Noir Movie Poster from TheArtOfDemolition

Roadside Diner vintage button up shirt from shopCUB

Nude Leather Bow Tie

and much, much, more.

We have Gifts for Her

For your wives, girlfriends, sisters, daughters, nieces, grandmothers, granddaughters, friends - you name it.

Moose Necklace in Sterling Silver by IvanneBinetruy

Handmade 100% Tie Dye Silk Scarf by OrderEthans

Thick adjustable cuff bracelet from micheleguevera

Glass tile pendant - Mum & cherry from dandytigerdesign

and of course, Gifts for the Kids

Soft caterpillar toy from fabricandfelt

Penquin in Pink from eleandela

Little Birdy Sailors from LittleBellwoods

8 x 8 signed digital art print from sarizART

We have home gift guides, gifts for pet lovers, fashion, stocking stuffers and so much more!

Vendor Queens Vender Call

Friday, November 28, 2014


VENDOR QUEENS is a marketplace for designers, collectors, performers, and creative people to come together, nourish entrepreneurial ideas and proudly present & sell their work. 

This holiday-season, we're pairing up with Toronto environmental organization, Evergreen Brick Works to make something beautiful happen.

Sundays, December 14th & 21st, from 10AM to 6PM, over 55 local foodies & farmers, makers & collectors will imbue gifts with REAL MEANING at Evergreen Brick Works. 

Live bands from 11AM to 6PM, featuring: memory-trip inducing, The Ole Fashion, chamber-folk masters, Ozere, Canadian urban-sweethearts, Birds of Bellwoods, and the mesmeric loopings of Delta Will. PLUS, DJ Caitlin Woelfle-O'Brien, digging through your old cassette tapes and making them shinny and new. 

Evergreen Holiday Farmers Market: 10AM to 3PM

Plus, live sculpture, portraiture, fortune exchanges, confessional shadow plays and other happenings.


We're looking for vendors who are talented at what they do, and who convey a sense of pride and ownership for their space and for the artistic exchanges with customers they encourage. 

We are looking for all types of artists who are interested in blurring the lines that have been drawn between craft and art, performance & experience.

Interested designers should fill out the application form as soon as possible here: 

Rent is $115 for a single day, or $200 for both. VENDOR meet & greet/ Silk-Screening/ decorating night, Wednesday December 10th. Load-in at 8AM). 

All inquires can be directed to Caitlin Brubacher: info@vendorqueens.com

One of a Kind Christmas Show & Sale!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

It's time for the BIGGEST of all handmade shows of the year. The One of a Kind show is celebrate it's 40th year. Come check out the hundreds of artists and artisans, from 10 am to 9 pm Monday through Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm Sunday and special late night shopping until 11 pm on Thurday, December 4th, at the Direct Enerday Centre on the Exhibition grounds.

You'll find all sorts of wonderful makers and their one of a kind wares including TEST's own
Deidre Wicks from WaterInMyPaint (Booth C07), Laura Watt From Cubits (Booth C54), Christine Pensa From Art That Moves (Booth D47), Carolyn From Sprouts Press (Booth D49), Candice Ware from CandiWareJewelry (Booth E30), Carolyn from carolyndraws (Booth J19), Michelle from thunderpeep designs (Booth J53), Michelle from Aide Bodycare (Booth R35) throughout the show. From November 27 to December 1, you'll find TEST's own Rovena from Handmades By Rovena (Booth Q35). From December 2 to 7, you'll find TEST's own Leslie Fruman From Clayshapes Pottery (Booth P26), Ele Willoughby from minouette (Booth Q23) and Robin Fitzsimmons from FitzyDesign (Booth Q25).

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

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

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

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

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

Come down and say hello to the following team members: 

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

Rong Designs
Saturday November 29th & Sunday 30th

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

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

Lynns Lids
Saturday December 13th & Sunday December 14th

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

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

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

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

Get Your Creative Business Organized

Friday, November 21, 2014

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Ornament Making Workshop

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

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

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

Vendor call: Pop Up Christmas Market at Placebo Space

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Unwrap Etsy Holiday Pop-Up

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

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

T.E.S.T. Interview: FlockofTeaCosy

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related Posts with Thumbnails