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Vendor Introductions: Part Eight

First up today in our introductions is Kristen of Sonder + Stone.

1. What do you make/sell?

Handmade stone and natural element jewelry and accessories

2. Why do you make/sell it? What inspires your work?

I adore everything involving geology; stones and minerals are my hugest inspiration. I want to bring a contemporary esthetic to my work, with fun twists on the simplistic beauty of nature.

3. Is there anything you’d like to tell others about what you do?

I wouldn’t make it if I didn’t absolutely love it myself, and take pride in what I do.

You can find Sonder + Stone here:

Facebook: Facebook.com/sonderandstone

Instagram: @sonderandstone

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Next we have Laurena of Simple Birds.

1. What do you make/sell?

Bath & Body Care Product

2. Why do you make/sell it? What inspires your work?

We believe that skin care should be simple, but still feel luxurious. We used to be the junkies that hoarded ridiculous amounts of products under our sink. We began to research the ingredients in our products over a decade ago, after mysterious skin rashes and unsatisfying results from what we were purchasing. At first we were appalled, then frustrated at what was available in the marketplace, then began to make our own products for ourselves. One day in fall, only a few short years ago, we were talking about making scrubs to give as Christmas presents. This evolved into a much deeper discussion about life, careers and what makes us happy. We decided to take a chance at producing products we really believe in, and pursuing the dream of being self-employed.

3. Is there anything you’d like to tell others about what you do?

We produce all of our products by hand, in small batches, using only natural ingredients. We have carefully crafted our own signature scents, using essential oils, and have had great feedback on them. We do NOT use any fillers, sulfates, parabens, dyes, perfumes, or synthetics. We also don’t make soap. Our focus is on skin care beyond getting clean. Our primary focus is our Hand & Body Scrub, which we’ve tweaked a bit along the way. Since then we’ve grown our line to include a Lip Conditioner, Bath & Body Oil, After Shower Moisture Spritz, Body Butter, and Beard Oil.

You can find Simple Birds here:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/simplebirds

Instagram: @simplebirds

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Next we have Linda of Linda Cote Studio.

1. What do you make/sell?

I am creating through the ancient art form of printmaking. Woodcuts first appeared in China in the third century, and became popular in Europe in the mid-1400s when woodcut books made stories with illustrations available to wider audiences. I carve my artwork in the same tradition using printmaker’s linoleum rather than wood. I create handmade limited edition fine art prints, cards and stationery, plus hand-printed Christmas ornaments, bookmarks and postcards.

2. Why do you make/sell it? What inspires your work?

The creative process is an integral part of my everyday life – I find inspiration everywhere! I take my own photographs to use as a reference, and I love the process of taking a complex scene and reducing it to its essence through the simple, bold lines of printmaking. Living in Canmore, Alberta, I am inspired by the mountain landscapes and birds that call this valley home, but I was born and raised in Calgary, so my art can also reflect the prairie girl in me. I create both black-and-white and multiple-color handmade prints. Each one has its unique challenges, but it is such a rewarding and magical way to make art.

3. Is there anything you’d like to tell others about what you do?

The art form of printmaking is sometimes unfamiliar to art lovers. It is not a common way to create in Canada. I love attending art shows and sales because I can explain my process, and I often bring videos of my process, too. (You can see these videos on my YouTube Channel; link below.) Here is the process I go through to create a print or card: I begin by hand-carving my artwork on linoleum in reverse so the final artwork is printed the right way around (think: making your own stamp, only bigger). The carved art base is inked with a roller, and a sheet of paper is placed over the inked art. The back of the paper is then rubbed gently by hand. When the paper is pulled back from the art, it reveals the image. This process is repeated for each print, so a limited edition print is truly a multiple original.

You can find Linda Cote Studio here:

Twitter: @LindaCoteStudio

Facebook: @LindaCoteStudio

Instagram @mountainartgirl

Pinterest: @LindaCoteStudio

Website: www.lindacotestudio.wordpress.com

You Tube: www.youtube.com/user/LindaCoteStudio

 

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Next we have Marika of Oh Deer Shop.

1. What do you make/sell?

Plant based bath and body care.

2. Why do you make/sell it? What inspires your work?

I make and sell products to heal body, mind and spirit, collectively. Learning from plants and sharing their message to heal and nourish is a profound gift. I am inspired by my work, my studies in herbalism and most of all the outside world.

