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.