Photography classes for TEST Members!

Friday, January 30, 2015

T.E.S.T.'s own Chloé Norman of Augustly is photographer/instructor with GTA Photography Classes. She has worked with Etsy shop owners who are looking to improve their product shots. Now, GTA Photography is offering a TEST-member only photography workshop that would teach shop owners how to take great shots on their own:  
At GTA Photography Classes we offer a Photo 101 class that covers the basics of how to improve your shots using manual mode, and how to consider subject placement and background to get the best photos possible (More info at The information we cover would really benefit shop owners (and likely boost their sales!)
The Photo 101 session starting on Feb 11th is devoted to T.E.S.T. members only. Participants would receive 40% off the regular cost of the 4 week class if they register as a part of T.E.S.T. using promo code: TEST 

T.E.S.T. Interview: KLEMYAbyKlink

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

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 71st in our series and is with Kalinka Essome of KLEMYAbyKlink.  

What brought you to open KlemyabyKlink on Etsy? Do you have design and arts in your background?

A friend of mine told me about Etsy, I checked out the website and I immediately wanted to be part of the Etsy community. It is amazing to have all these talented artists and designers selling their handmade products on the same platform. I have a master degree in Finance/Econometrics and work in Information Technology. I don't have a background in Art and Design.  

Born in Paris, raised in Cameroon and now in Toronto -- I can see that your lovely shop items reflect your Cameroon experience and expertise. Do you source the fabric in Cameroon? And do you design the fabric patterns yourself for a specific item, or does the fabric you select inspire the item?

Yes you're right. My designs are inspired by my African heritage. I want to promote African art, especially African textile. I source the fabric (mud cloth) in Mali, West African. The fabric that I choose mostly inspired my designs. I will partner up with a friend of mine, a designer, to design fabric patterns in the coming months. I am so excited about that collaboration.  

What is your design process and how do you select which item to create? Do they grow out of your own home needs or those of your friends and colleagues, or have you determined a particular market niche to focus on?

I always have a sketchbook on me everywhere I go. Every time that I have a idea, I draw it. Then I make different samples with different fabrics to try out different colors and texture associations till I get to the result that I am looking for. I design a lot of products for my friends and family and also for a particular market niche .  

Do you do your own sewing or are you working with others?

I do my own sewing but I am planning on working with seamstresses when my business will grow.

Do you have other outlets for your wares or are you focusing on on-line retail?

For now I am focusing on selling my products on line. I am currently working on opening an e-shop.

Check out the other items available from Kalinka in her KLEMYAbyKlink Etsy Shop!

You can also follow her on:
Instagram:  @klemyabyklink

Kalinka was interviewed by M.McLean of FlockofTeaCosy on January 28, 2015, in Toronto.

Play #etsymatch - Valentine's Day social media contest!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Valentine's Day is on its way. Maybe you're cozying up with your sweetie, to stay warm while you make your plans for a romantic night. Maybe a Galentine's Day celebration is more your style. But a $500 Etsy gift card is everyone's style! All you need to do to get in on the fun, is to check the #etsymatch page for the latest question, answer on Twitter with the hashtag #etsymatch. Then, sign up for your chance to win a $500 Etsy gift card!

We here at TEST, of course, have all your gift needs covered! We have everything from cards, to jewellery, to fashion and lingerie. Check out the TEST Love for Valentine's page.

Book Making Workshop!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A hands on workshop where you'll learn the Longstitch/Linkstitch binding!

Saturday February 7, 2015.  
10am - 1pm
Graven Feather, 906 Queen St. W. Toronto
$65, materials included.

Join TEST member Carolyn Eady of Sprouts Press and learn how to design and craft your own hand bound journal. This workshop will introduce you to the basic process of hand decorating paper for use as book covers, and then how to incorporate it into a hand bound book using the Longstitch Linkstitch technique. You will leave with your own hand crafted, one of a kind journal!

No previous art experience is required.
For more information and to register please visit:  

The Lennie Project Sewcial

Some final details and information for you:

WHAT: A Sewcial - a gathering co-hosted by TEST & 416Hustlers, open to all, to help make hats and cowls for Toronto's homeless, for The Lennie Project

WHEN: Saturday, January 24th, 12 - 5:30 pm. Drop in any time.

WHERE: the Hurndale room (in the basement) of Eastminster Church, 310 Danforth Ave, near Chester subway station

  • We can use donations of cozy knits or polar fleece in dark neutral colours. (Technical fabric questions should be posted on the event page). 
  • Sewing machines, scissors, power bars, extension cords are all useful
  • We will have some snacks, but snacks for sewers are also welcome! We plan some tea and cookies, so healthy stuff like fruit and water.
Yes! Not only can you help by collecting any donations you may have to offer, but we also need volunteers for cutting, sewing, welcoming volunteers, snack detail, and taking photos. Patterns are simple enough for beginners too. Anyone can help!

