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Category: Meet the Maker

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: Kristin’s Jewellery Box

Lots of Makers have multi-craft talents and Kristin is no different. Read on below to see how her journey as a Maker has shaped her business.

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

Hello. I am the owner of Kristin’s Jewellery Box. I started making my own jewellery because I was addicted to buying a lot for myself. I cannot turn down bling! I taught myself how to make it and then someone suggested I should try selling it. So I started a little Etsy business! I also do local Christmas craft shows every year.

Where did your business idea come from?

I was buying so much jewellery for myself that I thought I might save money if I buy all the components and make it myself. Then I got addicted to buying all the pretty beads! And while wearing my jewellery, someone suggested I try selling it so that is where my Etsy business came from. Every year I try to add something different but still with bling in mind. 2 years ago I started making jewelled bookmarks and recently I got into making jewellery scarves!

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

I love being crafty. Years ago I made dollhouse scenes, I took candle making classes and used to make and sell candles at craft shows, and I absolutely love jewellery so eventually started to make my own. I also knit and have made afghans for everyone in my family.

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

To find the time to work on Etsy with a full-time job is very challenging – I’m still trying to balance it out.

Where do you get inspiration for developing new products?

I get inspiration from Etsy itself and Pinterest and seeing what people are wearing.

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

Earrings I can make in 5 minutes. A necklace between a half hour to an hour.

Do you have a favourite item in your store?

I love working now with lamp work beads and rose gold.

What is the story behind your business name?

I started out making candles years ago and my business name was Kristin’s Krafts. Then I branched out into making jewellery and I thought I should change the name so I went with something that is both personal (because I have a ton of jewellery myself!) and something that sounds like it has my personal touch to it.

Describe your work-space and your top tools are.

I have very limited workspace right now – it’s just my desk in my bedroom, along with a small table beside it with finished jewellery, a bookcase with dozens of containers of beads and supplies, 3 plastic bins of craft show items, and a large craft table in the basement where I plan my craft show display. I’m currently looking for my own condo with a second bedroom just for crafting!

Do you ever make anything for yourself?

Sometimes when I make a jewellery item, I will decide to make a second one for myself! I try not to keep too many!

What do you hope to accomplish in the next year? No limits! Where would you like your business to go?

I would really like to spend much more time on my Etsy shop. Half of my finished products are not even posted so that is definitely my goal – to get everything on line. Also, to set up special sales for occasions like St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Halloween and so on. I hope to get many more sales this year than the last few years – it’s all in how much time you dedicate to it. As well I’d like to set up a business page on Facebook.

A vacation relaxing on the beach, or exploring the local culture?

As for vacation, my mother and I have made a trip to Europe the last 4 springs – London/Paris, Italy, Amsterdam/Germany/Switzerland, and Ireland/Scotland/England. WE LOVE EUROPE! We go with travel groups of about 30 (usually we are the only 2 Canadians) and the tour guide takes us to the most beautiful places. We have just planned a trip for this spring to Vancouver and an Alaskan Cruise!! We’re very excited.

Make sure you stay in the loop with Kristin on her Etsy Site: www.etsy.com/ca/shop/kristinsjewellerybox

Meet the Maker: Sew Shenanigans

“Colorful and whimsical with lots of personality.” Isn’t that how the best kids creations are made? Meghan from Sew Shenanigans knows how to create the best stuffies and we discovered her secrets when we interviewed her!

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

Hi I’m Meghan! I am a professional photographer and mommy of a one year old by day (with an amazing supporting husband), and a very avid sewer and crafter every other moment I have. I am incredibly passionate about the arts in all its forms. One interesting fact about me is I am a fourth-generation seamstress.

Where did your business idea come from?

When I started to use my first sewing machine, I was gifted a number of vintage patterns. One was a monkey, and I dove right into making this stuffed monkey. I realized after that this was about the most complicated stuffed animal pattern ever created, but it sparked some real inspiration and passion for making these stuffed creators and I started to make lots. Some patterns I bought, some I made up, and within a couple months I realized I can’t have a house full of 10000 stuffed animals so I should start to try to sell my creations, and Sew Shenanigans was born.

