Welcome! I'm back from this year's Craft Attack outdoor marketplace (pictures coming soon), and my shop will be re-opened later today or tomorrow morning. Thanks for all the well wishes and support for a successful show.
Some amazing artists are lined up for the coming weeks that you're sure to enjoy reading about. Today, meet Nicole, the talented Australian behind Etsy shop Hot Toffee.
Nicole's work is "Inspired by all things sweet, Japanese art & design and strongly influenced by the beautiful beaches of Australia." Each piece she creates is a unique piece of art - art you can wear!
Read on to learn more about her, why the area she lives in is called 'the salad bowl', and just where the name hot toffee came from.
What inspires you?
Nature, the beach in the afternoon, colours, Japanese design, light…
Where do you call home? Are you from there originally?
We have lived in a small country town called Laidley since we bought a house 2 years ago. I was born in Sydney but grew up on the north east coast of New South Wales near gorgeous Byron Bay.
Name something unique to where you live.
This area has many names; one of them is ‘the salad bowl’ as there are so many farms. We are lucky to buy the freshest veggies straight from our local farmers.
Share an interesting fact about yourself.
My left eye is 2 colours; it’s green with a brown section that covers about 1/3 of it.
If you had to describe yourself in a word, what would that word be?
What made you decide to open up shop?
At the time I had a stall at the local market each Saturday and thought an online presence would compliment that nicely and keep me busy during the week.
How did you come up with your shop name? Any special significance?
A lot of the first fused glass pieces I made looked a lot like toffee and because I fire my glass up to 800 degrees (Celsius) ‘hot toffee’ seemed perfect.
Name your favorite thing about selling handmade.
To be honest, it’s the people I’ve met. The customers who have embraced me and the other creative souls I’ve met along the way both online and offline. I’m lucky to be part of the brisStyle etsy street team which is an amazing group of people. Also, being surrounded by the handmade community has made birthday and Christmas shopping a lot more fun!
Do you have a day job or sell on Etsy full-time?
For 3 years hot toffee was my full-time job. That included etsy, wholesale and selling at local design focused markets. Early this year I decided I needed to work out of my home based studio and feel like I was connected to the off-line world and I was lucky enough to pick up 2 days teaching English to International students in order to prepare them to join mainstream high schools. I now juggle hot toffee and teaching which is challenging but so rewarding on many different levels.
Give us a little glimpse into what a typical day in your life looks like.
Wake up between 6am – 7am to the barking of our dog Pochi.
Enjoy a fresh coffee & (gluten free) toast
Check my email and read my favourite blogs.
Make a ‘to do’ list so that I can get through the day without too much procrastination.
Cut & fire glass.
Pack orders & take them to the post office. Our town is very small so it doesn’t take long to finish my chores which means there is always time to have a peek in the opp shops*.
Then it’s back home for lunch and an afternoon of firing glass, printing and cutting swing tags and replying to emails. If new items need to be photographed for my etsy shop I do that around 3 pm. I try to switch the computer off and finish ticking things off my ‘to do’ list by 6 pm.
The evening is spent cooking, talking, eating, watching TV or listening to music, flicking through my favourite magazines and books for inspiration.
*opp shops = opportunity shops or thrift stores
Share with us a favorite Etsy purchase or shop.
I’m wearing my favourite etsy purchase in the photo. I bought them from windowsill.
List a few of your most favorite pastimes.
Drinking & eating with my partner; Ryo, going to the movies by myself, opp shopping with my Mum, visiting garage sales and markets on the weekend, walking on the beach with my Dad and I LOVE painting (it's so therapeutic!)
Read any good books lately?
I always seem to have a few books on my bedside table, at present they are:
Lessons of a Lipstick Queen by Poppy King, Richard Branson – the autobiography, Geisha by Liza Dalby
What is your most prized possession?
A collection of paper boats made with my grandfather from all his old (losing) horse betting tickets. I have a basket of these in my wooden chest which holds all my sentimental belongings.
What are three of your favorite foods?
I was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease 2 years ago which means I can’t eat anything containing Gluten which is quite a lot! With the support of Ryo and a lot of experimenting we have discovered some new favourites:
Thai style chicken balls, gourmet crepes & Chicken & pumpkin curry (with pappadams of course!)
What would you like to learn to do?
I have always wanted to learn graphic design
What are you listening to right now?
my local radio station
Name one place you must visit in your lifetime and why.
Hamilton in Scotland as this is where my grandfather was born. He migrated to Australia when he was 7 years old. There is a big part of me that really needs to see where he came from.
Nicole, thanks for stopping by and sharing with us!
To keep up with Nicole and see more of her creations, visit her website and blog.
Time for a Give-
One lucky winner will get to choose any pair of studs from Nicole's shop!
To enter, leave a comment on this post with your contact info - name and email address or Etsy username.
For extra entries you can:
Tweet this giveaway: 2 additional entries
Follow my blog and/or Nicole's blog: 5 additional entries
Blog about this interview/contest: 7 additional entries
Purchase from Hot Toffee: 10 additional entries
(Please include this info, if applicable, with your comment for additional entries. You do not need to leave separate comments for additional entries. Important: Don't forget to include your name and contact info!)
Contest ends Sunday, October 18th at 11:59 pm EST. Winner will be chosen by traditional drawing and will be announced Monday, October 19th.