Fellow Etsy: Made in Canada vendor: Filthy Rebena

I met half of the Filthy Rebena Vintage team last week at a Toronto Etsy Street Team meet-up on a stunning late afternoon in Riverdale Park. Darlene and Natalie are vintage vendors. I can’t wait to see what they’ve got in store for Etsy: Made in Canada at the MaRS Discovery District this Saturday, September 26 (10am-6pm)! You will find Filthy Rebena at table 40, which is in the MPR Foyer.

NOTE: This year at Etsy:Made in Canada, there is a significantly different layout and they are using the entire length of the building, so the MPR Foyer is the first foyer up the stairs. The glass box that was so crowded last year is not in use. The area that the rest of us were in only has 40 vendors in it this year and the other 100+ of us are up the stairs and further east. I will post a map in a day or two.

(click to see larger images below)

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Filthy Rebena Vintage

Products: Vintage clothing, upcycled swag, jewelry, housewares and reasons to ogle.

Price Range: $20 – $50

How did this all begin?
Filthy Rebena’s co-owners met in October 2010 working together as vintage wardrobe stylists on a high-volume photography shoot. There was no awkward chit-chat. The energy felt right. To put it simply, the stylists became instant friends.

For a year the stylists worked closely alongside each other. Days were spent together steaming, prepping and photographing vintage clothing. The stylists communicated quite a bit about designers, fabrics and online style blogs. There was a lot of fighting and wrestling mannequins. Mainly, the photography studio was filled with the stylists laughter. They had laughing fits often – which typically revolved around 1980’s styles, adventures of pillaging the vending machine and mocking each others tastes in clothing.

After a year of growing a strong sisterhood, the company had a mass layoff. The stylists found themselves out of jobs. They were upset, blue and broke. The only thing they had to show for themselves was their massive collection of vintage clothing.

That’s when the stylists decided they would sell off their own collection in hopes of having a little bit of money in their pockets. Once late night in November 2011, the stylists came across Etsy and decided to create a shop.

What inspired you to do this work?
Nostalgia and hope for a better future. To get away from the corporate world and do good things in the fashion industry.

What is your passion?
We have a passion for art, fashion and being good to the planet. Filthy Rebena is brilliant because we are able to express ourselves while having a conscience. Not only are our garments trendy – but reclaimed. Customers and staff can feel positive about the company and what we are trying to do.

What inspires new products?
Fashion is cyclical The past keeps reoccurring through a “new” trend in one way or another. We love to keep vintage relevant to the times so we pick our vintage with the current runway shows in mind. We think it’s cool to make something that is old new again.

What’s the most challenging part of your work?
It can be hard letting go of a garment that you’ve become emotionally attached to. Easier said than done.

What’s the most fun part of your work?
Treasure hunting! We love feeling like a pirate and venturing to unknown areas in search of treasures. It is just as satisfying to then be able to share our treasures with our customer base.

What is the most eccentrically glam thing in your collection?
We have an awesome Picasso splash jacket that is quite ghetto-cubist-chic.

What is your number one fashion rule?
Our only rule in fashion is to recycle your clothes.

Where do you wish to be buried and in what?
Certainly want to be buried in a coffin somewhere where pirates will find us. We will have jeweled bangles up to our elbows, so when they pillage us we will make their day. Hopefully they put our skeletons on the bow of their ship so we can sail the seas.

Please share some insight into your creative process.
Babbling to each other generally helps get the creative juices flowing.

What do you do when you’re not creating?
We love having a classic cocktail in a handsome, vintage glass. But, we swear this is rare because creation in always on our minds. It is great to love what you do because you are constantly wanting to do it. There is no dread about going to work.

You can find Filthy Rebena online @filthyrebena on their website, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Etsy shop, Pinterest, and in their brick and mortar shop at 177 Dundas Street in London, ON  Tuesday – Saturday 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM. Drop by and try on a treasure!


(All images used with permission.)

Fellow artisan: Heart’s Haven

Katie of Heart’s Haven will be joining me (and many, many others!) at 2 upcoming sales: Danforth East Arts Fair at East Lynn Park (just west of Woodbine on the south side of Danforth Ave) on Saturday, September 19 and Sunday, September 20 from 10am-5pm and at the Etsy: Made in Canada Day at MaRS Discovery District (University & College) on Saturday, September 26 from 10am – 6pm.

