Sneak Peek at Etsy: Made in Canada Toronto

Friday, August 26, 2016

Only one month to go! This year's Etsy: Made in Canada Toronto at MaRS Discovery District (College and University) on Spetember 24th promises to be our best yet! Check out the gorgeous LookBook of wares from our fabulous vendors. We're featuring a Fashion Foyer for new, designer and vintage fashion, a vintage section, and a Newbie Nook for the fabulous new-to-Etsy sellers who've joined our show. Also find your favourite local makers, artists, artisans, jeweller makers, soap and bodycare purveyors, tasty treats, fashion accessories, free DIY workshops and more! Our LookBook even includes floor plans so you can plan your visit in advance. We're so excited to bring these talented local vendors to you so you can shop Etsy in real life!

See you soon!

Vendor call: Boutique Pop Up Noël Etsy - Etsy Christmas Pop Up Shop at Promenades de l'Outaouais

Friday, August 19, 2016

Our friends at the team Etsy Outaouais are delighted to announce that this Christmas season Etsy Outaouais will create a unique market experience, the Boutique Pop Up Noël Etsy - Etsy Christmas Pop Up Shop, from November 1st to 28 December 2016. The Promenades de l'Outaouais will host an Etsy marketplace overflowing with Christmas gifts created by more than one hundred Canadians artisans. 

Les Promenades de l'Outaouais is the most dynamic shopping destination in the Gatineau / Ottawa region. 7 million visitors annually shop there. This is an incredible opportunity for these small creative companies, but also for the consumer. 

You must be able to send your items between the 1st and 31st of October
Management Fees $ 120
Consignment fee 40%
All Canadian Etsy shops are welcome to apply.


T.E.S.T. Interview: Halyard

Thursday, August 18, 2016

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 100th (woohoo!) in our series and is with Liza Wallman of Halyard.

Tell us about your shop. What do you sell?

My shop is called Halyard which means the rope that hoists a flag. I make hand painted flags and signs on reclaimed or locally sourced wood. I cut the wood and paint on a flag or custom design. There are a few key finishing touches that I incorporate. I sand and stain every piece so it has a rustic, weathered look. And, of course, all my pieces come ready to hang with hardware installed on the back.

What made you start this business? Tell us about how you started your shop.

About three years ago my mom asked me to make a very big rustic looking Canadian flag for my parents’ basement. We’re talking 4 feet by 8 feet kind of very big. We found some scrap wood in the barn of the apple orchard my parents live on and I used that as my canvas. Friends and family saw the finished product and asked me to make them their own. After some revelations, I realized that I love making things with my hands. I had heard about Etsy and decided to try my hand at it and I’ve loved it ever since.  

How has your Master's in Contemporary Art History influenced your store and your products?

My Master’s in Contemporary Art History has made me very aware of the importance of visual representation in creating and unifying nations. For example, Canada’s flag has the ability to bring together such a wide variety of people who all call this country home. I like thinking of flags as a means of inclusivity. I take this one step further by combining flags, like my Half American Half Canadian flag, for people who call multiple places home. Of course, I want all my customers to feel a sense of pride about their heritage so I’m happy to paint any country flag even if I don’t have it listed.

Where does your inspiration come from?

I’m inspired by Canada and my family. I’m inspired by nature, as my Camping Signs line suggests. I’m inspired by people and their passion for their countries. It’s a surprisingly global feeling, finding pride in one’s country, in whatever way they define their home country.  

What did you learn about yourself since you've embarked on this entrepreneurship journey?

I’ve learned that I have the ability to motivate myself more than I ever could have realized. I learned at the beginning that I didn’t have a thick skin (the first time I received negative feedback it really stung). I’ve learned that, like anything, developing a thick skin takes practice and now I have it and can use the rare negative feedback I get constructively instead of destructively.

How does the store fit into your life and what role does it play?

Currently, Halyard is my main job. I can live off of what I create and I really never thought I’d be able to say that. Since it is my main source of income, I treat it like a regular job. I keep the same studio hours every week (7-3, Monday to Friday) and do administrative work from home. Keeping regular hours is one of the best ways to keep myself motivated.

What is your favourite item in your shop?

My favourite items in my shop are the camping signs. If I had to pick just one, I think I would go with the Portaging camp sign as it was the first one of that line that I made. My brothers both love going portaging in Algonquin Park. My oldest brother, Andrew, asked me to make this portaging sign for my other brother, Evan, as a Christmas gift.  

Outside of various country flags, you have camping signs, and sports flags. What made you choose these two categories and how do they fit into the overall theme of your store?

