Snapshot – Karin McKay, English Rose Cosmetics

 

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Born out of necessity, English Rose Cosmetics is the perfect example of a brand created to fill a need – both in terms of market and creator Karin McKay’s search for a new, fulfilling career. With a background in cosmetic manufacturing, Karin found a way to bring her ideal product to life. With glamorous packaging and a product that actually works, English Rose Cosmetics is one brand you really need to watch out for! Gouniq had the chance to speak with Karin to see how it all began…

Gouniq: So, how did you get started in this business?

Karin: Back in December 2011, I was at a crossroads. I needed to figure out where I wanted to take myself next which, as anyone knows, is no easy task. I’d spent a large chunk of my life working in the cosmetics manufacturing industry and I was looking for a new beginning.

ERC006 Helena__1397481398_76.67.99.19The whole thing happened like that proverbial flash of lightening. I was browsing in a cosmetic and perfumery shop, and I got to thinking how uninspiring the packaging was. I mean, these were high-end brands and the packaging was as dull as all get up! Then it came to me. I had all this knowledge about skin physiology, what ingredients work, so I thought, why not create a product that works and looks fabulous on your dressing table? So, I sat down and got to work. Then, in August 2012, I took my first products to Spitafields, a London market.

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Gouniq: You’ve obviously worked really hard to develop your brand. Can you tell us a little about why you chose this theme?

Karin: During the 1940s, Britain was at war and life was really tough. Women had to band together to keep everything going with most of the men away. Despite this, and because of this, there was asense of positivity, with everyone banding together for the larger cause. I really wanted the English Rose Cosmetics brand to reflect this period and so I created a young woman whom I called ‘Rose’, typical of this period. The idea of Rose is her typical English Rose girl next door type who was trying to make the most of her looks with limited resources.

The product had to look glamorous, be affordable, and most of all, do what it claims to do! In 1940s war time Britain, anything other than the basics for living were luxury items. So the product had to reflect this.

Gouniq: Tell us a little about your product.

Karin: My focus is to create a product that looks great on the dressing table in your room but actually works! That’s where my prior knowledge comes in. I know all about ingredients, about skin physiology, the chemistry of it, so I work hard to make sure the English Rose Cosmetics products
really work.

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I wanted to take women back to when cosmetics products were a luxury. Where you felt special and treasured these ‘treats’. And since cosmetics products are abound, it had to stand out in its own right, look the part on your dressing table and I am adamant that the contents of each package fulfils everything it says it does.

Gouniq: What do you love most about what you do?

Karin: I love hearing the feedback from customers. It really is a great thing when someone tells me how much they love the product, the packaging, how it makes them feel like they have a little pot of gold in their collection. A bit of luxury reminiscent of the positivity that existed throughout this difficult period in time.

Gouniq: And the most challenging?

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Karin: That would definitely have to be the packaging! If you’re not ordering on a massive scale,sourcing packaging you can access on a smaller scale is a difficult task. I like to think I’ve chosen the best I can from what is available. I’ve spent a great deal of effort on creating the look of the product and while it was a challenge, I love the end result. Most importantly, I know my customers do too!

Gouniq: Creating a brand is a rather overwhelming task and often there is a steep learning curve. Was there anything during the creation of your brand that required you to dig a bit deeper and develop new skills?

Karin: First and foremost, self-belief, motivation and an ability to communicate your vision of the brand effectively are necessary skills that you must develop. Without them, it just do

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esn’t work! Wearing lots of different hats is also required – you can’t spend all your time on just one element of the product. This means being organized is one of those things that can’t be avoided – you need to learn how to most effectively use time.

I believe it’s also really important to connect with the customer and I chose the avenue of attending markets and vintage pop up shows so I could reach potential customers that way. It also gave me a chance to promote my product. For me, this worked really well as customers who purchased English Rose Cosmetics at these venues then found me online and made further purchases.

Also, I’ve had to learn how to use social media to reach new customers. This is definitely a continuous learning process!

Gouniq: Where do you see your brand heading into the future?

Karin: I’d love to branch out into other products and really develop the English Rose line. I have a few ideas I’m playing with although these are further down the track. In the meantime, my goal is to increase the number of products within the English Rose Cosmetics line and continue to grow my brand.

We know we’ll see great things from Karin and English Rose Cosmetics. To see her full product range, visit her store at EnglishRoseCosmetics and add a bit of glamour to your dressing table!

