Growing up in the small town of Portland Ontario, I was fortunate to be raised in a creative family of entrepreneurs. Having always had an interest in style, beauty, and travel – when these things finally all aligned and presented an opportunity here in Toronto, I was beyond ecstatic to start designing and creating a product of my own. I wanted to create something that was all-natural, affordable, but also a bit sassy and luxurious.
I developed Bitter Gold after I realized there was a gap in the market in nail serums. Bitter Gold contains three unique features: it strengthens nails, heals dry skin and tastes bitter— the bitter ingredient I use holds the Guinness World Record for the bitterest tasting ingredient. This clear, odorless nail serum also contains all the ingredients you want on your nails such as Aloe Vera, Vitamin E, Silica and Biotin.
I love nature - Preserving our earth is important to me. If I’m not at my regular 9-5 or making pet beds, you’ll find me camping at an Ontario Park. I have given up single-use plastic, and try to live a zero waste lifestyle. I am still learning but enjoy sharing my knowledge with others, and love my reusable straw. I have also brought my passion of Zero waste into my businesses. Everything I have gets used into something else, like our scraps of fabric and thread get made into cat toys and doggy poop bags.
CHELSEA : ALL THINGS STAMPED
You can find Blazing Bombs here:
Online Store: https://blazing-bombs-store.myshopify.com/
CAROLINE: CALI & CO. HANDMADE
You can find Naughty Florals here:
MOLLY: NEON LACE JEWELLERY
Paul had the idea to launch Gittens & Co. in 2015. Essential Oils are compounds that are found in flowers, roots, bark and seeds. They have well known aromatic properties and easily evaporate at normal temperatures. When inhaled, they can stimulate and engage our senses.
As Paul explains on his website, it all started by combining the proverbial “ah ha” moment with a far-reaching question:
"What if we could take Menthol Crystals, an old family remedy used to relieve nasal congestion via direct inhalation, liquefy them and blend them with another Essential Oil to create a Shower Mist?”
Since 2015 Gittens & Co. has grown rapidly into a business that now offers 4 signature blends and several essential oils in different delivery systems.
Much of this success stems from Paul’s tenacity in learning from scratch how to work with essential oils and discover formats that makes it easy and convenient to use them. A second, equally important aspect of Paul’s success has been his ability to build a solid brand image for Gittens & Co. Third, Paul has found a unique way of segmenting his signature product line, linking each blend to different activities or times of day:
“To maximize the benefits of our Blends and Single Oils, we've day-parted them: Morning, On-The-GO and Night, making Gittens & Co. the most convenient and versatile way to shop Essential Oils”
The Nooks wanted to find out more about Paul and his business:
What kind of delivery formats have you developed so far?
“Gittens & Co. makes Signature Essential Oil Blends that are available in: Shower Mist | Body Mist | Roll-Ons |Aroma Sticks.”
What distinguishes your product?
“The Essential Oil Blends are proprietaryGittens & Co. Blends. Secondly each product covers different parts of the day to help customers get through whatever the day throws their way.”
How do you position your products?
“For A 20-49 with active lifestyles, Gittens & Co. delivers the finest quality Essential Oil Blends and Single Oils. Each is intended to help this consumer base maximize the most of each day. Gittens & Co. Essential Oils are convenient and versatile to use and are optimized for on-demand use via topical application, inhalation and diffusion.”
How did you become interested becoming a maker?
“I wanted to create a mentholyptus blend that could be used in the shower to awaken the senses and I just couldn’t find one on the market.”
What do you love about it?
“Creating blends that people find help them.”
What are the goals for your business in 2019?
“To increase awareness and convert that awareness into sales.”
What do you think is the biggest challenge for selling your products?
“Establishing enough brand equity with potential consumers to initial trial and increasing offline distribution channels.”
How are you planning to overcome these challenges?
“Roll out a social media plan that begins with a Pillar Content that involves a web series named ‘This is Life.’ It will feature those who live their truth (i.e. entrepreneurs, artist, athletes, philanthropist, volunteers, students, health care and business professionals). The series will tackle the truth/reality about what it takes to pursue one’s dreams. Each episode will live on YouTube and then I can use the content to post to Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and even Podcast. ‘This is life’ has nothing to do with selling products rather connecting with a demographic that is faced with the ongoing question of how they muster the courage to pursue their own dreams!