Other questions we've received:
Can I bring my baby and work with her in a baby carrier? Of course! (Though for insurance reasons, we cannot accommodate children. So young enough to carry or old enough to help is best.)
What's the minimum size for useful fabric scraps? Please direct fabric questions to the event page. In general, think about hats and cowls when judging sizes.
I was thinking of bringing fruit, crackers, hummus? Yes please!

Experienced sewers are particularly welcome so that we can make and donate as many hats and cowls as possible.


UPDATE: The Lennie Project Sewing Bee Details, January 24

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Thanks for all the great feedback! We've finalized our plans for the joint TEST/416Hustlers Sewing Bee for The Lennie Project. You're all invited to join us:

Saturday, January 24th, 12:30 - 5:30 pm at Eastminster Church basement, 310 Danforth Ave, Toronto

The Eastminster Church is at Danforth and Jackman Ave, one block west of Chester subway station. Please feel welcome to participate for any amount of time and any way you can. Fabric donations are welcome (cozy knits and polar fleece in dark neutral colours). We're thrilled that some members with serious sewing skills and machines can take part, but all skill levels are welcome. You can also help us tidy up at the end, if you prefer.

Specific questions about sewing machines and fabric donations should be directed to Nathalie-Roze.  See you soon!

The Lennie Project & a TEST/416Hustler Sewing Bee!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

This January has seen some bitter cold weather here in Toronto, with tragic consequences for two homeless men. One of our local Etsy sellers and Toronto Etsy Street Team members, Nathalie-Roze has been putting her sewing and upcycling skills to work to address the issue. She writes that,

"it's just so sad (& avoidable). Homelessness is a complex issue we have to address as a city, but there's a lot that we can do as individuals. For my part, I'm ramping up production re: our Make & Donate initiative (aka The Lennie Project). It's a small thing, but small acts matter & help people, and that's a positive thing. If you're in Toronto, I hope you might want to get involved - either by contributing sweaters, spreading the word online (or human-to-human!) or even hands-on helping with production (basic cutting & sewing). In the East-End Lady Marmalade in Leslieville & Pippins Tea Shop in the Beach, The Purple Purl and Lazy Daisy Cafe are serving as drop-off points for sweaters. In the West-End in the Annex CSI/Centre for Social Innovation, Beadle on Dundas W and Common Sort in Parkdale are serving as drop-off points for sweaters. We'll also be collecting your cozy cast-offs at the Winter UberSWAP OR   you can message me [through Nathalie-Roze  on Etsy], on Twitter (@NRandCo) or FB, etc. There are never too many sweaters or volunteers, so don't be shy!" 

She's also been involved in a number of sewing parties to make more hats and neck-warmers for the homeless and under-served residents of Toronto.

The Toronto Etsy Street Team is joining forces with 416Hustler to hold a sewing bee for The Lennie Project. We would like to invite you to join us on Saturday January 24, 2015. We are waiting to confirm a venue until we have an estimate of the number of expected participants, but we expect to be at a TTC-accessible site in the east end. The patterns are all designed to be simple enough for a beginner sewer. All skill levels and donations are welcome. The Lennie Project uses donated knits dark, neutral colours are best and polar fleece (which is particularly needed). Dark, neutral colours are best. Please bring any fabric and sweater donations you have to offer, sewing scissors and if possible, your reasonably small sewing machine.


TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 21 Setting Shipping Rates

Saturday, January 3, 2015

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  

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

We have new sellers joining our Bootcamp all the time, so even though this is Class 21, you can join now or anytime! You can complete the classes at your own pace. The first 8 classes will take you through opening your shop to shipping your sold items:
Class 1, Class 2, Class 3, Class 4, Class 5, Class 6, Class 7, Class 8.  

Check out the subsequent classes at your own pace to upgrade your shop when you find the time: Class 9, Class 10, Class 11, Class 12, Class 13, Class 14Class 15, Class 16, Class 17, Class 18, Class 19, and Class 20.   The trick is to continually improve and you'll find your business can grow, become more efficient and professional as it evolves.  

