Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Our Amazing Partner, Splendid Events

{The lovely Amy of Splendid Events. Photo by Elizabeth Jane Photography}

Looking back, it's not so surprising that the first time Amy of Splendid Events and I met was at a craft show (where else?). Amy popped by Craftalicious last November and was purchasing a few pieces of my jewelry when we got to chatting. Amy is one of those people who is just so easy to talk to--one of the sweetest, friendliest people I've ever met. As we got to chatting and the subject turned to Wed By Hand, I found out that Amy had recently launched her own event planning company, Splendid Events. A couple months later Amy applied to become a workshop teacher for Wed By Hand, and a couple of coffee dates later--the rest, as you could say, was history.

As I got to know Amy, I quickly discovered that she's one of the biggest supporters of local and small businesses in Ottawa. Shopping and eating local have become incredibly popular in the past few years and many people preach it, but Amy truly lives it. Her patronage and championship of small businesses is incredibly impressive, and yet she's not at all haughty about it. It seems only natural, then, that Amy would start planning weddings for couples who truly want to take advantage of what Ottawa has to offer -and- start planning launch parties and events for small businesses around town. And she really rocks it.

{Amy at the launch party for Halftone Media - Planned by Splendid. Photo by Amna Hakim Photography}

She's so great at helping couples and businesses find local vendors to pair with, and she's great at bringing people together. Her workshop at Wed By Hand focused on how you could build a wedding that really reflected your personality -and- incorporated local vendors while still sticking to a budget. It's no surprise that it included some of our vendors like Koko Chocolates and some of our favorite peeps in town like Geek Sweets.

{Koko Chocolates at Blush Bead's Event, Colourbomb - Planned by Splendid. Photo by Light Work Studio}

Amy is an tireless supporter of all the projects we work on and is one of those unsung heroes in the background who really makes things work and click. Always there to lend a hand, she's been an incredible support in helping us promote Urban Craft--especially to local businesses. Her communications background has been invaluable and she's given us so many great ideas for Urban Craft. We feel so lucky call Amy and Splendid Events one of our Urban Craft partners!

An Urban Craft Sneak Peek: This One's for the Ladies

Ladies, listen up: if you're into jewelry as much as I am, you're going to want to take note. We've assembled an ridiculously talented group of ladies with really gorgeous, modern creations that I'm pretty sure you're going to fall in love with immediately.

Leah Christina recently started offering a truly unique and innovative line of jewelry made from recycled cardboard. The unique thing is that you'd never guess it was made from such an everyday, ubiquitous material. Leah hand paints the cardboard and embellishes it, making each piece a refined, lovely piece of wearable art.

Chelsy Anne creates these truly fantastic pieces of jewelry that are not only unique but also eco-friendly. All of the materials that go into a Chelsy Anne piece of jewelry are sourced from within Canada. Chelsy also often uses recycled and vintage chain and other elements, which really makes her pieces special.

If you're looking for gorgeous, organic sterling silver jewelry, Jasmine Virani is your gal. Jasmine's pieces have such a modern-yet-organic feel to them and are truly lovely. They're perfect for gift giving.

I'm a huge fan of the way that Alyssa of Strut Jewelry uses pops of color and gorgeous gemstones in her creations. Her pieces are striking and yet very affordable, and feature some really fantastic stones.

Kathrin Von Dehn's artistic background truly comes through in her pieces. As a painter -and- jewelry designer, she has such funky and creative jewelry in a wide range of styles that are all very interesting.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Our Amazing Partner, Victoire. + Win A $50 Gift Certificate!

When we first moved to Ottawa and was searching for businesses that really celebrated all the things I loved--independent design, holistic business practices, celebrating community and helping other small businesses, I was overjoyed when I stumbled upon Dalhousie Street. Home to the ever-inspirational Workshop Boutique, Milk and Canteen (R.I.P.), I immediately fell in love with so many stores on this street.

