Fellow Artisan: The Urban Hedgehog

I will be at the upcoming Elora Handmade Market on Sunday, October 23 from 10am-4pm with Miriam and Cheryl of The Urban Hedgehog. I look forward to seeing their adorable children’s items in person! Come see us in The Heritage Barn at The Wellington Museum & Archives 536 Wellington Rd 18,  Elora, Ontario.

(please click on images below to see their Etsy listings)

Fox superhero placemat Fox bag

The Urban Hedgehog

Products:  Modern, minimalist items for children

Price Range: $15-$105

How did this all begin?
In February this year, at a family get-together, we decided it would be a good idea to combine our abilities, and thought we would open an Etsy store – just to give it a try.

What inspired you to do this work? 
Our love of sewing and crafting.

What were your goals when you started? Have they changed? 
Before we started, we just wanted to be able to sell one item in the first 3 months. After setting up the shop on 7 July, we have already sold over 50 items, and created a wholesale relationship with a local retailer. We hope to open our own stand-alone website next year, and work with more local people.

What challenges have you had? We found it hard to locate the fabrics we wanted, and to set up the services we needed to start – Etsy shipping, etc. Most challenging is finding the time to create our products. One of us has 2 young children, and the other works full time.

What inspires new projects? Our natural surroundings is our biggest inspiration.

What makes your work unique and truly your own? We have our own handdrawn designs printed, and our creativity.

When is the best time for you to work in the day? For Miriam – when the children have gone to bed. For me, I find the weekends are best when I’m not feeling rushed.

Tell us a bit about your creative process. We come up with an idea, get together, and try to find the materials at the right price. We create a pattern and make the item. If it sells, we make more – if not, we move on to the next idea.

What do you do when you’re not working on your business? Miriam is busy with two young children, and until recently wrote weekly articles for a parenting resources blog. I work full time, and when I’m not working, I’m stitching!

What advice do you have for artisans just getting started? We don’t feel we can give much advice having just started, but the best we can do is to advise that you work hard, advertise your store everywhere, and go to all the markets you can.

What is the best advice you’ve received?
The best advice we’ve received is that starting a new business is like blowing up a balloon – you need a good couple of puffs to start it off, but afterwards, although you still have to keep blowing you don’t need to work quite as hard!

You can find The Urban Hedgehog on Etsy, Twitter @HedgehogUrban, Instagram @theurbanhedgehogPinterest and on Facebook.

raccoon doll

(All photos used with permission)

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Next month of shows

With the new move, I ended up backing out of several shows and a couple of applications, and I’m glad I did since I lost about 3 months of production time. However, this has left a little bit of leeway for a few new endeavours, including some very local ones!

Next week, my work will be a part of The Lodge on Amherst Island‘s All Island Art & Craft Show on Saturday, October 8, 2016 (Opening Reception 2pm-5pm. Sales Start at 2:30pm.)
Come enjoy some refreshments and see what your neighbours do when the drapes are drawn! Fine art in the show will remain hanging until November 8, 2016.

Also in October, I will be a part of the Elora Handmade Market on Sunday, October 23 from 10am-4pm, for which vendor fees will benefit the Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington.

Elora Handmade Market 2016

It is located in the Heritage Barn at the Wellington Museum & Archives. I have family in Elora and Guelph and look forward to this little show (actually, not that little – more than 50 artisans!) in this gorgeous location (see below) immensely.

 

HandMade Market in Jordan, OntarioAfter that, I’ll be back in the Niagara region in Jordan, Ontario at the Honsberger Estate with over 90 artisans for my 3rd HandMade Market on November 4, 5, & 6. I do love this market for its lovely location, amazing fellow artisans, great food and drink. Also, seeing shoppers with a delicious glass of local wine in their hands as they shop handmade just seems so civilized.

Studio Georgeville,I will also have some of my work (a small selection of hats, sheepy dryer balls, catnip balls, and a variety of ornaments) in Studio Georgeville in Georgeville, Québec (southwest of Sherbrooke) as a part of their annual Christmas show, starting on November 19, 2016.

I have a couple more shows after that, including being a part of the Christmas Shopping on Amherst Island tour, but they will have to wait for another day when I have a few more details to share.

New home!

Okay, it has been a while. But this time I have a great excuse!