A huge thank you to Karin for taking the time to participate in the Gouniq Snapshot interview.

Got something we should be talking about? Email amanda@gouniq.com and let us know!

Mother’s Day – Be the Apple of her Eye

Okay, so she’s there for you. She’s probably been the one constant in your life and while you know you’ve said you love her, sometimes that standard bunch of flowers from your local florist just doesn’t cut it. Do something special for that lovely lady this year and think outside the box! We’ve prepared a Mother’s Day gift guide full of fabulous products to really show your mum what a great job she’s done with raising you – you’re creative, thoughtful and for the first time ever – turn up on Mother’s Day with something other than the usual floral arrangement hastily put together. Believe us, it will look like your siblings didn’t even show up…

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The Kitchen Goddess

Some mums just love to feed you. If yours does, show your appreciation with one of these fab aprons from Cherry Pie Couture to make her feel like the sassy and fun lady she still sees herself as. You’ll surprise her with your newly found grown up ability to see her as a human being, not just a laundry attendant.

Wood-stirring-spoonsFor some tools of the trade, check out the Forest Treasures range of kitchen utensils, designed for a lifetime and show your appreciation for her ongoing efforts to produce high quality menus…

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If you think her kitchen could do with a shift into this current century (but obviously can’t tell her directly) one of these unique prints from ReStyleGraphic will definitely do the trick.

 

The Budding Interior Designer

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Does your mum walk into you home and mentally redesign it? Yes, it can be a painful experience (tastes do differ after all) and the constant stream of ‘you could do so much with this space’ does, over time, wear thin. Show her your flair for style with Senay Studio cushions

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featuring fabulous unique designs that will have her telling her guests repeatedly how much her child takes after her…

3f0a3e2604369f307e9a0481ab4c4adff1af970dFor something to surprise her with (if getting an actual present this year isn’t enough),one of these stylish yet functional clocks from Asymmetree will become her most prized piece.

Does your mum love colour? Surprise her with a gorgeous piece from Escape to Paradise! Bright and lively, they will definitely put a smile on her dial.

 

The Queen of Accessories

jet empirestudio duarteIf your mum is one of those lovely ladies with a penchant for bling, then we have some fabulous pieces to make her look sensational. Depending on her style (and take a moment to think about this – does she love color, is she a little more subdued and prefers something simple but unique) Gouniq has a huge range of unique earrings, rings, bracelets and necklaces to put a smile on her face and warm her heart (yes, you can take the rest of lunch home for dinner).

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These stunning pieces from Jet Empire will definitely please her and go from day to night in a flash. For something subdued yet unique, this gorgeous necklace from Studio DuArte is the perfect piece. Or maybe something really out of the ordinary like this Myfaunaflora necklace.

 

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The Beauty Expert

Take her back a time where glamour and beauty were the epitome of style. English Rose Cosmetics brings a level of femininity to her cosmetics counter – and the product is brilliant too! A chance for you to treat her to something really special.

upliftIf you’re mum is one of those lovely ladies who is always taking about antioxidants, vitamins and so on, check out the Uplift Skincare range, made with flower essences and other lovely nature based extracts.

So grab your calendar and surprise your mum this Mother’s Day by remembering Sunday May 11. Believe us, she’ll even bypass forgetting to buy the card…

 

Snapshot – Daniel Cohen, the Arts Market

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When we shop we’re looking for an experience right? With stores abound, we’re spoilt for choice and these days, we’re a little more selective. Whether it’s online or real world, we want the experience, we want access to unique products and we want to browse in our own time without some sales assistant breathing down our neck. That’s where Toronto’s Arts Market comes in.

During our trip to Toronto, Gouniq’s Amanda Gaal caught up with Daniel Cohen, founder of the Arts Market to talk about how he made it work, what he’s learnt and how he managed to create a unique space for artisans to display their work and make it accessible to the Toronto market.

A Bit of Background…picture 1
The Arts Market was started back in 2011, with a warehouse space in Leslieville. After many years of travel, Daniel returned to Toronto and was seeking a place where he could sell his work. While a few existed, the focus of these markets wasn’t on the artist, and they were always considered side issues, never the full focus. Realizing that there were other artists in the same boat, Daniel created the Arts Market, where artists can have their own space to show their product and get their work out to the people of Toronto. With a recent second store opening on the other side of town, Daniel has managed to create something special at the Arts Market.

Gouniq: So how did you get started in this?

