news from effie's studio

Next stop: Etsy: Made in Canada Halifax - Saturday Sept. 24, 2016

For the 3rd year in a row, I'll be at the Etsy: Made in Canada event in Halifax, so I've been busy in the studio preparing for that. If you're in the Halifax area, it'll be back at the Forum this year on September 24th & 25th.


This year it has been expanded to a two day show, with completely different vendors each day - so mark your calendar for a weekend of handmade goodness! I'll be one of the Saturday (Sept 24th) vendors, so I hope to see you there!


No need to worry about a Canada Post strike/lockout, I'm shipping as usual! - July 2016

the only thing I really remember about the 2011 Canada Post lockout is how stressful it was - orders kept coming in, but I had no way to ship them out and no idea how long the lockout would last.
Not this time! Whether the current labour dispute gets resolved tomorrow or drags on for weeks, it’s business as usual here in the studio.
I’ve been using an alternative carrier to ship all US & International orders since last fall, and now they’ll be handling my Canadian packages as well if Canada Post's service is interrupted.
Shop on!


effie turns eight - April 21, 2016

Time flies when you're having fun! I still can hardly believe it, but today marks 8 years that I've been in business! 8 years since I put my first listing up on Etsy, and 8 years since I sold and shipped that very first item off into the world (it was a pair of earrings, if you're wondering. Things have evolved since then!)

I feel so lucky to be able to do something I love every day. Working in my home studio surrounded by color and pattern, making things with my hands, and especially getting to send them off to you all over the world, is just the best!

Thank you so much for your support!


Sending a Gift?

If your loved ones are far away and you're mailing gifts, shipping can add a whole other layer of stress. Skip the lineup at the post office and let me ship your gift directly to them!
I wrap all gift orders & enclose a complimentary gift note with your personal message. Just leave a note at the checkout and I'll write it on a gift card and send the package directly to the recipient!


Coming Up: Pop-Up Market in Wolfville, NS - Saturday Nov. 14, 2015

I'm looking forward to heading to the Valley this Saturday for a 1-day Etsy pop-up market! With such an awesome list of makers, it'll be a great chance to get started on that Christmas list!


ICYMI: Etsy: Made in Canada 2015 at the Halifax Garrison Grounds

Did you have a chance to check out this year's Etsy: Made in Canada market on Sept. 26th?  If not, here are a couple images from the Halifax event, which was held in the heart of the city at Citadel Hill. The vendor tent was massive, and attendance was way beyond expectation. Nevertheless, it was an incredible, hectic, awesome day, and everyone who turned out was so supportive and happy to be there - amazing!  


(If you look really closely, you can find me in the last pic. Look for the effie sign!)

These are just a few of the official event photos taken by Halifax photographer Michelle Doucette. More of her photos from the event can be found here.


Gearing up for Etsy: Made in Canada 2015

Just a friendly reminder that the 2nd annual Etsy: Made in Canada market is this Saturday.  If you're looking for something fun to do in Halifax this weekend, look no further! :)

Check out the map below for the full list of awesome makers & vendors.  I'll be set up just inside the entrance of the main tent, so be sure to stop and say Hi! 

Hope to see you there!


The last few days of summer

Last week I took a few days off to tour Nova Scotia with friends who'd never been here before (highlights: a traditional salmon planking on the South Shore, and a drive around the famed Cabot Trail). But this week it's back to reality (aka my studio), and full steam ahead!  

In addition to working on a couple of wholesale orders, I'm gearing up for the Etsy: Made in Canada market later this month.  This year Etsy:MIC is happening in over 30 Canadian cities, and I'll be at the Halifax event at the 
Citadel Hill Garrison Grounds on Sept. 26th from 10am - 7pm.  Last year's show was terrific, and if the RSVPs are any indication, this year will be twice as big - I can't wait!

If you're in Halifax on September 26th, I hope to see you there - come find me in the big tent and say hello!


Pop Up on Argyle St Coming Soon!

argyle street downtown halifax nova scotia

On September 4th & 5th I'll be in downtown Halifax, NS for an outdoor pop-up market.  

To go along with its festive new paint job, Argyle Street is closed to traffic on weekends this summer for a range of fun outdoor events. On Sept. 4-5 you can find me there (along with other local makers) at a pop-up market hosted by Etsy and the Downtown Halifax Business Commission.

