Monday, November 3, 2008

Sweet November!

With November always comes three happy occasions: post-Halloween chocolate sales, the birthday of my mom, who is my personal icon in every way (Happy Birthday, Mommy!) and the One of A Kind winter show.

I’m a great admirer of handcrafted things because behind every single unique piece, there is such creativity and care and time involved. I started getting into the craft circuit just over a decade ago, when my mum first began her business. Since then, working at and attending craft shows has become a way of life and it opened my eyes to a whole new side of the world, beyond the homogeneity of the McProducts that our commercial scene is so saturated with, especially in North America. Case in point: you can go to virtually any mall in the States or in Canada, and it’ll probably carry the same maybe 40 brands we see all the time. And it’s not restricted to low-end shopping, either, because if you think about it, Sunset Boulevard, Fifth Avenue, Bloor Street West, Las Ramblas, the Champs-Élysées, and so on and so forth all carry the same few stores with basically the same collections. It’s all the same everywhere – what happened to originality?

Don’t get me wrong – I love my Hermès. And I guess it’s convenient that, when I eventually come to be able to afford one of their pieces, I’ll be able to buy it in any major city (except perhaps the Birkin or the Kelly in more exclusive skins). But what happened to select shops? What happened to buyers going out, and even travelling around, to find special products to sell in their stores? Select shops have so much more personality than chains, and they’re some of my favourite places to shop in.

Craft shows hold the same appeal to me, because most crafters own small businesses and their products really are original - you wouldn't be able to find it anywhere else. That's why every winter, I really look forward to the One of A Kind Toronto show - it's the largest craft show in Canada, featuring hundreds of artisans from all over North America. It's been around for over 30 years and as usual, it's taking place in the Direct Energy Centre of Exhibition Place in Toronto. This year it runs from November 27th to December 7th, from 11am-10pm on weekdays, 10am-9pm on Saturdays and 10pm-6pm on Sundays. It's the most intense, delightful shopping experience - this month, I will be introducing my favourite crafters, who I'd be visiting at the OoAK if I were home, like Brook of Brook's Delectable Chocolates. If you go, be sure to say hit to my mum in booth E-38!


Teresa said...

Mmmm, that soap looks so good... :D

Thanks for blogrolling me and! :D

Xtine said...

You're very welcome! It's just because what you write and MMIAF are very relevant to me. :)