[ETSY] FACTORY TWENTY-ONE

Rustic furniture with recycled, reclaimed materials has taken the UK by storm. Whereas ‘rustic’ can sometimes refer to furniture displaying a distinct lack of craftsmanship, this is clearly not the case for one inspiring woodwork designer and his crafts, which use a large amount of recycled materials – mainly English oak or old pallet wood. Am honoured to sneak 5 questions in with the designer himself! Read on.

⚓️FACTORY TWENTY ONE

Who: Christopher Berry

What: Sussex-based Home Accessories – rustic, retro furniture, interior decor, prints and posters

🏠: ETSY! | Factory Twenty One | Facebook

We ❤: Wooden wall-planters in gorgeous colours

WhereFactory Twenty One, Unit 10 & 11, Alfriston Road, Berwick Court Farm (UK)

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Started by Christopher Berry and inspired from a background of medieval furniture and a degree in furniture and product design, Christopher set out to create affordable, easily shipped and eco-friendly house-hold products.

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“Factorytwentyone’s aim is to create original items, available to everyone. With a mix of traditional manufacturing techniques and modern processes, our collection of products ranges from lamp shades to coat hooks and clocks to key hook and mail organizers. You’re sure to enjoy the quality and playful side that goes with each design.”

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5 QUESTIONS WITH CHRISTOPHER BERRY @ FACTORY TWENTY ONE

VJ: Why ETSY?

Etsy has been a fantastic opportunity to show and sell my designs around the world. There’s a lot of work that they put in on social media and through local etsy teams. It’s a real community and everyone’s keen to help each other. It’s free and there’s a low rate of commission charged on sales. This was perfect when facatorytwentyone started out and as we’ve grown we’ve seen etsy grow too.

VJ: How did you come up this idea for a business. Is this an interest/hobby?

I began working with my father doing Tudor, Elizabethan, & Georgian period replica furniture and at the same time studied furniture and product design at university. With an interest in modern design and the skills I had from work and university I decided to invest these in starting up factorytwentyone creating products that are inspired from my past.

VJ: What are some of the biggest challenges in setting up a business on Etsy?  How did you overcome these challenges?

Looking back I would say getting together the right tools and machinery, and the space to put it together. Luckily I was fortunate that my father had this in place already. But this would be a large outlay for someone starting out. Also getting the products in front of the right people, this is where etsy has helped.

VJ: With so many online stores, was branding an issue in setting up on Etsy?

Not really. I wanted to do something different.  I was keen to have a good brand but the most important thing was that the products spoke for the brand .

VJ: We’ll like to know more about the person behind your business!! Tell us more about yourself 🙂

Factorytwentyone is run by me so I’m involved with everything from accounting through to the manufacture and distribution. I love everything design and im consistently looking through blogs and magazines in my spare time reviewing trends and inspiration. To relax and refresh my mind I like to mountain bike, thankfully the workshop is at the base of the South Downs in Sussex.

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Be sure to check out his workshop at Berwick Court Farm!

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[ETSY] MILKCART – DESIGNER FURNITURE

Our Etsy journey continues with husband-and-wife duo from The MILKCART, a Sydney-based designer woodwork store. Inspired by simplicity of Danish furniture and light filled interiors of Australian homes, the duo’s great eye for detail has produced gorgeous, inspiring hand-crafted woodwork. Today we get up-close and personal with the creatives behind The MILKCART store.

⚓️MILKCART

Who: Ryan & Marnie McKnight

What:  Handcrafted, upcycled furniture

🏠: ETSY! | The Milkcart | @milkcart | Facebook

We ❤: The Dolly Collection, Skinny Betty…

Perks: Free delivery Australia-wide; SAVE $50 by picking up from their workshop in KIRRAWEE. Enter the discount code ‘Workshop’ at the Checkout.

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Trinity Console
Clean lines and precise woodwork at a fabulously affordable price – there’s so much to love about MILKCART. The store refreshes its collection every now and then to keep things interesting for returning customers.

MILKCART’s vision is to breathe new life into old ideas, creating original furniture with a vintage industrial feel. Each item is practical, beautiful and unique, complementing any decor or style. We know there is a place in your home for one of them!

5 QUESTIONS WITH MARNIE @ MILKCART

VJ: Why ETSY?
Etsy was the first platform we used to sell our furniture. Not only was it easy to use, it was also inspiring, innovative and really supportive of us as we developed our brand. There are great community groups within Etsy which helped answer our newbie questions and advise us on selling techniques. The local team also included us in an Etsy Pop Up event, which took us out from behind the computer and face to face with our customers, which was a scary, but ultimately rewarding and we haven’t looked back since.

