Friday, November 30, 2012

Vendor Call: Artisans At Work and Christmas Craft Show

Tara Shelton says:
 
 "Artisans At Work is an upcoming 2700 square foot Retail Gallery Store at 2071 Danforth Ave (at Woodbine) also with 8 private, turn-key micro business/studio spaces for the Arts, Jewellery, and Community to start-up and operate for affordable, inclusive rates.
 
Hydro, water, security, heat, liability insurance, wi-fi, in addition to other benefits such as Open House every First Friday evening of the month, group shows, adult craft nights, networking, and more!
 
There are 8 studio spaces available, ranging from 100 to 200 sq feet. Each secure micro business space is bright, with a high ceiling, and is fitted with a sink, and may be custom built to suit each tenant.
 
Long and short term leases are available, and sharing spaces is welcome!
 
Each tenant is also given a display area to promote their business, and contact info and/or opening hours, as well as on our website.
 
The Retail Gallery section of the store is also for rent based upon square footage, with only 10% sales commission!
 
We supply the retail staff, and help the artist vendor to promote themselves to the retail customer!
_________________________________________________________________
In December, we are holding a Christmas Craft Show, on the weekends of 8/9th, 15/16th, and 22/23rd.
 
Craft Show Hours: 9am to 6pm 
 
Applications are still welcome, and will run alongside the DECA Pop-up project, all month long, and will be featured in the DECA Diaries newsletter. The neighbourhood will be out in full support to shop!
 
Craft show prices:  $75/weekend, $40/day or $100 for two weekends.
_________________________________________________________________
 
Please contact Tara for more information on renting a studio space, retailing your product, or joining the Christmas Craft Shows: torontotara  '@' yahoo.com "

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

T.E.S.T. Interview: Indeed Emma Design

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 36th in our series with Emma of IndeedEmmaDesign.

You're new to Etsy and I see from your links you're a well respected and established designer with fabulous credentials - who is also bilingual. What brought you to Etsy?

It all started a few months ago. I started playing around with vectors and creating bright and graphic pop culture portraits. I’d post them over Facebook, Twitter, my blog, and eventually dedicated a Pinterest board to them. The response was really positive and soon I was getting requests to buy copies of them. As I realized there was an interest in what I was making, I thought starting up an Etsy shop would be a great way to reach a wider audience. I attended an Etsy workshop in Toronto, which was extremely useful for me, being so new to everything Etsy, and shortly after I opened my shop.

What is it you like most about Etsy?


Everything is so beautiful! Not a day goes by that I don't swoon at the items and treasuries that come up on my feed. It's inspiring to see so much passion and talent by Etsy creators.

What is most challenging?

Taking good photographs of my items. It was an ordeal for me to take the photos I took, and I feel like there is a lot of room for improvement. But I’m sure I’ll get better with practice.

From your printed work I'm guessing you're a hybrid fan of science fiction and literature. What makes you enjoy producing those images and please explain a little of your process?

I absolutely love science fiction and literature. I think there are amazing worlds and odysseys created in scifi and great books and I look to tap in to that shared experience. I sketch out an idea with paper and pencil, then use Adobe Illustrator to break down and simplify the image even further. I try to recreate a retro feeling, building on the nostalgia I hope the images and their content inspires.


Your shop also carries cozy and charming knit goods specifically made for ipads and iphones. How did you come up with this idea because it's great - suddenly my iPad looks cold?


My grandmother taught me knitting, and for years I could barely manage a scarf. One winter break from school I wanted to do something purely creative, so I challenged myself to knitting a sweater. It was such a calming and rewarding experience, I’ve hardly been without a project on the go ever since. I’m lucky that I have colleagues who knit as well and we make it a regular social event. When I first thought about knitting items for Etsy, I was quick to realize there is such a wealth of amazing knitted accessories. I wondered what I could make that wasn't as popular on Etsy, something that wasn't too big a project, that let me play around with new techniques and styles, and would be great to buy as a gift for someone else or yourself. And there you have it, iPad covers. I’ve received requests for Kobo covers and laptop sleeves, which should be up on my shop soon!