Daniel: A while back, I lived in Sydney for just under four years and during that time I really started to work on my art. I found the Glebe Market which was a great avenue to get my product out there and make some sales doing what I love. For an artist, it was a very valid option. I spent seven years travelling the world and everywhere I went, I found there were always similar avenues available to sell my art. When I returned home to Toronto, I couldn’t really find any similar opportunities where the artist was the focus. Where as an artist, you really fit. For what is available, they’re not consistent and no one can survive on two events a year. And so I decided to start the Arts Market.
picture 3Initially, the Arts Market was set up as a weekend market. It worked really well, but what I found was that it wasn’t enough to keep the artisans busy and generate enough sales. The local community also expressed their interest in the Arts Market and made comments like ‘we need you to be open more, I can’t get the chance to get in to see you’. Listening to the feedback from artisans and hearing the neighborhood ask for more, we changed the Arts Market model. And we’ve not stopped changing. Within the Arts Market, the artist manages the space, how it looks, and how much effort they put into making it look attractive to the buyer. Essentially, they run their own business and we assist with their sales. We’ve tailored the Arts Market to make it sure that it works for Toronto, our local community and our artists. When a new artist comes on board, we sit down together to get to know each other. I find this is crucial in building an honest relationship – it helps us understand each other and so the process is transparent.

Gouniq: Any start up is difficult. What were some of the difficulties you faced and how did you manage them?

Daniel: I grew up in a house where my dad was an entrepreneur so when you’re in that environment, you naturally pick up skills. I watched him at work and this has really helped me with the Arts Market. I don’t have a formal background in business, so my experience comes from life itself and I picture 2make sure I utilize this experience to the fullest. I am very fortunate to have a great support group around me, my family, my friends, the artists and I’ve definitely put in a lot of work to get it to where it is today. So it hasn’t been easy. There has been a great deal of work involved but its something I am passionate about so believe me, I’m very happy to do it.

I am surrounded by a number of great artisans and they provide me with feedback on how to improve the business. I make sure I accept this feedback and implement changes as they need to be. By doing this, I am utilizing their life experiences and the resources around me and I’ve found this has really helped to make the business run more smoothly. So I definitely have a big network of people helping me. It’s a collective effort.

Gouniq: Being able to accept feedback as a positive is not something everyone can do…

Daniel: I’m fully in this and sometimes when you’re so into something, you develop blinkers. So I tell the artists, let me know when there’s something wrong, let me know if there is something that can be improved. I want to make this a success and I’ve learnt that the only way to do this is to be flexible and pay attention to what the artists are saying, to what the public is saying.

picture 5Things can go wrong when you start to shut out suggestions. I realize I need to continue improving both myself and the business, growing and learning. Just because you’ve got a model that appears to be working well doesn’t mean you should become a roadblock to change. I make a conscious effort to make sure I don’t do that. I want to change and grow and see the Arts Market flourish and our artists flourish and this can only happen when you listen and take on board suggestions that others make.

In business, someone is always going to have a suggestion, a better idea, or another way of doing something that may be helpful and I make sure I listen. An example of this is a mural I had painted on the front of our building. I was so excited that I was able to do this however, 2 months in, I was getting feedback that people were struggling to find the building. Definitely not good for business so as much as I loved it, it wasn’t working so I changed it. And there’s been no problem since.

Gouniq: How did you get the Arts Market out to Toronto?

Daniel: For us, its all about the local community so we concentrate all our efforts on making sure our neighborhood knows who we are and that we’re here. I am part of the local community network, and we work hard to ensure The Arts Market is a welcoming environment. There’s no pressure to purchase, and we make sure that people enjoy browsing in their own time. If you buy something, that’s great. If not, that’s okay too. Regardless, we want people to have a great experience while their here.

Through my involvement in the art world, I also make connections that way. We’ve also been fortunate enough to have been written up in a few Toronto publications and that has certainly helped to increase our network and the knowledge that we’re here.

For us at Gouniq, we love that the Arts Market is about creating a community atmosphere and provides an opportunity for artists and designers to show their work as part of a collective, operating in an honest way that is always evolving. It’s a team effort and it’s great to see this alive and thriving.

picture 6So if you’re here in Toronto, we recommend you make the trip to the Arts Market. You’ll love the feel of the space – it’s a good eclectic mix of unique creations and the space really lends itself to creating the right atmosphere to sell the product. At the Arts Market, Daniel has managed to create an environment that is both edgy and comfortable. Make sure you put it on the list of places to visit. It’s well worth a look.

