Thursday, July 28, 2016

Workshop: #SocialMediaEssentials for Makers

SOCIAL MEDIA for Makers & Creative Indiepreneurs
-->eg. Makers, Freelancers, Vintage Vendors, Coaches, Small Retailers
Sunday July 31st, 11am to 2pm
Instructor: T.E.S.T.'s own Nathalie-Roze Fischer
WHERE: The Simple Craft Co. (Gerrard & Main, East-End)

Are you struggling to use social media to help grow your business & feeling a bit overwhelmed? Or maybe you've experimented a little, but need help figuring out how to consistently engage with your community in an authentic way? Even if you sort of have a handle on social media, you might benefit from brainstorming with an established maker & social media specialist re: how these digital tools can help you promote yourself as well as increasing revenue without being sales-y.

This introductory workshop will show you how to connect with potential clients, fellow creatives & influencers via 3 key platforms (Twitter, Facebook & Instagram) in a way that feels genuine and also triggers growth.
Social media essentials will be covered that are specifically useful to crafters, designers, indie retailers and creative freelancers/entrepreneurs, including useful resources, shortcuts, case studies & tips - including specifics re: how to create strong visuals.
This will be a small group and there will be dedicated time for your questions. All you need to participate is a smartphone (& an appetite for social)...

YOU'LL LEARN ABOUT THE FOLLOWING:

- What differentiates the platforms & which ones best suit your business
- Getting Started: Who to follow, what to tweet/post & why (The 80/20 Rule)
- Best Practices/Online Etiquette
- Hashtags & IG Challenges that will help grow your following
- The power of strong Visuals (& how to create/find them for free)
- Designing a schedule (pacing, seasonality, banking & automation)
- Networking with authenticity
- Events, Contests & Collaborations
BONUS: We'll have some light refreshments, time for questions re: your business & ideas as well as a chance to connect with the other indiepreneurs in the workshop.


Facebook Event Page

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Artscape Discount for Etsy Sellers

https://www.etsy.com/ca/teams/6790/test-toronto-etsy-street-team/discuss/17952018/
Etsy Canada has teamed up with Artscape to offer Etsy sellers a discounted rate on Creative Entrepreneurship programs geared toward newer entrepreneurs and those with an established business who want brush up on some foundational business skills. Using curriculum designed specifically for artists, designers and makers, program participants will learn how to create value for loyal, enthusiastic, paying customers; study branding, marketing, business administration and financial management - all while working hands-on to launch or expand their own business.

To access your 20% discount, follow the instructions at this link!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Vendor call: Pop-up Marcatplace Event

WHAT: Pop-up Marcatplace Event

WHEN: Friday, August 12, 6pm-9pm

WHERE: Purina PawsWay, 245 Queens Quay W., Toronto, ON, M5J 2K9

COST: FREE to participate, and free entry for consumers

WHY: Opportunity to directly engage with consumers in downtown Toronto, cross-promotional opportunities via our website (http://www.pawsway.ca/) and social networking channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).

MORE: We’re looking for cat-centric vendors to take part in our first-ever Pop-up Marcatplace featuring products for cats and cat enthusiasts! The event is part of our larger Cat Week program – appealing to cat owners and cat lovers alike. We’re open to products unrelated to cats, but we’d like cat items to be the main attraction. We are owned and operated by Nestlé Purina PetCare Canada so food items for pets will not be permitted

 
The event will take place indoors in our 3,500 square foot Pet Park (+ mezzanine area) with set-up time for booths, tables and the like beforehand. We have our own tables, chairs and other items that may be used if required. Photos of the space and additional information about onsite equipment are available upon request.

CONTACT: Melissa Eckersley, Events and Education Manager at Purina PawsWay, melissa.eckersley@purina.nestle.com or 416-360-7297 x227

Vendor CAll: Toronto Vegan Food & Drink Festival

Have a great vegan food, beverage, or item for sale?! Come market it to your community at the Toronto Vegan Food & Drink Festival! Happening on August 13th from 11am-7pm at Fort York Common Grounds, our second Toronto festival boasts an impressive line up of vegan comfort food, craft brews, and outstanding entertainment. This year, we've expanded our marketplace to feature unique crafts, clothing, and speciality items - everything from vegan lipstick to soup mix. We have two opportunities for participation, either as an independent vendor or as part of our marketplace tent. Head over to https://www.vegandrinkfest.com/toronto/vendors-sponsors to apply today! 