VJ: How did you come up this idea for a business. Is this an interest/hobby?
After moving house, we found that there was very little designer furniture within our budget, and more specifically, nothing to fit those narrow spaces and awkward corners of your home. We made a couple of pieces for our home, and then decided that if we liked them, others might too. What began as a hobby in the back shed is now a full time job for both of us, with a large workshop and plenty of helpers!

VJ: What are some of the biggest challenges in setting up a business on Etsy
The hardest part, I believe, is making your product stand out. I think that photography is key in an online environment, and I am constantly trying to improve my pictures to represent our products and brand. Luckily, everyone has smart phones now, and that is really all that you need – a phone and some practise! Also, finding out who your target audience is, really helps so you can aim your key words towards that demographic.

VJ: How did you overcome these challenges.
With the photos, I just keep trying! I would love to take a quick photography course, but honestly don’t have the time! I am happy with the overall feel of the pictures, and will update them as I get better. The keywords are also an ongoing project for me – trial and error as we work out who is drawn to what, and why. There is more research and computer work involved than I thought, but I am amazed at how much I have learnt and how much support there is online to help you when you are stuck.

VJ: We like to know more about the person behind The MILKCART! Tell us more about yourself 🙂
Milkcart is made up of myself (Marnie) and my husband Ryan. We work together in every project, both online and in the workshop and studio – every single items passes through these four hands. Outside of work, we also have to live with each other, so luckily we get on pretty well! We have three kids, a house in the suburbs with a white picket fence, and crazy ambitious dreams – most of which are already coming true! We are huge believers in visualising your product or brand, or any single thing in your life, and working towards that with a positive outlook. That way, anything is possible!

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Scarecrow Lamp

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Black Betty

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Concrete Puddles

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Skinny Betty

Our pieces are fully designed and handcrafted by us in our Sydney workshop – each passing through our four hands – a real human touch, separating us from the mass produced items flooding the market. We really wanted to incorporate pieces with simplicity and practicality, and inspired by a quote from a Brooklyn furniture design company, ‘Perfect Imperfection’ has become our motto.

For more of their gorgeous work, check out the links above, or their main store at

MILKCART
4/29-33 Waratah St,
Kirrawee NSW 2232, Australia

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[ETSY] POPOV LEATHER, BRITISH COLUMBIA

Lately I’ve been obsessed with all things leather. Black jackets over lace dresses, a denim top and synthetic leather jeans –  a whole new world of possibilities are out there with made-to-last durables. As travellers we all need a trusty, durable wallet that is able to withstand the harsh elements we may encounter. A solid leather piece can provide excellent protection for cash and documents. Whilst it may prove difficult to source for leathers of high quality, fine texture and minimal odours, it’s good to keep in mind that as a rule of thumb, quality leather goes through much longer and complex processes than low-grade ones. Look no further for premium leather:

⚓️POPOV LEATHER

Who: Ryan Popoff

What: Handmade leather wallets crafted in British Columbia, Canada.

🏠: ETSY! | Popov Leather | Instagram @popovleather | Facebook

We ❤: Popov’s Field Notes Covers and customised leather wallets in gorgeous colours!

Your Perks: Enjoy 20% off entire order when you quote “VIKTORIA” at checkout!

Shipping: International; free shipping for orders >$75 to USA and Canada

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“Our personalized leather wallets are guaranteed for life and backed by a satisfaction guarantee. Nothing leaves our studio unless we know you’ll love it.”

Based in British Columbia, Canada, Popov Leather is a small leather fabrication studio dedicated to 100% hand-made goods, inspired by contemporary aesthetics and functional, minimalist design. Popov’s leathers are sourced from Horween (USA) whose timeless vegetable-tanning process, a technique which hasn’t been updated in a hundred years, has been exclusively supplying leather for NFL footballs.  All of Popov’s products are sewn by hand with imported Tiger thread, and nothing leaves their studio unless the owners know you’ll love it. True enough (as our conversation below reveals, on top of positive online reviews), the company’s reputation and customer rapport is enhanced through a conscientious system of brand credibility  – they all love shopping with Popov Leather.

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5 QUESTIONS WITH RYAN POPOFF @ POPOV LEATHER

VJ: Why ETSY?

When I first started leatherwork as a hobby, I used Etsy to validate my work. Etsy is great because they focus on bringing customers to their site while the sellers can focus on their crafts. I focused on my work, learning as much as I could about the trade and each sale pushed me further and further. It took a long time to get to where we are today. I quit my day job in November and I’m currently building a new home and workshop to support the business. Without the support I had from Etsy in the early days of learning leatherwork, I don’t think I could have ever gotten to where I am now today.

VJ: How did you come up this idea for a business. Is this an interest/hobby?