A big thank you to Daniel for taking the time to chat!

You can find the Arts Market at:
Leslieville: 1114 Queen St. East
College: 846 College St at Ossington

Repurpose – the New Way to Recycle

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At Gouniq, we’re big believers in creativity. Repurposing, which is basically adapting an object for a different purpose, is a trend that is taking on a life of its own. It’s an expression of creativity – the ability to see something in an alternate way with a functional undertone. So we sat down, had a bit of a search and found some fabulous ideas where people from all around the world are taking the old and changing it up into something new.

Repurpose is a way of bringing some unique character to your home. Yes, it will probably challenge the standard perceptions and ideas people have but it will definitely be a talking point! Surprise them all with your ability to see outside the perimeters of life and become a visionary of sorts…

tobagganThis is one of our particular favorites – something we’d never thought of doing but it really has potential to bring character to your kitchen while being functional at the same time. Plus, it’s a really cool way to store your pots and pans and free up some cupboard space.

number plates

Number plates go on cars right? Apparently they’re not just reserved for cars. Coming out of Texas is this brilliant idea of using number plates as roof tiles. Now we don’t think you’ve got a stash of these hiding in the back of your garage, but it is seriously clever so we felt the need to share it!

cycle gateAnd most of us have an old bicycle lying around but we bet using it for something like this has never crossed your mind! This is a real work of art.

Here’s a whole slew of possibilities…old skateboards as stairs, leather belts as flooring (hate to imagine how long that took!), window shutters as ceiling features, bicycle fencing, reclaimed wood lounger. There are so many!

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There’s never been a better time to visit that storage room a.k.a. the garage, basement, attic or shed, see what’s lying about and have a bit of a think about how you could use it in a different way. You never know, your future bedside tables may be right in front of you! All you need is a little creativity…

Creative Workspaces

 

Ever walk into your office or studio and think ‘I really could do more with this space’?. Today we’re looking at a range of different ideas to really help you get the creative juices flowing as soon as you vintage 2step into your workspace. There really are some clever solutions to organizing yourself to help you to be the most productive – you’ll probably surprise yourself!

For those of us obsessed with organisation, this kind of workspace is exactly what we need. Everything in its place so we can find it in a moment, without any need for racking your brain trying to remember where you put it last. Welcome to workspace paradise!

short on spaceWorking with a restriction on space? This is a great idea to get yourself a separate space to work and the best bit is you can shut the door on it and no one would even know!

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Love color? We do too. This one is a sensory treat – bright and lively and definitely designed to maximize creativity.

 

Your office need never look like that dump room in the house again. It is possible, with a Sunday afternoon and some creativity, to turn your workspace into a haven. Think of how much easier it would be to find those tiny bits and pieces and important papers, how all those gorgeous keepsakes and pieces will look when they’re showcased in a clear way. They also add that bit of colour and character too so you’ll never need fear inviting people into your studio again! In fact, you’ll be sending out the invitations…

Creative-Workspaces

 

Your Creative Career – You Are What They See…

This is the second post in our series on turning your creative outlet into a business. Hopefully you’ve had the chance to sit down and really brainstorm your ideas. Getting them down on paper can be really difficult to start with, but it is well worth the effort. You might have found that your ideas are crystalizing – that’s the plan! You can start to get a picture of where and how you might fit, what your niche is, how much it costs to create your product and what potential it may have within the creative marketplace.

Your Brand and Logo

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Next up, we should take some time to talk about your online identity. We all know that in the realworld, how people perceive you is really important. That also applies in the online world. Right down to the font you use. We’re not saying that your color palette needs to be conservative, boring and just like what’s already out there. Quite the opposite actually! You need to stand out but you still need to look professional. You can do this yourself too. You don’t have to hire a graphic designer to create a logo – use one of your favorite products! With so many tools available online, you can certainly have a go at creating it yourself.

The idea is to create an identity that fits around how you want to be perceived. Have a look at what other people creating similar products have done to both get an idea of what others are doing, and to figure out how you will make yours stand out. What colors can you see that are commonly used? What fonts seem to be prevalent? That will help you to choose something that will show you off. And remember, while the idea is to create something that stands out, it is important to ensure it still looks professional. This is about creating your online identity in the first glance stage.

