Posts Tagged ‘etsy’

Hurray! 10,000 Etsy Sales Later and I’ll Tell You how this all Started

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Something amazing has happened! We just had our 10,000th sale on etsy! It’s a wonderful milestone especially when we are on the cusp on so much growth. I want to celebrate all our wonderful customers but first I think it’s time to tell you the story of how Cubit’s started in the first place.


You see, I wasn’t always self employed. I used to work for other entrepreneurs.  I had a habit of getting jobs managing other passionate small business owners businesses, and then getting gloriously fired. It happened more than once. Ok, it happened a bunch, I actually don’t know anyone as good at getting fired as me.

As I left my last exit interview, I knew I wasn’t going back.  I had a little spring in my step as I packed my office and my swing-line stapler into a banker box and headed down those stairs. I was done working for other people. I had enough good ideas and it was time to turn one of them into my own business.


The only bad part about getting canned when I did was that we had plane tickets to Paris booked for the next week. 3 weeks in France, Italy, and Austria, all paid for and no cancellation insurance. Although I had no foreseeable income there was nothing else to do but go. It was when I found myself staring out the train window counting all the little kitchen gardens along the tracks and picking oranges at Versailles I started to figure out where I was really going.


We’d been growing a tremendous amount of food in our apartment’s back yard in the Leslieville neighbourhood of Toronto. Watermelons and giant squash on the parking slab, peppers in window boxes, tomatoes taller than the fence. We lived there for 6 years and saved a lot of seed. We gave it away. We used our art backgrounds to design cute envelopes for the seeds we shared. We had friends over and weeded the herbs with them before dinner. We got a dog who ate all our carrots and picked strawberries daintily with her teeth. Or something like that.


So I decided to turn my hobby into a business and start selling the seeds that we were saving. Then we decide to have a baby and start a business at the same time. Hilarious! I’m not really sure yet if I recommend it.

I went to the Toronto Business Development Centre and took courses under the Ontario Self Employment Benefit. They were really grumpy about me being pregnant but it all worked out. I started Cubit’s with a website designed by Dan Sampson and a picture of Hazel by Adam Swinbourne. Our first customer came on the very first day we launched and was a total stranger. I have no idea how that happened but I still have a photo of her package.

Laura and Hazel very pregnant

So our landlord went terrible and we quickly moved our 7 month pregnant family and garden (I dug up every plant before my gardens got sodded over) to some new digs. The business started, Rebecca was born, I answered piles of emails, & life as we know it began.

Now fast forward to a weekend visit in “the county“.  Long story short; We decide to buy a barn and now we’re really doing it. Buying a barn along with 13+acres and some giant buildings I can barely open the doors to. We’ve been growing there for a few years and it’s working, it’s all coming together. Although I wouldn’t have guessed when Ryan and I first met in Sculpture Class at OCAD at the ripe ages of 18 & 19 that we would end up farming, I have to say it’s the best bad idea I’ve ever had.

studio 2 gardens at the farm

In the last 5 years, we have hand folded about 100,000 seed packs.  No really.
Now here’s you chance to win 24 packs of some of the last lovingly folded packs ($90+value).


To celebrate our 10,000th etsy sale it’s important to me to pay it forward and share the small business love.  Please swing by these 5 Canadian etsy shops and click on the heart near the top right hand corner to favourite them.  Earn extra entries for voting for our “small business big wish” and  by sharing your favourite etsy shop in the comments for an extra entry. If you’ve never purchased anything on etsy use this link to receive $5 off your first purchase:

Contest open to residents of Canada and the USA excluding Quebec until November 27th, 20313.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The First Rule of Seed Club is…

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

I often get asked how I do it. How I run a business, take care of two littles, carve out just a little time for some volunteer work and even maybe a little time for myself (I went to the dentist and the naturopathic doctor this week. That counts, right?). The truth is it’s a combination of things and none are really anything super human. I make lists, have a loose weekly schedule that includes Fridays off, I wear my baby on my back, I’m getting better at knowing when to say no and more importantly when to say yes.  I’m hoping to get a few posts written about all this work at home nonsense and even though I have that scheduled for once a week I’m not going to feel guilty when it doesn’t happen.

One of the most important things is knowing when to find help. So this year when our spring season ramped up earlier than ever and baby Robin decided to grow teeth we called in some help.  In past years Ryan and I have invited a few friends and my brothers over sporadically to help pack seeds but this year we have taken a different approach. We’ve found a nice group of old friends and former employees and even an almost teenager to play duplo for hours at a time. Then we get everyone together at the same time and pack seeds.  It’s like the scenes in Fight Club where you look through the house and everyone is making soap. Except with us it’s seeds and nothing blows up.

So here’s our cast of characters. They are all awesome and I thought I should introduce them to you as it’s quite possible they helped fill your seed order.

Clara may pack seeds on Sundays but really she’s an awesome illustrator who makes these awesome feminist body positive punk rock watercolours. She can build a goblin caves out of duplo and might be Becca’s favourite person in the whole world.

Gerald used to work for Ryan. Then I stole him and he worked for me. Now he builds robots. Really. 

Alison and I used to work together. She’s got a shiny new job that started this week and she’s a girl guide leader.  How cool is that? She is also an expert at cutting and pasting and I like her very much.

Hazel finds being a mascot exhausting and wishes she got more fan mail.

Rebecca is getting really good at threshing seeds. She’ll work for honey sticks so that’s a real bonus.