 
 
 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

T.E.S.T. Interview: JoiedeVivreTO

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 98th in our series and is with Rebecca Kinio of JoiedeVivreTO.  


When did you start jewelry making?

I started making jewelry last year (2015) as a hobby and a way to decompress after work. I had a lot of fun doing it, but unfortunately had many events in my family life and personal life at the time that required my attention. I fell out of it, and fell back in love with it earlier this year when things seemed to settle again. I made a few pieces and wore them to my current job. Many of my co-workers complimented me and asked if I would make custom pieces for them. This opened up a whole new door for me, and I am loving every moment of it.  

From your products I see you use a lot of pearls. Is there a particular reason for the choice?

I am glad you asked - there are so many reasons I am completely and utterly obsessed with pearls. Firstly, my mother, who sadly passed away when I was 15, always wore pearls. They remind me so much of her, and I think I am naturally drawn to them in the same way she was. It has a very strong and personal meaning for me. Secondly, pearls are a classic piece that has never gone out of style. Pearls have been worn for centuries, and represent so many different things to so many different cultures and individuals. I think that on it's own is pretty cool! Lastly, pearls take a long time to form - sometimes upwards of 2 years in an oyster. For me, this symbolizes the beauty that can form out of mother nature's patience.  

Are those hand painted cards you include with the jewelry piece paint by you? Are you a painter as well?

I paint all of my cards by myself. The writing is a font I have purchased, however the drawings (diamond rings, balloons, etc.) and watercolour drips are done by myself. I am not a painter per se, but have always had an artsy streak. I went to an arts high school for visual arts for a little while and have continued to draw as a hobby since.  

Where do you get your jewelry design inspiration from?

It's hard to pinpoint where my inspiration comes from. I only make things that I would wear myself, so I think a lot of my pieces come from my own personal style. Often I will be taking the subway, or washing dishes and an idea will come to me. I stop what I'm doing and sketch it out/write it down before I forget. I love simple, clean cut, and elegant pieces. For many of my pieces, I use a 'less is more' logic.

Check out more of Rebecca's things in her Etsy shop, JoiedeVivreTO

You can also find her here:
Instagram is: @joiedevivreto


Rebecca was interviewed by June of Junettie on July 12, 2016.

T.E.S.T. Interview: Junettie

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 97th in our series and is with June of Junettie. 

Your shop name "Junettie" is very unique, where does it come from? 

When I started my shop this year I want a name that reflects my name June and the word knitting together. I want a shop name where people can associate immediately with the items I am making. I was very happy when I puzzled out "Junettie". I like the way the word looks and the sound. When you pronounce "Junettie" it really does reflect the two words knitting and June. It is a fun name!

 
When did you first start knitting?

I start knitting when I was in my teens. I don't remembered when exactly but I have a cousin who is really into knitting and she always made me beautiful scarves and sweaters.  Then one day I just decided that I want to start making my own things. I asked my cousin to teach me how to knit the basics and just last year when I get back to knitting, Youtube taught me a lot of different stitches ;).




Your designs and colour palettes are gorgeous. Where do you get the inspiration for them from?

My design is inspired by the yarn. My design pattern is created according to the type of yarn. I simply just pick up my needle, yarn and start knitting. I design as I knit and just experiment with the different colours and stitches.

Will you be selling your items at any markets in the near future? Where else can shoppers find your items?