{Gorgeous displays at Victoire. Image Property of Victoire}

From the beginning, one of the stores that struck me as doing things so right in this town was Victoire. The store--owned by two lovely ladies named Katie and Regine--had developed a store that contained so many great designs in the form of fashion and accessories. Not only that, Katie and Regine and developed a store with such a strong identity and aesthetic. I have long admired these two ladies and what they have done.

{The Victoire ladies celebrating their 5th Anniversary! Image Property of Victoire}

This past February we had our first opportunity to work with the ladies of Victoire when they came on board to showcase their vintage cocktail dresses at our indie wedding show, Wed By Hand. We loved that they brought such an interesting vintage component to the show -and- that they were so supportive of our endeavors.

Leave it to the ladies of Victoire to step up to the plate once again for us by becoming one of our partners for Urban Craft. Ever supportive, we're so thankful for them. That's all fine and great, you say--but what does that mean for me?

Well get this: the ladies of Victoire are offering up a $50 Gift Certificate for one Urban Craft attendee! That's right, ladies and gents! All you have to do to get in on the action is to check in to Urban Craft on Facebook between 10am and 2pm this Saturday, September 3rd. One lucky winner will be selected from all of those who check in to receive this awesome little gift!

An Urban Craft Sneak Peek: Paper Goodness

I don't know about the rest of you, but I really love a good notebook. Robin teases me about having stockpiled so many notebooks--as if they might be currency after the apocalypse. I do the same things with water bottles, which, arguably would probably be a bit more useful in a post-apocalyptic world. I feel almost the same way about set of thank you cards or sheet of gorgeous wrapping paper. Visiting stores like The Papery in the Glebe or Paper/Papier in The Market makes me feel just like a kid in a candy store. Needless to say, I was over-the-moon thrilled when we were able to bring two really great paper companies in to be a part of Urban Craft, and so excited that they both offer something so unique.

Dempsey Press is relatively new letterpress company that offers such clever, unique -and- beautiful goods. Robin discovered them for the first time last holiday season when we both participated in the Hintonburg Christmas Craft sale. We were both pretty tickled with this card:

Their other works include robots, dogs and note cards that exclaim 'OMG' and 'LOL', which gets the inner geek in me excited. We're thrilled to have them as a part of Urban Craft & we're sure you'll love them too!

One of the most amazing things about running a show like Urban Craft is that you get to discover new and up-and-coming talent in the craft world. This was definitely the case with amymbee paper goods. Amy makes unique creations which often straddle the line between traditional paper goods and home decor.

We love her clever use of scrabble tiles to create wall art and her decoupaged magnet goodness. She also offers a range of beautiful cards and other art works and we're really excited to be able to showcase her work for all of Ottawa to see for the first time!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Meet the Staff!

Who are these people undertaking this awesome endeavor called Urban Craft? Today we want to take a moment to introduce you to--well, us: the faces behind Urban Craft!

Krista is a full time small business owner/jewelry designer. She grew up in the States and has called several countries home over the past few years, finally settling in Canada in 2009. Her background, ironically, is in politics; she holds a master's degree in International Relations and a bachelor's in Political Science. She spent several years assisting on events for a major U.S. university and then moved on to work for the mayor of Denver, Colorado where she worked on the 2008 Democratic National Convention (where President Obama was nominated). She became a jewelry designer in 2009 when she launched her company, urbanite jewelry, and hasn't looked back since. She's incredibly passionate about small business and loves producing events, and she's thrilled to be a founder of Urban Craft.

Like many other Ottawans, Robin is a public servant by day. But by night he is one of Urban Craft's founders -and- also runs a small Edmonton web company remotely from Ottawa. Robin's a computer guy by trade but is incredibly passionate about small business in general, and consistently concocts new business ideas on a daily basis. He currently has three side projects in the works (in addition to his day job, web company, and Urban Craft and Wed By Hand), is an incredible gardener and really loves a good steak.

