Friday, March 16, 2012

This Week's Featured Members - Michelle & Caron

 Tell us about who you are and how you got started doing what you do. Did you gain formal training? Where? If not, how did you develop your art?  We are Two Blooms Design Studio and are celebrating our tenth year.  We started our business by refusing to pay $15.00 for an imported bar of soap. As two sisters we had a background in the arts/education field so immersed ourselves in researching every detail needed to create superior products.  With formal training in art and graphics and with our strong work ethic we created and experimented until we had the best possible product.  One of us is a natural alchemist and the other excels in marketing and social media so it was a winning combination.  We have travelled extensively and work well together always percolating with new ideas.
 • Tell us about your studio. Do you have a room or workshop especially dedicated to your art? Or is it the kitchen table or a corner in your child's playroom? We are blessed to have the room to have a specific studio space dedicated to our handcrafted art and are always expanding our range.  Like everything else, we always want more room!  
• Tell us about your processes. How do you work? Do you listen to music or need quiet? Is it sporadic or do you dedicate set hours to work?  Because we’re sisters, we have our own style of working.  One likes to listen to music, the other needs silence.  We have work hours that we try to adhere to but when inspiration strikes we can go until late at night or through the weekend.  
• What are the toughest challenges you find in keeping consistent hours?  What other challenges do you face in your work and what ways have you been able to address them (if you have)?  It’s a discipline to be consistent in your production hours and we sometimes let the creative side take over and get lax, meaning we have been known to procrastinate before a showcase.  One of the biggest challenges is competition.  Seems like everyone is getting into soaping these days.  We’re in a small town but it is still glutted.  We are always keeping one step in front of our competitors which plays well with our creativity.
 • What types of materials do you use? Why?  We make EVERYTHING we sell, we don’t use pre-made bases at all.  Buying local is our priority and if it’s organic that’s a consideration.  We listened to our customers and brought out a vegan line of beauty products.   Our ingredients are as natural as possible and we’re very careful with preservatives.
We’re selling at numerous farmers markets through the season, check our blog for updates: 
or Facebook:
• Why do you think people should buy handmade?  Who wouldn’t want to have an original, one of a kind item? Why buy mass produced?  I LOVE when I know the person who grows my veggies or knit my hat or made my soap.  It’s about relationships and making community.
 • What goals do you have?  Our goal is to be able to support ourselves and expand Two Blooms Design Studio.
 • What are three items in your shop that you are particularly proud of? Our Rose Soap is a favourite with our customers...

This year we are harvesting our own sea salts from the ocean and adding them to our wildly popular bath salts and scrubs.

Our lip balms have grown in popularity and this year our Chai Tea and Metro Lip Balms are winning fans!

Finally, our Hot Beverage cozies are becoming runaway best sellers because there’s no need to waste trees on plain brown sleeves and they make their own fashion statement.

 Above is a photo of our showcase at the Victoria Tea Festival.
This year we’ll be at 5 weekly markets and dozens of Christmas markets.  Some of the markets we are at this year are Moss Street Market:
Oak Bay night market and the Sunday downtown market. Check our blog or Facebook for details.
Our Social Media Links:

(Interview conducted and published by Micki Findlay - A Vancouver Island Etsy Team Leader.  Micki's shops on Etsy are A2Sea Creations and A2Sea Photography )

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