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

My creations feel like a reflection of myself. Colorful and whimsical with lots of personality. I think that one way my work reflects my approach to life is I embrace each item evolving into its own animal, and even with a pattern I like it when they all turn out a little bit different. Exact perfection is not what I strive for but for high quality, individuality and unique pieces that stand out on their own.

How do you balance parenthood with your business?

This is a daily struggle I feel like every parent goes through. I have a huge newfound respect for the stay at home working parent. It is a constant battle to work and parent and be involved with my family. I try to balance things by working when I can as much as I can, but also trying to have some compassion for myself and not sweating the small stuff. If I need a break, I take it, if I can’t quite finish this project tonight, I will finish it tomorrow. I think that a part of balance is being able to adjust your personal expectations and do the best you can.

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

The biggest learning curve I have had is the business side of things. More specifically knowing where to find my customers and creating a pricing structure that I am happy with.

Where do you get inspiration for developing new products?

I get inspiration from anywhere really – television shows my daughter watches with animal characters, seeing animals at the zoo, seeing cute stuffies at stores and from feedback, suggestions and requests from my clients.

What is the story behind your business name?

I wanted to find something unique and fun to go with my general approach to this business and life. I used to say “shenanigans” a lot! Especially while working in the studio photographing families. I felt like that word was a good representation of what I wanted to become.

Can you describe your process and how long it takes to produce a piece?

I start by grabbing my pattern out of a folder I keep them in. I then get to pick the fabric I want to use (my favorite part). I copy out the pattern to fabric, cut, sew, add eyes, inside out and stuff. I then sew it up in the back and then check all the seams and the eyes to and remove any stray threads.

Describe your work-space and your top tools are.

I have an office I rent near my home that houses my fabric, work table, supplies and tools. I have a giant cutting mat on a counter height work table where I cut out all my pieces. I then take them home and sew the creation in my little office corner in my dining room (used to be a full craft room, but we needed more room to eat!)

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

I receive a lot of custom order requests. Each request is considered greatly before I decide if it fits my brand, skills, time, budget of client, to create a fully custom pattern. My client has some input but typically it is left up to me and my creative skill to make something perfect for them.

Do you ever make anything for yourself?

I have one of the first elephants I ever made in my craft room with me. It is my favorite – made of a colourful floral corduroy fabric, and it sits with me in my craft room. I also make the occasional item for my daughter, but usually just as a sample to show at craft shows.

Do you have a favourite designer? Who is it and why?

Tim Holtz!!!!! I love his work and all his amazing multi-media projects. His fabric line is amazing too. He has this incredible way of marrying old vintage items and patterns with modern colours and styles to create really unique patterns. If you are familiar at all with Tim Holtz work, you may notice a few of his fabric designs in my creations.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I love to sew and craft. I spend most of my free time creating something. I also love organizing and finding the perfect organizational solution to a problem area in our home. I also enjoy reading, helping others, spending time with my family and having baby dance parties with my daughter.

Any advice for a new Handcrafted Maker who is setting up a shop?

Do your research. Find other makers that do something similar and look at what seems to work and what doesn’t. And the hardest thing – have confidence in your work. You are an amazing creator and you can do this!

What is your bestselling item? Why do you think it is the most popular?

My best-selling item is my Mammoth. It is popular for so many reasons but probably the biggest is its made with faux fur and looks super unique. Almost like a huggable textile sculpture

Are you managing wholesale accounts and attending markets alongside your direct sales? If so, how do you balance your work day?

I do very little wholesale, but I do sell at a couple handmade brick and mortar stores. Balancing my sewing with craft sale demands, Etsy and selling in stores can be hard but I have a daily goal of making three items that keeps me motivated. I don’t always make those three new items but having that goal motivates me and keeps me focused

Do you have other hobbies?

I am a professional photographer, but it is also something I am very passionate about. I take photos in my little home studio as regularly as I can and work with other photographers on projects often.

What has been the most challenging aspect of being a creative business owner?

The biggest challenge is doing all the other stuff that isn’t creating. Filling out forms, keeping my books, client and vendor follow up etc. I try to keep myself organized, learn new business skills when I can and just do the best I can.

Did you take classes to learn the skills you utilize or are these self-taught practices of trial and error?

