Second Hand Economy Inspires Another Creative Business!

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The hand economy is fresh & fertile ground for entrepreneurs, especially crafty ones.
Nooks Design was established in the winter of 2012 when the owners’ daughter was learning to walk and needed some footwear to keep her warm during long outings in the cold. There were a number of criteria that they wanted, including having the shoes made from natural materials, a slip-proof soft sole, and they had to be easy to get on yet hard for busy little feet to kick off. After coming across a discarded cashmere sweater in a thrift store, the idea of making the shoes from upcycled wool sweaters was born.

Four years later, the company now makes 250 pairs of their one-of-a-kind (that’s right, they’re still made from sweaters and are therefore all different!) felted wool booties every week with the help of a team of talented artisan cutters and seamstresses. The demand for the cozy and wooly booties has garnered attention from shop owners across the country and they can now be found on the shelves of 40 boutiques throughout Canada. Interacting with customers face-to-face to help them find the perfect pair for their little one is such a fun part of the process that the Nooks Design team can be found at dozens of markets and craft shows throughout BC and Alberta every year.

The booties can also be purchased online through their Etsy shop and shipped anywhere in the world. Want to keep up with what’s new and fresh at Nooks Design? Visit their website or follow them on the Facebook and Instagram and prepare to have your feed filled with photos of cute kids wearing some adorable vintage-inspired clothing and felted wool booties! Have any questions and prefer email? They can be reached directly at info@nooksdesign.ca.

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Mail-In Outfit Rescue Service Is Born

Textiles only comprise approximately 6% of landfill volume, and as such it was the last priority of waste management experts compared to things like tires, lightbulbs, e-waste – a far bigger problem that needed to be tackled first. Stewardship programs have done that brilliantly, and now textiles is next on everyone’s agenda. It is rumoured that in 2017 stewardship for textiles will be a real thing – and we are seeing hints of that happen in the marketplace.

Textile Waste Diversion was the first to be publicly supportive of industry shifts and we set up our infrastructure years ago to be ready when this time inevitably came.

The free market is very wise in picking up future trends, and large businesses have already popped up that for the first time deal with used clothing as a useable commodity as opposed to just a problem. Old denim is being used to make insulation, old sweaters are being used to make baby shoes, and the list continues.

This trend has also created a resurgence in small home based businesses that extend the life of products. Cobblers and seamstresses are back in demand! We celebrate the positive impact this trend is having on family businesses.

We came across one such homesteader in Wisconsin that turned her love of tie-dye into a home based service that artfully gives new life to your old favourite pieces that have become stained or colours out of date. People from all over the world mail Happy Hippie Husky their favourite pieces they just can’t bare to part with, and Sonia rescues the items & mails them back. This isn’t just your random tie-dye fun, Sonia is truly an artist that custom creates pieces based on the creative input of her clients.

Sonia told us, “The art of tie dye has witnessed its own resurgence in recent years. While most professional artists absolutely encourage at home experimentation there is a certain caliber of artistic quality that can only be met through many dedicated hours of practice.”

The Happy Hippie Husky is looking forward to launching their new website soon but in the meantime, you can arrange for an outfit rescue by reaching out to Sonia here:
Facebook.com/thehappyhippiehusky

Here are some photographs of her more recent rescues.

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DIY and Dreadlocks? Why Not!

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Karen Wallington, Modlocks

We recently visited famed loctician (dreadlock specialist) Karen Wallington of ModLocks in Toronto.  who gave us a great DIY idea using sewing scraps and notions to embellish hair! (She also made a sizeable textile donation to our Sick Kids Hospital fundraiser – thanks, Karen!) 

Karen gave us some tips on a very popular embellishment of wrapping a dreadlock – although invented for dreadlocks, this can just as easily applied to regular hair sections that are not dreadlocked. 

image2Our VP, Daniela chose to only wrap one section of her hair in a subtle grey with some extra Icelandic wool Karen had, but you could increase the cool factor exponentially by using multi-coloured fabric scraps or threads and adding embellishments like sewing on buttons or other fun charms and notions. The more sections you embellish with more colours, the funkier the hair looks. 

The best thing about this technique is you can really express your own sense of style with its versatility. You can wrap either your entire hair section or just a little bit at the root and then tie or sew on an accessory if you wish. It can all be easily removed so it requires no commitment. 

Jewellery, buttons, charms and beads make great hair embellishments! Earrings, in particular, are great and Daniela did once show up to an office Holiday Party with Christmas ornaments dangling from her dreadlocks! 

image1For embellishments, either tie them to the fabric you were using to wrap, or sew them directly onto your dreadlock/hair section. For one day uses, Daniela likes to use Christmas ornament hooks that she pinches together to avoid getting poked. (Be sure to remove them before lying down, though!)

Karen’s tips: 

If you’re going to use long thin strips of material (i.e. T-shirts or scarves), use the two ends to crisscross around the dreadlock which allows the dread (or hair section) to breathe and dry properly. Hair that is wrapped fully takes longer to dry and retains moisture which can cause a damp unpleasant smell. It’s O.K. to fully wrap your dreads/hair sections but be mindful of the dampness.

When you’re ready to remove the accessories that have been tied in or wrapped, use a stitch ripper instead of scissors – for better control and less chance of cutting your hair by accident!

Daniela’s tips: 

  • Use organic breathable fibres over textiles that do not breath in order to ensure proper drying to prevent mould-ew. 
  • If you have loads of string & yarn scrap, bind them together prior to wrapping. The multi colours & textures add interest. 
  • Here’s a great video tutorial we found on YouTube to show you how it’s done http://youtu.be/L7RLsSKzYek