Makers Corner: Moji Kajubi

In the lead up to market day, 2nd & 3rd November at The Factory, Dalston AND 7 December, Etsy Made Local Tottenham, we’ve been catching up with the amazing makers who will bring their handmade items to market.

Today we caught up with Tottenham native, Moji Kajubi, co-funder of ARA Natural Skincare.

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You’re fairly new to making skincare products, can you share how you are preparing yourselves this Christmas?

This is our first year in business so we’re very excited to be part of Etsy Made Local Tottenham. As we are Christmas rush virgins, we have been asking others for advice. The advice that has stuck in our minds the most is try to be as prepared as possible, including sharing when our last postal dates.
As we are relatively a new business, markets are a great way for us to connect with those who have a passion for natural skincare products, and instantly discover opinions surrounding texture, scents and what matters the most to our customers and tailoring our products.

What is your connection to Tottenham?

We have a strong connection to Haringey and Tottenham, our family have lived in the borough for close to 50 years. We’ve grown up here and still live locally. I think we are really lucky as it’s close enough to central London but you have lots of green spaces and places like Ally Pally. There has been lots of change in that time and it’s interesting to see new places popping up especially all the places to eat, drink and spend time with friends.
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Can you share what inspired you to become a maker and what you are doing to limit your impact on the environment?

We started making skincare products as we wanted to ensure that the products we and our families used did not include harmful chemicals or man made products. With this ethos in mind, we try to build sustainability into our processes with little touches such as our packaging, we use glass jars so they can be reused, paper bags, brown paper wrapping etc. I’m sure there is more we can do, we use bubble wrap to project items when we post – although we try to reuse what the packaging came in. We routinely review how we can make our products as sustainable as possible and actively build this around our business activities.
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Thank you so much for speaking with us. You can find the lovely Moji at The Factory, Dalston on 2nd and 3rd November, and Etsy Made Local Tottenham (Tottenham Town Hall) on 7th December 2019 along with many other talented local makers. It’s going to be a bumper handmade only market! Pop the date in your diary!

Makers Corner: James Nicholls

In the lead up to Etsy Made Local Tottenham, we’ve been catching up with the amazing makers who will bring their handmade items to market on 1-2 December.

Today we caught up with fellow creative, James Nicholls and his amazing graphic designs.

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What inspired you to became a maker?

I have always been interested in art, and I studied Graphic Design with Illustration at art school. It took a few years to get my graphic design career in the sort of place that I wanted it to be, and so a couple of years ago I was able to devote a bit more time to devote to extracurricular projects and started selling products online and getting my own personal work out there a bit more.

After a long day designing and making, what do you do to switch off and relax?

My main way of switching off is to go out for a run. I run about 20 miles a week and I feel that this time outside, on my own and away from anything digital is the best way to clear my mind (and actually a useful time to think about some things that need working out, finding solutions to problems or fresh ideas). My over passion is reading, I like nothing more than sitting down with a book purely for enjoyment, as well as occasionally I can have the bonus of this informing my work in some way, or giving me some ideas.

Can you tell us what is it like juggling your passion whilst holding down a day job?

It is quite difficult. After a hard day at work, it is often difficult to be motivated to do stuff in the evenings and to find the time, however my personal work does offer an extra element of creativity that my day job doesn’t always provide. That’s the main thing that makes it so easy to do; it’s my passion and I will always find some time to do it.

Can you share with us what has been your biggest achievement?

My biggest achievement was being commissioned, along with a couple of friends, to produce a 90 square metre mural for an advertising agency in Dubai. It was our first real project together and also our biggest by a long way. We had a few months to plan it all out and then they flew us over there to create the mural on site over the course of a week. It was hard work and the days were long, but I think we all learnt the most we ever have done in such a short space of time; working out logistics, planning ahead, and working with the client in a different country.

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Thank you so much for speaking with us. You can find the lovely James Nicholls on Day 1 of Etsy Made Local Tottenham (Tottenham Town Hall) along with many other talented local makers and don’t forget, this is a two-day bumper handmade only market! Find us on Day 2 at The Beehive Pub on 2 December. See you then!!

James Nicholls

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Makers Corner: Aisling van der Walt

Today is ‘Super Monday’ because you get to hear from not one, but TWO of our fantastic makers in the lead up to Etsy Made Local Tottenham!!

Our second maker today is the lovely Aisling van der Walt.

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What inspired you to became a maker?

Since I was young I’ve always loved drawing and creating. My poor sister has vivid memories of me as a 10year-old sketching her portrait in the car while she was sulking just to wind her up #sisterlove.

After years of remaining hidden in my dusty art box, my paintbrushes came out again when my husband bought me art classes for my birthday. My homemade cards got a serious facelift when I started to teach myself modern calligraphy and brush lettering. With encouragement from friends and family to sell some of my work, I gradually started turning my hobby into a business. I set up an Instagram page, started selling on Etsy, teaching Wine and Modern Calligraphy workshops, and now I’m delighted to be selling at an Etsy Made Local Christmas Market!