3. Is there anything you’d like to tell others about what you do?

It is our choice to lead our lives in positive ways and by doing so I believe we naturally inspire change in others. I love too cultivate community through making products that help too instil healthy values in our day to day lives.

You can find Oh Deer Shop here:

Website: www.shopohdeer.com

Instagram: @ohdeeryyc

Twitter: @ohdeeryyc

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Finally for today we have Melissa of Lively Leaf.

1. What do you make/sell?

I make my jewellery out of upcycled bicycle inner tube, reclaimed upholstery leather scraps, stainless steel and freshwater pearls. I am excited that I can take something destined for the landfill and make it beautiful again. In each of my designs I try to find a balance between the natural and the manmade materials. There is a tension between the industrial looking edgy black rubber, leather or stainless steel, the perfect contrast to the softness and femininity of the the white freshwater pearls.

2. Why do you make/sell it? What inspires your work?

I received my Bachelors of Fine Arts in 2009 from the Alberta College of Art and Design, majoring in Jewellery and Metals. Shortly after I set up a full time silversmithing studio. Fast forward to 2011 when I found out I was pregnant. I decided to cut out any studio practises that could be potentially harmful to my baby. I started working with cold connections only – so no torch work, and I cut out any work with chemicals. This was the beginning of my transition to creating with alternative materials.

3. Is there anything you’d like to tell others about what you do?

After my little guy was born my time in the silversmithing studio was really limited – but I still needed to create, to make, to design. So I started looking for ways to make jewellery at home – at the kitchen table, while I was at home with my son. I found a bicycle inner tube and started cutting it up into interesting shapes. It was so satisfying to make something so immediate. I loved how tactile, durable and lightweight the inner tube was – prefect for jewellery.

Now I am mommy to three beautiful little boys who are very interested in everything I am doing (the three year old has to touch everything!) and It is nice playing along side them with my rubber and leather pieces without worrying about if something is unsafe (for them or the environment.)

My work if for sale through my Etsy shop and through select galleries and boutiques throughout Canada and the US. (more info on my website: www.livelyleaf.ca)

You can find Lively Leaf here:

instagram: @livelyleafdesigns

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/livelyleaf

pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/missliss00/lively-leaf-recycled-bicycle-inner-tube-jewelry/

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Vendor Introductions: Part Five

Starting today’s vendor introductions we have Candice of Buttercream Clothing.

1. What do you make/sell?

Buttercream Clothing is a ladies clothing line that is locally made using high quality fabrics focusing on comfort and style.

2. Why do you make/sell it?

What inspires your work? I decided to start this ladies clothing line as it was so difficult to find Canadian clothing that was stylish and comfortable at the same time. I am inspired by fashion everywhere I go, I love people watching and seeing what people are wearing every new season.

3. Is there anything you’d like to tell others about what you do?

I am very proud to provide a ladies clothing line that is ethically made in Canada with a focus on pieces that will last for years to come.

You can find Buttercream Clothing here:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/buttercreamclothing

Instagram: @buttercreamclothing

Website: www.buttercreamclothing.com


Buttercream Clothing
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Next we have Sue of One Hundred Monkeys.

1. What do you make/sell?

I am a metalsmith! Mostly Silver, but like the colors of the base metals such as copper and it’s alloys such as brass and bronze. I make all kinds of Jewellery including some for your horses!

2. Why do you make/sell it? What inspires your work?

I love the skill and complexity of working with metals, love the textures and images I can create. My inspiration comes from Nature in the form of textures as well as Folk Art symbolism.

My style is influenced strongly by Art Nouveau, Celtic and Classical movements, and my content often centers on narratives and symbolism.

3. Is there anything you’d like to tell others about what you do?

I like to create art that inspires, teaches, and tells a story while at the same time being functional as well as beautiful.

You can find One Hundred Monkeys here:

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

Website: http://www.suesharp.ca/

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Next we have Shannon of Heart N Soul Handbags.

1. What do you make/sell?

My collection of handmade leather purses and accessories draws strong parallels to Alberta’s prairie culture and the constant inspirations nature provides. My pieces are both rustic and organic, utilizing raw edges of the leather hides and embellishments such as hand cut leather flowers and feathers, antique skeleton keys and decorative conchos.