I have taken some creative classes and some business skill classes but for my sewing I am self taught

What do you hope to accomplish in the next year? No limits! Where would you like your business to go?

I am hoping to shift to mostly selling my custom and personalized items online and attend larger craft shows. I am also hoping to introduce a couple new lines of product this year.

Coffee or tea?

Coffee!!!!! My whole family are coffee addicts and at one time my Dad would drink two pots of coffee daily. I used to start my day off with 24oz of coffee every morning and more later in the day. When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter I decided to just quit coffee cold turkey because there was no way I would be able to only have 10-12 oz a day. It was a great moment when I could have a cup after she was born.

If you’re looking for THE perfect gift for the little in your life, contact Meghan and make sure to follow her on her socials to see what she’s up to!

Website: www.sewshenanigans.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/sewshenanigans

Instagram: www.instagram.com/meghanshenanigans

Meet the Maker: Hiveshare

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to own a beehive? Well, with Hiveshare, you CAN!! Read on to discover how Chris has helped many people do just that and hear all about what it takes to run an apiary!

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

I’m a photographer who wanted to give back to society and make a difference somehow . . . then I discover bees! My focus shifted, pun intended, and I am now a fulltime beekeeper. My summers are packed full of beekeeping duties and winters are for product development & manufacturing.

Where did your business idea come from?

I wanted to do something meaningful with my life & help the planet. The news was full of the issues with honeybees. I thought if I contributed with one hive, I would be part of the solution instead of part of the problem. then I fell in love with beekeeping & have expanded yearly to what will shortly be 100 hives!

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

Probably getting used to insects climbing on you & the occasional sting, which don’t really hurt for very long, 5-10 minutes. You are dealing with live animals, livestock, and learning when to intervene and when to leave them alone is a big slippery slope. I hate it when bees die, but it is part of being a farmer. On the marketing side with Hiveshare products, learning what your customer needs is tricky, giving them a natural alternative or solving their problem is the pay off!

Where do you get inspiration for developing new products?

I get inspiration from day to day life. I’m always thinking what products can make it easier and use fewer toxins than mass produced items.

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

From idea to market can easily be six months. I don’t let anything out before months of testing.

What is the story behind your business name?

Hiveshare was conceived for people to own an entire hive or a share in a hive without having to manage the bees or harvest the honey.

I manage the bees, making sure they are protected from predators and disease. Place them in a specific location that will provide an ample supply of food, water, and flowers for fresh nectar and pollen. Once the honey is extracted and cold filtered, it is delivered to your doorstep in a food-safe pail.

Do you ever make anything for yourself?

I use all my products all the time! Unfortunately with the exception of the Paw Wax, as my pup passed away shortly after it was developed.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Travel. I travel as much as possible in the winter months. I go to France & Portugal to help other beekeepers, learn and share ideas. I’m always looking to hook up with other beekeepers, some of my product ideas have come from these friendships.

What is your bestselling item? Why do you think it is the most popular?

Besides honey, in the fall & winter, it is definitely Paw Wax. Probably because it’s the snow & ice season & owners want to help their pets out without those silly boots! In the summer my Solid Lotion Bars are very popular. Dry skin & insect bites are two issues it helps with.

Do you do this full time? If not, how do you balance your day?

Yes, beekeeping and marketing Hiveshare is fulltime, but I also am a social media strategist for clients across Canada, the U.S.A. and in Europe. I assume their identities online and post on their behalf on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter, as well as design & building websites.

Did you take classes to learn the skills you utilize or are these self taught practices of trial and error?

I have taken some beekeeping & marketing classes, but mostly learning on my own. Draw from being self-employed for over 30 years as a photographer.

What do you hope to accomplish in the next year? No limits! Where would you like your business to go?

Grow my apiaries & grow my product business. I am developing some proprietary items and want to develop items that are not on the market yet.

A vacation relaxing on the beach, or exploring the local culture?

I would last about 5 minutes relaxing on a beach before I’d try & see if there were any local beekeepers! I love exploring local culture, eating the local cuisine and trying to speak the language. One of my favourite adventures was getting lost in rural Portugal where no one spoke English. I had to get by with broken Portuguese, sign language and pantomime, loved it!

Connect with Hiveshare on social media to snag your own deelish treats and see what the bees are up to!