Do you do all the knitting yourself (not sure from your item descriptions) and if so are you watching Breaking Bad while you knit?
 
I do all the knitting myself - I have a trunk full of yarn and an epic collection of needles I inherited from my grandmother. And I definitely knit while watching Breaking Bad.

I know you love mint chocolate chip ice cream so - what's the one thing you would take to a desert not dessert island?


Other than matches, a knife, water purification tablets, and a solar-powered satellite phone? Probably a guitar. I don’t play very well, but I’d have a lot of time to learn.


Check out the other items available from Emma in her Etsy Shop! You can find more of her work on her website, blog and Twitter.

Interviewed by Christine of ArtThatMoves in November 2012 in Toronto.

Shop around town - Arts Market

As a big fan of the shop local movement, when I first moved back to Toronto it was really important for me to find shops that specialized in locally handmade products, for my own shopping habit and for my company. I thought it would be great to start a blog series and share some of the wonderful shops I discovered. Next on the list is a great East End gem. Daniel Cohen is a wonderfully fun guy who is super eager to bring the arts to you!

Arts Market
1114 Queen Street East
j
ust east of Pape Avenue

Open Wed to Fri 12:00 - 6:00
           Weekends 11:00 - 6:00
www.artsmarket.ca
facebook.com/theartsmarket





Tell us a bit about your shop 

The Arts Market is a year round artisan market, offering hundreds of one of kind products. Located in the heart Leslieville, we currently have 53 artists who call the Arts Market their home and offer a range of merchandise. From fine art and antiques to jewelry and hand printed T-Shirts, there is always something for everybody at the Arts Market.  

What is your background as a maker/artist

Growing up I did not have any aspirations to be a artist. I always wanted to be an actor. I went to school at Glendon College for Drama Studies. When I attempted to get into the acting field I found it difficult somehow and turned to my other creative side. I began to create “As You See It Art” which I developed and sold while living in Sydney, Australia. I concentrated my efforts on photography, writing and creating collages. My cards turned out to be sought after for their random humour and handmade feel. When returning to Toronto I searched for a similar selling situation as I had in Australia, but didn’t find anything suitable. That is when I decided to open the Arts Market.

TEST member FlowerPot Designs

What lead you to opening up your own shop and to focus mainly on locally made goods

The Arts Market opened out of necessity as I needed a place to sell my own products and not have to compete with products made overseas. While developing the idea it occurred to me that other artists could also benefit from the store. Out of those thoughts the Arts Market was born. At the Market we strive to provide an easy place for artists to set up shop & begin the journey of showcasing their talents and selling their work. 



What are your biggest challenges in running a shop that focuses on local makers?

The biggest challenge with running a shop like the Arts Market is the constant effort required to inform the public that there is value in shopping locally.  Not only does it support your neighbour but it is greener and often more affordable. As a city we have to focus on shopping locally instead of shopping at big box stores, chains, and online. Making the choice to shop local is about giving back to your community and that benefits all of us.


TEST member thunderpeep designs. Arts Market also has a great selection of vintage pieces for sale.





What shops/neighbourhood (other than yours) do you like to shop for locally made goods?

Being a business that specializes in supporting my neighbourhood I try to utilize the places around me like The Doll Factory by Damzels, Nathalie Roze & Co., Pied-a-Terre, Telegramme Prints, as well as a variety of other Leslieville shops & resturants. If I have to leave the ‘ville’ I head towards other up & coming neighborhoods like Roncy, and the Junction. As much as possible I try to spend my money locally. 


Why is the handmade/shop local movement important to you?

I believe strongly that being a successful city/country starts at home. If we stop looking to outside sources to support us we will naturally get stronger and be a more profitable economy. Shopping handmade and local has always been a point of pride for various countries and I think we have strayed away from that in past years. Its time to start being proud of Canadian made products again. 


How do you find items/artists?

Finding the right artists is a team effort both by current artists and customers. We all know a creative soul who wants to get out there and sell their work, and we offer a very unique space for them to be in. We ask our community to help us grow. It’s good for them and good for the market at large.


bags by TEST member Arianne
What do you look for in new products?