Come say hi!   Friday 5pm - 8pm, and Saturday 11am - 7pm.


2014 Wrap Up & What's New for 2015!

Hello, friends, and a belated Happy New Year!  During these slower (colder!) winter months, I wanted to take a minute to look back on the past year, and then let you know what I'm working on for 2015.
 
In 2014, I set out to make & list a new item every week throughout the year.  I figured it'd be a great way to keep things fresh & interesting, and hey, I love a challenge. By the end of the year I'd listed well over 60 new items - hurray!
 
2014 new items by effie handmade
 
It was a lot of fun to challenge myself like that, but this year I want to do something a little different.  While most of last year's new listings were variations of my best sellers (yoga mat bags, travel jewelry organizers, etc), this year I want to work on some other ideas I've had percolating for a while, so I'm challenging myself to design & create four totally new items in 2015 (roughly one per season/quarter of the year).  I'm excited about taking the time to play around with new ideas/materials/techniques - you know, the fun stuff that normally gets pushed to the back burner! 
 
Today I wanted to properly introduce the first brand new item for 2015, these deliciously cozy cashmere cowls:
 
 
I've talked about my obsession with cashmere before, and this is the latest project borne from that love! These cashmere scarves are seriously the warmest, softest, most snuggly thing you could ever want to wear.  I won't lie, I kind of want to keep them all for myself (or maybe curl up in them for a nap!)
 
 
Each one is one-of-a-kind, and they're available here.  Currently available in range of colour combos, so there are lots of options!
 
In addition to their supreme softness and warmth, they're versatile, too!
 
 
Whether as a treat for yourself or to spoil someone you love, cashmere makes a great gift! 
 
 
 

Feelin' the love!

I have fantastic customers.  Over the past couple months they’ve been sending me some particularly terrific feedback and photos, so I just wanted to take a minute to gush a little bit! :)

Here's Jasmin in Singapore looking awesome with her custom yoga bag:

and Stephanie from NY showed off her new effie yoga bag on Instagram:

Lots of other customers post their lovely feedback on Etsy, like Cassie in NJ:

OK, just a few more...

  • “Quality design, fabric and stitching; and arrived beautifully wrapped with a lovely little note- this is why I love buying handmade!” – C.A., Australia
  • “The jewelry roll was amazing! So cute and the perfect size. My bridesmaids loved them. Thank you so much!” – S.T., NY, USA
  • “Color: fabulous. Durability and design: fabulous. Walking into yoga class with this bag strapped to my back: priceless.” – F.C., NY USA
  • “Love, love love, love them!” – E.C., Edmonton AB

Receiving reviews like these makes my day, and acts as great motivation when I'm working alone in my studio.  A big thank you to all of my fabulous customers who take the time to come back and let me know how much they love their purchases!

If you have an effie handmade item that you'd like to show off in its natural habitat, make sure you tag me (I'm @effiehandmade just about everywhere!) - I'd love to see it!


Crazy about Cashmere

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have already noticed my cashmere obsession.  If not, welcome!  :)

I absolutely LOVE it - nothing feels softer or more indulgent than plush, felted cashmere!  I look for old, past-their-prime sweaters especially, but as long as it's 100% cashmere and I like the colour, I'll usually snap it up.  Once I get them home, I carefully inspect and repair each piece, then felt (basically shrink) them until they’re even thicker and softer than they started out (for supreme coziness!).  

For the past few years, I’ve been making cashmere hot water bottle covers to sell during the holiday season, and this year’s selection is larger than ever!  Most of them are still one-of-a-kind, though, so if you see one you like, don’t wait! Check them out here.

This year I've also been working on designing some new cashmere goodies, because the piles (and shelves, and bins...) of super soft cashmere are just too fabulous to resist. It's not the easiest material to work with, but it's a lot of fun!  Watch for some new items to make an appearance soon - and leave a comment below if there's a cozy item you'd like to see made from cashmere!


Will This Bag Make My Yoga Mat Look Big?

Are you looking for the perfect yoga bag to tote your mat to class?  Do you wonder if your yoga mat will fit in an effie handmade yoga mat bag?

