Tag Archives: Artisans

Social Enterprise: A Conversation With Elizabeth McKitrick, Second Nature Home

1 May

SecondNatureHomeLocal writer, Maryam Khezrzadeh, recently prepared a feature on the platform, Medium.  Her article was on a local business, Second Nature Home, which is also a social enterprise.  With Maryam’s permission, we have set out her article below. Social enterprises are noble undertakings, but they need to be profitable as well to survive and finding that balance is important and we want to see these businesses succeed.  Without further ado, Maryam’s feature:

People don’t buy from a business just because it is doing something good for the society. So how do social enterprises succeed? How do they compete with the increasingly socially aware big corporations?

Elizabeth McKitrick is the founder of Second Nature Home Boutique, a social enterprise in the Trout Lake/Cedar Cottage neighbourhood in East Vancouver.

One afternoon, a few years ago, I entered the shop for the first time, expecting boutique prices for the boutique quality. But I was surprised! The well-made, beautiful pottery, linens, jewelry, woodwork, self-care and edibles were all priced comparably lower than same or similar items in other stores. What was going on? What a gem, I thought!

I became a regular and the shop became a place not only to refill soap and shampoo bottles, but also to learn about the city, the people who made the products sold at the store and the goings-on around the neighbourhood.

For the second episode of “Ten Minute Conversations”, I invited Elizabeth McKitrick to tell us about the boutique, its social mission and how it survives and thrives in an expensive city such as Vancouver. To listen to an interview with Elizabeth McKitrick, visit Soundcloud.

What is a Social Enterprise?

Most people are confused about what a social enterprise really is. A 2013 survey in UK revealed that only one in five people can correctly identify a social enterprise. Half of the public either thinks that a social enterprise relies on grants and donations to provide support to people (charity), or that the main purpose of a social enterprise is to return profits to individual owners and shareholders (traditional business). None of these definitions capture the essential nature of a social enterprise.

At its core, a social enterprise, has a mission to address specific issues within a society. The enterprise assumes responsibility to change an unjust situation for the better and sometimes even transform whole societies, and it does so by participating in the economy. It is this direct economic activity and the central steering role of a core mission, that marks a social enterprise.

This is how Elizabeth defines it:

A social enterprise is one whose social mission is just as important as their financial mission. So it’s on equal footing; you have to make a profit in order to be in business, but the profits are re-invested back into the business for the benefit of “all involved”.

There are a number of things that fall into the social mission for Second Nature. Elizabeth and her team are aware of the consequences of social isolation, and so they’re committed to make a place that encourages and enhances connectedness; a place where people can come and be known to one another, meet their neighbours and have a conversation.

The enterprise is also committed to promote conversations around the environment and how our ways of living and climate change might be related. Furthermore, the shop has equipped the neighbourhood with a soap refilling system to target plastic waste.

 SNHSoapStation

It is direct economic activity and the central steering role of a social mission, that marks a social enterprise.

The financials do terribly matter though. As we mentioned, people don’t buy from a business just because it is a do-gooder. A small percentage of people give a very high priority to ethical considerations (early adopters), but a significantly larger population, considers the ethics of a business only after everything else (price, quality, availability) is more or less the same. So a social enterprise, like any other business, has to find a way to provide good value.

Good Value: Price, Quality & Intrigue

The shop, purposely tries to keep its pricing low, because it is located in a mixed income neighbourhood. The majority of families and individuals in the neighbourhood, Elizabeth tells us, live on strict budgets. The way Second Nature manages to offer beautiful, local, handmade products at affordable prices, is by partnering with makers who are also in the same situation.

This co-dependent and co-development of makers and buyers, facilitated by a (not-greedy) social enterprise might just offer a fair equilibrium. The makers get all their costs covered and also receive 60% of the profits. The shop receives 40% of the profits. But the margins are moderate, not high. And sometimes even, the shop and the makers strategically decide to cut back on their margins to be able to offer certain valuable products that have longevity to them:

For example we have some linen towels that we bring in that are all ethically sourced, and they are pricy! but we do try to keep the margins down …we are not making 50% or 60% markup on them which we know some other stores are doing! (laughs) … you could use [these towels] for twenty years and wouldn’t have to buy another towel.

Elizabeth McKitrick (center) and Elya Bergen (right) inside Second Nature boutique.

It is not easy work to curate quality goods and maintain good prices. Second Nature invests a lot of time and effort researching and testing the products. It is the shop’s direct alliance with an army of local makers that makes it possible to not only test and filter goods more effectively, but also to offer a very diverse array of products. “And that’s part of the intrigue”, Elizabeth believes, “people come in and go, oh! I’ve never seen anything like this before!”