Certainly, we look for original ideas crafted by local artists. We look for unique items that provide the customer with a variety of options that, for the most part, are not available anywhere else. 


Best piece of advice you would give new artists looking to get there goods into shops

Retail is a difficult business and takes perseverance, thinking outside the box and flexibility.  The market can always use a product that is original and creative, and the truth is no one person can predict what the success of an item will be. Ideally, it’s best to get your work into as many places as possible and give yourself a chance to get noticed. We have to make it happen for ourselves. That being said, at the Market we do our best to encourage and help the artists to grow and find out what works for them. 










Thanks Daniel!


If you're a team member and want to suggest a shop that you sell in, shop in or own email me peep@thunderpeepdesigns.com

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

T.E.S.T. Interview: Art That Moves


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 35th in our series with Christine of ArtThatMoves.

Celebrating art, creating and joy everyday

Exploring the energy that happens when images and words or poems connect - Art That Moves - is one of my favourite ways to create. I start with a word or a poem and allow an image to unfold in my mind. I have always used this technique painting on canvas and working with linoblock prints. Opening my Etsy shop allowed me to expand into the fabulous world of printing on fabric.


I love designing a screenprint image which I then handprint onto a plain piece of fabric. That action transforms the fabric into a piece of art. Working in my studio I might print two yards or twenty in an afternoon. Printing allows me to shut off my mind and flow. The rhythm of pouring the ink - running the squeegee over the fabric again and again is meditative and satisfying.

Because of the joy I felt creating new textiles I started to teach kids and then adults screenprinting technique and I love to watch them feel the same thrill I do as they transform fabric into something new.



Tell us a little bit about yourself and why you started your shop.

I joined Etsy a few years ago, but I don't really feel I focused on my shop properly until the last couple of months. It's only been recently that I have focused on improving my photographs, my range of products and my presence on the site.

For the last few years I had been focusing more on painting. I was working on promoting my career as a fine artist. Between that and working in schools mural making with children and running adult printing workshops I didn't spend as much time as I wanted on my Etsy site and the work there.


There was a big shift in my life this year and I decided to leave the studio space I was renting in order to shift my focus from painting to printmaking. I realized that though I enjoy painting very much - it's really printmaking that brings me the most joy and allows me to express myself in the way that I want. Printmaking is more affordable for people and it's primitive appeal reaches more people I think.


What has been your biggest challenge so far on Etsy?

Becoming visible to my audience and committing to the time needed to create a cohesive shop with good photographs, descriptions and tags.


What about your greatest success?

I haven't had a greatest success really, but I love connecting with the community on Etsy. I have received convos from people telling me how much my work inspired them or touched them in some way. It's so easy to reach out on Etsy and I'm just learning to tap into the communities there.  


What inspires you to create a new item?

First "I" get out of the way then I allow whatever I'm feeling to bubble up. I try to let the joy of what I'm feeling come out without censoring myself. It can be anything from soup to nuts, but if I'm feeling it I try not to think about whether or not it is going to be for the shop or whether it's a gift or whether it's just for me. For instance, the Santas I made this year. The first thing that came from my mind was - WHAT the? - then I stopped the chatter and just had the most fun ever creating them. I love looking at them. They make me happy.  Posting them in my Etsy shop got me invited to display at two local stores.

Do you have any exciting projects coming up?


I do but I can't talk about it yet. I'm planning to launch something new and exciting in January.


And finally, just for fun, what is your favourite flavour of ice cream?


Peanut butter and chocolate of course.


Check out the other items available from Christine in her Etsy Shop! You can find more of her work on her websites, www.christinepensa.com and www.artthatmoves.ca, as well as Twitter and Facebook

Interviewed by Emma of IndeedEmmaDesign in November 2012 in Toronto.



Monday, November 26, 2012

Art and craft news: OCADU Book Arts Fair


Saturday, December 1st, from 10 am to 5 pm, at 100 McCaul St., Great Hall, it's the 28th annual OCADU Book Arts Fair! Get handmade books, paper, prints, zines and small press publications, including work by T.E.S.T.'s own Carolyn of SproutsPressDesigns.