Please can you share the making and designing process?

If I am creating just for myself, I go straight to my watercolours and use nature to inspire me. I’m drawn to abstract forms of colour and subtle tonal variations, aiming to achieve a painterly, whimsical effect.

If I am creating a commissioned lettering piece for a customer I often mock-up a design using my iPad pencil which is a quick and effective way to play around with composition, colour and design. Once I have agreed a final design with the client, I lightly mark out the design with pencil and paper to ensure correct alignment, then I apply paint using high quality watercolours. When everything is good and dry I hand letter the quote/ lettering on top of the paint.

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What is it like owning your own business or like many, juggling multiple jobs?

I have learned a lot about juggling since starting my art business! I work as an occupational therapist in the NHS which I love, but when you work in healthcare you put all your time and energy into other people and for me, art and calligraphy is the perfect way to recharge my batteries. Running my own business has been a steep learning curve because it involves so much more than just painting. I needed to learn marketing, photography, printing, stock management, Photoshop, DPIs, PPIs, TIFFS – things I had no clue about before I started! Even when it is crazy busy with orders and commissions, I feel so lucky to be able to run a business around something I love so I wouldn’t change it….but maybe ask me again in the Christmas rush!

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Can you impart a quote or words of wisdom to inspire?

“Done is better than perfect” – being able to say this has been a huge learning curve for me! My perfectionistic tendencies definitely come out in my artwork and in many ways, they help me produce high quality pieces. But when it comes to deciding to put yourself out there and open an Etsy shop, or share your work on social media, or run a workshop, or sell at a market, sometimes you need to just take the plunge even if you think you’re not ‘there yet’. I could wait my whole life to get ‘there’ and meanwhile nothing would have happened. Take the leap and who knows, you might be more ‘there’ than you thought you were!

Thank you so much for speaking with us. You can find the lovely Aisling on Day 1 of Etsy Made Local Tottenham (Tottenham Town Hall) along with many other talented local makers and don’t forget, this is a two-day bumper handmade only market! Find us on Day 2 at The Beehive Pub on 2 December. See you then!!

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Makers Corner: Angela Hunt

In the lead up to Etsy Made Local Tottenham, we’ve been catching up with the amazing makers who will bring their handmade items to market on 1-2 December.

Today we caught up with a Tottenham creative, Angela Hunt of Ribbon Gibbon.

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What is your link to Tottenham?

I first discovered Tottenham when I started working for a charity near White Hart Lane. That was also where I met who was to become my husband and a few years later we moved into the area. We have been living in Tottenham for 9 years and in that time we have seen a huge amount of change but the constant has always been the fantastic community spirit! We have two small children and feel very fortunate to be living in such a family friendly part of London. The incredible parks, cafes, toddler and baby activities, family days as well as the amazing community of local businesses – we love Tottenham!

What inspired you to became a maker or, please describe the making/designing process?

I’ve always been a frustrated crafty! I love creating beautiful things, I find it relaxing and rewarding. When planning our wedding day, I spent many happy hours making all the decorations from scratch and I was delighted and very proud with how everything turned out. Hen dos, baby showers, 1st birthdays, naming days, milestone birthdays and other parties followed and I always loved getting the decorations just right. When going on maternity leave with my second baby, I decided to take the plunge and turn my hobby in to a business. I set up my Etsy shop and have been loving the journey ever since! It makes me extremely happy to think that I have been able to play a tiny part in so many special occasions for people. I am really positive about the future and hope my little company can continue to grow!

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What is it like owning your own business or like many, juggling multiple jobs?

One of the biggest struggles of running a small business alongside work and family life is simply the lack of time!! There are just not enough hours in the day!! I have so many ideas and things I would like to achieve and I am currently on maternity leave but it’s usually after my gorgeous children have gone to bed that I get to concentrate on my business. Rather than getting overwhelmed with all the things I want to do, I try to break things down in to manageable chunks and keep chipping away. Slow and steady wins the race! Who knows where this journey will take me and that situation may change in the future but, for now, the juggle continues and even though it’s very busy, I love it!

Can you impart a quote or words of wisdom to inspire?

Something I read once that really stuck with me is: ‘Don’t compare your beginning to somebody else’s middle’. I think this really applies to setting up a business. There is so much to learn, so much to think about and so many things to adapt, all of which is a massive part of the fun! But you can sometimes fall into the trap of comparing what you are doing with others, forgetting that they themselves have been on the exact same journey, they are just further along. Keep being you, believe in yourself and who knows what wonderful things you can achieve!

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Thank you so much for speaking with us. You can find the lovely Angela on Day 1 of Etsy Made Local Tottenham (Tottenham Town Hall) along with many other talented local makers and don’t forget, this is a two-day bumper handmade only market! Find us on Day 2 at The Beehive Pub on 2 December. See you then!!

Ribbon Gibbon

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