For Second Nature, though, makers are not just strategic partners:

We also encourage people to go outside … It doesn’t have to go through us. We encourage the expansion of the makers’ influence. We are about promoting artisans and helping them to be solidly supported, so they can continue making beautiful things.

But why is it so important to support local makers?

The Importance of Circular Economy

When you support a local artisan, you’re giving the money into their pocket, so that they can buy other local products. And it’s strengthening the local community in a way that would not ever happen. It’s very organic.

Locally owned businesses in Canada re-circulate 2.6 times more revenue back into the local economy than multi-national chains. It’s not only that local business are more likely to buy local services and products, it’s also that they employ people in the community and support local events, sports teams and charities. So money gets recirculated many times and in many ways within the community invigorating the local economy and making it grow.

Why Local? Infographic from BC Buy Local.

Elizabeth believes that the community’s understanding of this ripple effect has definitely increased in the past few years. “There is a desire to buy local”, she tells us. People are more aware of true costs of producing, consuming and disposal of a product and so are adapting new attitudes towards their purchasing. More people see paying a little more for local products as “investing in the life of another person or another family” and investing in a product that they love and are going to wear, keep and use for a long time. A departure from rapid consumerism.

Reprinted With Permission: Maryam Khezrzadeh

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Blitzen Pop Up On Now Till December 23, 2017

11 Dec

IBlitzen Shopn the space next to Heartbreaker Salon, was Whiskey Cake Home, who we’ve learnt has left this space to focus on their store on Main Street. Which means a great little retail space in the midst of a host of restaurants such as Les Faux Bourgeois, Osteria Savio Volpe, Matchstick Coffee, Los Cuervos at the corner of Kingsway and Fraser.  Most of these spots have waits and line ups, so while you wait for your table, why not pop in to the Blitzen Pop Up and get a bit of Christmas shopping done.  Blitzen Pop Up features a range of products from local makers including:

Anita Sikma Jewelry
Handwoven rugs/pillows/garlic baskets by Becky Brisco
Candles by EastWix
Leather Goods by Hannah Joan
Sriracha Revolver Hot Sauce
Patch Planters
Batch salts/scrubs/room sprays By Kis•met Essentials
Andrew Pommier’s Limited Edition Artist Prints
Locally designed textiles and baby swaddlers by Anara
The Vancouver Shop – local neighbourhood patches, prints & giftware
Pacific Northwest Prints
Silk Scarves By Mona Sultan
Handmade Soaps & Balms by Violet Alchemy
Kids clothing and colouring cards by Jamie Anderson
Local Pickles and Pickled Onions by Deandra Vaughn

Blitzen Pop Up is local at 623 Kingsway, corner of Fraser & Kingsway and is open Wednesday to Saturday from Noon to 8:00 pm. Stop by and see what’s in store or check them out on Instagram @blitzenpop.

 

 

 

Shiny Fuzzy Muddy At The Heritage Hall December 9 & 10, 2017

5 Dec

SFM xmascard 2017 Print (002) Shiny Fuzzy Muddy happens this weekend at the Heritage Hall. This well curated market is now in its 15th year and is brought to you by artists, Kari Woo, Janna Hurtzig, Arleigh Wood and Frances Dickinson.  This year they showcase some new talent including Russell Hackney with ceramics, Kat Cadegan who is coming from Revelstoke to showcase her jewellery. They will be along side, Zed Handmade, Sans Soucie Textile, Claudia Schultz and many more.  All artists chosen for this market exhibit a high level of craftsmanship and quality in their designs. We invite you to stop by and check out Shiny Fuzzy Muddy this weekend. It runs Saturday, December 9th from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm and Sunday, December 10th to 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Admission is $3.00 at the door.

 

 

 

 

 

Artisan Markets & Craft Fairs In East Van 2017

8 Nov

ChristmasBallsTis the season is upon us for artisan markets and craft fairs. Have you checked one out lately? They have evolved over the years. The artisans and makers we see today at these events have created amazing small businesses doing what they love.  We love supporting these makers at every turn. One of the many reasons is that “for every $100 spent with a BC local business, $46 is re-circulated back into our BC economy versus $18 for multi nationals. Why? Because locally owned businesses circulate more dollars in the community compared to multinational organizations.” So by supporting local, you are putting money back in our local economy.  So we encourage you to check out some of the great line of events listed below and think about supporting local when you doing your shopping this holiday season.