Craft News: Artisans Holiday Open Studio


 Thunderpeep, LureArts, MizzMonsta Jewellery, Sigrid Naturals,  knittylittlesecret and Kempton Jones are coming together under one roof to create a fun evening of eats, drinks and Holiday shopping. Mingle with the artisans and support local businesses. Find out more at their Facebook event page.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

craft news: Mondo Bazaar


Another event this weekend:
10th Mondo Bazaar Holiday Shopping Event at the Gladstone Hotel
Saturday November 24, 2012 | 10 am-5 pm | Free Admission!

featuring TEST's own: yourheartshaven,
knotted nest, The Basic Elements, Ciara Rebello, stichandspoke, ellecools, and torched studio

Craft News: Wandering Winter Craft Show at Magic Pony

It's that time of year again! As the Holidays approach, it's the winter craft season here in Toronto. This weekend marks the first of the 3rd Annual Wandering Winter Craft Shows!

Where: Magic Pony, 680 Queen St. West
When: 11 am to 5 pm
Who: handmakers including T.E.S.T.'s own LandfillDesigns, minouette, thunderpeep,

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Vendor Call: White Elegant Christmas Bazaar

"We will be hosting a White Elegant Christmas Bazaar on
December 2nd, 2012

set up at 8:30am, doors open at 10am till 4pm
Looking for vendors of new or crafted items

The following vedors needed:
Crafted Christmas Wreaths/Garlands
Crafted Christmas Ornaments
Soaps/frangrances/
anything unique
baked goods

We are looking for vendors to join us for Pre-Christmas shopping
It will be held at the Canadian Royal Legion Branch 101
3850 Lakeshore Blvd West
within the Etobicoke and Port Credit area

If your interested please contact me to reserve your spot @ $30.00/ per table
as they wont last long.

Further information pls call. Ad for show

Brittney/Ellen
289-232-7959"

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Vendor Call: Bazaar of the Bizarre: Frost Bite


T.E.S.T.'s own Plastik Wrap and We Are RadaR are please to present our winter edition of the popular Bazaar of the Bizarre - Frost Bite.

What: Holiday marketplace - The Bazaar of the Bizarre : a marketplace for all things weird, different, interesting and macabre...

When: SATURDAY December 15th, 2012 open to the public from 11am - 8pm

Where: 918 Bathurst st. (http://918bathurst.com/)

Artists, clothing designers, craft-folk, publishers and other independent makers of all things, exotic, whimsical, creepy and macabre are encouraged to join us for this marketplace of curious crafts, to be held Saturday, December 15th 2012 at the amazing venue just north of Bathurst street subway station, called 918 Bathurst.

Apply now! Space is limited. Vendor application deadline is November 23rd.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

T.E.S.T. Interview: Sprouts Press Designs

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 34th in our series with Carolyn of Sprouts Press Designs.

I've always been intrigued by hand crafted books, when and where did you get this love of creating books?

 
Well, I’ve always loved books.  I was always reading as a kid and stapling together my own notebooks and filling them with scribbles and drawings.  My first job ever, way back in highschool, was in a library.  Then at art college I got side-tracked from my pursuit of drawing and painting by printmaking, papermaking and book arts. I guess I started taking it more seriously after that.
 

Since repurposing materials is a huge part of Sprouts Press Designs, where are some of your favourite sources to find books to deconstruct?


Ha! Is this question like asking a Mainer to reveal what beach their naturally-tumbled, perfectly-shaped sea glass comes from? Or like asking a European where in the woods is the best place is to find truffles? Well guarded secrets are not so easily revealed! Seriously though, libraries are great sources of used books – just ask for the Discarded books. I’ll always support the library! Otherwise I just keep my eyes peeled when walking, looking for yard sales and book sales, I supposed it’s kind of chance really. I’m also someone who purchases supplies that appeal to me without a specific project in mind, trusting that ‘one day’ it’ll be the exact, most perfect thing I need for a project. I also love to start with things that aren’t books and turn them into books. Like turning cigar boxes into my Cigar Box Books. All my leather journals started as garments that were deconstructed and then crafted into books. I’ve even used old file folders, prints I pulled over a decade ago and even off-cuts of paper from other books. That’s how my book earrings, Paper Moon Earrings, came into existence - a desire for as little waste as possible.