(click on images to see larger versions on flickr)

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Heart’s Haven

Products: upcycled scarves & cowls, infinity scarves, hand screen printed tote bags, driftwood brooches, embroidered notebooks, coffee cozies

Price Range: $5-$50

How did this all begin?
Great question! Probably as a young child watching my mom sew clothes and quilts. I used to sit on her studio floor and sew buttons onto fabric. I’ve always loved textiles arts, and spent years knitting and sewing for myself and friends. I frequented many craft shows and always wanted to be a part of the Toronto crafting community. It was just a route I needed to take!

What inspires new products?
Anything & everything! I’m inspired by a wide range of things; life experiences, emotions, wildlife, as well as purely visual & tactile stimulation. One of my favourite things is walking through yarn or fabric shops. My most recent collection, “Wanderlust,” is inspired by recent travel experiences to South East Asia & New Zealand.

What makes your work unique and truly your own?
I like to think that my work really encompasses my own personal narrative; that every piece tells a bit of my story.

What’s the most challenging part of your work?
Finding time to immerse myself in it!

What’s the most fun part of your work?
So many aspects are both fun and fulfilling. I love the initial struggle of working out a design and fine tuning my ideas. I love stepping back from a finished piece and feeling proud of what I’ve created. I also love interacting with shoppers & fellow artisans at craft shows; I love being a part of that community and hearing feedback from people about my work.

What do you do when you’re not creating?
I work at a veterinary clinic, spend time with my animals, try to enjoy the great outdoors when I can, and love to immerse myself in a wonderful novel.

What advice do you have for artisans just getting started?
Just do it! Seriously, just get yourself out there. And have fun with it! Make the art/craft you want to make, apply for the shows you want to be in, and interact with your community.

You can find Heart’s Haven on Etsy and on Twitter @yourheartshaven, and do come see her in person at these two fantastic events in the coming weeks!


(All photos used with permission)

Fellow Artisan: CGMonsters (EtsyMIC)

Chantal Morin and I met last year at a Christmas sale and then had the great fortune to be next to each other in the Etsy section of the Spring One of a Kind Show. It’s cosy in the Etsy section, so we got to know each other, helped each other out and shared many laughs over the 6 days (5 days plus setup). Chantal had her super fun happy monsters set up across from me at Cabbagetown a few weeks ago and will be at Etsy: Made in Canada at MaRS this Saturday at table #16.

(Click on images to view larger on Etsy)


Products: Happy monster plush toys

Price Range: $15 – $75

How did this all begin:
I learned how to sew while working on my industrial design thesis project at OCAD.
It was really a trial by error project. I had never used a sewing machine before, but when it was done, I was hooked.
CGMonsters started when I created little monsters one Christmas for friends and family, and was told that I should sell them.
So I tried out a little show, and loved it.

I get my inspiration from all the textures, colours and patterns around me.
I love patterned fabric, and while walking around the city, i’m always looking at peoples clothing for fabric inspiration.
When I see or find a piece of patterned fabric I love, I instantly want to make a monster out of it.
I love reusing any patterned fabric I can find, everything from clothing, to tea towels, to bed sheets, to little fabric scraps. Anything and Everything!!

All my monsters are based on animals; bunnies, cats, badgers, and foxes.
I find that each monsters personality comes from the patterned fabric chosen, as well as the eye colours, and hand sewn smiles or teeth.

I am always on the look out for new and different patterned fabrics, as well as new monster ideas.

I have also just recently introduced a line of Veggie/Fruit baby mobiles.

Find Chantal and her happy monsters on EtsyFacebook, and Instagram.

(All images used with permission.)

Fellow Artisan: CartoCreative (EtsyMIC)

I can’t remember when I noticed CartoCreative on Etsy, but I’ve been ogling their lovely cartographic art for some time now. Check them out this Saturday at Etsy: Made in Canada! I know I will.

(Click images to go to CartoCreative’s website)


Products: Geographic Art Prints

Price Range: $20 – $150

How did this all begin?
Stephen and I (Mel) met at a high school for the arts. In university, I studied business and urban planning, while Stephen went for cartography and art. We were always looking at ways to combine our interests and make a company. After graduation, we did some travelling throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa and when we returned, we thought it would be a cool idea to draw some of the places we had been as keepsakes. Friends of ours kept suggesting we sell the art, but we couldn’t part with it, until someone suggested we make prints, and from that, CartoCreative was born.

It’s amazing being able to work together, explore new places and come up with new ideas. The most challenging part is finding time to do everything we want to do. All of our work is made by hand, so it is pretty time-consuming, but it’s worth it. I wouldn’t trade what we have for anything.