2. Why do you make/sell it? What inspires your work?

I wish to share a glimpse of my soul through my pieces and hope it strikes a common chord with people who share the same values and lifestyle as I do.

3. Is there anything you’d like to tell others about what you do?

Using the hide of a once living animal implicates huge responsibility for me. It is my mandate to create something beautiful and functional celebrating the animal’s life. I work to minimize the wastage in my process, utilizing the smallest leather scraps to create flower shapes and accessories in my Heart ’n Soul Handbag’s collection.

You can find Heart N Soul Handbags here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Heart-n-Soul-Handbags/137645313020982
Instagram: @heartnsoulhandbags
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/heartnsoulhandb/

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Next up we have Christine from ImPaper.

1. What do you make/sell?

We sell graphic designed greeting cards, art prints and home decor products that make a difference.

2. Why do you make/sell it? What inspires your work?

We bring forth a line of interior decor in hopes that our products will not only add that special touch to your business decor, office, desk space or room, but also reach out to our customers whether it be an inspiration, amusement or kindred-ship. Graphic design and being socially responsible has always been a passion of mine. Through ImPaper, I’ve been able to tie the two together and this has allowed me to share my passion with others.

3. Is there anything you’d like to tell others about what you do?

ImPaper was founded on the premise of using business as a means of social change.
Every product purchased contributes to a specific cause ranging from tree planting, diseases, providing clean water and more.
We are socially responsible and operate our business with the environment and carbon footprint in mind.

You can find ImPaper here:

Instagram: @impaper

Website: http://www.impaper.co/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/impaper.co

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Finally for today we have Christine of Quirefly.

1. What do you make/sell?

I make jewelry and accessories. My favorite materials change depending on the day and the inspiration, but some of my favorites include annealed steel, copper, semi-precious stones of all sorts, and czech glass. I also work with repurposed fabrics, such as sari silk, to make something new and fresh and interesting.

2. Why do you make/sell it? What inspires your work?

I am an art historian, and as such I am trained to look for the connections between the things that people make, and the reasons why they make them. I look for symbols and subjects, styles and stories and connect those to the events and concerns of artist and audience. It tells me what is important to them, and suggests why. In our own age, I see a strange and curious duality of progression and retrogression, of modern and vintage, of forward and back.

In our world of facebook, twitter, google and email, we can reach incredible places and people without ever leaving our home. There is good and sad in that, I think. This modern age, while opening our virtual doors, can also remove us from the tactile, hands-on experience of the world around us. I think that this, in part, encourages the current drive to make things with our own hands. Although we may embrace the advantages and opportunities afforded us through modern technologies, we still feel a need to connect to each other in a physical way.

This is certainly an influence on me, and the media I choose. I bend wire, knot yarn, stitch fabric (by machine and by hand), and punch thread. My media can be found in the earliest chapters of my art history books, and the most contemporary web galleries.

I know this sounds cliche (what isn’t, these days?), but really my art is a selfish indulgence in creativity. It satisfies my need to be doing something with my hands, to make things that I find interesting and (or) beautiful, to experiment with different techniques, and to combine old and new. It gives me the opportunity to create something personal, and to interact with the world in a simpler, more intimate way.
I love what I do, and I hope you will too.

3. Is there anything you’d like to tell others about what you do?

I have seen a great deal of support for hand-crafted and home grown in Calgary in the last few years. This is really exciting, and I am so happy to be a part of this terrific group.

You can find Quirefly here:

Twitter: @quirefly

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Getting Started on Etsy: Part 3 – Photography

Photography is king! Shop photos are your number one tool for attracting and engaging buyers. With roughly 32 million items for sale on Etsy your photos have to stand out. They have to attract the attention of your buyers and then hold them. In todays post we’re going to go over some helpful tips for getting the most out of your photos.

Tip 1 – Good Lighting – Good lighting is so important because it’s pleasing to the eye and it’s the best light for showing off the details of your product. The best way to achieve good lighting is to use natural light when taking your photos. Indirect natural light is the best in order to avoid harsh shadows. Stay out of the sun and instead set up beside a window where there’s no direct sunlight. The indirect light will hit your item on an angle and really help get the most out of your products and photos.