Near the end of April, we planned to visit Amherst Island to see the Topsy Farms sheep shearing (my husband had never been) and see friends, so we decided (with a little encouragement, direct and indirect, from some friends and family) to casually check out a few houses that were for sale on the island. Next thing we know, it’s a week later, we’ve talked to a real estate agent in Toronto about finishing up our home (my husband had just ripped a bedroom down to the studs in order to renovate it as he had just finished another bedroom) and listing it on the spring market, and we’ve put a bid in on a home on the island! Then I packed up 90% of our 3 bedroom home in the next 2.5 weeks, put it into a storage locker and took the kids and left town for 4 weeks while our home was fixed up, finished, and sold. Those 4 weeks started out with some stress but we soon fell into holiday mode and really, really enjoyed ourselves. It was May/June and we spent time in some lovely places like Guelph/Elora, Prince Edward County, and Amherst Island, thanks to the generosity of family and friends. We moved back into our Toronto home for just over a month and then moved to our new home on Amherst Island in mid-July! And we’ve been unpacking and settling in ever since, with a few shows in there as well… I did actually pull out of several shows and pulled my application out of a few shows, too, because the move meant I lost a lot of production time, and once we were here, I just wanted to take some time to appreciate it!

Shows I went to included Artfest Kingston, where as a bit of a summer-weather-wool-accessories-experiment I shared a booth with my friend and amazing artisan Josée Huard, who started out making recycled wool sweater mittens as gifts one holiday, and built this gift into a great handmade business where she also makes sup cozy cashmere recycled sweater scarves & hot water bottle cosies, as well as amazing recycled wool sweater quilts.

A few snapshots from there:

 

That was a few weeks before the big move. After moving, my next show was in Owen Sound, where I enjoyed my first Summerfolk!

Replenishing stock this morning at @summerfolk !

A post shared by Lynn W, Amherst Is. ON Canada (@lynnslids) on

 

And a few weeks after that it was Cabbagetown Art & Crafts Sale, where I had some lovely times with friends enjoyed a few TIFF films after the 3 day show!

 

Last week was the Etsy: Made in Canada – Kingston & region sale at Grant Hall at my old alma mater, Queen’s University, which was such a treat (hosted by Fat Goose Craft Collective)!

All set up! Come to Grant Hall before 4pm! #Etsymadeincanada

A post shared by Lynn W, Amherst Is. ON Canada (@lynnslids) on

 

As for island life, so far, so great! We’ve had some lovely times swimming, on a couple of sheep drives, enjoying the sunset, bike rides, fires by the water, and more! (You can get a taste from my Instagram feed.)

And there has been lots of work, too!

 

For now, that’s the update. Next post I will let you know what’s coming up in October-December!

#WeBeTEST Instagram Challenge: feedback and thanks!

Just a quick note to let you know that I curated a final thoughts post on the Toronto Etsy Street Team blog for the #WeBeTEST Instagram challenge, where we had nearly 100 participants and over 2000 Instagram posts! Read more on the TEST blog:

#WeBeTEST Instagram Challenge: feedback and thanks!

#WeBeTEST update, class, SALE & more!

I blogged last year about the benefits of challenges, but I didn’t really have those in mind when I came up with the #WeBeTEST instagram intro challenge. However, as challenges tend to be, I think this one is great for the participants… starting on that first day! The stories that Toronto Etsy Street Team makers have shared, and photos (I particularly loved the workspace, tools, and supplies ones!) and Sunday’s posts about teammates (since it was Valentine’s Day the prompt was: show your love for a teammate – most of us couldn’t just pick one!) have just been so great:

Day 14: TEST (Toronto Etsy Street Team) Favorite. Why have one favorite when I can have four? We all know how much I love my women. #WeBeTEST @fitzydesign because it's been exciting watching her grow! She's really honed in her leatherwork skills, and I'm always excited to witness people's success! @clayshapes has my favorite little dishes, and I love what she does with leaves. It's also thrilling to see her life change from being a world-travelling journalist into a successful artisan. @carolyndraws is one of the cheeriest people I talk to at shows, and even though she's a self-described "hockey mom" and her work is sweet and a bit hokey, she has an unexpected badass streak, and I love that. @shibangdesigns makes the cut not only because she makes beautiful work, but because of our ties to Nova Scotia. I didn't even know she had relocated to Toronto until #WeBeTEST began (the last I heard she was in Vancouver). When she left Halifax, she unloaded a TON of scrap fabric and art supplies on me, and it was exciting for me and generous of her.

A post shared by Pip Robins : Gillian Hyde (@piprobins) on

Today’s prompt was maker video, which I believe most of the members have never done, so it was particularly challenging. Today I saw people cutting, spraying, felting, binding, folding, assembling, glueing, wrapping, sewing, painting, polishing, rolling, pinching, shaping, trimming, knitting, crocheting, printing, packaging, a stop-motion, a day in the life, studios, process… These are just so fun! Here are a couple:

And my absolute favourite is this one, which is now on Lisa Young Design’s About page!

Jenny Lee Shee did a video but couldn’t get it onto Instagram so she skipped that step and put it straight onto her Etsy About page! These last two are extra exciting for me since one of the goals was for people to have some material for their About page video, and for 2 teammates, that goal has been met!