Heather, Urban Craft's trusty assistant, is an aspiring public relations professional. She is currently a full-time student learning the ins and outs of the business.Heather has a love for all things creative, constantly looking for new projects to take on from artsy ventures such as painting and photography to being daring in the kitchen. Heather is also one of the most pro-active and loveliest people we've ever met and we're thankful for her every day!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Behind The Scenes: Building a Brand & Identity

One of my very favorite things about starting a new project is building its brand and identity. There's something about bringing together the perfect colors, design elements, shape & type that's so very fascinating and satisfying to me. We've developed quite a few brands over the past couple of years, and each time I get so excited about the prospect of creating a new identity for our new venture.

When we set out to create the brand for Urban Craft, we started in a very familiar place: we tend toward clean, modern logos and often find ourselves drawn to color palettes that include light blues, greens, teals and grey. Case in point:

While all the brands are definitely distinct, you can see a lot of similarities in colors, styles and shapes. So when we began building the brand for Urban Craft, we set out to do something unique and distinctly different than what we've done before.

When I first sent logo ideas to our graphic designer, I had a brand in mind that was heavily inspired by the cover of Steve Martin's book, 'An Object of Beauty'.

I wanted to do a spin on this idea potentially using images from our city -or- maps of our city. We did a few iterations of the logo and it just didn't have the je ne sais quoi that we were looking for. So we decided to take it in a different, more vintage direction.

We began with a color palette that we discovered on Design Seeds, a great resource if you're looking colors that work well together:

As you can see, we didn't do a very good job of getting very far away from the teal/grey combo. But we all fell in love with the color scheme and how it worked together, and loved the fact that shades were a bit deeper and more rich and luxurious for fall, which is when Urban Craft would launch. I was also particularly proud that we incorporated that lovely yellow as I'm not typically one who tends toward the color. It just worked so well in this and we had to use it.

We then sent some basic ideas to our designer, giving her an idea of what we were looking for. She redeveloped our logo for us, which ended up coming out like this:

We were completely smitten with the final product and quickly moved on to develop the poster using our color palette. We knew we wanted the poster to have a vintage-yet-modern feel to it. We also wanted it to be striking and to stand out amongst other posters in store windows so it would draw people in as they walked down the street. We decided to literally frame all of the information inside what looked like a vintage frame and voila! A poster was born:

We're so completely tickled with the end result and have received such a rousing response from all the business owners who have put it up in their lovely shop windows. We couldn't have been happier with the way it turned out and the way it conveys the exact things that we wanted it to. We hope you love it too!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Nice to Meet You!

Hello World!

Welcome to the blog home of Urban Craft, Ottawa's brand-spanking-new monthly market! In just a couple short weeks, we'll be launching the first edition of our show and we're incredibly excited to share all the behind-the-scenes details with you here.

We were inspired to start Urban Craft after we attended other monthly shows that have become so wildly popular in cities across the U.S. and Canada. After our successes producing shows like Wed By Hand (Ottawa's indie wedding show), we had wanted to bring this idea to Ottawa but hadn't had the opportunity (or time!) to do so. We also really wanted to provide a place where crafters and artisanal food producers could sell their creations every month in an indoor setting. All of the right pieces finally fell into place earlier this summer and we started preparing for a fall launch. And here we are! Urban Craft will launch in just a few short weeks in Hintonburg, and up-and-coming neighborhood in Ottawa.

The show has an indie and modern focus and we are incredibly excited about the vendors who have signed on. The talent that we've discovered through Urban Craft is ridiculously amazing and we can't wait for the first show, which will be taking place on September 3rd. Urban Craft will continue to run the first Saturday of every month from 10am-2pm at The GCTC (on the corner of Holland & Wellington).

In the coming weeks, we'll be sharing behind-the-scenes details & showing you what it takes to put on a show like this. We'll also be sharing stories about our vendors and giving you a preview of what we'll have on hand at the show. We're so excited for this show and this journey and can't wait to share it with you. We hope you'll come along for the ride!