The photography in your shop, and on your profile page, is lovely. What are your photography suggestions for great pictures?  

I just recently purchased a DSLR and still have yet to really get familiar with it. So most of the photos in my shop are done just with a little point and shoot. Natural light is the best, I just use a large piece of white paper for the background and I watched/read ALL the Etsy online labs and blogs about photography. After all that though, it really just comes down to taking a day to play around with different windows, backgrounds, angles and macro settings. I do use a tripod, but my best window is actually at the top of stairs so often I end up holding the tripod more like a Canada Arm to get the best angle. It’s a bit fiddly but I like the challenge.

I love the glimpse into your studio space, is it normally all neat and tidy or are you a 'hands on get messy' kind of creator?



When I’ve mulled a project long enough and feel it’s strong enough to move from an idea to a tangible thing, yes, then I’m totally a messy creator. This is especially true when working on a screenprinted project - it’s a full day commitment and at least a quarter of that is cleaning up! I do try to keep my space tidy though, as I tend to get a bit claustrophobic if clutter builds up. If there’s not a clean surface I find it very difficult to start a project.


I see you studied abroad, and I assume you've travelled a lot while in Europe. How do you think that's impacted you and your work?

I sigh and grow nostalgic every time I think back to life in Florence. The binderies in Italy are scrumptious, as are the stationery shops with Florentine papers. My favourites are in Venice and Florence. You can usually see Florentine paper in my Etsy shop in some form at all times, be it a hard cover journal or my Paper Moon Earrings. Before going there, I had never considered crafting leather-bound journals, or softcover books, which I’ve since learned and now love, especially the wrap-around softcover leather journal. I’ve had many versions of this book in my shop and I still have plans for it in the future, so many options! 

When I was studying abroad though, it was for drawing and painting. I have sketches and photos of things that I found visually appealing; observations of common/repeated shapes and materials in architecture that blew me away. Antoni Gaudi was mostly responsible for this. I loved his transformation of 90 degree angles in a building to a rounded, swooping, organic space. I also really enjoyed his translation of shapes and objects found in nature into architecture. One of the best ways to achieve great aesthetics is to take inspiration from nature’s designs, so why not incorporate them somehow? 

With my hand bound journals, I take a slightly different interpretation of this idea. Mostly it’s by respecting nature: I hand bind my books, with a needle and thread, no machines. I try to use my own handmade paper for covers whenever possible, which is made from such things as Hosta fibers (from the garden) and abaca. I also try to use a ‘head to tail’ philosophy when deconstructing old books or creating with new materials. This means that I try my darndest use everything and end up with as little waste as possible. (This is similar to the culinary ‘head to tail’ philosophy. Even better, books do actually have ‘heads’ and ‘tails’!)  Otherwise I find that my many colour observations from Europe lend themselves well to bookbinding when designing the covers and assembling the text block of pages inside. I love colour combinations that bring in texture: such as paper and another element, like beads or buttons so as to give both matte and shiny colours the depth that I found so inspiring.


I've travelled a lot in the past few years, much of it with my children, which makes for some challenging situations but also great stories. What's your best travel story?


I was travelling with another young woman who I’d met only a few weeks earlier, through a friend. We decided to travel to Sicily and southern Italy. We were on a budget so it was all hostels and markets for us, which was amazing. We had just arrived in Amalfi, after a very long day of trains, trains on ferries and then buses with schedules that no one seemed to follow. It was dark by the time we got to where our hostel was supposed to be. We were on the side of a mountain and there were something like 235 steps UP to get to the hostel and boy was I cranky. Our ‘room’ was literally carved out of a cave with only shedding walls to separate us from our neighbours. I thought it was the worst place ever, damp and freezing cold. However, the next morning arrived with sunshine and when we opened the window I couldn’t believe it! The view was amazing, there was mist around some of the other peaks, and a blue ocean at the bottom. Also, our mountain was a lemon farm! There was terrace after terrace of lemons, if we had wanted lemons for breakfast, we could have just reached out the window and picked some. Looking back it was the most unique place I’ve ever stayed!