As I said, I tend to draw inspiration from Canada. A large portion of what forms my idea of Canada is my family. Sports, both watching and playing them, are an integral part of how my family spends time together. As a child, we spent many summer vacations camping at Pinery Provincial Park. The overall theme of my store involves expressing one’s identity through hand crafted art and I think that, much like the country one is from, people readily identify with their hobbies like camping or sports.  

Do you plan to include additional product lines in the future?

I’m always thinking of new things that I want to create. I’m hoping to introduce high resolution prints of my work to my shop very soon! I want to do this to offer a less expensive alternative to my hand painted pieces.  

How do you promote your business?

I use a few platforms for promotion. Etsy is such a great resource for promoting small business and I make sure to take full advantage of that. I’ve also done a lot of craft shows in and around Toronto. Potentially my favourite way of promoting my business is through social media because the price is right (free). I have Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest all @halyardflags.  

How do you stay motivated?

My main motivation is the customers that I encounter whether it be online through Etsy or in person at craft shows. Customers’ positive reviews, stories of flags being given as gifts and the recipients being brought to tears, these sweet little bits of information keep me going. Some days, I’m just not motivated. On those days I have to remember the basics to get my butt out of bed: I need to pay the bills.  

What are your upcoming plans and what is the next big goal you would like to achieve?

I’m planning on going back to school! Of course, I’m going to continue Halyard and creating, but my thirst for knowledge just cannot seem to be quenched. I’m really looking forward to learning something new all while knowing I have an amazing creative outlet in Halyard.

You can check out more of Liza's work at her Etsy story, Halyard or on these social media:
and her own website.

Interviewed by Ivana Musich of AllofTheThingsTO in Toronto on August 10, 2016.


T.E.S.T. Interview: AllofTheThings

Sunday, August 7, 2016

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 99th in our series and is with Ivana Musich of All of the Things.

How did you come to open your Etsy shop? What was your first item?

The idea was born from my infatuation with motivational quotes and sayings that inspired me, and triggered possibility within me. I would collect them from the books I read, or posts I came across on social media and blogs. I would save them to my phone and read them out loud every morning. I found this would put me in a positive state of mind and get me excited about my day. I used these words as a cue and trigger to snap out of negativity.

I decided to print them out and tape them to my bathroom mirror. From there I made them more visually appealing and turned them into wall prints. I framed them and hung them up in my bedroom. That was my way of creating a positive space, where I felt safe, motivated, encouraged and supported. I noticed that every time my friends would come over they would take the time to carefully read through them. They would often say “Why don’t you just start selling these?” If they had made such a difference for me and those around me, I’m sure others would enjoy them too.

Shortly after, All of the Things was born. My first ever product was a 4 x 4 square print of one of my favourite quotes by Gabby Bernstein “Choose a loving thought”. It signifies that, in every moment, we have the choice of how we want to view things. So why not choose a positive, more loving perspective? The designs and ideas improved over time, and I eventually expanded the product line from wall prints to stationery and T-Shirts.  

What is your day job and how do you manage to balance that with your Etsy shop?

I have a very demanding full time job. I lead the client service team at a large digital advertising agency downtown Toronto. The knowledge and experience that I gained in this position directly helped me with running my business, as I led e-commerce and digital marketing initiatives on a daily basis for my agency clients. They key to balance for me has always been planning ahead and scheduling. On Sunday evening I would typically try to plan out my week ahead and schedule specific times for me to work on the store - whether it’s designs, website optimization, marketing, etc. It’s something I do on weekends and in the evenings, and it honestly doesn’t feel like work. I see it as alone time that allows me to focus on what brings me excitement and joy.  

You’ve lived in 6 cities across 4 countries in your life which must have been both amazing and trying at times. How has moving and living in different places inspired your work?

I think that living in so many places allowed for richer experiences. I feel like it has taught me something new, and contributed to my character and lessons learned. It has helped shape who I am today. Moving around was tough as I was required to build resilience and get outside of my comfort zone. I think when you are constantly being tested and thrown into unknown environments, it forces you to step back and check in with yourself. I believe it has made me even more motivated to expand my thinking, become more open and look to a variety of different cultures and sources for inspiration and life advice. This is why my products are inspired by everything from pop culture, to hip hop and Buddhism.  

How does your career as an NCAA tennis player now contribute to your motivational pieces? Can you attribute any of the pieces you make now to motivation you used as an athlete?