I worked as a night auditor at my university for two years, in the nights on my days off I would stay up very late (to not ruin my sleep pattern) and leatherwork was a hobby I could do in my home. I spent many late nights, on my days off, trying to hone my skills and develop patterns for wallets, etc. At work I could watch YouTube videos and read leatherworking forums during my breaks, so it worked out nicely.

I wanted something I could do with my hands; most of my life has been spent in front of a computer or in an office-setting. I really hated it. You get no satisfaction from spreadsheets – making a wallet, mailing it and getting a kind review from a customer is so fulfilling. I run this business 12-14 hours every day and I never feel like I’m really working.

VJ: What are some of the biggest challenges in setting up a business on Etsy

I think the hardest part is realizing what’s important. A lot of people will tell you that having 100s of products on Etsy will get you sales; this isn’t true. Up until this year we had about 12 items for sale and did just fine. You have to figure out how to grab a shopper’s attention in a sea of other makers’ products.

VJ: How did you overcome these challenges.

To get recognized on Etsy, the two biggest factors are: relevance and photography. Understand how Etsy’s relevance system works by researching titles, tags, and SEO. There are a lot of great articles in the Etsy forums as well as on their blog and in the Etsy seller’s handbook. After you figure that out, work on your photos every single day. What makes a good photo stand out? What do your competitors do? In our case, we saw that a lot of sellers used a plain white background to showcase their products, so we did the opposite and used a burlap textured background. We stood out and I think that helped a lot.

After that, customer service is a huge. I try to answer all my emails within minutes of getting them. Customers love that. We really try to go out of our way to make sure everyone is happy with their product. We offer satisfaction as well as lifetime guarantees on all our products. Handmade products really allow you to quality control your goods, so we’re confident that we can stand by these guarantees.

Finally, hard work and having a tough skin. Jill and I are at this pretty much all our waking hours. You have to be prepared for long hours as well as handling tough feedback from customers. There are times where you can’t please everyone, don’t take it personally. Learn from that experience so you can equip your business to handle or prevent that same situation in the future.

VJ: We’ll like to know more about the person behind Popov Leather! Tell us more about yourself 🙂

I graduated in 2012 with a BFA in Fine Arts from the University of Victoria – shortly after that I worked at the University and discovered this hobby that turned into my business. I recently moved to Nelson, British Columbia with my partner Jill to build a home and workshop. I hope to learn how to Kayak soon!

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Watch other Popov Leather reviews on YouTube:

Feeling as inspired as I am from all these entrepreneurial stories? Stay tuned for more Etsy features and discount codes from notable Etsy stores.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[ETSY] GRAPHICS FEATURE: HOPSKIPJUMPPAPER

Customised wall art concepts has become all the rage in contemporary Asian homes following a rise in hipster worshippers. Whereas this trend has been around in the West for quite some time, the idea has only recently been adopted in modern Asian interior design. Popularised by Etsy’s legion of talented graphic designers, it’s now really easy to purchase typography prints online and have them delivered to your home. True enough, for apartment-owners looking to individualise their homes, possibilities are endless with typography and prints. Running short on gift/decor ideas? We’ve got one right here:

Today we get up close and personal with an admirable stay-at-home mom turned small business owner. Read on for her Etsy business journey.

⚓️HopSkipJumpPaper

Who: Jeanne DeFauw (Graphics Designer)

What:  Typography and Wall Art Decor

🏠: ETSY! | HopSkipJumpPaper | @hopskipjumppaper | Facebook

We ❤: Her signature “I love you …” series

Your Perks: Enjoy 20% off entire order when you quote “TRAVEL” at checkout!

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(I could use one of these as a cheer-me-up as I down my daily cuppa!)

What you’ll find: Nursery art, alphabet prints, digital illustrations, zen and humorous art. You name it.

Well, perhaps it’s just me, but there’s something comforting in waking up to an inspiring quote, or a saying that strikes you particularly hard. There’s solace in reading a big strong reminder of how your life can or should be. And I found some graphics I really loved on HSJP.

Travel art is perfect for your loved ones living far away or to commemorate an anniversary or special vacation. Coffee prints are perfect gifts for that caffeine-addicted friend. Why not say “I LOVE YOU” with a customised greeting card? Whatever the occasion, you’re sure to find something special! HSJP offers modern typography wall art prints, posters and greeting cards for travel, sports, children’s rooms, weddings, and home decor.

As if her work isn’t evident enough, HSJP’s designs have also been featured and positively validated on Apartment Therapy, BabyTalk, Babble, BuzzFeed, DailyCandy, and SmarterTravel.

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5 QUESTIONS WITH JEANNE @ HOPSKIPJUMPPAPER

VJ: Why ETSY?

