Welcome to our brand new article ‘Feature Friday’ where we showcase a different Etsy designer, maker, or artist each week. In this regular feature we will explore how they work, what inspires them, and of course take a look at some of their lovely makes… perhaps learning a thing or two that we can apply to our own journey along the way!
This week we are talking to the very talented Vicky Wade from Tori Lo Designs. Vicky is a designer based here in the North East, just up the road from Rose Filtered HQ, and her beautiful designs really caught my eye when we first started networking with other makers on Etsy. I thought her shop would set a great benchmark for the type of work we are looking to showcase each Friday.
Introducing Tori Lo Designs…
Could you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about you and your Etsy shop?
Hi! My names Vicky, I’m a Leather accessories designer based in North Shields on the North East coast of England.
“My brand is all about experimentation, taking simple styles and enhancing them to create something truly individual.”
I created my brand Tori Lo Designs around a year ago now, a lot of people ask where the name came from, truth me told, I wanted the brand to be me, my name. However I didn’t think it had the right ring to it, so I took bit’s out of my name vic’TORI’a ‘LO’rraine, to finally come up with Tori Lo Designs.
I had previously worked for a great small company in the jewellery industry, to which I owe a lot of my knowledge. However, I never had the freedom in which Tori Lo gives me. My brand is all about experimentation, taking simple styles and enhancing them to create something truly individual.
My debuting collection on Etsy is a range of tie dyed leather goods, these are vibrant and exciting and each one is individual to it’s owner, I experiment with the dyes to create vibrant and loud colours that really stand out. Though all products are also available in a plain option for those less daring!
“I experiment with the dyes to create vibrant and loud colours that really stand out”
Tell us a little bit about how & where you work?
All my products are handcrafted from start to finish. I use a vegetable tanned leather base, that I cut, dye and stitch by hand. All products are made in my home studio (which used to be my bedroom, the bedroom got downgraded for the love of handbags!) It’s a great room that offers me the space to be able to work on a few different projects at a time. However, the dream is to get myself a studio overlooking the beautiful North East Coast! It’s only year one, I’ve got time!
What inspires your work?
I love nature, living by the coast I always turn to the sea when I am unsure of what direction to take, I’m not saying it necessarily inspires me, but it is an integral part of my creative thought process. I can find inspiration in the smallest of things, whether it be a silly conversation or a colour combination in architecture. This year I am starting to create my work in collections, these will hopefully see more direct inspirations.
What are you currently working on?
I bought myself an industrial sewing machine at the beginning of the year, and although I love hand sewing, and a lot of my products still will be hand sewn, I am working on ways to improve the products without dramatically effecting price. Whether this is extra pockets, fastenings, or just making them larger and more complicated.
I am also always working on new dying techniques, fun and creative ways I can manipulate the leather to create something new and interesting…these however are top secret! Sorry!
How have you found your Etsy journey so far?
I have loved my Etsy journey, it’s not as easy as it may look, but it is the most rewarding thing you can do. There is nothing more satisfying than someone choosing to order something handmade by you, it’s a feeling that never gets old, no matter how many orders you get though.
Any lessons learned so far that you would like to share with other Etsy makers?
The best lesson I have learned in my year of trading is that you have to keep working at it, if you sit around waiting for orders, unfortunately, unless you are very lucky, you will be waiting a long time. Look at your shop and the ways it can be improved all the time, there are always things that can be done to make it better. Mine is far from perfect, but it’s a vast amount better than it was when I started. Product photography is key, everyone buy’s into the lifestyle that you are portraying, you don’t need to spend a fortune on a fancy photographer, there’s plenty you can do even do from your iPhone!