Etsy: www.etsy.com/ca/shop/Hiveshare

Facebook: www.facebook.com/hiveshare

Instagram: www.instagram.com/hiveshare

Meet the Maker: The Pink Tree Couture

A simple, beautiful accessory can make or break your outfit. Beatriz from The pink Tree Couture has got you covered . Read on to find out where she finds her inspiration!

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

Since 2017, The Pink Tree Couture has been dedicated to exquisitely handcrafting playful and feminine jewelry that embodies both timeless elegance and modern sensibility. We find inspiration at every turn, be it in a sunset, architecture or a vintage textile. Each piece is composed of luxurious semi-precious materials, emphasizing the natural stones’ brilliant colors and textures.

Where did your business idea come from?

I started creating jewelry pieces for myself and friends and it slowly grew into a “small handmade collection”

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

It reflects all the textures and colours I love, I’m a professional painter, and I find the artistic background plays a very important role in developing and creating each item.

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

Trying to get more involved with social media, and applying for trade shows

Where do you get inspiration for developing new products?

Traveling and from unique materials, sometimes by looking at them, it helps me develop the pieces

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

Depends, sometimes could be a couple of house others could take me weeks to develop and master. Sometimes I have to do a few trials/studies before the final product is developed and perfect.

Do you have a favourite item in your store?

I adore the one of a kind couture Hairband, the fabrics are always different, the have such a vintage old Hollywood look to them! They can dress up any outfit

Can you describe your process and how long it takes to produce a piece?

It starts by looking at the stone or fabric and trying to visualize what other materials could be use together and what would be the best application

Describe your work-space and your top tools are.

I have small studio in my house, I dedicated a room to store all my tools, materials and production. Sometimes we even do product photo shoots in that same pretty room.

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

We do! We can customize any piece, whether is by changing the materials or the size, this has been an incredible advantage, clients live to have the opportunity to create a custom piece with us.

Do you ever make anything for yourself?

All the time! It’s hard not to keep some of the pieces for myself, sometimes I make the first one as a sample for me and from that I get orders from repeated clients and during the shows.

Do you have a favourite designer? Who is it and why?

I adore vintage Dior, it’s a great inspiration for me, I love that old Hollywood/vintage look, never goes out of style!

Any advice for a new Handcrafted Maker who is setting up a shop?

Do something that gives you pleasure, when you do what you love you won’t feel like you are working! It’s a great feeling! And when you start getting clients and they live your pieces that’s even more gratifying.

What is your bestselling item? Why do you think it is the most popular?

I have a few, the faux pearl necklaces are a staple my clients love them, they use them all the time! Whether is for a special occasion or to dress up a t-shirt and jeans kind of day.

Are you managing wholesale accounts and attending markets alongside your direct sales? If so, how do you balance your work day?

I do, we have a few stores that carry my line, at the moment located in USA but I would love to work locally.

Do you have a home studio or do you work at another location?

I work mainly out of my home studio, but I have a second location that I use sometimes for storage and extra displays.

What has been the most challenging aspect of being a creative business owner?

Developing my social media information and applying and sourcing local trade shows.

Did you take classes to learn the skills you utilize or are these self taught practices of trial and error?     

It was pure trial and error, I’m very artistic and anything that’s handmade comes very easy to me.

What do you hope to accomplish in the next year? No limits! Where would you like your business to go?

I would love to attend a few trade shows in the city, specially Etsy Canada, that’s been a long time goal. I would Also like to get a couple of local stores to carry my line.

Connect with Beatriz via social media!

Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/thepinktreeshop

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pinktreecouture

Instagram: www.instagram.com/pink_tree_couture

Meet the Maker: Hiraeth

Many Makers are multi-talented and Paula from Hiraeth is no exception, read on to hear more about her new company.

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

I’m happiest when I’m creating. Paired with my love of art, film and design – after completing a MFA between the Edinburgh College of Art + Herriot-Watt University, after 15 years in the marketing and advertising space, my life has gone full circle, bringing me back to my roots of making.

What is the story behind your business name?

Hireath [Orgin:Welsh] Longing. Homesick for a home you can never return to. Grieving the lost places and moments of your past. A sense of loss of loving moments and places you remember fondly.