Putting it into Words

Next, lets turn to your niche market. Where do you fit? In the previous post, we asked you to have a look at others creating similar products. What is it that is so special about yours? Do you have a product that appears to be of a higher quality? Is the level of detail or the design of your product something special? Do you source fabrics that are unusual? The idea here is to find out why someone would buy your product rather than someone else’s. You know what’s great about your product, but you need to educate the viewer to understand what this is. They won’t always know by looking at them on their screen (particularly when you sell online). This is where you throw in the line of ‘each item is lovingly made by hand with the highest attention to detail to ensure the uniqueness of each creation’. Use words that highlight specific details of the product. For example, if you source your materials from France, let your potential buyer know.

Taking Photographs

Then we get to taking professional and polished photos. Unless you have super skills at using your camera phone and are highly proficient in Photoshop, find a digital camera, get the lighting right (use your desk lamp if you need to) and bring out the best in your product. Take photos from various angles. Again, you don’t need to hire someone to do this. Try it out yourself. Spend some time getting it right and it will pay off.

Getting it all Straight

Then put together what you could call a product specification page. For each item, note down:

-       The photos

-       The materials you used

-       The measurements, the weight and size of the item

-       A detailed description of the item

-       How much it cost you to make the item

-       The sale price you’ve decided on

-       How long it took you to make it

This will allow you to keep track of your products and ensure that you have a quick and easy reference guide that you can refer to later on for the details. It might seem like a little extra work, but think of it as a portfolio of sorts. This is a record of your collection, built over time and evolving. It will also allow you to look back at your work and see how your skill has developed over time.

The goal here is to set up the foundations – Post 1 and 2 form a large part of your business plan and work to get you to focus more clearly on your potential business. The next post will help you think about your market and the avenues you could take to access them.

After that, we will look at putting it all together, creating a well rounded strategy to get you started using all the information you’ve put together so far and start to get going on implementing it to take your creative product to the world.

Got specific questions? Let us know – we’re here to help! We are passionate about creativity, uniqueness and sometimes it’s useful to bounce ideas so feel free to drop us an email at Amanda@gouniq.com and we’ll help steer you in the right direction.

One of a Kind Show 2014 Wrap Up

Think carved wooden plates, hand crafted cards, printed cushion covers, lovely scented balms and lotions and all sorts of creative goodies and you’ve got the One of a Kind Show Toronto. It really fabulous to see so many wonderful creations in one place!

With so many great stores (there were around 400 presenters), it was a bit overwhelming trying to figure out where to start, so we began with aisle A and by the time we were at aisle C, we were down $300 but had a few little gems that we’re definitely stand out. Well worth it! After speaking to quite a few sellers, we were trying to figure out why Canada has so many talented and creative individuals and the most common answer – the long winters! With such a brutal winter just past, it’s not surprising there were so many great products on show. So a long winter definitely doesn’t slow creativity!

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Our standout favorites from the show:

  • Definitely our own Senay Studio  who was receiving a huge amount of attention with her fabulous cushions
  • A gorgeous girl named Christine with her Sugar Soul range of flirty hats in a huge array of colours and designs
  • Artwork by Michele Rose (love the colors, for some reason they make you feel happy!? Weird, yes, but they do)
  • Our new ginger and lemongrass balm from Olive Authentique (smells divine)
  • Art by Noelle Hamlyn (books in frames which look incredible)
  • Some brilliant photographic artwork on wood by Kristensen Smith
  • Jewellery by Cheryl Seung (really unique pieces)
  • Colorful and fun kids clothing by Just Jill
  • From the Blue House soaps and butters (loving the Cocoa and Orange butter)
  • Bowties from Handsome and Lace (seriously, you will look the part)
  • Velvet backed cushions by Phaulet in prints with colors that are bold and fun
  • Leikey Designs with her handmade toys for babies and toddlers
  • Morning Dew Cards featuring unique photos taken by their creator
  • Mitani kids, very cool kids bed linen and accessories

There were so many! For us, it was just like heaven….

 

And We’re Off!

So one lucky Gouniq team member is about to embark on a trip across the seas to Toronto – a gruelling 26 hour process but definitely well worth it! Bags packed – check. Passport – check. No liquids greater than 100ml – you bet. And the lucky winner is…Amanda, our Media guru (or so she likes to think…we’re too scared to tell her otherwise…).

The Gouniq Toronto adventure begins this coming weekend at the One of a Kind Show where we know we’ll be seeing some fabulous creators with unique products. After that, Amanda will be heading out to interview some really cool people who know a lot about art and the creative world and we’ll be bringing you these interviews as they happen on our blog. Never know what you might learn!