“You have to keep working at it”
I have worked on my product photography from two angles, both by myself and with a photographer. A lot of my more basic images I take in the house, using my camera or phone, especially for social media, I always use my iPhone, sometimes it even seems to work better than my camera. It’s a really great tool, so use it! I have a little set up under the window in my studio, it’s great, I can just put something down and shoot…
Here’s some examples of images I have taken on my iPhone…
I have also had the great fortune to work with a fantastic photographer, Gavin Forster. For the shoot with Gavin I wanted some model images that would really capture the look of my brand, I had an amazing time finding a venue, model (Kayleigh Falcus) and make up artist (Maximillion).
Working alongside a professional photographer gave me the chance to stand back and really style the images, think about what I wanted in them. If you are looking for more of an editorial shoot, I think it is really valuable to spend a little more money and have the chance to be able to stand back and see the bigger picture. I had the most amazing experience with Gavin, and would highly recommend him to anyone looking to do a shoot. Here are a few from my professional shoot…
The photos are fabulous! You’re right an iPhone can do a great job but I must say the edgy ‘high fashion’ look you’ve achieved in those professional product photos by Gavin are fabulous! Looking through the site my favourite professional picture is the tan clutch in the ‘kitchen’… love it! Your favourite make so far?
I would have to say the Yellow BiFold Purse, I think i am just in love with yellow at the moment!
I’m so with you on that! Yellow seems to be the colour of the moment, your block Yellow Tassel Clutch Bag and matching phone pouch are gorgeous. Your leather hand dyed cross body iPad bag in blue stripes is also to die for – I’m a sucker for anything with a stripe. Also loving the little leather heart earnings so cute! Your best seller?
What’s next for your shop?
I’m bringing out a lot of new products in the summer month’s, working on improving the current designs and as I said earlier, new dying techniques, which I am very excited about! Really over the next couple of months I am looking to streamline my business and get everything perfect, if such a thing exists!
Your Etsy crush?
Anybody who knows me, will understand my love for bears… so I am going to have to go with Past Your Porchlight. This shop create numerous felted bears, which I am just in love with! There’s one with mushrooms and a little mouse that is just adorable!
Readers must take a look, it’s a gorgeous shop! Your favourite Etsy purchase?
Now this is going to sound a little sad, but a while back I purchased a load of zips from an Etsy shop called Zip It, and honestly, they are the best zips, and at a great price!
I have a slight addiction to buying unloved furniture and upholstering Ercol chairs so that information could be exactly what I need, thanks! Where can we find you on the web to come and say ‘hi’?
Thank you so much to Vicky Wade from Tori Lo Designs for agreeing to be our first ‘Feature Friday’ subject, she’s got us off to a cracking start. I think you’ll agree her work is beautiful? We’ll keep you updated and look forward to hearing hear how things have progressed with her shop. We’ve even booked in a ‘Feature Friday’ update six months from now!
After so much support and help from other Etsy makers since we set up our Rose Filtered shop (just over a month ago) Steve and I are both really keen to create this ‘Feature Friday’ to help share the love and create a platform where Etsians can show off their lovely wares. It’s only when you actually start selling online that you get a real understanding of how hard it it is to get your work seen. A lot of new Etsy businesses don’t have thousands of pounds to spend on marketing and they certainly don’t have the footfall of an art gallery, never mind the high street giants. So this is about doing our little bit to raise the profile of some of the talented makers. We truly hope this will be a small step to help these businesses on their way to even greater success.
If you’ve made it to the bottom of the page please can we ask that you comment below if you have any feedback you’d like to give about the format of this feature and of course please can we ask you to share the article across social media and go and visit the Tori Lo shop – have a browse… treat yourself? Rose Filtered HQ and Tori Lo look forward to hearing from you!
Leanne @ Rose Filtered x
If you are an Etsy shop in the UK and are interested in ‘Feature Friday’ then please contact us here and simply send us the name of your Etsy shop, providing a few brief details. If we think you’d be a good feature then we will be back in touch. Please be advised that your photos should be light and bright and you should be actively involved in social media to be considered. It may take up to a month until you hear back as many slots in the coming weeks are already taken due to receiving a lot of interest. Thanks again for your interest and we look forward to hearing from you!