I will start showcasing my products in local community craft shows later this year as I am still very new. I just signed up for a show in Etobicoke on Saturday, November 26, 2016 called Winter Wonderland of Gifts. (www.facebook.com/events/1676312059323143/)


You can find more of June's items in her Etsy store, Junettie and be sure to check her out at this market later in the year:
Winter Wonderland of Gifts
10am-4pm, Saturday, November 26, 2016
Etobicoke Olympium Swimming Pool
590 Rathburn Road, Toronto, Ontario



June was interviewed by Rebecca of JoiedeVivreTO in Toronto, July 12, 2016

Monday, July 11, 2016

Latest Update on Shipping with Canada Post via Etsy

Happy Mail Enamel pin by Queenie's Cards
We know our Toronto Etsy Street Team members are watching the news from Canada Post. This is the latest message from Etsy, for those of you using Canada Post, especially if you print your postage directly from your shop:
"We are reaching out to inform you that Canada Post has withdrawn its lockout notice that was scheduled to take effect today, Monday, July 11. As a result, Canada Post services will not be interrupted while negotiations continue.
If you’ve taken actions within your shop to account for a service disruption, like change your Shop Policies or place your shop on Vacation Mode, you should now feel confident to continue shipping with Canada Post and may update your shop information to reflect that.
Should there be any notice or update from Canada Post with any changes, we will notify you as soon as possible. For more information, see our post in Forums here.
Best,
Etsy Shipping Team"

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Canadian Etsy Sellers, Shipping and the Canada Post Labour Dispute

Notice from Etsy to Canadian sellers

As you are no doubt aware, Canada Post has issued a lock out notice to the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), and may lock out workers as early as tomorrow, Friday, July 8. Etsy is aware that this issue may affect sellers in Canada (and abroad who have Canadian buyers). You can find their discussion here. If there is a lock out, it will no longer be possible to purchase Canada Post shipping through Etsy or use them to ship your packages. Canada Post states, "In the event of a full labour disruption, Canada Post will not operate. Mail and parcels will not be delivered, and no new items will be accepted. Any mail and parcels within the postal system during a work disruption will be secured and delivered as quickly as possible once operations resume."

You can sign up for real-time updates and read the latest news here. Etsy advises a notice to customers on your policy page, and, "If you currently have an order processing and aren’t sure what to do, you may contact Etsy Support for help at www.etsy.com/help/contact. In all cases, we suggest that you reach out to your buyer and work on a solution together. If you otherwise follow Etsy’s shipping policies, Etsy will not hold you responsible for delayed shipments as they relate to Canada Post during this time."

CBC News interviewed TEST Captain and Leader Ele Willoughby and Candice Ware, Tuesday, about the impact of the labour dispute on online sellers like us. You can catch the interviews at the 30 minute mark.

If you are seeking advice from fellow sellers about alternate shipping plans or policies, visit us in the forums or on our private FB group.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

T.E.S.T. Interview : BBTresors

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 96th in our series and is with Binta Bah of BBTresors.  

Where does the name BB Tresors come from?

The world Tresors is French for Treasures, and BB are my initials. Every piece of jewelry I create has so much of me in it, I feel like the whole line is my personal collection, my own treasures, thus BB Tresors.  

How would you characterize BB Tresors Jewelry?

BB Tresors Jewelry is a combination of edge and delicacy. I love the idea of mixing gemstones, and gold metals using clean, fluid designs to achieve a boho look with a minimalist touch. I find the combination of gems and gold metals strikingly beautiful and organic.

Your work is definitely beautiful and organic. And why gemstones?

Thank you! I love bold colors, and I love stories. Gemstones tell stories, and they come in beautiful vivid colors, so it was a natural choice for me. Every gemstone has some meaning, energy, and story to it. There is a hopeful and sentimental value to gems that's very appealing.

I’ve noticed that some of your pieces seem to be yoga inspired. Are you into yoga? 

You're speaking of my Mala Collections. Malas, traditionally used as prayer beads to help count mantras during meditation, are now part of a yoga lifestyle, and trendy everyday wear jewelry. And yes, I'm very much into yoga. I've been practicing it for years. I'm easily stressed and tend to be moody, especially when I'm not creating or feeling inspired. Doing yoga keeps me centered and grounded. And designing malas and yoga inspired pieces does the same for me. I find the process very soothing and meditative. And I love the idea of making jewelry with a meaning.

What is the most important element for you when designing a new piece?

I love every step of my process when designing a new piece. And I find every element of it just as important. From the conception of an idea, which can be inspired by anything: a trip to the flower shop, or fruit market, an afternoon at the park, shopping for gemstones, ... to choosing the right gemstones and colors. I love combining unusual colors and materials and working out how to balance the bold with soft tones.