NOVEMBER 2017

Nov. 16: Eastside Culture Crawl – Various Locations 5 pm – 10:30 pm
Nov. 17: Eastside Culture Crawl – Various Locations 5 pm – 10:30 pm
Nov. 17: Britannia Christmas Craft Fair – Britannia Comm. Centre 3 – 8
Nov. 18: All Handmade Sale – Grandview Cavalry, 1803 E. 1st 11 am – 5 pm
Nov. 18: Britannia Christmas Craft Fair – Britannia Comm. Centre 10 – 5
Nov. 18: Christmas Craft Fair – Holy Trinity 154 East 10th Ave 10 am – 4 pm
Nov. 18: Christmas Craft Fair–Grace Memorial United, 803 E. 16th Ave 10-4
Nov. 18: Eastside Culture Crawl – Various Locations 11 am – 6 pm
Nov. 19: Britannia Christmas Craft Fair – Britannia Comm.Centre 10 – 5
Nov. 19: Eastside Culture Crawl – Various Locations 11 am – 6 pm

Nov. 24: Italian Christmas Market – Italian Cultural Centre 5 pm – 9 pm
Nov. 24: Artisan Pottery Sale – Trout Lake Community Centre 4 pm – 9 pm
Nov. 25: June Hunter Studio Sale – 2785 Parker Street 10 am – 5 pm
Nov. 25: Strathcona Winter Craft Fair – Strathcona Community Centre 10 – 4
Nov. 25: Artisan Pottery Sale – Trout Lake Community Centre 9 am – 4 pm
Nov. 25: Renfrew Park Craft Fair – Renfrew Park Community Centre 10 – 3
Nov. 26: Bling – Wearable Glass Art Show – Heritage Hall 11 am – 5 pm
Nov. 26: Artisan Pottery Sale – Trout Lake Community Centre 9 am – 4 pm
Nov. 26: River District Craft Fair – 8683 Kerr Street 11 am – 4 pm

Nov. 29: Got Craft? Pop Up Shop–Little Mountain Pop Up, 4385 Main St. 10–6
Nov. 30: Got Craft? Pop Up Shop–Little Mountain Pop Up, 4385 Main St. 10-6
Nov. 31: Got Craft? Pop Up Shop–Little Mountain Pop Up, 4385 Main St. 10–6

DECEMBER 2017

Dec. 1: Got Craft? Pop Up Shop – Little Mountain Pop Up, 4385 Main St. 10 – 6
Dec. 1: Eastside Flea Holiday Market – 1024 Main Street 6-10
Dec. 1: Toque – Western Front, 303 East 8th Avenue 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Dec. 2: Tugboat Landing Artisan Market – 2010 East Kent Ave. N 11 am – 4 pm
Dec. 2: Got Craft? Pop Up Shop – Little Mountain Pop Up, 4385 Main St. 10  – 6
Dec. 2: East Van Bazaar – Kingsgate Mall 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Dec. 2: Toque – Western Front, 303 East 8th Avenue 11 am – 5 pm
Dec. 2: Eastside Flea Holiday Market – 1024 Main Street 11-5
Dec. 2: Kensington Holiday Craft Fair – Kensington Community Centre 10 – 4
Dec. 3: Got Craft? Pop Up Shop – Little Mountain Pop Up, 4385 Main St. 11 – 5
Dec. 3: Toque – Western Front, 303 East 8th Avenue 11 am – 5 pm
Dec. 3: River District Craft Fair – 8683 Kerr Street 11 am – 4 pm
Dec. 3: The East Side Best Side Holiday Pop Up Market – Russian Hall 11-5
Dec. 3: Pop Up Handmade – Speakeasy Salon 152 E. 8th Ave. 12 – 5
Dec. 3: Eastside Flea Holiday Market – 1024 Main Street 11-5

Dec. 7: Make It! – PNE Forum
Dec. 8: Make It! – PNE Forum
Dec. 9:  Make It! – PNE Forum
Dec. 9: Got Craft? – Maritime Labour Centre 10 am – 5 pm
Dec. 9: Shiny, Fuzzy, Muddy – Heritage hall 11 am – 7 pm
Dec. 9: Collingwood Artisans’ Village Market – Collingwood Neighbourhood House 11-4
Dec. 10: Shiny, Fuzzy, Muddy – Heritage Hall 10 am – 6 pm
Dec. 10: Got Craft? – Maritime Labour Centre 10 am – 5 pm
Dec. 10: River District Craft Fair – 8683 Kerr Street 11 am – 4 pm
Dec. 10: Pop Up Handmade – Speakeasy Salon 152 E. 8th Ave. 12 – 5