I chose Hiraeth in connect to my heritage and the beauty that the word represents. It’s a universal feeling that I hope translates into what I make.

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

I love custom orders. Working alongside the client is something that brings me joy. Helping bring to life a moment or feeling or ideally, both, in what I make for them – is incredibly rewarding and humbling.

Do you ever make anything for yourself?

Sometimes. It depends on what I’m making and what’s happened on the journey to make it. For example, when I’m pouring candles, there will be a wax left over. Not enough to fill a container but too much to throw away. This is when I’ll make myself a small version – which is a fun extra when you’re the maker.

Do you have a home studio or do you work at another location?

I work from a home studio and I adore it. Being around my work helps me problem solve while keeping inspired. I’m so grateful to have the space I do to work from home.

What do you hope to accomplish in the next year? No limits! Where would you like your business to go?

I’m in the midst of rebranding my website. Part of the redesign is the inclusion of ecommerce. This is something that I’m so excited about. Being able to sell direct – is a dream. Creating unique, small run prints and paintings is an area I want to grow further through this year. I’d like to start exhibiting again while building up my ecommerce sales. The skies the limit and I’m excited to see where Hiraeth takes me over the next year and beyond!

Follow along with Paula and her journey by connecting with her on Social!

Website: www.paulaCM.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/HiraethandHome

Instagram: www.instagram.com/paulaepcoop

Meet the Maker: Tweet & Co.

Every woman loves a great handbag, but to find a handbag that makes a statement? That’s tough to find – Until now! Meet Jan and Tweet & Co.

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

Me: I am a full time creator of picture books, illustrations and graphic design. To keep the “fun” happening I create home decor and accessories showcasing my illustrations.

Interesting fact: I love computers and business.

Where did your business idea come from?

I started a February drawing challenge to get through the winter. My theme was bird illustrations. I posted a bird a day on my facebook and twitter accounts and my followers adored them. It helped them get through their month of February and pushed me to use the illustrations to open Tweet and Co.

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

My Tweet and Co. work shows a different side of my talents that hasn’t been seen for awhile. I am a trained fine artist. The bird paintings show my watercolour talents and the realistic side of my artwork. My more serious personality.

I typically do children’s illustration and art. Whimsical stuff which reveals my true personality. Life approach is more casual and fun.

How do you balance parenthood with your business?

I didn’t start working on my studio The Pink Suitcase business until my children were in school full-time. I didn’t open an Etsy store until they left home. My kids and family are most important to me, studio second. My studio has grown into a full-time business for me. I provide illustrations to book publishers internationally, children’s not-for-profit organizations, foundations and commercial clients like Crayola Canada etc. Creating new products to sell in my etsy store Tweet and Co. keeps more ‘fun’ in my day.

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

My biggest learning curve is to listen to customers, and watch them interact with my work. Which products they like, which products they look at first when they approach my store…this gives me good information when I create new products. The information keeps me focused during my creative process.

Do you have a favourite item in your store?

I have two favourite items in my store Tweet and Co. First, is the Crow tote bag. The crow looks like she has a ballet skirt on and is a great painting. Plus it is a black and white bag which is my favourite colour combination. My second favourite is the Ampersand tote bag from my Punc2ation series. It is also black and white and has a cropped Ampersand which I like as a design.

Check out some more of Jan’s designs and give her a follow on here social channels!

Etsy: www.etsy.com/ca/shop/TweetandCo

Instagram: www.instagram.com/TweetandCo18

Meet the Maker: Reflections Handcrafted Jewellery

Are you on the hunt for a jewellery piece that tells a story? Nuala from Reflections Handcrafted Jewellery may be your answer!

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

I am a long-time York Region resident currently residing in Aurora where I design & make my jewellery creations. I make an eclectic selection of costume jewellery to accommodate all tastes!

Where did your business idea come from?

My business idea came from my love of designing & creating something. Even while working in the financial industry I was able to use these skills, so it seemed natural that as my first hobby, then later little business, I would choose to do that with beautiful, eye-catching materials that appeal to me.

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

It makes a statement and reflects my many interests in life.

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

Learning and remembering the names of materials! I’m a much more visual person in regards to my jewellery than concentrating on the properties and functions of the items.