My name is Jeanne. I’m a work-at-home-mom of two very active little boy. I’m also a graphic designer with over 10 years of experience in marketing and advertising. After I had my first son, I left my corporate job and started to look for a creative outlet. I stumbled onto Etsy and have since had three shops. I closed the first one because it focused on custom graphics and I found I didn’t have enough time for custom work.

VJ: How did you come up this idea for a business. Is this an interest/hobby?

The second shop, HopSkipJumpPaper, began with mainly nursery art since that’s where my life was focused was at that time. My husband and I traveled extensively before having children. I would often ask him: How much do you love me? And, he would answer: From Here to Vanuatu (or some other crazy-sounding location far away). I decided to try some travel prints in my shop. They sold quickly and I added more. Now my shop is focused more on travel-related items.

I recently opened my third shop, Ramble Print Co, for instant download – printable art. I’m slowly working on building inventory. There aren’t enough hours in the day!

VJ: What are some of the biggest challenges in setting up a business on Etsy

My biggest challenge is feeling overwhelmed. It’s not easy balancing a business, small children and life.

VJ: How did you overcome these challenges.

Prioritizing is key! I wish I had more time to design, but need to spend most of my time printing, packaging, responding to messages, researching, keeping on top of Etsy changes, etc. Running a business takes lots of work. Reading the Etsy forums, networking with other sellers, and reading blogs and articles help.

VJ: We’ll like to know more about the person behind Popov Leather! Tell us more about yourself 🙂

I love travel, reading, playing with my kids, hiking and living in Colorado.

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“My new Etsy shop is www.etsy.com/shop/RamblePrintCo

Find me at: HSJP

Check out my pins and posts!
Pinterest | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr “

How not to love these artsy, creative prints? Don’t forget to use that discount code when you checkout!

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Lace & Leather: a Vogue Compilation

Black Lace & Leather never goes out of style, and it’s basically my personal favourite get-up. Here’s a few Vogue clippings I’ve been saving for a while now!

Salma Hayek in Vogue Germany, September 2012
Salma Hayek in Vogue Germany, September 2012
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Ming Xi by Lachlan Bailey for Vogue China, December 2010
Lara Stone in “La Belle Maitresse” by Mario Sorrenti, for Vogue Japan, 2011
Lara Stone in “La Belle Maitresse” by Mario Sorrenti, for Vogue Japan, 2011
Rihanna in Valentino, Vogue US, November 2012
Rihanna in Valentino, Vogue US, November 2012
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Katie Holmes for Vogue Spain, August 2011
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Katie Holmes for Vogue Spain, August 2011
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Katie Holmes for Vogue Spain, August 2011
Shanina Shaik for Vogue India, December 2012
Shanina Shaik for Vogue India, December 2012
Crystal Renn by Miguel Reveriego, for Vogue Russia, August 2012
Crystal Renn by Miguel Reveriego, for Vogue Russia, August 2012
Crystal Renn by Miguel Reveriego, for Vogue Russia, August 2012
Crystal Renn by Miguel Reveriego, for Vogue Russia, August 2012
Crystal Renn by Miguel Reveriego, for Vogue Russia, August 2012
Crystal Renn by Miguel Reveriego, for Vogue Russia, August 2012
Kristen Stewart in Vogue Italia, 2011
Kristen Stewart in Vogue Italia, 2011

Also, this compilation is in commemoration of the title change to my blog as advised. Kudos to the lovely combination and to a lovelier month ahead!

London Lovin’: Dr Martens

Checked out the Dr Martens’ Store at Neal Street, Covent Garden
They have an amazing array of vintage collection Dr Martens as well as the latest one-of-a-kinds (Dr Martens x Agyness Deyn) which aren’t even on sale anywhere else at the moment.
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Left happy with my 1460 Matte Black, after trying on tonnes of colours which looked awesome on the shelf but didn’t suit me when I put them on.
BLACK is still the best!
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And here we go telling ourselves please don’t let this become an obsession, because I really also love these other pairs, and UK is the best place to buy DMs!!
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This metallic purple 1460 looks really great on its own but frankly, too shiny to match my clothes. Maybe next time.
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Cassidy in purple and black are sooooo punk. LOVE THE BLACK.
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PINK DMs!! Okay BUT I’m too old and ‘cold’-looking for baby pink.
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This one is SO VINTAGE. Comes in canvas-material which is way more comfortable than PVC. Maybe next time too. Urgh DMs DMs!!
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Seriously, if I find Pascal in Black and Acid Pink at SOHO tomorrow, I’m totally getting another pair.
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Alright that’s all for my boot-ilicious spam.
LONDON LOVIN’!!

The Dr. Martens Store
17-19 Neal Street
Covent Garden
London WC2H 9PU