Chalk up another makerly weekend in Waterloo Region! After a breakfast meeting with my pal Stephen Preece at Mel’s, I said hey I’m going to this thing called Etsy: Made in Canada. I shot it last year when it was at the Walper. You should come with me and see the power of the micro-economy. So away we went.
Before I get into the story along with an unreasonable number of photos, let me say that this right here is my business. Just like all the makers featured here who attempt to make a profitable business out of candles and crocheting, I’m trying to make a business out of storytelling. If I had been hired to do this job, I would have quoted $700+HST. That would include the travel, the shoot, the post-processing, the story, and the linking. Been doing this for 6 years now and one variant of my product looks exactly like this post. Please consider hiring me. Ok, on with the story.
Picking up on the dream I pitched to 120 Laurier entrepreneurship students a couple weeks ago, to increase the Region’s collective creative capacity, and fueled by an unwise amount of coffee, I turned the discussion to micro-economies. This Etsy event seemed like a great place to start looking at how makers can make their stuff and then also make money. It is interesting to think about why an online marketplace like Etsy would support a second meet-up-in-real-life market of Etsy makers in dozens of regions across Canada. New readers may be inclined to ask two questions: Q1. Who are these makers among us who sell stuff? Q2. Is anyone in Waterloo Region interested in purchasing unique merch from local makers?
I’ll get to the first question in the course of this post, covering a small subset of the 65 Etsy makers who were in this show. On the second question, check out the queue of people patiently lined up out of the parking lot, down the laneway all the way to Weber Street. Emanuel Village, the venue, is like most venues capped for occupancy due to fire regulations. I thought I heard 250 were allowed inside at any given time, which left a lot of eager shoppers in line for a bit. It also really shows the demand within the Region.
In a crowd consisting of about 99% women, my friend George Tsintzouras and Lucas stood out as they strolled down the line.
George’s sister-in-law Sara Casselman was one of the Etsy makers inside: Soap Monkey. So there’s another interesting element to this meetup: the vast majority of makers were female as are the shoppers. I’ve certainly run into my fair share of male-dominated gigs in the make-o-sphere so this was a welcome counterpoint.
Happily for the production of this post…
event founder and co-organizer Jessica Murphy pulled me out of…
the remainder of this lineup…
and down into the show so I could grab some photos. Much appreciated. I’m good for about 20 minutes in any given line and then I bail out.
These makers connected with one of the Laurier student teams at Maker Expo, so I connected them with the person who came up with the idea: Dr. Stephen Preece, Academic Director at Laurier’s Schlegel Centre for Entrepreneurship.
Jammed with people inside and out.
Colour And Light Glass. Hmmm, that rung a bell when I saw it, and it was only when I got home that I made the connection by searching my inbox. Back in 2011, I went to an Ignite Waterloo event thinking I had purchased tickets and omg in fact had forgotten. Reaching out on twitter to anyone with a spare ticket to the sold out event, I was delighted to be saved by…
Erin Moffat! Check out her amazing work. Love this use of mason jar lids.
Working on it.
Here’s the show boss, Jessica Murphy (right) and her mom Patti Moses who is herself an Etsy vendor as Mindful Cushions.
Wooden bicycle seat…
from CityWood. This might be Jeff. It’s really hard to tell who the people are behind CityWood after some cursory googling. I’ve seen several Etsy vendors who disclose only their given name, and sometimes even that doesn’t look terribly authentic. The first thing I want to know when I’m looking at a business is who are the actual people. I offer this to my clients and pretty much anyone else who will listen: before I can care about your company and your product I need to know you. By name and face. Anonymity was a bill of goods sold to us between the 80’s and 00’s. I can’t help anyone who doesn’t exist as a whole person in the context of our community. Not picking on Jeff(?), just more soapboxing on one of my current personal missions.
Outstanding display by CityWood. Knits together with the product and brand. Great presence at the show.
made these pendants. Decoupage(?) with vintage photos. Some googling suggests this maker might be Gayle Gorman. Check out her other shop Gorman Studios that offers these pendants.
Well well, who is this sharp looking fellow? My good friend…
Jon “Bearface” Johnson.
I wrote a profile on Jon last year and then just started hiring him for every graphic design gig that came up on my projects.
Nicole Gagnon, what’s your favourite piece that you’ve made recently? “The one I’m wearing.”
Tried to pitch Preece on a professorial bowtie. It’s a work in progress.
Jessica of Jess Made This.
Charlotte Keeler of Green Garb.
Interesting terrariums from…
Nightshade Studio. Alex and Jess. Or vice versa.
*Not* a giant potato chip. Rather, a wafer thin wooden bowl.
Windekind Buteau-Duitschaever (left). He’s joined here by Laura Maple who drives the photography, marketing and social media for Simply Rooted. And since Laura’s mom was snapping pics at the booth too, I asked her to jump in the photo. Moms are makers and Moms make makers.
Erin Leroux of MERRILYDESIGNS was co-organizing this year’s event with Jessica Murphy, but…
that’s really not a valid reason for…
my failure to catch a pic of her. Happily she was busy with customers!
Megan Campbell rockin’ Bayleaf Buttons.
Farmhouser peeps. No names given on Etsy.
Wood is good.
If you’re going to put a ton of work into a show, this is exactly what you want to see on game day: wall to wall people.
This hand was trippy.
I checked in at the door to see if the crowds were crashing the gates. All good.
Sara Casselman (left) of Soap Monkey.
Ellie Anglin in the house. The eponymous shop.
Stephen takes a look at his first ‘zine ever.
Ceci n’est pas un bouteille.
It’s case bee’s wax candles by Circa Candles out of Guelph. Here’s Kim Sheppard.
I asked Kim about the use of Square (that little square thing plugged into her phone that facilitates credit card payment) and she told me the majority of exhibitors have that. It hits the maker with a 3% cut, so use cash if you can in these circumstances, but a great boon to sellers of higher priced items.
and then back to where we started with Maria Walcott.
I reckon there was very little time for crocheting given the crowds and that’s a good thing. This type of show is a serious investment of time for exhibitors. Planning, packing, travel, setup, show, and then everything in reverse. I saw a lot of purchasing in progress, generally speaking, so that’s good for makers trying to make money.
That was a wrap. Nice chatting with everyone.
Well, on a sunny Saturday morning from Weber Street and Fergus Ave, this is Kitchener.