Playing tennis at that level and the expectations that come with it definitely pushed my limits - both physically and mentally. I learned the value of dedication and the importance of teamwork in providing emotional support. It showed me that as long as I set my mind to it - it can be done. There were days I wanted to quit. Last few laps I didn't want to run. Circuits at the gym I didn't want to finish. The last few match points that brought me to exhaustion. I think about those moments when I feel like giving up and when I design the quotes. I think the one quote that really resonates to the athlete in me is “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure”.  

I love that your shop has both funny, pop culture related quotes and motivational quotes that support loving yourself. How do you think these two concepts work together?

I can personally relate to both. Some people are not very spiritual, so some of the Buddhism and spirituality inspired motivational quotes may not appeal to them. At the end of the day it's about creating something that makes people feel good. The clothes we wear represent our identity, who we are and what we stand for. This is why I chose some of the pop culture influencers such as Beyonce and Oprah, as they are very empowering. For example, many of Beyonce’s Formation quotes are bold statements that say a lot about her as the individual, and a lot of people aspire to be like her. So when you put on that shirt with a Beyoncé quote, and you feel like a badass or a superwoman - that’s the point! That’s the feeling I want to invoke in people.

Your “Don’t Drake N Drive” T and sweatshirt are such cute items. What were the steps for creating them?

That happened in a matter of 2 hours! I heard somebody say “Don’t Drake and drive”, and I asked, what does that even mean? They said - well, if you Drake and drive you're bound to end up at your ex’s house. I loved it. I decided to put it on a shirt and use the same form from Drake's mixtape “If you're reading this it's too late” that just got released around that time. That font was super recognizable, and I thought it fit well with the overall quote and theme.  

You reference Beyoncé, Oprah, Rumi and Buddha, among others, in your prints and clothes. Who is your favourite figure to draw inspiration from?

I love Oprah. She has been my idol for a very long time now. To me she represents the ultimate feminine power. She has overcome so much adversity. It’s not your typical from rags to riches story. She teaches us that you are where you are in your life based upon the beliefs you have about yourself. This includes your shadow beliefs, that are holding you back from moving into the life that you BELIEVE you deserve. The choices that you have made in your life are a direct reflection of what you believe you are worth, and what you believe you deserve. So the first step to achieving your dreams is to change your beliefs about yourself.

Oprah’s teachings are grounded in practicality and truth, and resonate with a lot of people. She is the living proof that if you want to achieve abundance, you can, as long as you commit to doing the self-work, becoming more self-aware and shedding yourself of beliefs that no longer serve you. Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t - either way you are right.

It’s clear that you want to support and inspire people and give people the tools to support and inspire themselves through your work. What is a quote or saying or mantra that’s really getting you up in the morning these days?

There is one particular mantra that is not yet fully reflected in my creations. I’m still trying to master it, and trying to figure out how I can incorporate it into my prints. A friend of mine who is a life coach introduced it to me.

The idea is that “happiness” and “expectations” are on the opposite ends of a see-saw. So if you increase expectations you decrease happiness. If you decrease expectations you increase happiness. From then on, I have tried to be mindful of my expectations. Whenever you expect something to go a certain way, or if you intend to control someone or the outcome of something, you are bound to get disappointed. It’s better to drop expectations and go through life ACCEPTING each situation, trusting that whatever happens happens FOR you, instead of TO you.

It is when I have no expectations of something or someone that I get pleasantly surprised. When you don’t expect, you don’t get disappointed. I guess this is where the general idea for “Zero fucks given” print came from, it’s just that, when I created it, I wasn’t fully aware of the power behind it.  

What is your favourite item in your shop right now?

My favourite items right now have to be the latest 5 x 5 square prints that were inspired by my recent trip to Bali. They all feature my own original photography as the background, with some of the most famous Rumi and Buddha quotes that I came across at this amazing cafe in Bali.

These powerful quotes, combined with some breathtaking shots of Bali’s landscape, remind me of the supernatural and the true power of the Universe, and make me feel like anything is possible.  

You can check out more of Ivana's items at her Etsy shop and her Instagram feed.

Interviewed by Liza Wallman of Halyard in Toronto July 21, 2016.

Vendor Call - Regent Park Pop-Up - Market on the Mews

The Regent Park Artisan Market on the Mews, taking place on October 1st from 10-3pm, this exciting ‘pop up’ market is sure to draw a crowd. With The Toronto Fashion Truck, The George Brown College Fashion Exchange, Lines of Elan and The Paintbox Bistro already excited to participate – this is going to be a downtown east event you won’t want to miss. 

To make this fall event even greater, we’re calling on YOU! See the attached file for details.

Have further questions?
We would love to hear from you! 

Interested in participating?
Want to learn more?

Heather Lloyd – 416.591.2944 or 
Please respond by September 23rd

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