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

That depends on what it is. Some can take 20 minutes and others 2 days!

What is the story behind your business name?

Reflections – I love water and all the colours associated with water, oceans, beaches etc. I also wanted a name that demonstrated that what I create is a ‘reflection’ of me.

What is your bestselling item? Why do you think it is the most popular?

Lava jewellery has been a best selling trend as well as ‘wellness’ pieces. I think because people want to feel good and these pieces help them to do that, especially the lava beads that can carry the scent of essential oils.

Sunlight or Moonlight

Definitely Moonlight. It’s so much more beautiful and mysterious – the moon has always called to me. My mother tells me that ‘moon’ was one of my first words. Either that or I’m just looney!

Follow Nuala and see more of her creations on her social channels.

Etsy: www.etsy.com/ca/shop/HandmadeJewelrybyNB

Facebook: www.facebook.com/reflectionshandmadejewellery

Instagram: www.instagram.com/nualabeatty

Meet the Maker – Cozy Mitts by Lorraine

“Upcycled” is the buzz-word of the past few years, it seems, and I’m certain you’ve seen upcycled everything, but upcycled clothing? Lorraine from Cozy Mitts by Lorraine, has this sector nailed. Read on to find out how she came about her business and what makes her mitts so special.

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

I am a maker junkie, and by that I mean I am not sure I could function if I wasn’t focused on making a product either for sale or for the family.

I love the thrill of presenting someone with a handmade item then watching their reaction and gratitude, the sheer awe at how much time and detail are visible in my work is worth every minute just to feel this emotion.

I have friends that call me “relentless”, a bit like a dog with a bone when I set my mind to a task. Unless of course, a squirrel runs through my mind space, lol

Where did your business idea come from?

My daughter gets to take the blame for this business. We were making these mittens for ourselves, just for fun. But they turned out harder to make than I ever imagined, so all the first 15 pairs were given away. Then we focused on how to improve the product, what materials work best, how do we make this better. I took a few pairs to a local craft show and sold them all, I guess I need to make more now.

I honestly only intended to make these for one or two years and quit. My daughter insisted I needed a Facebook page and she would look after it. That didn’t last long and it was all on me as University consumed her spare time.

Next event that really changed my direction of a hobby to business was a course offered by the GACAG put on by York Region Arts Council called Artrepreneur. When I signed up for the course I was just looking for a little more guidance and help to navigate the online social media aspects.

When I finished the course I had direction and a plan, so the answer is “education on how to run an arts-based business” that is where my business idea came from.

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

I love to live by the motto ” do one thing and do it really well”. Not that I have always lived this way but I pour myself into whatever I do, so I get the most out of it. I get more and more focused and more specific about what I am making, it actually makes it easier to be a maker. And thus the reason why I only make mittens. So I can bring my very best mitten game to the table and be very satisfied with my product.

How do you balance parenthood with your business?

Fortunately I no longer have this concern. I gave parenting everything I had while I was raising my kids, now I take all that energy and use it for me and the business.

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

The amount of time I need to spend on the technical aspects of running the business. Social media, marketing, emails, photography, posting and writing product descriptions.

Where do you get inspiration for developing new products?

I get it from interacting with people, traveling, gardening, and generally having fun. Inspirations usually hit when I am not searching for it.

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

This is a hard question to answer. They can take me anywhere from 1/2 hour to 2 1/2 hours.

Do you have a favourite item in your store?

No, I love them all equally, lol

What is the story behind your business name?

Ask my daughter, I couldn’t come up with anything, she made the Facebook page and the name just carried on.

Can you describe your process and how long it takes to produce a piece?

Oh so many steps, that start with the trill of the hunt in a thrift store to locate a suitable wool sweater. Home for cataloging, inspection, repairs if needed, the felting process, deconstruction of the sweater into a now usable fabric. onto the planning stage for style and size of mittens, cutting, sewing turning steaming, and the last creative detail choosing the right buttons to coordinate with the mitts. Final steps quality control check one more time, tags and pricing. They are now ready for the photoshoot, listed online or sent to a store. Whew! and then do it all over again 100’s of times.

Describe your work-space and your top tools are.