We will also continue to identify retail locations which align with our Position Statement.”
What do you know now that you didn’t when you started your maker business?
“Understanding the crucial function marketing has in the evolution of your brand.”
What would you say to those want to start a maker business?
“If you don’t enjoy solving problems, then ask yourself if you can learn to enjoy solving problems. If the answer is no on both fronts, then stop now!”
GITTENS & CO. Essential Oils and Diffusers can be found at:
The Nooks (Port Hope Location, 68 Walton St.)
Pam started her artisan career as a painter, but began to explore her interest ceramics after she took a pottery class while in university. Today she makes unique functional pottery, jewellery and ceramic clocks, which are born from a unique fusion of modernist forms and her passion for texture. In her own words it is “like minimalism meets Baroque style.”
Pam’s work has been well recognized by art lovers and connoisseurs of hand-made. She was chosen as one of only ten Etsy artists who were showcased at the Drake General Store for the Canada 150 celebration. Their location at The Bay featured The Petrified Clock, one of Pam’s signature pieces. Her pottery has also been curated for the renowned Art Gallery of Ontario gift shop. Just recently, The Nooks chatted with Pam about her work:
What do you love about being a maker?
“I love the idea of starting with raw materials from the earth and turning them into something long lasting. It’s quite a romantic notion. My brain works differently when creating. My mind is focused on one thing and it shuts out the noise of daily life. Working with clay can be meditative, especially when using the wheel. I also love wearing my respirator mask when mixing my glazes from scratch. I feel very steam punk when I wear it”
Who or what inspires your work?
“I am constantly looking to the past for inspiration. I love art history and look at patterns from all ages and cultures, from damask wallpaper to Turkish tiles. I especially love ceramic forms from Japan and China.”
What are your biggest challenges for selling your work?
“Time! The whole process of making a single piece of pottery can stretch into weeks depending on the humidity (high humidity lengthens drying time). I have to be prepared far in advance because I can’t increase inventory by just pulling an all-nighter. I also have twin boys that just turned 7, so time is very valuable.”
How are you planning to overcome these challenges?
“I’m hoping that as the boys get older and more independent, I may be able to find a bit more uninterrupted time in the studio. I am an avid list-maker so I have found quite a few apps to help me save time by being organized. I also think that using Google Home will be life altering since I can make lists even when my hands are full of mud.”
What are your business goals for 2019?
“I am planning on doing a lot of research and development to create a new line of oval serving dishes. If I can perfect a new collection by the summer, I should be able to have it ready to launch full force by the fall.”
What would you say to those who want to start their own maker business?
“It’s all about the hustle! You can do almost anything if you have the drive to research, create, perfect skills, take classes, and ask for help when needed. Also, give it time! Focus on longer term goals and achievements. Your business will evolve with time as long as you keep working on it.”
Curious Bird Pottery can be found at:
Etsy: Look for Curious Bird Pottery
The Nooks (Danforth Location)
By Brandon Walker
Just in time for the holidays, a new artisan has arrived in Port Hope who you may not know about – and she plans to support victims of crime and tragedy in Peterborough and Northumberland.
Gayle Fabian recently opened Sweet Nostalgia in The Nooks at 94 Walton St.
Fabian said she has always been crafty, but she became passionate about restoring furniture after working with her father in his shop.
“I got my start with a small antique night stand that needed repair,” she said. “It was Father’s Day and I gave my dad the little table in hopes we could fix it and he would teach me.”
When her father realized she wanted to learn more about his passion, he was moved and excited. That time spent with him kickstarted her own woodworking passion. Fabian spent nearly every weekend working with her father at his home wood shop in Pickering – which became the place she would escape to after losing her job in November 2017.
“I was depressed . . . I felt lost, I needed a project. I bought an old Duncan Phyfe table and chairs because it reminded me of one in my grandmother’s house as a child. I wanted to restore it and flip it,” Fabian said.
Last January she restored the mahogany table to its original glory as her first solo project. The feelings of nostalgia that swept over her were very therapeutic. Her company name was born, Sweet Nostalgia – which represents those feelings.
“I loved working on that table. I couldn’t sell it, it’s now in my dining room. I was so proud and so was my dad.” It made her feel good and restored her confidence. “I wanted to see how far I could take it.”
