One of a Kind Fashion Finds

The One Of a Kind artisan show takes place in Toronto twice a year (there’s also a version in Chicago), and the holiday event attracts almost 800 artisans, designers and craftspeople. While the goods range from tasty to twee, OOAK has become a major event for many indie clothing and accessory designers from across Canada. We scoured the aisles for the coolest duds, with an eye – of course – to things suitable for folks with a “still weird” sensibility.

Everything mentioned is available online. A couple of caveats; while women’s wear is quite prevalent, we found very little in the way of cool clothing for men. And of the ladies wear, plus sizes were often hard to come by, although some designers did carry stuff up to about an 18 or 20.

ooak_rubydiego

This linen Gusto vest from Ruby Diego comes in three colours and can be worn year-round. Beautiful seaming down the front creates an hourglass effect.

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Find All the Flavours at One of a Kind

It’s Black Friday in the US, and Buy Nothing Day for those who oppose all that consumerism, but here at TasteTO we espouse a a kinder, gentler approach to the inevitable holiday shopping. We call it “Buy Something Good Day” (no, seriously, it’s an alternative day I made up about 10 years ago), and the premise is to neither go hogwild in the line-ups fighting to get cheap crap, or to boycott shopping completely, but rather to shop conscientiously, buying only what you truly need, and when buying gifts, to source beautiful products from local independent artisans so your dollars go back into the local economy and support craftspeople.

There is no better place to do that than at the One of a Kind Christmas Show and Sale, which runs at Exhibition Place until December 6th. With something like 700+ artisans offering everything from clothing and jewelry, toys, furniture housewares, food and art, there’s something for everyone.

Of course, we’re mostly interested in the food-related items and we arrived early yesterday morning to peruse the aisles before the event opened to find a fab selection of great stuff. Follow the clicky for an array of gorgeous food-related goodies.

Above image: Peas in a pod – handmade serving dishes from Wellington Pottery.

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The Gingerbread Village

madbattershouse

Mad Batter Bakers
133 Jefferson Avenue
416-516-4759

People strolling through Liberty Village can often be seen stopping mid-stride, lifting their noses to the air and taking in huge whiffs of the spicy gingerbread smell that fills the air here. It’s not the smell of bread from the nearby Canada Bread factory but the sweet fragrance of gingerbread and sugar cookies from the Mad Batter Bakers on Jefferson Avenue.

Tucked away along a strip of restaurants, Leona Knaup and Mary Young’s bakery can turn out roughly 3000 fully decorated gingerbread and sugar cookies every day during the peak season. And with gingerbread as a specialty, peak season is now, in the last few weeks leading up to the Christmas holidays.

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Why I’ll Never Be a Real Insider

I understand that, for a business, marketing plays a key role in achieving success. It’s fine to make a product or write something or make a piece of music, but unless people know about it, you tend not to sell much. I also understand that most advertising, as its basest level, is about manipulation – make people want what you have. Make them believe they can’t live without it. And it used to be that advertising was pretty straightforward – run an ad in a magazine or on TV, or maybe a big billboard. Free samples, gift with purchase and other  programs that made consumers feel as if they were getting something extra also worked well.

Since the Intarwebs became popular, marketing has kind of been thrown on its head. And while it may take longer than hitting a million viewers all at once with a TV ad, viral marketing directed at “community influencers” is becoming more and more popular. Recommendations from people in “the community”, under the guise of friendship, trust and camaraderie, pull more weight than an ad in a magazine, which can seem insincere.

Bloggers are a key target area for viral marketing campaigns. Sending a promotional product or book to a blogger with high site hits is a cheap and easy way for marketers to have the (usually positive) word spread about whatever it is they’re trying to sell. Marketers depend on the blogger to be naive about the marketing machine; to be flattered, and have feelings of obligation, and in turn write a glowing review of the freebie. Since getting free stuff is fun, most bloggers know better than to rock the boat by writing a negative review, or if they do share their true feelings on a product, it’s usually tempered with political correctness and apologies for not liking it.

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