Here on the Meet the Maker series we hope to introduce you to the local artists and creators of the York Region. For episode 10, I want to invite you to meet Rosilynn Williams from Via Hand.
Tell us a little bit about you and your shop
I am a mom of 2 wonderful boys, 5 years and 6 months old. Currently on maternity leave, however my other full time job (besides mom) is Store Manager for one of the Newmarket locations of Dollarama. My shop just opened up recently, although I have been selling through Facebook for a while, with sales here and there. I learned how to crochet when I was about 15 from one of my close friends, at the time it was small things like patchwork blankets and scarves. I never really thought much of it, just something to keep my hands busy. When my oldest was about 2, always being the creative person I am, I decided to make his favourite character into a stuffed animal for him. It took off on my Facebook and I was hooked on stuffed animals. My boys have always inspired what I make, and I am sure they will continue to do so. I love being creative with them and exploring the imagination, whether it be playing pirates on the playground, making paper planes, or figuring out how to diy organization and decor.
In your Etsy shop i see you started making your handmade animals/lovies etc. because of your child’s love for Toopy and Binoo! Since then, how have you grown your creations and what have been some of the challenges?
My creations either come from popular characters, or the stories I used to hear as a child. Most of the big hits come from customer requests. I have always told my customers, if you don’t see it in the shop, lets talk and work it out to make a custom creation for your little one. By the time it is finished and posted it becomes a big hit and gets added to the shop. The biggest challenge has been trying to balance time with both boys and working on building my shop. I added in the teething items, which have been a great addition, and am trying to use the time I have off with my youngest to focus on building up my Etsy shop and making it a success.
What made you take the jump to include teething items in your shop?
My youngest was about 2 months old. He was soon going to be teething and I wanted to be prepared. I already had the tempra on hand for fevers, however I wanted a different option for those itchy little gums than constantly giving him medication or chewing on his fingers or other peoples. I searched online and on etsy and found a supplier within Canada, ordered a small bunch of what I would need, and made a few rings and necklaces. Eventually posting them online when i felt comfortable with my design and build. Turned out to be great! My little one is the official tester for my teething line and he loves his job! He even comes to showcase the teething line at shows. I love the fact that the teethers are free of any harsh chemicals, certified food grade silicone and natural wood, with an all natural sealant to keep the wood soft. I don’t need to worry about what hr has in his mouth and if it will make him sick.
Is this something you want to keep doing even as your children grow or do you think your shop content will change with them?
I would love to continue making both stuffies and loveys as well as the teethers. I enjoy making them and I enjoy making your little ones happy.
As you say you’re a Mom, what one piece of advice do you have to other parents trying to balance raising kids, Etsy and day jobs?
My advice would be to learn how to multi task. Luckily for me, being a manager had already taught me much of this. Multi task by setting aside time to work and include your kids in what you are doing. I tend to crochet while the little one is playing on the floor beside me or in his jumper. Talking to him or counting out loud (which is a favourite of his right now). If my oldest is having a snack or sitting watching something i will grab my hook and yarn and crochet. I ask him what he thinks or for ideas. It is all about balance and making sure you have time for work and time for family. It may take a little bit of time to get in the right groove but do not give up, you will find it and you will roll with it and you will succeed at being the supermom you are.
To date, what is your favourite item that you have made?
To date, I still love Patchy Patch. He is the perfect mix of patchwork and cuteness.
Do you ever make anything for yourself?
Very rarely. I have made myself a couple scarves, and some necklaces, although they are actually meant for the little one.
We will be seeing you at the Made in Canada event, what are you hoping to showcase?
I am currently working on refining some patterns to bring back some old favourites. And introduce some sets for the teething line.
Ice Cream or Cake?
Definitely ice cream!
You can find Via Hand at the Etsy York Region Made in Canada event September 24th in at Aurora’s Cultural Centre. Click here for more details.
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