And with that new-found confidence, Fabian launched Sweet Nostalgia. She now has a space at The Nooks in Port Hope, where in addition to her furniture restoration talents, she offers handmade cutting boards and live edge charcuterie boards, blanket ladders, centre pieces, and more – some items are made from reclaimed barnboard wood that is over 100 years old.
“One dresser, which is now for sale in The Nooks, had a note inside that said, ‘Bought in May of 1915.’ This older-style furniture is truly built to last,” she said.
“All of the furniture I work on is old. I like salvaging the warmth of the wood, combined with the modern look of adding paint. I love seeing the wood come back to life after a bit of love and care.”
She finds her furniture projects online and friends and family often let her know if they have furniture they no longer want. She obtains reclaimed wood and has an arrangement with a local warehouse that provides clean, recycled pallet wood for some of her creations.
For those who want to open their own business, Fabian said, “Do what you love but be prepared for a lot of long hours and hard work.”
But why buy restored antique furniture instead of new items?
“The quality will surpass anything you’ll find in today’s stores,” she said. “It’s all unique, not mass produced.”
By refinishing furniture, Fabian prevents it from ending up in landfill sites. She uses all-natural, food-safe glue and conditioning oils for her charcuterie boards.
Fabian is excited to be part of Port Hope’s new downtown shop, The Nooks, which offers a curated mix of hand-crafted treasures. Each nook is a mini storefront for creative entrepreneurs.
Fabian will support Victim Services of Peterborough and Northumberland – a confidential community-based service that provides immediate emotional and practical support to victims of crime and tragedy – this holiday season by contributing 10 per cent of her sales in December.
Brandon Walker is a media relations professional residing in Thunder Bay who is friends with Gayle Fabian.
// LEARN MORE ABOUT SWEET NOSTALGIA! //
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Shop SWEET NOSTALGIA at The Nooks Port Hope!
Ten years ago I created my first designs, a line of hand knit, newborn hats based on fruit, vegetable and sports themes. The hats were a resounding success and as word-of-mouth spread so did demand. My designs now include knit baby accessories, tea cosies and women's felt hats. These are available at juried craft shows, specialty boutiques, online and now The Nooks Danforth!
I was reluctant at first to turn my knitting hobby into a business but finally decided to take it to the next level. I quit my day job, and after several years I now run my own business, Fresh Twist.
Hi I’m Jill, the mom part of the mother-daughter team that is A Peace of the Beach. My daughter Tessa and I each play different roles in our partnership. I find I’m the creative workhorse, as I go on daily adventures down to the lakeshore to gather driftwood. The best days to gather driftwood are right after the biggest storms, which draw a new wave of pieces from Lake Ontario. Tessa’s role is more focused on the artistic and technical input regarding the quality of the tables.
Kind Karma Company was created around giving back! We are a social enterprise that employs at-risk and transitioning homeless youth in Toronto to handcraft quality jewellery. In addition to receiving hourly wages, proceeds from all sales are returned to our youth employees to support their individual goals such as funding post-secondary education, securing permanent housing, or helping with courses for personal and professional development.
How do you give back?
I currently volunteer for City Street Outreach providing food, clothing and assistance to the homeless, street-involved youth, seniors, new immigrants, single mothers and individual/families in need and/or living in poverty.
I also volunteer at the Scarborough Bluffs Community Association as a Board member serving the Birchcliff, Cliffside and Cliffcrest communities. I help to organize and lead community building events and centralize and unite the community under a single banner.
My work is an extension of who I am. I am inspired by current fashion trends but try to take those trends from something that would only be worn on the runway to something that can be worn in everyday life and enjoyed for seasons to come. I appreciate and am influenced by a variety of fashion styles and that results in a variety for my customers and something for everyone.
After almost a decade in corporate telecommunications I made the tough decision to walk away from my successful career and focus on my family. I loved my job however always felt something was missing. There was no creative outlet in my day-to-day and that was something I craved. I have always been a DIY’er and loved anything that would get my hands dirty. hat is where Pink Lemon came in.
I learned how to cross stitch at an early age of about six, explained to me by my amazing grandma. A few years ago I decided to pick it up again to make a birthday present for a friend and haven’t stopped since. It is a process driven by nostalgia and this hunger to make the old craft new again. My goal is to make the cross stitch art modern and fun again!