When at all possible use natural lighting but it can be tricky so another option is to use a light box. Because the sunlight is constantly changing throughout the day the light is different all the time. Building a light box is incredibly simple and it allows you to take photos at any time of day because your light is always constant. You can look up light box tutorials online. It can take as little as 10 minutes to make one. Hint: Make sure you purchase bulbs that give off a white light (e.g.. OTT Lights) to achieve the best natural light look.

Below are some great examples of good lighting.
Getting Started on Etsy - Part 3
Top to bottom, left to right: WoolyGems, Bird Blue Design, Trashtiques, SIDONIEYANG.

Tip 2 – Photo Editing – No matter how great your lighting is sometimes your photos need a little help and that’s where photo editing comes in. You don’t want to alter how your product looks but sometimes your photos just need to be cropped or brightened or maybe you want to create an overall feel for your shop by adding a filter to your photos.

There are many programs to use, Photoshop being one of the most well known but you can also find free programs online like Picasa and my personal favourite, PicMonkey. Below is an example of what my product photos look like straight from my camera and what they look like after I’ve cropped, adjusted the temperature and brightened and highlighted my photos. A few simple steps can make a huge difference! Play around with your photos to figure out what you like best.
Getting Started on Etsy - Part 3

Tip 3 – Neutral Backgrounds – use simple, neutral backgrounds to really let your products stand out. Fabric, stone, wood, white poster paper and black chalkboards make great neutral backgrounds. They add visual interest to your photos without distracting from what’s important.Getting Started on Etsy - Part 3
Top to bottom, left to right: OHDEER Shop, A Second Time, A Pears Vintage Goodies, Kiwi Tini Creations.

Tip 4 – Photo Props – use props in your photos to enhance the look of your products or show how they can be used. Sometimes the buyer needs to see how a product can be used in order to really understand if it’s the right purchase for them. Below are great examples of how photo props can really enhance your photos and engage buyers.
Getting Started on Etsy - Part 3
Top to bottom, left to right: Billie Boone Vintage, IM Paper, Kiwi Tini Creations, Stone and Tree.

Tip 5 – Use all 5 photos spots in each of your listings – shop photos are incredibly important because they tell your buyer visually what your product is all about. Colour, size, scale, texture, material, detail, use, branding, packaging, can all be portrayed through your photos. Use all 5 photo spots in each listing to really give the buyer a sense of what the product is really like. Here are some examples of photos you can take to fill up all 5 spots.

Macro shots – get up close and personal with your products. It makes for an interesting picture and can help show the products features like texture and material. Many cameras have a macro setting but you can also achieve the look by just getting up nice and close.
Getting Started on Etsy - Part 3
Top to bottom, left to right: Splurge, Handmade Therapy, Elle Bee Tree, Marian and Hazel.

Packaging – fill one of your 5 photo spots with a shot of what your product will look like when it arrives to the customer. This is a great way to brand your shop and lets be honest, we all love pretty packaging.
Getting Started on Etsy - Part 3
Top to bottom, left to right: Soph & Oh, Splurge, Medicine River Soap Co., Yarn Ink Studio.

Models – use real life models to show scale and use of your products. Plus it gives buyers an immediate sense for how the product can look on them. Using models can also add some personality to your products and shop.
Getting Started on Etsy - Part 3
Top to bottom, left to right: Khokho Designs, Bubblegum Sass, Handmade Therapy Kids, Maple and Oak Designs.

Options – If you offer your buyers a choice in materials, size or colour for example use one of your photo spots to show the different options. This way buyers know exactly what the final look of their product will be.

Imperfections – if you offer a vintage piece that might have a chip or show some wear be sure to include a photo of the imperfection so your buyer is well aware of what they’re purchasing.

Different Angles – Don’t just show the pretty part of the necklace but include a photo of the clasp as well. Show the back of the headband not just the front. If you print your logo on the back of your cards show a photo of that too so your buyer knows what to expect. Top, bottom, front, back. Think about all the different angles you can take a picture from.

Really think outside the box when it comes to your photos. Think about what you as a buyer would like to see. Photos can be a lot of work but they’re so important so take your time and play around till you’re happy with the final result.

Lindy, Jillian and Hilda

Getting Started on Etsy
Part 1 – What’s Involved
Part 2 – Initial Set Up
Part 3 – Photography
Part 4 – Titles and Tags
Part 5 – Promotion

First image photo by Billie Boone Vintage

 

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