Another great point to make is that I know that a few people have joined the team because of this challenge – how great is that? And a few people have created an instagram account and started posting regularly because of this challenge! Check out @bubynoa and her amazing and super soft handmade stuffies – this post (below) from Day 2 name/brand:

Okay, so #WeBeTEST. Check it out if you are on instagram, but if not, I have made a Pinterest board which has just about everything, with the exception of a few on day 1 (I didn’t think to make an automated board until the end of the day) and the videos, which it appears Pinterest doesn’t do, or IFTTT doesn’t do, so you’ll just have to use the instagram link and check them out there. Sorry about that.

In other news, I have another needle felting 101 class scheduled just before Easter (Thursday, March 24, 7-9pm at The Purple Purl) when we will be making this adorable bunny:

Call The Purple Purl to reserve: 416 463 1162

In other Instagram news, I did the #MondayMashup #MeetTheVendor account takeover yesterday at @ArtsMarket, which was pretty fun! I captured all of those posts on a Pinterest board as well, if you’re interested. The most popular post of the day was one of Fineghan, a commissioned gift for Fineghan’s family:

The 2016 #100nfornaments challenge is over 1/4 finished already! So far, this one is the most popular of the bunch (and the quickest sold item I’ve ever listed on Etsy!):

And, finally, since I’m having a sale at the Arts Market (10% off everything for the month of February) where I have just filled my booth with hats and more, I decided I would extend that online as well! So there is a coupon code for my Etsy shop for 10% off for the rest of February. Use 10FEB2016 for your discount on all items, of which there are quite a few right now, including what you see below:

 

 

Day 1 of the #WeBeTEST challenge

I just want to say how proud I am of my teammates. As Etsy sellers, we are used to taking plenty of photographs… of our products. But not selfies. So day one was a real challenge for many of us. However, by 5pm we had a great showing, with most participants actually taking a selfie, and not using something they had taken previously (I was very tempted, let me tell you!). So, thank you for your courage today, TEST members. And thank you for embracing my idea so well. You rock my world.

Follow along on Instagram’s #WeBeTEST hashtag!

Onward!

By the way, here’s a snapshot of what had been posted by 5pm:

weBeTEST1.jpg

Needle felting class, Arts Market sale & Instagram

First of all, a quick note to let you know that I believe there are a couple of spots left in this Thursday’s Needle Felting 101 class at The Purple Purl where we will be making a wee love bear. We did the class this past week and had oodles of fun:

beginner needle felting class

Also, you should check out the Arts Market in Leslieville at 1114 Queen St. E. as some of the artisans, myself included, are having a Cabin Fever February sale with 10% off all of our products! I have a great assortment of wind- and water-resistant hats as well as tea and coffee cosies, and a few ornaments, too!

artsmarketstorefront

Onto the TWO Instagram challenges!

I enjoyed the #100nfornaments challenge so much last year that when I felt completely burnt out in the new year, I knew I needed a bit of a kick in the pants to get going, so I’m doing it all over again! I’ve added a few new things this year, including monsters:

And wire wrapped feet for my birds so I now have free-standing ornaments as well as hanging ones:

I made the standing hen a hanging friend! #100nfornaments

A post shared by Lynn W, Amherst Is. ON Canada (@lynnslids) on

I love pairing them up! #100nfornaments

A post shared by Lynn W, Amherst Is. ON Canada (@lynnslids) on

It’s early on (in the first 2 weeks) and I know that I will likely hit a wall around day 50 but it has given me the motivation to get back to work after a tiring and long December.

The next challenge is a group thing that I cooked up a few nights ago. I was wanting to do a collaborative challenge and thought that the Toronto Etsy Street Team members would be good collaborators. So I figured a meet the makers/behind the scenes/introduction challenge would be good. I proposed it on Friday night and got an extremely enthusiastic response. I’ve got a good number of participants joining in, and it starts tomorrow! If you are on Instagram, check us out at the hashtag #WeBeTEST (people who know me well will know that I did not come up with that name – I have a BA(honours) in linguistics and have been accused of being a “semantic warrior” on occasion, but it’s short, fun, cheeky and catchy) and get to know the makers of the Toronto Etsy Street Team.

The #WeBeTEST challenge is for the entire month of February and includes the following prompts:

#WeBeTEST 29 day Instagram Intro Challenge prompts
From my blog post over at torontoetsystreetteam.blogspot.ca

I look forward to seeing all of the creative posts from our team members! And I hope you’ll check us out!

(Note: I am not a team leader or captain, I just come up with some good ideas so they let me post to the blog every once in a while. If you have questions for the Toronto Etsy Street Team, please direct them to the team here.)