Is Sprouts Press Designs a full time gig for you? Where do you hope to take your shop in the future?

Right now
Sprouts Press Designs is a part time thing for me. I quit my full time day job and have been focusing on the next steps of my career as well as growing Sprouts Press.  My ultimate dream is to have a studio space where I can create items for my shop, have shows and teach workshops and classes. 

For now though, I’m really enjoying the luxury of brainstorming a project and creating a line of items that might be seem totally different than the project I’ll be working on next week.  I love that I can create journals, but that I’m also free to think beyond the book and make things that I love to enjoy while using my journals.


Carolyn's upcoming shows:
Check out the other items available from Carolyn in her Sprouts Press Designs Etsy shop! You can find more of her work on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SproutsPress

Interviewed by Tara of SewTara in November 2012 in Toronto.

Vendor Call: Nanotacular

A message from T.E.S.T.'s own Tosca of nanopod:
The Nanotacular Spectacular Art + Craftacular
Join us for an underwater ultra-space holiday shopping bonanza featuring local artists, designers, and crafters and their one of a kind & limited edition jewelry, toys, knitted creations, screen-printed shirts and scarves, music, glasswork, handmade paper products, and more.

Time & Space: Saturday, December 15, from noon to 11 p.m
nanopod: hybrid studio• 322 Harbord Street, Toronto (Between Clinton & Grace)
647. 780. 4478 nanotopia@me.com •

Holiday treats, cider and cocoa will be served
Join us for our OtherWorldly evening soiree featuring video projections, specially created soundscapes, and cash bar! 6-11pm

A run of 2500 postcards are being off-set print for this event.

Sellers are not expected to be there for the entire event unless they wish (space constraints). No commissions are being taken, etc. Artists sell their own work through their own cc machines, Paypal or cash (or however they wish) IF artists choose to sell through the studio's cc machine then there will be a small fee (what the card companies charge).
If you are interested in participating, further details, etc., please convo me through Etsy or email me directly, nanotopia@me.com

Nanotacular Facebook page

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Vendor Call: Etsy & Spring OOAK


Etsy announced that they are "thrilled to be partnering with the One of a Kind Show in Toronto for their 2013 spring event from March 27 – March 31 at the Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place.

For the very first time, we will showcase over 30 emerging Etsy artisans in our own Etsy section. This is a huge opportunity to highlight Canadian artists at one of the largest shows of its kind in North America, to an anticipated crowd of over 60,000 shoppers.
How to Apply

The Etsy section will feature new and emerging talent, and first-time participants to the One of a Kind Show are encouraged to apply. Quality and craftsmanship are key. This is a great opportunity to be a part of our Etsy community, come to life!

Download the OOAK Toronto Etsy Artist Application.
Deadline for entries: December 12, 2012

Event dates and location:

What:
One of a Kind Show Toronto
When: March 27 – 31, 2013
Where: Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place, Toronto

Details and application information, here. Questions? Contact:
Valerie@oneofakindshow.com"


Check for tips on the Etsy blog here.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Taking Plastic on the Go

I’m sure by now many of you have heard about the numerous new mobile payment processing options available for small businesses. This is super exciting news for us crafters and small-scale entrepreneurs, but where to begin?
 
At craft markets, there have traditionally been two main options to accept payment other than cash. The first is a manual credit-card imprinter (aka the “old knuckle-buster”), which is low-tech and straightforward, but because payments are not processed immediately by the system, they can be less secure. This solution also requires setting up an account with a company like Moneris, which, when I last called to inquire, required a large set-up fee, a business bank account, a monthly fee, and an additional penalty for each month you don’t use your account.