I now have two dedicated rooms for the business. The sewing room has well a sewing machine, two sergers for different tasks, cutting table, storage shelves for cut pieces, button storage cabinet, closets with sweaters that don’t fit standard categories in the storage room. A small army of cutting tools, various types of scissors, rotary cutters, both manual and electric.

The second room is lined with shelves sorted by colour and wool content. And all the lining material in bolts on top of these shelves.

My top tools are my electric rotary cutter and my serger. They make my work fast and clean.

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

A few a year and they have lots of input into the finished item. This is one area I can expand a lot.

Do you ever make anything for yourself?

Absolutely. Sometimes intentionally and sometimes when I finish a pair I keep them for myself. I usually have a least 5 pairs of mitts, for myself. Not just for my own enjoyment I need to use them so I can improve them.

Want to snag a pair of Cozy Mitts for yourself? I don’t blame you!! Follow Lorraine on her channels and check out her creations!

Website: www.cozymittsbylorraine.ca

Facebook: www.facebook.com/cozymittsbylorraine

Instagram: www.instagram.com/cozymittsbylorraine

Meet the Maker: Textile Custom Linen Works

You know those times when you find yourself looking for a gift for someone who has “everything”? That would be the perfect time to check out Michelle and her company Textile Custom Linen Works.

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

I am a life-long resident of Newmarket. My husband and I first met when we were about 13, “re-met” several years later and got married after university. We have 3 boys, 2 cats and 1 lizard. I studied architecture at Ryerson University and have spent my career in consulting engineering (part-time) since my first son was born. I am a passionate amateur photographer and I can often be found in my garden, though more likely taking photos than gardening.

Where did your business idea come from?

I really started sewing after finishing university. I had a degree in Architecture but the misfortune of graduating at a real downturn in the industry. I found that sewing something from a pattern had a lot of similarities to architecture and I ultimately made my wedding dress. Jump ahead many years, I started making things for myself and my home. I took note of the number of textile items we typically use in a day, and how uneventful so many of them are. I wanted those everyday things to be special in their own right and thus Textile Custom Linen Works and the tagline “making everyday special” were born!

Where do you get inspiration for developing new products?

I get inspiration from so many places that it is sometimes hard to actually channel it and focus! Many of my products come about as the solution to a problem. I really like things to be practical. If they can look good too, then I have accomplished what I set out to do. Other ideas have come from customers and collaborating with them on their custom designs often results in a spin-off to a new general offering or a custom option.

Do you have a favourite item in your store?

I think the most favourite things to create are the keepsake pillows. I love being able to help capture a special time in people’s lives. The favourite things to have personally, at least to wear, are velvet scarves. The colours and textures and so fantastic and I love the way they can transform an outfit.

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

I love custom orders (it’s even in the company name!). There are so many options in fabric colours and patterns and I love them all (hence my immense fabric stash!). Knowing a little bit about a client, let’s me focus in on what will be just right for them. Even the products themselves can evolve from discussions with the client. Many of my favourite and best-selling products, like the keepsake pillows, started with an idea from a customer.

Do you ever make anything for yourself?

I am always making things for my own home, for myself and my family. My children have about 4 custom pillowcases each! The outdoor tool roll came about as a solution for my husband’s camping tools and was a gift to him last year. I also end up making a lot of prototypes before getting a design just right. Those generally end up being used by my family or given to friends.

What is your bestselling item? Why do you think it is the most popular?

It is a toss-up between the keepsake pillows and pillowcases. I think the keepsake pillows are popular because they mark a significant event in someone’s life, whether an engagement, wedding, new baby or treasured vacation. People like being reminded of those special moments so having a pillow with the date and key words makes those memories only a glance away. And for children, custom pillowcases can’t be beat. The colour and pattern options are almost endless so they can be customized with favourite themes and kids just love having things with their names on them!

Do you have a home studio or do you work at another location?

I work from home and have carved out my own basement space (between the freezer and clothes dryer) that seems to keep on growing! Fabric cutting and piecing are done on our multi-functional harvest kitchen table and admin work in our family tech room. By the end of a really productive day, I usually have products and work-related things spread all over the house!

Be sure to follow Michelle on all of her social channels so that you can see all of her beautiful creations.

Website: http://www.textile-custom.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/textileclw4home

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/textile_custom_lw