I think you do a great job with that balance. Where can we see you this summer?

Thank you so much! This summer and fall, I'm very excited to be part of The Kensington Market Art Fair (KMAF) in July, September and October, The Waterfront Artisan Market in July, August, October,  The Cabbagetown Festival in September and the Queen West Art Crawl in Octobe.

You can keep up to date with BBTresors at the following:

Etsy Shop: BBTresors
Website: www.bbtresors.com
Facebook: @bbtresors
Instagram: @bbtresors
Twitter: @bbtresors
Pinterest: @bbtresors



Interviewed by Keir Dahlke of KeirDahlke on June 26, 2016.

T.E.S.T. Interview: Keir Dahlke

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 95th in our series and is with Keir Dahlke.  



Tell us a little bit about yourself and the inspiration behind your jewelry line Keir Dahlke?

I have had a fascination with chainmaille, since seeing it in historical images and in movies with recreations of chainmaille armour. I have a very mechanical brain that likes to take things apart and rebuild, so from a young age I would pay close attention and try to take it apart in my mind. With chainmaille, it’s so intricate and complicated and mathematical to construct, I just fell in love with it. The structure of it all, to make a piece is to make a sculpture and a fabric and a work of art. I love it.  

Your necklaces look beautiful, and it does look like complicated work. What is your process like? And what are some of your favourite materials to work with?

What I primarily use is a silver plated, enamel coated, copper core wire. The enamel coating provides an array of brilliant colour options, as well as protecting the wire and the silver. The enamel coating on the silver wire is clear, so it doesn't cloud the silver colour at all while protecting it from tarnishing the way an untreated silver would. I also work with pure silver, brushed silver, bronze, and aluminum. I get spools of wire directly from the factory, and then I wind and saw cut all of my own rings. This gives me control over all of the sizing and colours so that I can create without limitation. I then take each ring and, using pliers, link them together. I tend to obsesses over each and every ring, making sure it looks just right.  

What are you working on currently? What can we look forward to from Keir Dahlke this summer?

I've been inspired to use brighter colours this summer. The heat and all the beautifully coloured flowers are making me want to make lighter based coloured (silver or white) pieces with bright colourful accents. This summer has inspired me to mix the industrial chainmaille with a light feminine feel.  

That's great to hear. And you also make lovely travel and cosmetic bags. Do you have a preference between designing your jewelry and bags?

I love doing the chainmaille first and foremost, but every once in a while it’s nice to do something a little bit different, and that’s when I like to sew. I love making the bags because they’re a great way to utilize and display beautiful fabrics. I love fabric, I can easily spend hours and hours just browsing any kind of fabric store. I also sew other things such as quilts, pillows, aprons and more (which I haven't put up on my etsy shop). I love getting requests for custom sewing projects, it’s so fun to search for the perfect fabrics and make the item just right for the individual.  

Where can we see some of your other work (pillows and quilts)? Do you sell any of your work locally in Toronto?

When I’ve sold quilts in the past, it’s all been through word of mouth and commissions for custom work. I have a queen size quilt that is for sale right now, but I haven't posted it anywhere - I think I love it so much that subconsciously I’m struggling to part with it haha. I have a gallery on my website - KeirDahlke.com - which shows a lot more of my work than is available on etsy. I would very much like to reach out to some galleries and vendors. I have a neurological condition which can limit my mobility, and has kept me from reaching out in the past. I’m doing well enough now that with the help of my service dog (who acts a very cool cane), I’m ready to branch out, which is very exciting.  

That sounds exciting indeed. Well, it's really great to hear you're doing well Keir, and ready to branch out. We wish you great luck with everything, and look forward to seeing your beautiful pieces in local Toronto shops.

You can find more of Keir's creations here:

Etsy Shop: KeirDahlke
Website: KeirDahlke.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/KeirDahlke








Interviewed by Binta Bah of BBTresors in Toronto on June 26, 2016.

Vendor Call: Withrow Park Art Market



Late notice, but we hear there are still spots available!
 
Art Market Dates: Saturday, July 16th & Saturday, October 1st.

We invite local Makers, Crafters and Artists of different disciplines to join us for two special event Art Markets this summer and fall hosted by the Withrow Park Farmers' Market.

