I’m Still Here.

Posted by on Oct 20, 2020

That’s my kind of organized chaos! You’re looking at an overhead shot of what I like to call “linking central” in the workshop area of my studio.

Being in business for 28 years means I’ve seen my fair share of ups and downs. The main thing about running your own business as a “Solopreneur” is that you HAVE to be adaptable and flexible on a moment’s notice. No Board of Directors here to run it past first! Just me, myself and I, and we all have to be in agreement.

I’ve learned to trust my instincts and go with what sits well “in my gut”. This pandemic is just another wrinkle and a set of circumstances that no one probably imagined they would have to deal with. But here it is in all it’s interesting, weird – and sometimes wonderful – glory.

My website runs 7/24, 365 days a year. Any question you may have is easily answered via telephone or email through my website contact page. It’s also a great place to do any “third party/gift” shopping. You order and pay for an item, and I ship it to someone else. At checkout, you just change the “ship to” information to the recipient’s. You can even write a note to them in the comments box. I then handwrite your note and include it with the order. I package these orders as “mailed gifts”. Once the shipping envelope is opened, the festively wrapped gift box can wait to be opened on the special day.

Thankfully, I had the vision to have an online presence pre-pandemic, and I also have a big, beautiful studio here in the west end of Toronto, where I see clients ‘by appointment’. These two avenues quickly became my clients’ preferred method of connection after Mid-March.

Here’s the perfect little “pizza style” box I found for shipping all online orders: 100% recyclable cardboard that I line with tissue paper and include a handwritten note, composed by you, written by me (if it’s a “third party” gift). If it’s for you, you still get all the “special treatment” and a handwritten note of thanks from me.

If you’re looking for something that you have seen before, but you can’t find it online, please let me know. It’s very difficult to include everything on the website. I have about 190 product pages, but with a jewellery line as large as mine, there are always “gaps”. Just email me with your inquiries and I will be happy to help.

And speaking of websites, many galleries and boutiques that carry my work have included my pieces on their sites, as well as in their bricks and mortar stores. If you would prefer to purchase an item from my line through your favourite retailer, go for it! You will still be supporting me AND your local retailer. For a complete list of Retailers and their websites click here.

If you’re an AGO Member, check out their online selection of my work and receive your 10% member discount. A wider selection of my line is available for purchase in their gallery store.

Recently, The Art Gallery of Ontario added a selection of my designs to their ShopAGO website.  If you’re an AGO member, whether you shop in person or through their website, you receive their special 10% member discount as one of the perks of membership.

In the Art Gallery of Ontario’s actual brick and mortar ShopAGO, they have recently moved my jewellery line to one of the display cases that is located across the front window display of the shop.

New location of my jewellery at ShopAGO

Since we are now into the “second wave” of COVID, all shows or events are all cancelled for the foreseeable future. You have probably heard about many “virtual” shows and marketplaces that are being offered. I have decided NOT to participate in ANY virtual shows, marketplaces or events. Not even the Winter One of a Kind Online Show. 

Instead, I’ve come up with a studio plan to create my own. I’m calling it “Lisa’s One of a Kind Artisans’ Holiday Show”. Since 2007, I have had my Holiday Open House each year, where I open my studio to the public for the week prior to Christmas. Back then, no appointment was needed. It was just me and my jewellery in a relaxed shopping atmosphere.

This is my studio showroom area as it looks today. This display will change with the addition of a curated collection of creations from some fellow Canadian Artisans.

This year, I’ve decided to spice things up a bit and invite some of my favourite One of a Kind Artisans to join me in my annual holiday event. The Artisans, who hail from all over Canada, won’t actually be in my studio. But their wonderful creations will be. It will be a lot like shopping the “real” One of a Kind Show. Each Artisan will have an “area” in my showroom where their products will be available for purchase. 

Once you decide what you would like to purchase, we will visit that artisan’s website and together we will purchase it online. I’ll pack it up for you. You save the shipping cost. And you leave with a slightly shorter holiday shopping list. 

Watch this space starting in November for more details. I’ll be doing a weekly blog post about each participating Artisan’s work that will be available. I’ll have work from British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia. These Artisans have become good craft show friends over the years, and their work features different mediums, and different price ranges.

Unlike previous years, due to COVID, appointments will be necessary for this special event. Appointments will ensure a wonderful, personal experience with social distancing and other safety precautions. I’m currently working on an “appointment calendar” page for my website, to make it easier for you to book your studio visit. Please stay tuned to see what I come up with.

In keeping with “One of a Kind Holiday Show”  theme, this year, kick off day will be the same day that the real One of a Kind Show would have been, Thursday, November 26th. And it will run everyday until Wednesday, December 23rd.

In the meantime, I am still here working away in my studio on a daily basis. Just like the last 28 years. Pandemic be damned! The pace may be different, as the expectations certainly are, but I remain committed to the passion of creativity that has steered my life since my Mother first taught me to knit at the age of five. What an amazing journey it continues to be. Thank you one and all for your continued support.

And speaking of knitting….

Finished my test knit “Ribbon Wrap Light” for Elise Young, a Canadian Knitwear Designer from Salt Spring Island, BC. It’s a whopping 23 “ W x 102” L. Biggest project yet, but I loved EVERY stitch of it. Find out more about her knitwear at illitilli.com. Follow me on Instagram (@LisaRidout) to keep up with what I am up to on the daily.