Monday, March 31, 2014

One Of a Kind Spring Show Toronto 2014 - My First OOAK Experience with the Canadian Beauty Bloggers

If you were around the intersphere this weekend and you’re Canadian (or American, you know, all’s good in the hood) you know that one of the biggest artisan fairs was happening this weekend. The One Of a Kind Spring Show.

I have never attended the OOAKS before. I love me a good fair and have even organized my own in the past. Being able to buy one-of-a-kind items from small business’ is something I really love about this world. I love high-end (though it could be argued that a lot of the stuff you find at artisans shows are as high-end as it gets), but there’s something that makes me so happy about meeting someone who makes and sells items.

Photo via: @missmeganjoy on instagram from left to right: Nicole (Nicole About Town), ME, Julie (Swatch and Reivew), Megan ( Love these ladies. Missing: Jenn (A Beautiful Zen) and Stephanie (Fun Size Beauty)

Obviously cosmetics is where it’s at for me. I know a ton of people who make clothes, make baby items, sell tea but nothing can compare to fresh, handmade cosmetics and body care.
Also, events like these give the CBB gals and I a chance to meet up. I got to meet a few of my favourite faces in person this weekend and it made me all giddy and stuff!

The first artisan I visited was Olive Authentique. Where they sell a line of fantastic all-natural skincare. Julie from Swatch and Review and I were wandering the aisles looking for Jen from A Beautiful Zen, Stephanie from Fun Size Beauty, and Nicole from Nicole About Town and we caught a wiff of this amazing smell. I’m still not 100% sure what product it came from but I think it was the Ginger and Lemongrass scent.

I ended up purchasing a lip balm ($6 on their website) it’s Cocoa Butter and Mint (which seems to be a very popular lip balm scent as I ended up with another one in the same scent that I’m keeping in my car). It smells awesome and is incredibly moisturizing.
I also sampled their hand cream and it smelled great. Slightly greasy for my personal taste but it does the trick. It would be great for slathering on your hands and slipping on some gloves while you sleep. Or as a pre-treatment before a paraffin wax dip.
The prices on their website are decent. With most items at $20 or less you definitely don’t feel bad purchasing multiple items. Flat-rate shipping at $8 and free shipping over $60 – which is fantastic. You certainly can’t go wrong purchasing from this brand.

The second artisan I visited was after I split off from the group and started wandering the aisles. I hit up Aide Bodycare with it’s super-cute retro style pouring out from every corner of the booth. This was one of my favourite artisans – and for good reason. Although I didn’t see anything that caught my eye at the moment for purchase Michelle gladly offered up a lip balm to me to try out and review. Michelle was a total sweetheart and her booth smelled awesome. She’s got a beautifully packaged array of balms, scrubs, soaks and soaps that will make any natural body care junkie’s heart flutter with delight. I love that she packages up favours and gifts for all kinds of occasions – making her store very unique, and cute to boot!
Michelle offers up wedding favours, gifts for him and her and an awesome selection of lip balms in her etsy store and she even runs a blog that you can find on her website as well! Individually her products are all $15.00 or less and she offers up sales, combo-up-and-save deals and gift packages.
I will be adding her store to my list of favourite Etsy stores and will for sure purchase from her in the future!

I purchased the next item I collected that day at Skinlicious Soaps – where you were greeted by a pleasant array of colourful fresh soaps, body butters, bath bombs, shampoos and scrubs. Their entire booth smelled delicious!
The only thing that wasn’t pleasant about my visit to their booth was the service I received. They were the only booth that hardly talked to me. I asked if I could take a photo for my blog and got a fleeting “yes” and barely any eye contact. I can understand that it’s busy but I would have appreciated a slightly more personable experience. And I know I’m not the only one who felt that way as the lady across the booth from me was giving me *that look*. You know, the one that says “Yep, I feel ya sister”! Standing there for a few minutes with a body butter and money in hand I waited for them to acknowledge that I wanted to pay for the product. Which I really wish I didn’t like but I really, really did. I don’t like giving bad reviews when a product is great but I really value good customer service  - especially being a blogger, you know I’ll review my experience, and it just wasn’t there.
All this being said, since you don’t have to deal with them in person when you purchase from their website and their products smell and feel awesome! If you like their facebook page you get a 5% discount using coupon code: 6132214RFB.
Their products are about $20 or less. Not a terrible price point. I got the body butter in Citrus ($20) and it smells divine.

The next place I purchased from caught my eye for one particular reason: they had a balm for sore muscles. Apple Hill Lavender was the name of the company and standing all day really does a number on my feet and legs. So I purchased the balm. I believe it was $8 plus tax.
They do not have an online store but they are located in Windham, ON – where they have an apple orchard and grow fresh English and French lavender. They sell their lavender products in their gift shop May-December and their apples during harvest season (for those who don’t know it’s right around the time of the first frost). They do orchard tours, they sell Raging Bowl Pottery and they give educational lessons on growing, harvesting and distilling lavender.
I think this place would be worth checking out if you’re going to be in the area.

My second favourite little booth was the da lish Cosmetics booth owned by Melanie. This booth gave me butterflies in my tummy! Mostly out of anxiety – because I was sure I would spend what remained of my money at this one booth and I still wasn’t finished at the show.
At her booth she had skincare, deodorant, cream eyeshadow, lipstick, lip and cheek balm, lip gloss, foundation, concealer and probably more but I was too excited to take it all in.
I did end up purchasing a lipgloss and a metallic eyeshadow (whish I will review in another post). The total cost was just less than $40 for both. From her website it seems like she only sells the products in sets but you can also purchase her products in stores all over Ontario (Ottawa, Toronto, and Merrickville namely). 

I swatched a few of the products at the booth and simply love the texture and feel of them! Highly recommend purchasing. The price is up there, definitely not drugstore prices, but, in my opinion, worth every penny. I will be purchasing from this company again. And Melanie’s totally up on social media which always makes me happy!

The last booth I purchased anything from was From the Blue House owned by Jennifer. She had a wonderful collection of soaps, bath salts, and adorable lip balm (also Chocolate Mint scented). What stood out to me at her booth was the Beer Shave Soap she had. It didn’t smell like beer but she said it’s made with a local brew and has awesome benefits for the skin. Who-da thunk?

We checked out the Artifact booth as well. Nicole bought a boatload of stuff, but the masques were incredibly expensive so I passed (I still had to eat that day)! But the display was so pretty so here's some pic's for y'all.

We also stopped by a few other cute little booths. It was a huge show but a few of the girls had friends that were vendors so we stopped by their booths to see what they had to offer. I loved the SaidtheKing booth - which featured fantastic handmade shot glasses and vulgar pillow cases that were just plain awesome.

We also stopped by a little shop that makes cute little felt animal stuffies called Milo & Ben - they were super adorable. I'm kind of sad I have absolutely no use for felted critters. And FYI - they do custom critters too. Yipee!

The show overall was super! Aside from the horribly expensive food. All I bought while I was there for food was a pretzel (and it was about $4.75). And it was busy. I don’t do well in horribly busy places but I can manage. They had a great virtual ticket office so you wouldn’t have to wait in a crazy line and pretty much every vendor offered credit card as a payment option. Keep an eye out on Pinterest for my pins of some of my favourite products. It will be on a new OOAK board and I most definitely plan on attending again someday (hopefully I’ll be at the Christmas one)!

Did you attend the show? What did you think? Who was your favourite vendor?