No time like the present to make a New Year's Resolution to make your Etsy shop as awesome as it can be, and to work through Bootcamp at a steady pace which works for you!
Send someone a graphic hand-cut representation of your
hometown like this framed 11x17" framed map of Toronto by CUTdesignsrt

New Year is not only a time for resolutions, it's (sadly) the time of year when postal rates change. Check out this handy article from Etsy about changes to Canada Post and USPS rates. Postal rates increase yearly, and that means you'll have to increase your rates accordingly, or it could cut into your bottom line. But, it's not all bad news! For instance, for all our Canadian Newbies: Canada Post "Light Packet" Parcels weighing 0.25 – 0.3 kg, for example, will have prices lowered by 34%! Light packet service will also be broken into three weight categories. Other services, and liability coverage will increase. There was a 3% Automation Discount, which will be removed for Xpresspost USA, Expedited Parcel USA and Xpresspost International - which makes yet another increase.  Also, the formula for calculating a parcel’s volumetric weight has changed for all air shipping services. How can you keep track of all these changes and adapt your pricing and shipping strategies? Etsy has broken it down into some handy charts, which we will go through below. (American sellers can find charts of USPS rate changes here).
some lovely, small, unique, custom items like this
Fine Silver Double Fingerprint pendant from DesignByBullsEye

Strategy for updating your shipping rates
  • We recommend signing up to print your own Canada Post shipping labels with Etsy! This allows you to do your shipping, inventory and communications with customers in one step - and offers discounts on most rates. Etsy will automatically mark all of your orders as shipped and send shipping notifications to buyers once you print your labels. Etsy shipping labels are available to Canadian and US sellers. Sign up and and learn more here and read our Shipping Snippets tutorial here. When you print out your own labels, you can use the built-in interactive tool to compare and contrast all your shipping rate options.
  •  If you're already using Shipping Profiles, updating your rates should be reasonably painless! If your wares come in standard sizes, or even a fairly controlled range of sizes, a good way to make it easier to create new listings is to set up some Shipping Profiles. Once you've made and packaged one fairly standard sized item (say, one dress, one Giclée print of a certain size, one necklace, or what have you) you can measure its dimensions and weight. Then, use the Canada Post online tool or the Etsy Shipping Label tool to figure out the shipping prices to likely destinations. Read more in our shipping and packaging tutorial. While the addition of new weight categories may mean it's worth your while to update your profiles, generally, you can simply edit each profile to reflect the new prices and then edit all linked listings at once automatically! If you aren't using Shipping Profiles set them up TODAY and you'll be able to seamlessly update rates in the future.
    Vintage Lace/Tulle A-line from Takemevintage
    could be yours (and cleverly packaged in a minimum of space)
  • Check out the charts below to see if the new weight categories can benefit your shop! Are your items now in a new Light Packet category? Are they quite close? Do a little experimenting with your scale, ruler and packaging and see if you can tweak your packaging to keep your items in a lower weight category. A very large number of Etsy sellers make small items like jewellery, stationary and more which can be sent Light Packet and may find their shipping costs actually decrease if they package their items and select their service carefully! Though, on average of course, rates are all going up (for instance, Light Packet USA rates will increase by 17.4% and Light Packet international rates will increase by 11.7%). Note that for the heaviest of the Light Packet categories, Small Packet may be more affordable. Decreases in examples rates for Light Packet are highlighted in blue in the charts below.

The Canada Post Specifics

Light Packet now has three weight categories:

If your items are only slightly heavier than 200 g or 300 g, it is worth investigating whether your packaging can be decreased.

Volumetric weight is the factor Canada Post uses to categorize the parcel rate. So, when determining how much to charge you, Canada Post uses the actual mass in kilograms, and a scaled volume (length x width x height divided by a number).

The change to the formula is as follows:
  • 2014: Length (cm) x Width (cm) x Height (cm) / 6000 = Volumetric Weight
  • 2015: Length (cm) x Width (cm) x Height (cm) / 5000 = Volumetric Weight

All air shipping rates are changing accordingly. What does this mean for you? That decrease in the scaling factor means that there is a greater penalty for large packages and in 2015, and even more than in 2014, it pays to try and pack items compactly.  Read more about Volumetric Weight here. The Rated Weight is price is calculated using the greater of the volumetric weight or the actual weight. The actual weight cannot exceed 30 kg.

Examples of base shipping prices (without taxes, surcharges or extra fees) based on services available today in $CAD, reprinted from the Etsy Seller Handbook article on the new 2015 Canada Post rates:

* Base Rate for Etsy’s Canada Post Shipping Labels includes a 3% automation discount where applicable; does not include fuel surcharges, fees for Optional Services, or additional fees and taxes.
** Average rate change across all services’ zones and weights.
*** Options are not available for all services.
^ Light Packet USA and Light Packet International weight ranges are shown for example purposes, only.

Tip: For those who sell flat items (photographers, fine artists and printmakers like me), there is no longer a fee for using cylindrical mailing tubes, or better yet, there is no longer an "Oversized Fee"! Options for selling poster sized/shaped items just got better.
Got any questions, suggestions or advice? How is shipping going for you? Let us know your feedback by commenting below or dropping us a line at
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