The trip progress will be posted on Facebook and Twitter so don’t forget to check in!

 

 

Express Yourself! Taking art to the streets

 

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While we all know that creativity comes in all forms, street art can often be subject to the eye of the beholder. What works for you, might not work for someone else. Then again, that’s what makes us unique and at Gouniq, we’re all about celebrating that uniqueness. It’s what makes life fun and interesting, after all.

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Today’s blog is a snapshot of street art we can’t argue about – they really are works of art. We think it’s amazing that people can create such depth in their work on uneven surfaces, in those difficult to reach places (think Michelangelo painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel – no wonder he put so many angry faces on those angels, he had a sore neck!) and bring their art to the masses. What do we get from these works of art? The element of surprise, color to inspire you on a cold, grey day, and a real sense of community that highlights the talents of the residents. Pure gold…

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While not all as controversial as Banksy, street art provides many artists with an opportunity for self expression and a chance for others to be exposed to their work and particularly where the medium is not a traditional one, this can be a pretty difficult task to achieve. The solution…take it to the streets!

The only question this poses though – okay, so you’ve put in countless watering girlhours getting your piece completed, and your work is about to be subjected to the onslaught of that a-law-unto-herself Mother Nature – why do street artists still do it??! There could only be one reason – for a love of art. Although the transient nature of it could also be part of the appeal – a fleeting moment to make an impression on someone that they carry with them, beyond the lifespan of the art…

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So the next time you walk past a building featuring a great piece – take a photo! The only certainty is that it may not be there tomorrow so capture the moment.  Oh, and say a little prayer that it doesn’t rain too soon so more people can enjoy it…

Your Creative Future Starts Here – with a Plan, of course!

So you’re creative right? You spend countless hours creating art, handmade pieces and other creative items only to find that you give them away as gifts to friends and family, and your art is now officially fabric wall arttaking over your home. You want to take your product to the world and turn your creative outlet into a profitable business – everyone who sees your work says its great, its unique and you could do something with it. So where on earth do you start? How do you make the shift from something you do as a creative outlet to something you can generate an income from?

This post is the first of seven designed to help you turn your creativity into a business. Whether you make cards, create 3D art, design clothes, we want to help you develop the tools you need to take your product to the world and turn it into a business.

Anything is possible – we see this everyday. What is stopping you from achieving your goal? There are two things that set those who are out there, doing what they love and making it a financial success apart from those who are producing items that have now overtaken their home. Knowledge is penguin cardthe first of those. Welcome to the learning curve – and be prepared for a steep climb! Don’t worry, you can learn everything you need to turn your creative outlet into a successful business if you sit back, get your googling fingers out and see what others have done before you. Find someone who is creating something similar to what you do, and read up on them. Find out how they started and when they took that leap from a hobby to a business. There are so many avenues to explore and so many resources available that you can quickly and easily find what you need to know. Most of all, this knowledge shows you that it IS possible!

The second is a plan. Do you think, when Apple released the first iPhone to the world they sat in a meeting before its release and said…’oh, well, we’ll just put it out there, see how it goes..’? Okay so it’s on a completely different scale to where you’re at but you get the idea. Nothing will succeed without a plan.

But where do you start? So get yourself a notebook and start writing. Here are some things to jot downhouses to really get your ideas clear in your head and after a while it will all begin to talk shape…

  1. What do I create? Here’s where you define your product.
  2. What is my niche? What makes my product different from the others?
  3. Who would buy my product?
  4. How long does it take me to create my product?
  5. How much does it cost to create my product?
  6. Where could I sell my product?
  7. Where do I envision this going?
  8. Where would I like this to go?
  9. How do I want to be seen (i.e. fun and childlike, glamorous, elegant, friendly, etc)
  10. How can I get my product to the world?

ladybugsStart a page for each of these questions and work on them. Write down even the most insane stuff that comes into your head. Don’t try to rationalize it, just note it down. Even single words, they don’t haveto be sentences. This is the brainstorming part. You can get to refining it later (we’ll talk about that in our next post in this series). No need to do it all at once, leave it and come back to it later, you’ll be surprised that once you start thinking about these questions, your mind will run with it and before you know it, you have 10 pages of ideas to get you started. And a more solid grasp on where you see your product and your brand heading.

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Once you start, you’ll see that it all begins to flow. Everything starts as a seed and the more you work on it, the more it grows.  It’s not an easy task but if you love what you do and you are committed to getting your product out there, then you have a better chance of success.