Last but not least, these guys.  Ryan and Robin work really well together. Ryan prints and folds the seed packs, Robin tries to eat them. Ryan even got to combine some of his many jobs by making us this cool little video and testing out a new GoPro camera at the very same time. Talk about multitasking!

Please take a peek at a day’s work reduced to 30 seconds:

By getting together all at once instead of picking away at the work a little at a time we get a ton of work done. It’s quite a bit of fun, we all eat a nice meal together and then we do it again the next week. Just because you’re self-employed doesn’t mean you have to work all by yourself.

New in the Shop! Cubit’s Farm & Food Photos on Etsy

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Once upon a time, I used to sell my art. Unfortunately I found the whole ordeal extraordinarily stressful. I think back to the stress of openings, the expense of showing in galleries, and enormous effort of the outdoor shows and just shudder. So a few years ago, I decided that I needed a nice long break from publicly showing and that I would use my nice art background to sell something else. Cubit’s was born and I got to combine making art with gardening and use my photography and design skills to sell my seeds.  I even developed a business that could grow while worked at home with my family.

The only real problem was people kept asking to buy my photographs.

So three years later, I’m taking baby steps into selling my actual art work again and have introduced a new section in cubit’s etsy shop with small postcard prints of my photography. They’re perfect to send to your favourite foodie or hang in your kitchen. I’m hoping to expand this shop section in the next few months and offer larger scale prints.

To kick off finally offering these in my etsy shop Moo has generously offered 4 prizes to my readers to help me celebrate. I’ve been using them for much of my printing for a few years now and am always impressed.  The photo quality of their printing, combined with how easy it is to order and their eco friendly options just aren’t offered by anyone else.

3 readers will win sets of 100 business cards, like these coupons I made, and one will also win a set of 20 postcards, either with my images or your own.

To enter I’m asking that you share one of my images, listing or posts somewhere on the internet; pinterest, twitter, facebook, stumbleupon, anywhere really.  You can use the handy buttons at the bottom of each post or on the right side of each etsy listing and then report back by simply leaving a comment with the link and your twitter or email so I can contact you if you win.

Contest is closed.


Lucky Etsy Baby

Monday, April 30th, 2012

I couldn’t help it, the new baby needed a few things from fellow Canadian Etsy sellers Rebecca and Lisa of the Organic Quilt Company.

A cheerful little package arrived today.  It contained a sweet sheep bib (baby’s quilt will have this fabric in it too) and tiny organic hat for the first few days.

{ update }

more good mail today.  I think I’m done now. A little robin shirt and thefabric for the baby’s quilt!

Let’s Wrap This Up: Eco Friendly Gift Wrapping and Etsy Finds

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Inspired by Karen’s Christmas pledge over at The Art of Doing Stuff I am trying my hardest to stay ahead of the holiday madness and not over commit myself this year. She’s pledged to be done (DONE!) her christmas preparations by December 4th so she’s free to enjoy the holidays.

I’m inspired, but as the earliest we can put up our tree is the 12th, we’re doing it a little differently.

Around here the promise is to not leave things to the last minute along with not starting any new projects this year. We’re ploughing through the list and nothing anyone can say will entice me to host anymore meetings, make anymore crafts, or host anymore dinner parties than I’m already committed too. Sorry but this doesn’t mean I’ll finish my Christmas cards on time, it means I’m simply not sending them.  Also, we’ll be breaking tradition with no Christmas renovations.

So, on that note today we starting wrapping and wrapping might be my favourite part of Christmas.

Wrapping is serious business round these parts.  It typically involves folding bones and guillotines.

After coming across a really nice download for these little birds from Lisa Rupp over on thatshappy I printed some off on the kraft paper all the Cubit’s seed packsare made of and we were off!

Some cutting resulted in a nice pile of kraft paper birds that was mounted on black mi-tients paper (I’m a total paper nerd if you don’t know that already). All our supplies came from the local Danforth location of Deserres Art Supplieswhere I worked for a few years in my former life of working with/for other people.

Then some more cutting and voila! Bird tags.  Nice black backs to write on with a white pencil crayon. Preferably the omnicrom water soluble ones, but I’m also a pencil nerd so feel free to ignore me.

Our shopping this year has been pretty enjoyable.  We’ve been able to do a ton of it on etsy and some coworkers from another gig in my former life have opened a fabulous toy storejust down the street from us and right beside the art supply store.  This could be dangerous.

All the little girls on our list are getting skirts that were handmade in Alaska by Bohdi Handmade along with the some critters from Tracey and Shamie’s great new Danforth toy shop Silly Goose Kids.

I love how so many etsy purchases come wrapped so beautifully.  This is Rebecca’s new apron from local etsy seller BirdbyJill and something special from Leah Duncan. Almost seems a shame to wrap them.

Good bubbles are important (also from Silly Goose Kids).

Here’s some of the Good Earth’s Good Jam all ready to wrap along with some nice tea and Leah Duncan’s gorgeous designs.
Combined with oodles of rick rack and a stack of washi tape (also from Deserres) I’m pretty pleased with it all. Cute and environmental friendly what with the 100% recycled paper, reusable cotton rick rack, paper tape and reused bags.
That’s that’s a wrap.  I’ve wrapped quite a bit and am almost feeling on top of it.  Now to host that one last party, meeting, pack these orders and finish the renovations so I can show you my pimp that preserve entry and get on with Christmas.