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Category: Handmade

Meet the Maker: Market Candle Company

Hi There! My name is Shabi (like not too shabby) and I’m the proud owner of Market Candle Company. I thought I should share a bit about myself and my candles.

I live in Newmarket, Ontario and I love this town almost as much as I love candles. I was raised in Hamilton, Ontario and when I moved to the GTA for university, I kept somehow gravitating north. When I met my now husband, he was living in Newmarket and it is now a place I am so proud to call home!

If you’ve ever been to my house you’ve see candles in every room. It’s a bit of a “thing” that I’ve got. After doing some casual research and learning how many toxins are in a lot of the big brand candles, I decided to take a leap of faith and make my own using clean, high quality ingredients. I love all things crafty and creative so candle making is actually a very relaxing activity for me. I made my first batch of candles 2 years ago for my bridal shower favours and I’ve been learning more and more ever since.

Mental health means a lot to me. I have a lot of family and friends who have suffered from mental health concerns and sadly I’ve lost a couple to the fight. I was a Psychology major in University, not because I thought I would be a successful psychologist, but because I wanted to learn more. And it truly changed my life. So it only makes sense that I donate $0.50 from every candle to the Canadian Mental Health Association.

How Does your work reflect your personality and overall approach to life?
I’m a simple gal. I love food, wine and the colour black. Every candle I make is done with love and represents all things fresh and flavourful. Although my labels and branding are dark, I promise I have a cheery soul. I love a good belly laugh more than anyone you know. 🙂 But you can bet your life I’m wearing a black top whenever you see me.

Do you have a favourite item in your store?
I’m a sucker for an Aperol Spritz (an italian beverage with Aperol, Prosecco, Soda water and a slice of orange) year round, and it was my first candle scent I thought of, and just so happens to be the most popular with my customers as well, so I guess I’m not alone! I wanted something unique, vibrant and reflective of what makes me happy and I’m super glad it makes others happy too.

Do you receive many custom orders and if so, how much input do clients have?
I get a fair amount of custom orders, ranging from wedding and shower favours to private lines to retailers. I’m currently working with a florist to crate a signature scent that represents the initial scent of walking into their shop! I love creating and helping someone’s vision come to life, so as long as they trust me to execute, I let the client request certain scents, specific labels and colour schemes.

Do you ever make anything for yourself?
It’s the best part about candle making! Trial and Error, but with very few errors (lucky me) I’ve got samples all over my house.

Do you have a home studio or do you work at another location?
I’m lucky to have the space to set up a nice studio in the basement. Although I wish had a little bit more space some days, I’m grateful for a special place to call my own and it keeps the rest of my house from suffocating with a never-ending flow of supplies.

Do you have other hobbies?
I’m studying to be a sommelier – it’s a slow, steady and costly process so I’m taking my time but if you ever need a recommendation for a great bottle of wine, I’m sure I can help you out.

Do you do this full time? How do you balance your day?
I have a full time job working in the Steel Industry (family business) but I desperately needed a creative outlet. This gives me the opportunity to do something I love in my spare time. I control my inventory, try not to over commit, and make sure to stay organized (WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN) to make sure I can accomplish everything I need to in a day. Once in awhile things get a little hectic, but that’s the beauty of being a multi-tasker and I will never complain as I’m so grateful for every order placed.

Meet the Maker – Amanda Brittin

If you’re in the market for an inspiring and beautiful piece of jewellery, Amanda Brittin is your go-to! Read on to find out more about Amanda and how she comes up with her creations..

Please tell us a bit about yourself and one interesting fact.

I work with hammer and torch to create hand-forged rustic sterling silver, bronze and gemstone jewelry. With a background in Anthropology and Archaeology, I am very influenced by the jewelry pieces that have been excavated from ancient Roman and Viking sites and this has been the source of inspiration for my recent “Unearthed” series of bronze and silver work.

Although I no longer work in Archaeology, I still occasionally design and install museum exhibitions!

How Does your work reflect your personality and overall approach to life?

Form and function are very important to me! When I go about my day to day life, the pieces of art that I enjoy the most are the things that I “use”, the functional things that are handmade and beautiful and I can enjoy as more than just a piece of art on the wall. I love my visual art too, but I get the most pleasure out of things that I can actually use; things like my hand-thrown tea pot, my funky mosaic toothbrush holder and my lovely hand-made bird feeders. Over my years as an artisan making a big variety of artwork, from floorcloths to mosaics, concrete sculpture to jewelry, this has always been the thing that informed my work – make stuff that is useful and beautiful, whether it is personal adornment or a mat in front of a kitchen sink.

What would you say has been your biggest learning curve since beginning your business?

One of the more challenging aspects of business is to keep on top of business development. I may make beautiful jewelry, but unless I can get it out there in the public eye, no one will appreciate it and sales will not happen. Keeping up with daily activity in social media and maintaining frequent contact with clients has been something that I have had to become quite disciplined with. I have noticed that when I am really busy with other things and don’t keep up with my Etsy listings, Instagram and Facebook feeds, my business can really lag. I have developed a pattern now, where I choose a certain time of day and make sure to post or be active at that time!

How long does the average item take for you to create?

The average sterling silver and gemstone ring will take me several hours to design, but once I know what I want to create, the actual time to make it is usually 2-3 hours. I find that the sketching and mulling over of a design idea is a time consuming part. Once I have solved the problem or come up with creative idea, then execution of that idea comes together fairly fast. Of course, there are always a few pieces that can take a whole day!

Describe your work-space and your top tools are.

I have a very small and joyful studio space that is connected to my house. It is only 9×11 feet in size and I pack a lot in there! I have two work benches set a different heights so that I sit at one and stand at the other. All my electrical equipment and my torch for jewelry-making are attached to these two benches. A floor to ceiling set of shelving lines one wall for shipping and packaging and my music system. My products are nicely set up in a little alcove to the side for clients to shop. I still manage to bring in a couple of lovely plants and have some great artwork on my colourful walls. My favourite aspect of my studio is that I have set up several bird feeders outside my big studio window and I have a pond out beyond those – what a view! How could this not bring joy to me as I work away creating jewelry?

Do you receive many custom orders and if so, how much input do clients have?

I think that the biggest reason for my success is my willingness to work on custom jewelry, largely driven by clients’ special requests. Even an Etsy inquiry as general as, “I saw this rounded triangular ring on my last trip to Latvia…could you make something like that?” will get my creativity flowing and I will try it out for a client with no expectation. Sometimes it works, sometimes it is not quite right, but the times that it is perfect and the client is thrilled, that makes it all worthwhile. I love to experiment and have no interest in mass production work, even though it is more financially feasible, so customized orders are my main business! I would say that customized and made-to-order account for half my business!

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I am an avid bird-watcher and traveler with a passion for hiking in the American southwest. If I have a bit of free time during the week, I love to enjoy the wonderful forest tracts in York Region and will head out with a friend for a hike! I usually take my camera as there are almost always birds to see and capturing one or two on a hike makes the outing just perfect!

You can find Amanda’s gorgeous creations at our Made in Canada Market on September 23rd or you can follow her online!

Etsy: www.etsy.com/ca/shop/amandabrittin
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amandajanebrittin
Instagram: @amandabrittin