The second traditional option is a wireless card reader, which allows you to process both credit and debit cards, and you can take it with you wherever you go. These machines are offered by Moneris and several other companies, most of which require you to be locked into a contract, charge hefty fees for stepping out of your contract, in addition to high monthly and/or machine rental fees.

We now have a third option. For those of us who have access to smart-phone technology, there are a plethora of new mobile payment options arriving on the market, which can allow you to turn your smart phone or tablet into a card reader and cash register. 

Basically, to get started with one of these systems, you just sign up with a provider, download their app and plug their card reader into your head-phone jack, which allows you to key in a sale on your mobile device, then swipe a credit card through to process it. 

Some of the major providers on the market include Payfirma, PAYD by Moneris, Kudos, Swipe, Intuit Gopayment, Square (just recently released in Canada) and Paypal Here (arriving in Canada soon…though their release date keeps getting pushed back…)

Just like with the traditional options, there are pros and cons with many of these systems, ranging from software bugs, device compatibility, and the ability to get screwed by a company who places a hold on your account. If you are considering going with any of these providers, it is important to do your research, compare pricing structures, read the fine print, and check out some customer reviews of the provider you are interested in. This US-based website has some good reviews of a few of the major options.

Company visa MC am ex reader apple an droid black berry start up fee monthly fee $ transaction fee swiped transaction fee manual transactions comments
app ninjas - swipexxx$79.00 x x $- $24.95 $0.24 1.74 - 3.79%option to apply for free card reader
intuit go paymentxx$- x $- $- $- 2.70%3.30%
kudosxxx$99.00 x x x $- $- $0.20 2.90%now offering free card reader
PAYDxxx$29.50 x x x $- $2.95 $- 2.95%card reader free for a "limited time"
payfirmaxxx$99.00 x x x $- $10 + $0.25 2.06 - 2.99%monthly minimum charges of up to $30/month
paypal herexxx$- x ? $- $- $0.30 2.70%0.15 + 3.5%not available in canada yet
squarexxx$- x x $- $- $- 2.75%0.15 + 3.5%
Please note: this information may have changed since time of writing. Please check company websites for up to date pricing and policy information.
 
The good news is that many of these options do not require a start-up fee, monthly fee or a contract, so you can give it a try and cancel your account at any time if you start to get a bad feeling about it. However, with lower up-front fees, the per-transaction fees are usually higher, and you will also need to factor in the cost of a smart phone / tablet and data plan (as most craft shows do not provide wireless access). This option is probably best for people who already have a data plan for personal use, or have access to a smart phone from a friend or family-member.

Have you tried out one of the new mobile payment options at a craft show?  Leave a comment and let us know how it’s working for you!

(by Linda of stitchandspoke, November, 2012)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Vendor Call: Mondo Bazaar


There are still a few vendor spaces remaining for the 10th Mondo Bazaar Holiday Shopping Event at the landmark Gladstone Hotel.


Mondo Bazaar brings together some of Toronto's best local artisans and entrepreneurs, for a truly unique holiday shopping experience!

Saturday November 24, 2012  |  10am - 5pm
Gladstone Hotel first floor - Ballroom, Art Bar and Melody Bar




For more info:
Remaining spaces are limited - don't delay, reserve your spot today!

T.E.S.T. Interview: SewTara

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 33rd in our series with Tara of SewTara.

Tell me a bit about how SewTara started and why you opened an Etsy shop.

I started SewTara after the birth of our second son. I was feeling sort of lost in the role of Mommy and vaguely remembered I was once a crafty creative person. Despite having a 2 year old and a newborn at home, I decided to start my blog as an online creative journal for myself. Eventually things grew from there, the stuff I was making started piling up and I had this wacky idea to open an Etsy store to sell some of it.

When you aren’t creating items for your Etsy shop, do you go to a day job?

I'm a Special Education Teacher. I teach in a class with 3 other lovely ladies who are EAs. I have 10 students, the class is for grades 1-4.

I noticed in your profile and about page that you are a mom. What one piece of advice do you have to other parents trying to balance raising kids, Etsy and day jobs?