Stay tuned for the next post in this series later this week! In the meantime, get creative and most of all – start planning!

Are you guilty of wardrobe neglect?

 

cjbrownIs your wardrobe looking a little on the sad side? Does it need a bit of cheering up? Well, today’s blog should give you some ideas to bring it back into the now and give you something to get excited about! We at Gouniq know that we’re not the only ones who love to shop…

We’ve got some great independent designers at Gouniq who have created some edgy pieces to make you a little more excited about heading to work…yes, it is possible!

kate

client london

Workday Wear We have some great pieces here by Kate Fearnley with a stunning pin striped number that is reminiscent of all things Mad Men. This dress is sassy!  Client London also brings us some fab pieces like this high neck spotted top with gorgeous back detail will definitely dress your old black skirt up and turn it into something divine again. We can’t forget Callecia J Brown coming out of the UK with this fun little number!

bearsdancing leopard

Casual Wear 

floral

We are loving this bear print top from Brat and Suzie – it really is pure fun! Takes us back to being a kid again and there’s nothing wrong with that! This floral wrap from Clover Love is stunning and will make you feel you’re on a tropical holiday. It has beach babe written all over it and we think it would look fab with a pair of jeans. And not forgetting this print maxi dress from Dancing Leopard – finally a stand out maxi dress that won’t make you look like a brick (maxi dresses have a tendency to do that, believe us, we have first hand experience). Its got style and shape and you know you’re going to look great in it!

fazake

get frockedAnd to the evening…For the evening, we have some stunning outfits –formal function? Try this Frock L.A. dress – definitely a head turner! Or for a cocktail night, this little black dress from Fazane Malik, stylish and one of a kind – just the way we like it!  Heading for a night out with the girls? This Coelho skirt is just the thing to get you looking super gorgeous and glam!

silver skirt

Whatever you’re looking for (and there is plenty more!), check out Gouniq, for everything unique so you can give your wardrobe the wake up call it needs! Happy shopping!

Vertical Gardens? Yep, we’re serious!

with pots

So we admit it. We aren’t exactly good with plants or gardening or anything growing in soil. And we’re okay with that. Really. It may have taken countless hours of therapy but we are ok with it. The fact that we could kill a cactus is quite an accomplishment when you look at it from a different perspective. But it doesn’t stop us from trying!

tubesToday, Gouniq wants to get your creative mind kick started into thinking a little differently about turning your outdoor space into a sanctuary of greens and flashes of color. Who would have thought you could garden upright? Apparently you can!

glass jars

If you’re living with a small outdoor space, it can be really difficult to figure out how to add some color or life to turn your space into a haven. Concrete in any color sometimes just doesn’t cut it. The solution? Go vertical! A lot of us live in apartments and townhouses and the last thing we think of is how to get the space looking like a vision of eden. It’s time to unleash your inner gardener with some of thesefabulous solutions to that small space problem. Don’t have outdoor space? Bring it indoors. Mother Nature will be oh so happy and so will you.

bathSo it’s good to recycle right? But have you ever thought of using old PVC tubes to create plant holders? Sounds nuts, we know, but it looks pretty cool as far as we’re concerned. Your balcony or courtyard need not be that place you visit to clean every two months and a chore that bores you to tears. Get creative!

So take a trip to your local garden center (yes, that place you’ve been past a ton of times but never had the courage to step foot into) and see what is possible. Apparently, anything!

Creative type? You’ll be right at home at Gouniq

 

flower jars

Do you ever find yourself looking out the window of your office wondering if you’re destined to push those pieces of paper around for all eternity? Or standing on an overly crowded tram, squished between one lady wearing way too much perfume and a guy whose backpack keeps threatening to knock you out with every jolt of the tram and thinking, hold on, how the heck did I become my parents? Oh, so that’s what they were talking about. Its called routine and it’s that mundane part of life which has you wishing for holidays and can sometimes be so oppressive, the overwhelming desire to break free from it is enough to make you want to become the third Walter Mitty.

paper craftWell, there’s no jumping out of aeroplanes required here! You know what you need? To get creative! Remember back to art class, when you learnt how to screen print, or make pottery or paint landscapes? It was always the most fun class and it’s interesting to know that some people do it as a job, not just for high school pass marks. So if you’re thinking you need something to fill you with inspiration, why not find an artful habit?