Find Mel and Steve’s work online at cartocreative.comEtsyFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

(All images used with permission.)

Fellow Artisan: Veelightful (EtsyMIC)

Vanessa Smith will be at Etsy: Made in Canada at the MaRS Atrium this Saturday! She is teaching a workshop, but if you wanted to learn to make bath bombs, sorry, it’s already full. Come on out and get bath treats for yourself or spoil someone else this Saturday 10am – 4pm!


Products: all-natural bath bombs (and foot fizzies), cuticle balms, and lip balms

Price Range: $1 – 20 (individual foot fizzies at the low end, gift baskets at the higher end)

How did this all begin?
My family has always been very crafty. I’ve tried many different things, but it took a little while for me to find *my* craft. One year for Christmas, I wanted to be able to make handmade goods, as much of my family does. I did some research on handmade bath and beauty and decided it was something I wanted to experiment with. My family and coworkers adored the gifts and wanted more. I started getting more experimental with molds, scents, and recipes, and it all snowballed from there!

I love that I’ve been able to combine my crafty side, my feminine side, and my geeky side! Experimenting with new recipes and scents gives me such a thrill. It’s like baking, but with less guilt about testing my own wares! I take pride in providing all-natural products that people can feel good about using and gifting. But I also believe that those things don’t have to come with boring, run-of-the-mill shapes and names. I get a lot of joy out of popping a perfect Death Star out of the molds, and I hope you get at least half as much joy out of using them.

Find Veelightful on Etsy, Tumblr, FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

(All images used with permission.)

Fellow Artisan: Simone’s Rose

I met clothing designer Michelle Maynard online as she was organizing the Etsy Craft Party in the spring, where we met face to face. It was a great party. Michelle will be selling her womenswear this Saturday at the Etsy: Made in Canada sale at MaRS from 10am-5pm.

(Click on images to go to Etsy listing and view larger image)

Simone’s Rose

Products: Eco conscious womenswear

Price Range: $25-$500

How did this all begin?
Simone’s Rose came about from working several years in the fashion industry and seeing how much waste and disregard there was for the environment. I decided I wanted to start a clothing label that uses environmentally friendly fabrics and sustainable business practices.

The collections for the brand are inspired by a different theme each season. Researching ideas and inspiration is always the most fun part of being a designer but it is also the thing that designer’s have the least time for. Every piece that is designed goes through a process of pattern work, sample making, fit testing and tweaking, more sample making and pattern work and finally the end product is ready for the customer.

I try to design each piece with classic shapes and influences and finish it off with beautiful detailing and construction. Clothing should be more of an investment rather than ‘throw away consumption’ and I’m proud to be a small part of that movement!

Find Simone’s Rose on Etsy, the website & shop, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter @SimonesRose.

(All images used with permission.)

Fellow Artisan: Minouette (EtsyMIC & OOAK)

I met Ele Wiloughby last fall at the Danforth East Arts Fair. She is an east ender like myself, one of the fantastic captains of the Toronto Etsy Street Team, and the main organizer for the upcoming Etsy: Made in Canada at the MaRS Discovery District. Ele will be at MaRS next Saturday, 10am – 4pm with her art and textiles.

(Click on images to go to Etsy listing and view larger image)

things from secret minouette places

Products: linocut fine art and textiles

Price Range: $15 – $200

How did this all begin?
I’ve been printmaking since I was a small child. I’ve always loved art on the one hand and science on the other. I started selling on line in 2007.

I view my shop as a Cabinet of Curiosity, filled with all sorts of specimen of flora and fauna, with the odd imaginary creature thrown in, much like in historical wunderkammer. I find the intersection of art and science, or science and magic to be inspiring. I am also making my own idiosyncratic history of science – in linocut form – focusing particular attention on some of the underappreciated heroines of science. I am work science in to the media I use and have started making prints which are thermochromic and change colour with temperature, or which employ electrically conductive ink and electronics.

What advice do you have for a first-time One of a Kind Show vendor?

I like the advice I got from Lisa from Girl Can Create which was to give it three years to really evaluate how the show works for you. It takes time to grow an OOAK audience. From my own experience I would also advise to make as much as you can, and yet do not crowd yourself into too small a place. The days are long and you don’t want to be squished!

Do you have a favourite OOAK show moment/memory to share?

My favorite part so far has been putting faces to shop names and meeting my fellow artisans! There’s a great OOAK vendor community.

You can find things from secret minoutte places on Etsyblogspot, Twitter @minouette, Facebook, and Pinterest.

(All images used with permission.)