Just keep at it! It's tough to balance it all but you can have what you want. It might mean trading sleep for some extra time but I find I get energized from what I like to do so it's worth it.

Looking at items in your shop, especially the cup cozies, I see themes around pop culture and social media. Are there any other themes you incorporate into your work? 

Mostly I just make what I think is funny. Since I'm a bit of a dork - zombie, horror movie, sci fi, comic book, geeky, word play lover, that tends to come out in my work. When I sew things that aren't cup cozies I use wild crazy fabrics and love cute Japanese prints.

In the age of information overload, how do you choose your designs to reflect the pop culture and social media themes most accurately? (In other words; how do you say no to one design but yes to another? Or do you have shelves of books filled with massive ‘to do’ lists!?)

Haha, I have several To Do lists and piles on the go! I usually have lots of ideas. I'm fairly new to pulling off the entire screen making process myself so I can print my designs, so sometimes that slows me down on getting a new idea 'out there'. But that's ok because it's more important to make something that I like and hopefully other people will like it too. I find if you try to make a product so it *will* sell and not because you're in love with it, it's just not going to work.

I love that you upcycle and are respectful of the environment in all your creations. Can you tell me a bit about this process?

Quite often the material used on the backs of the cup cozies is repurposed or scrap from another project. I rarely buy a pile of new buttons I just search through the stash I have from donations or scavenged off clothing. I've also started to keep every little scrap of fabric and I use them to make 1 inch magnets or fabric covered hair clips. I try not to create too much waste in my work.

Do you advertise your shop, or guest blog, or any other sort of promotion? And if so, what has worked for you and what hasn’t?

I have paid for ad spots for my blog on other blogs. I've also written guest posts and done giveaways. I find being active on social media is a great way to get yourself noticed and have your presence out there. Posting images and engaging your followers and likers is great too. It's good to show there's a real person behind that virtual store front.

Aside from advertising, what is the best thing you ever did to boost your Etsy shop?

Well the best thing that brought the most traffic to my shop was being linked on Gizmodo and Reddit. But I can't claim I had anything to do with that, I didn't even know it had happened. Taking great photos and having a nice product is a great step towards being in the Etsy newsletter or on the front page, which are also things I can't claim credit for but have boosted traffic to my shop.

Tea or coffee?
Tea!

Mornings or nights?
Nights :)

Books or movies?
Arghgh books are awesome but I can craft with a movie on . . . .

David Suzuki or Al Gore?
Suzuki

Terrible Twos or Teens?
Not at teens yet so I'll go with Twos

Facebook or twitter?
I'm starting to lean towards twitter more and more.

Mac or PC?
Mac. Mac. Mac.

Check out the other items available from Tara in her SewTara Etsy shop
You can find more of her work on her blog and twitter

Interviewed by Carolyn of SproutsPressDesigns
in November 2012, in Toronto.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

TESTy Blog Make-Over

We're making a few changes around here and we hope you enjoy the new look! Team Leader and graphic designer extraordinaire Michelle of thunderpeep has come up with a design to reflect the team. You might recognize it from the Toronto Etsy Street Team tent at QWAC. I love the cityscape and modern look and the way the flowers suggest to me both nature and traditional quilting motifs. It's no mean feat to try try and capture everything this team does from art, to design, to fashion, to jewelry design, to vintage sales, to supplying artisans (and more). I think her design hits the right note. It says urban handmakers and Toronto Etsy sellers. It says TEST.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Call for Printmakers: Year of the SNAKE 2013

12th International Print Exhibition and Exchange
at PROOF Studio Gallery
Toronto, Canada

Celebrating The Chinese New Year
Year of the SNAKE 2013


Requirements for Submission of Prints inspired by the Year of the Snake:

Dimensions: paper size 10" x 12" maximum (image can be any size that fits on 10” x 12” paper, 3-5 prints)

Printmaking Media: Any traditional printmaking technique or combination including relief, etching, lithography, silkscreen, wood block, mixed print methods, letterpress, monoprints - please no straight digital prints.

If you are a printmaker and would like are interested in participating in this exhibit and print exchange you can find more information here
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