Thursday, July 28, 2011

Vote For OurTeam Member!

 Etsy VI Team Member 
Jamie Gentry (Love in Everything) needs our help! 
Please vote for her for Savvy Mom of the Year! 
Click Here to Vote

Jamie is a mother of 3 beautiful, energetic boys, who loves to sew and create. Fabrics, colors and textures are all important to her when she is creating an item, as well as being gentle on the earth. Most of the fabrics she uses for the children's clothes are from gently used upcycled clothing, and for the blankets she primarily uses fabric sample books from interior design companies, and scraps, which makes each item unique.

Jamie's Kwakwaka'wakw background is also a huge influence for her with the designs on her blankets.  She makes everything at her home in beautiful Sooke, BC, during her rare and precious spare time.

Click here to visit Jamie's shop on Etsy.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Vote For ' Wilde and Sparrow' For Business of the Year!

Each year, the Parksville & District Community Awards, “The Glassies”, honours individuals, associations and businesses that have made a significant contribution to the Parksville community.

An independent nominations review panel selects those nominees that truly meet the awards criteria: a business, association or person who demonstrates a great capacity for caring, applying original ideas, accepting challenges, and taking risks while balancing the social needs of the community.

Our very own Van Isle Etsy team members, Shirra and Alexis, opened up their own local shop a little while ago and I would like to encourage everyone to take a few moments to nominate them for the 'Business of the Year Award'. 

These gals have worked extremely hard to get their business up and running.  Their shop is new and fresh and it features trendy, handmade items, many of which are designed and created by Shirra and Alexis themselves.  They share their vast knowledge and creativity by putting on classes for all ages, right on the premises.  Shirra and Alexis are personable, in touch and very community-minded.  They make a point of supporting and selling local products, which I really appreciate.  They take the time to make their customers feel valued and welcome.  I feel they certainly deserve the Business of the Year award.  So let's show them the love and vote vote vote!  Click here to vote

If you'd like to stop in their shop to say hi and check out their chic, sophisticated yet funky and fun store, their address is 144 West Island Hwy in Parksville.  Be sure to join their Facebook page and check out their website. 

The 11th Annual Glassies awards ceremony will be held at the Parksville Community & Conference Centre, Friday, March 2, 2012, 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $45 each. Call 250-248-3613.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Member's Story



My name is Erin McKenzie and I am the voice, vision and person behind an online store called 'The Littlest Bookshop'. I started creating upcycled art when a family member mentioned they had some floppy disks they were going to recycle and wondered if I could use them. I had been recently introduced to the subculture of steampunk, which had driven me to read classic adventure novels more frequently, as well as considering the multiple uses that objects can have. Coupled with this, I have grown up in a home environment where recycling and crafting have been equally praised and often related.

I chose to create books out of the floppy disks because, as a reader and an academic, creating book products allows me to share my passion for reading while also creating a product that I am interested in. Since the creation of my first books, my store has grown to include other products such as my 'winged key brooches'. With new products, I try to stay true to my passion and original vision of recycling, while stretching my own creative boundaries.

I have not received formal training for the products I create in the Littlest Bookshop primarily because no one else, to my knowledge, creates products like mine! My process has been one of combining what general art training I have had with a lot of determination, trial and error. I think that this hands-on process has given me the advantage of knowing my materials on a deeper level.

I am fortunate to be able to live in my family home while I complete my university degree, however, this also limits my work area. I have recently moved all my materials from a guest bedroom into a more specific craft/ tv area. Thankfully, because my creations are quite small, I don’t require a lot of room for storage. It is amazing how much room is taken up with vending displays and photography props, not to mention packaging materials!

When I do my art depends on my schedule and my mood on any given day.  Sometimes I will spend an entire day working on my art, and then go days without picking up a paintbrush! The environment in which I do my art also varies. Some days I will dabble at art while watching a movie, while other days I will work for hours on end in complete silence.

The toughest challenge I have found in marketing my work is demonstrating how unique and relevant my products can be. While I certainly embrace the label of “cute”, I find this label also creates hesitation as to how much the product is worth. For example, the three products below show how varied my books can be:

An ocean playroom themed book inspired by 20,000 Leagues under the Sea

A summer flag themed book:

I think buying handmade is important because it opens up a whole world of products which are often not available for mass purchase. Most of the gifts I buy for family and friends are handmade as I can often find a product that fits the recipient's personality much more closely than a mass-produced product would.

My main goal for the future is to continue to challenge myself to make products that I find relevant. I have recently become a fan of the tv series “Dr. Who” and so am creating books around that theme. While I would like to increase my sales, I realize that in such a competitive market, passion for my craft is very important when sales may not immediately follow.

Erin McKenzie
Creator and Owner of  'The Littlest Bookshop' on Etsy

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Canada Day On Vancouver Island!

Well it's a pretty chilly July 1st but our Vancouver Island Etsy Team will not let it get us down!  Here is a special treasury to celebrate our heritage and to share our Canadian spirit!  Just click on the picture or the link above and you can celebrate with us by checking out these artisans beautiful creations!  Happy Canada Day everyone!