2-Garden
We’re not saying that you’re going to turn into a Davinci or a Warhol overnight – it took them a while…even Van Gogh really had to wait until he carked it before he became the art rock star we all know him to be today. It takes practice, as does anything worth doing, and it will give you the chance to express yourself in  a way that your current path probably isn’t able to provide. With color, texture and creativity to get that imagination kick started. And yes, buried amongst all those words and numbers, you do have one. No, really, its just been laying dormant for a while…

painting

So, okay, now we’ve got you thinking – you’d like to do something creative, but where do you start? And what can you do? Start with figuring out what interests you. Is it fabric? Are you one of those people who searches for ages to find the perfect birthday card? Ever thought of making it? Why not! What about building something? A wooden plant holder. There are heaps of courses available that can help you learn the basics, and it doesn’t have to put you out of pocket, a lot of them are free. That’s a first!

piano

And the great thing about it is that you’ll get to see a finished product, something a lot of jobs don’t provide. Instead of being part of the process, you are the process and that can mean a lot of fun. So switch off the TV, jump online and get searching – have a look at what others are doing and get yourself the skills you need to create your own unique piece of art. Rediscover your imagination!

 

Gouniq is an online store network featuring unique items from around the globe, handpicked to make sure you get access to the best there is, in one place. We’re passionate about creativity and celebrating all that’s unique. Visit us at gouniq.com.

Toronto – Here we come!

So we all know Gouniq is the place for everything unique but what you might not know is that Toronto is a hub for an amazing array of artists and creators. We at Gouniq have decided it’s time to get more of them on Gouniq!

Canadian Flag

So we’re heading over for the better part of April to find one of a kind creators and makers. Whoo hoo! During this time, the Gouniq blog will be showing off little snippets of our trip and the exciting and creative products we find (because we know there are heaps!) We think it’s always interesting to see what’s out there and as fans of all things unique, we know you do too. So we hope you’ll all come along for the ride – we’ll be blogging, on Facebook and tweeting to keep you all up to date!

We’ll be hitting artists markets, galleries, design hubs and a whole host of other events to try to locate those amazing creations we know will feel right at home on Gouniq.

So if you know of somewhere in Toronto or Ontario we should visit, or if you know someone we should checkout while we’re in town, let us know! You can post to our Facebook page, send us a tweet @Gouniq or drop us an email at amanda@gouniq.com.

Can’t wait!

Blogged About: Bob Gilmour, creator of Forest Treasures

Wooden-stirring-spoons-and-restImagine you live in a place where nature exists in its purest form. Bob Gilmour, this week’s Gouniq ‘Blogged About’ artist, is fortunate to live in such a place. This environment enhances his instinctive need to create art forms which are both functional and aesthetic. Nature’s inspiration is found in each item of his Forest Treasures collection.

Wood-chopsticks-and-restThe integration of design and function is often attempted but rarely achieved. Gilmour, however, has managed to excel by creating wood utensils, bowls, bathroom accessories and a range of other items that are designed for both aesthetic pleasure and a lifetime of use.

Wood-stirring-spoons

“As a designer, my task is to create objects which are a joy to use. As an artist, my desire is to make things that are a joy to look at or feel or just be near. I’m fortunate that I’m able to do both.” Gilmour

You can see the influence of nature and his creative mind in his art. Each piece is methodically created, with smooth lines, an impeccable finish and a commitment to natural wood grain without diminishing its utility. They are indeed works of art but definitely not the type to lay dormant, collecting dust. They are designed for use for a lifetime.

Blue resin bowl

Bob Gilmour’s limited edition range of resin home wares brings stylish color and texture into your home. Resin provides Gilmour with the opportunity to work with a material that molds with the artist’s creativity, allowing a level of expression that is impossible to achieve with wood. Working with resin requires a creative process where consideration must be given to color, texture and elasticity with the material offering infinite potential and possibility bounded only by imagination. This is definitely something that Gilmour utilizes to his full advantage.

resin bowl yelloVibrantly colored, stand out resin pieces continue to demonstrate Bob Gilmour’s dedication to achieving the highest level of attention to detail and functionality for each of his creations. Each unique creation you purchase will bring his creativity to your home. The Forest Treasures collection has been created combining a love of nature, and functional design to meet the expectations of today’s world.

To view the amazing creative work of Bob Gilmour’s Forest Treasures range, visit his store today at Forest Treasures . A big thank you to Bob Gilmour for taking the time to participate in Gouniq’s ‘Blogged About’ this week.