Okanagan artisans making an impact on global audience

Etsy introducing local artisans to a worldwide market was a story easily found throughout the market.

  • Oct. 2, 2015 3:00 p.m.

The WOLF + SADIE booth at last weekend’s Etsy pop-up market continually caused log jams in the flow of shopper traffic around Sandhill Wines.

Silver rings, pendants and bangles handmade by Kelowna metal smith and sculptor Bramble Lee Pryde, were laid out in a  manner that reflected the significance, purpose and longevity of each piece. They caught a lot of attention.

Pryde explains on her blog that, despite her work’s aesthetic appeal, her locally-sourced silver pieces are less about what you’re wearing, and more about why you’re wearing it.

It’s a thoughtful and time-consuming approach to work that’s been increasingly in demand outside the boundaries of this city.

Pointing to a large circular pendant that gained a fair bit of attention from market attendees, Pryde offered insight into her growing popularity as an artisan.

“It’s featured in the TV show, Pretty Little Liars,”  Pryde said, noting that she’s low key about her successes and doesn’t advertise her individual accomplishments at her booth.

Other pieces were worn by Emma Ruth Rundle during her recent North American and European tours.

The Pretty Little Liars show, in particular, however, could have been just a feather in her cap, but Etsy made it a game changer.

When the show lists her jewelry as worn on the actors, her Etsy shop lights up.

“It’s been amazing,” she said. “People can search my work, and then find it . I’m now known… not in Kelowna. In other areas, not here. “

Etsy introducing local artisans to a worldwide market was a story easily found throughout the market.

Sarah Sichello of Ugly Bunny had her “light-hearted and affordable jewelry” in Toronto galleries long before she made her mark in Kelowna.

“I’ve been doing this full time for thee years,” she said, as customers walked away with her lovely wooden designs firmly in their grips.

“I wanted to create a line that was not expensive, but enjoyable,” she said, noting that she uses local companies and products to make earrings and pendants.

Now she’s in 50 shops across Canada and has shipped her work to “places (she) couldn’t even imagine” once upon a time.

“We found a niche market for work like this,” she said, pointing out that Etsy was key to her success.

“Everyone knows Etsy,” she said. “It’s trusted and user friendly.”

Brazen Edwards curated the local Etsy show for the second year in a row, and found 35 vendors with talents worth showcasing.

“We had everyone reapply this year, so we could change things up,” she said, pointing out that it was hard to turn some away, but it made for a better shopping experience.

As is, the market was shoulder-to-shoulder with people looking for a great locally made item to gift or keep.

“This is the beginning to market season,” said Edwards, noting it will continue to pick up until Christmas.

“For all of us vendors, this show will kick us into gear.”

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