I'm often asked “I have a __brand & style __ mat.  Will it fit in your yoga bags?”

My yoga mat bags are designed to fit most standard mats, but since there’s such a wide variety of mats on the market, a couple simple measurements will help you know for sure. Grab a tape measure or ruler, and determine 1) the width of your mat, and 2) its rolled diameter.

It’s that simple!  Mats up to 26" wide will fit comfortably and still allow plenty of room for the drawstring to close the bag at the top (in this photo the mat is pulled out a bit for illustration purposes).  

Is your mat larger than those dimensions?  Contact me about creating a custom yoga mat bag made to fit!


Find me at the Etsy Made in Canada Pop-Up Market in Halifax this Weekend!

 

On Saturday September 27th, 2014 (this weekend!), Etsy is hosting a day of Made In Canada pop-up markets in over 20 cities across Canada. I don’t do that many in-person shows, but this one sounded like too much fun to miss!

Join me at the Halifax event which runs from 10am – 3pm at the Halifax Forum Bingo Hall - more than 50 local Etsy sellers will be there showcasing their handmade & vintage goodies!

Admission is free, there'll be swag bags for the first 50 in the door & more!  If you'd like a sneak peek at the participating vendors, click here.  And if you're looking for the other locations across Canada, find them all here.

Planning to go?  Let me know!


Summer Wishlist

A few of the handmade items I'm currently coveting...

 

 

Clockwise from top left:

1. Herringbone Mug / Elizabeth Benotti Ceramics

2. Chevron Necklace / Bird of Virtue

3. Rectangle Earrings / Lee Bonk Boutique

4. Abstract Circles Paper Print / Sheepshead Design

5. Scalloped Bucket / Jenna Rose Handmade

6. Woodpile Fabric / Skinny laMinx

 

Notice a bit of a trend here?  #PatternObsessed


When Size Matters

Sometimes bigger really IS better. When it comes to the drawstring cord in effie’s yoga mat bags, I was beyond tired of having to buy it in teeny tiny packages. Finally. after months (years?) of searching, this bad boy moved into my studio the other day:

 


From 30ft packages to a 3000ft roll is an upgrade that was long-overdue! I’m probably a little TOO excited about it, but as I continue to add new stockists for these yoga mat bags all the time, I'm glad to finally have lots on hand!  :)

Is your yoga bag due for an upgrade? Check out the selection of effie yoga mat bags available in my shop. And if size matters for you (or your mat happens to be on the large size), talk to me about a creating one in a custom size!

 

 


effie the world traveler

One of my favourite things about selling handmade goodies online is that the items I’ve made are regularly shipped all over the world. And the world is a big place, so I like to keep track of all the places I’ve sent things to :)

I recently added a few more countries to my ‘collection’, so I've updated my map:

world map showing all the countries effie handmade has shipped orders

What it doesn’t show is I also added a couple last states and a final Canadian province to that ‘collection’ – hello to Newfoundland, Arkansas, and West Virginia!  (I feel like a kid collecting trading cards and I finally completed the whole set!)


Current totals: 29 Countries, 50 US states & 10 Canadian provinces (none of the Canadian territories yet!)


taking a break from the studio to enjoy what's just outside

I love working at home, but it's easier some days than others. Snowing and -25°C? definitely easier. But a gorgeous sunny Spring day? now that's a bit more of a challenge…

The past few days it’s been a little harder to stay inside and be disciplined about getting work done. After a long dreary winter, the sun’s out, it’s finally beautiful and warm, and everything is in bloom.  I took a break from sewing yesterday to wander around the yard and soak up some of the beautiful weather. Here are a few glimpses of what's just outside my door tempting me while I’m inside working…
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

There was no one else around but this little guy, so it was a lovely midday break before heading back in to finish sewing some yoga mat bags!


Whose Idea Was this, Anyway? The Birth of a Business

Some businesses are begun very purposefully, by a person (or people) with a master plan. effie is not one of those businesses.