The Withrow Park Farmers’ Market has been created to connect Ontario farmers and producers of specialty food items with consumers in a direct exchange. Although the primary directive of the market is to connect urban eaters with local farmers and food producers, we want to encourage other forms of local economic development.

To keep in line with the values of the Withrow Park Farmers' Market preference will be given to products that use natural, upcycled, eco-friendly, and/or sustainable materials - including packaging.
Deadline to apply for our July 16th Art Market is Wednesday, July 6th.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

T.E.S.T. Interview: Elixir Chic 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 94th in our series and is with Michelle Wong of ElixirChicDesigns.  


Tell us about yourself. What led you to create your own jewellery line?

I'm a teacher and first most a teacher. I absolutely love teaching and I've always wanted to teach since I was in kindergarten. The thing about teaching is that it can easily take over your thoughts as you view the world as inspiration for the classroom. Instead, I wanted to take my kinesthetic and visual learning style to do something I had once been familiar with; creating jewellery. I used to make jewellery for myself in high school and I received a lot of good feedback from different people. I strayed away during university, because the workload started to build up.

Right before the new year of 2016, I received an email from Etsy about their Etsy Resolution program, which helps people start their own Etsy businesses. I thought it was a great opportunity to get out there and do something different. I started designing different  pieces and editing my designs to look more polished and less DIY.

How did you come up with the name Elixir Chic Designs?

The name for my brand is derived mainly by my fashion/lifestyle blog's name "Elixir Chic" (www.elixir-chic.com). Elixir was a nickname I had in high school, which stuck because I thought it sounded unique. I added "Chic" as a word to help make the name of my blog to reflect my style. Designs was added for my Etsy brand to show that jewellery is not only an accessory but can be considered as art.

Your use of primarily neutral colours in your designs (white, black, grey, silver) makes them very versatile for the wearer. Was that part of your goal? What other considerations or goals drive your creation process?

I chose neutral tones with the specific intention of versatility and minimalism in my designs. Another aspect of my design is how unique one piece of jewellery is going to be from another of the exact same design I created based on the stones and quartz used, which helps the wearer feel like they're wearing a piece that's just as unique as they are.  

Do you have a favourite material to work with? What do you like about it, and how do you make it your own?

I have two materials that I really like working with. I enjoy working with quartz, because I like going through all the pieces and figuring out which ones are the best for different arrangements I am creating for a piece of jewellery. I like looking at the shapes, rough edges, opacity, and colour. I also enjoy working with the spikes in my collection, because it instantly adds an edginess, It is definitely a conversation starter with other people and I love seeing them have their imagination run wild with scenarios where the spikes come handy.
What are the most important lessons you have learned so far when it comes to selling on Etsy?

I've only been on Etsy for few months, but I think one of the most important lessons so far is figuring out pricing. I found that prices were one of those sensitive topics that people didn't really want to talk about, which made it a little difficult figuring out how to price my jewellery. With some research and conversations with people who were willing to discuss, I learned that pricing is not only influenced by the cost of the materials used and having prices that the buyers view as reasonable, but also giving yourself a reasonable amount of profit that covers all the time and effort for the product.  

Speaking of lessons, do you envision your teaching job and your design venture to overlap eventually, e.g by teaching jewellery making, or by bringing your craft to your school? Or will you always keep them separate?

It's interesting that you asked. One of my coworkers is also an Etsy seller and she laughed about how I was beading with my students to make bracelets and necklaces for Mother's Day. I see myself bringing in basic jewellery making for arts and crafts activities at school or even as an after school program with the students. I don't see myself teaching jewellery making classes outside of that right now, but maybe few years down the road.


Look for Michelle at the following markets:
July 23/16 - Royal Canadian Legion Branch 101
Aug. 21/16 - The Great Hall
Oct. 8/16 - Etobicoke Olympium
Nov. 20/16 - Trinity Bellwoods Flea
Dec. 17/16 -
Trinity Bellwoods Flea


You can keep up to date with Michelle here:
Etsy shop:  ElixirChicDesigns
Blog: ElixirChic
Instagram: ElixirChicDesigns









Interviewed by Katrin of PaperTurns in Toronto June 30, 2016
 
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