Dec. 15: Eastside Flea Holiday Market – 1024 Main Street
Dec. 16: Crafty Affaire – Croatian Cultural Centre 10 am – 5 pm
Dec. 16: June Hunter Studio Sale – 2785 Parker Street 10 am – 5 pm
Dec. 16: Eastside Flea Holiday Market – 1024 Main Street 11-5
Dec. 16: Weirdos Holiday Market – 2244 East Hastings Street 11-7
Dec. 16: Women’s Winter Faire – Heritage Hall 11-7
Dec. 17: River District Craft Fair – 8683 Kerr Street 11 am – 4 pm
Dec. 17: June Hunter Studio Sale – 2785 Parker Street 10 am – 5 pm
Dec. 17: Women’s Winter Faire – Heritage Hall 11-7
Dec. 17: Eastside Flea Holiday Market – 1024 Main Street 11-5
Dec. 17: Weirdos Holiday Market – 2244 East Hastings Street 11-7
Dec. 17: Pop Up Handmade – Speakeasy Salon 152 E. 8th Ave. 12 – 5

Artisan Markets This Fall In East Van

3 Oct

FallLeavesColourAre you a fan of shopping local? Do you support small business enterprises in your community?  When you shop local, you support those around you that help create the fabric that is your community.  This fall there are few local events featuring local artisans and makers you may wish to check out. We’ve set out a few below hat we’ve come across. If you know of more, drop us a line and we’ll add them to our list.

EASTSIDE FLEA – Harvest Market
Friday, October 20, 2017 at 6:00 pm
October 21 & 22, 2017 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Ellis Building, 1024 Main Street

You are invited to check out a great line up of vendors with everything from new to vintage. Friday night is a bit different set up in their full market on the weekend. It features a select group of artisans as well as craft beer & drink specials, pinball and DJs to round out the evening.  Saturday and Sunday is the full market experience with 50 vendors and food trucks on hand. To learn more visit them at Eastside Flea.

2nd ANNUAL FALL HARVEST MARKET
October 28, 2017
Croatian Cultural Centre
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 pm

Whether you are shopping for yourself, or that birthday gift or some early Christmas shopping, the 2nd Annual Fall Harvest Market is a great opportunity to support local makers.  Elemental Trends is hosting this event featuring over 30 vendors.  To keep an eye on which vendors will be on hand visit them on Facebook at Elemental Trends.

THE ARTISAN’S EVENT
October 29, 2017
Heritage Hall, 3102 Main Street
11:00 am to 4:00 pm

Another back to back opportunity to shop local.  The Artisan’s Event happens Sunday, October 29th featuring over 35+ local makers and artisans. Admission is by donation. To learn more about the vendors, visit them at The Artisan’s Event.

Kyubu Market Launches September 9, 2017 In Strathcona

28 Aug

You are invited to check out a new project that has been many months in the making Kyubu Market.  Pronounced kyoo boo, this new market is one of the tiniest shops in East Vancouver located in the MakerLabs at 780 East Cordova Street. Outside of their retail space, Kyubu Market is an online marketplace with one-of-a-kind and custom pieces from a variety of makers & artisans. Kyubu Market is the brainchild of Jen Yamasaki and Gloria Kang. Their varied backgrounds including law, business, science, graphic design, marketing and communications puts them in a unique position to assist and feature independent artists and makers from across Canada.  Gloria and Jen already have a long list of artisans that are being featured on their site including Konisa Studio, Cord & StoneJoanne Sawatsky, DIG Leather, Bare Skin Bar, Steidle Woodworking Co., SAD Magazine, Piton Pottery and many more. To see the full list of artisans featured visit the online marketplace at Kyubu Market, or check out the Grand Opening on Saturday, September 9th which kicks off at 6:00 pm and runs till 9:30 pm. The event is being billed as a Garden Party. We understand some of the artisans and makers will be on hand for the opening event which also features local eats and local brewers.  Stop by and see what’s in store. Kyubu-Market-full-store

 

Got Craft? Happens At Maritime Labour Centre May 6-7, 2017

28 Apr

GotCraft2017If you are not familiar with Got Craft?, it is one of Vancouver’s largest indie craft fairs. It started in 2007 with 20 vendors and 500 attendees and has now grown to 75 vendors and some 5,000 attendees coming to check out the local talent.  The aim of organizers is to create a boutique event that showcases their favourite handmade artists and also provides  the opportunity to shop and meet those makers in person. This year the event is again happening at the Maritime Labour Centre, 1880 Triumph Street, on May 6 and 7 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.  We see they will be showcasing a number of our favourite makers which include East Van Jam, SeaLuxe,  East Van Light, Sarah Mulder Jewellery, Laughing Sparrow and Tessa Manu Photography to name a few.  To see the full line up of vendors, we invite you to check out Got Craft?  Tickets are available to purchase in advance online for $3 or you can purchase tickets at the door for $5.  While in the area, be sure to check out some of the great spots close by including, Scandillious to fill up before or after shopping, or The Pie Shoppe for a sweet stop, or if you get thirsty Doan’s Craft Brewing is a short walk away as is Odd Society Spirits. While wandering around the neighbourhood, we are quite sure you’ll stumble across a few other great spots.   

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