Flashback, Spring 2008: I was 7 years into my full-time office job. For fun, I’d been making jewelry and selling it locally for a few months – mostly to friends or co-workers. But when I was invited to celebrate a friend’s 30th birthday at a swanky downtown restaurant, I needed a suitably swanky purse to accompany me to the party. I created a sweet little silver number, and it was tucked under my arm that night when it caught the eye of another friend and she came over to have a closer look. As we chatted she asked the question that ultimately started me along the path I'm on today: ‘Have you heard about Etsy?’. It sounded crazy at the time - people like me were selling things they'd made – on the internet! – to people all over the world?!


the silver clutch!


I was definitely intrigued, but let the idea percolate for a bit. Then a few days later, I read a blog post that linked to an Etsy shop, and when I followed that link, I was like Alice down the rabbit hole…
I started making my Etsy shop that day, initially listing several pairs of the earrings I’d been selling locally. It took most of the night to get it set up (I'm a night owl, what can I say?), and at about 5am I'd finished and was just about to shut things down and go to bed, exhausted, when I noticed I’d received a new email. Barely 15 minutes after ushering my shop into the world, I had my first sale!  I couldn’t believe it - a pair of my earrings were headed to a new home on the other side of the continent!

#tbt: embarrassingly awful listing photo of the first effie earrings sold online. Sadly, this pic
and many more like it are permanently on full display in my sold items pages on Etsy...


That modest $10 sale was the start of something, though. Ya gotta start somewhere, right?!


Fast forward to 2014: Over 6 years later, I’ve shipped effie items all over the world since then (current count: 28 countries, 50 US States, 9 Canadian Provinces).

There's never really been a master plan, but things have naturally evolved as I went along.  Sewing has taken the place of the jewelry-making I started with. This is now what I do full-time (24/7!), not just as a part-time hobby. And while I still love Etsy for being a wonderful place to get my start in business, I’m pretty excited to see what lies in store for this next chapter in my new shop!


Just like Christmas!

O happy day!  It feels like Christmas in the effie studio this week!  Lots of goodies have been arriving in the mail: fun fabrics (several new ones & some old faves), zippers, effie tags (in a new colour!), and of course, the fuel that keeps the studio running - a bulk coffee order!


Four Easy Ways to Customize Jewelry Rolls for Your Bridesmaids

Searching for the perfect gift for your bridesmaids? Custom travel jewelry rolls are popular with brides and bridesmaids alike, and because they're handmade there are lots of ways to make them unique!

1) Custom selection.  Choose your favorites from the available options in my shop – either a different one for each of your girls, or multiples of the one you like best!

 
2) Customize the inside fabric. This recent set has one of my standard fabrics on the outside, but the bride wanted a special color for the interior. She sent me a photo of one of her wedding items so I could find fabric to match, and voila!  – a custom set just for her.

Since our individual ideas about color can vary, providing a photo or a link to something in the right shade can be a great place to start. I'll reply with a snapshot of some options, and you can confirm your selection. Sometimes there’s a bit of back-and-forth to get things just right, but it’s pretty quick & painless!

3) Variations on a theme. Choose a single print for the outside, then use each bridesmaid’s favorite color or even shades from your wedding flowers for the interior fabrics, so each jewelry roll is similar, but unique.



4) Additional options. Finally, if you're looking for something specific but don't see it in my shop, I’m more than happy to source custom fabric options locally or online.  Just as long as there’s enough lead time (5 weeks+) before the wedding!

 

Ready to get started? Click here to order a set, or email me to discuss your ideas!

Here's what some recent brides have said about their orders:

  • These were beautifully crafted and exactly what I was hoping for, thank you! - C.
  • Excellent service, order is perfect, I'm sure my bridesmaids will love them! - L.
  • The jewelry clutches were so cute! All my bridesmaids loved them! Thank you. - S.
  • My bridesmaids loved these! - C.

Click here to see sets of various sizes.

 


#PetSelfie

Meet Bella.  Yes, it's true, I'm a dog aunt.  Bella joins me for a day each week while her mum & dad are at work.  She occasionally wanders into my studio to say hello, but spends most of the day either lounging on my bed (taking #selfies) or barking at the mailman.


Well, hello there!

Welcome to the new home of effie handmade! I’m Kerry McGean, the maker behind effie, and I’ve been selling my handmade items online for over 5 years, primarily on Etsy. I don’t have any plans to leave Etsy (it’s where I got my start!), but thought it time to make the leap into having my own independent online shop.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to explore, and let me know what you think!