Name: Christina Willows from Olive
Website links: Olive
What do you make?
Olive Bath and body care! My primary focus is on cold process soap. We only use plant based ingredients and never anything synthetic. All natural, made with my own hands.
What or who inspires you?
I’m definitely inspired by my parents. They are both entrepreneurs and they have always loved and encouraged creative pursuits. My father loves to build so I learned a little carpentry here and there. He also has a workshop where he creates stained glass and, in general, he has always helped me to find ways to get to the result I’m looking for.
Growing up, my mother did a lot of sewing and was part of a weaver’s guild. My appreciation for textiles came from her. Now my husband plays a big role as an artist himself and we feed off one another which is really helpful -- especially when you need encouragement!
How did you get started?
November of 2006 I was in University and, as all students can probably relate, I felt broke and short on time with all my projects being due. I ended up going to a craft fair where I saw some beautiful soaps and was inspired to try to make some myself. Thankfully at a young age I learned about soap making from my mother who tried it a few times with one of our neighbors so I was well equipped with some knowledge about safety and what kind of moulds I could use.
With a fair amount of research and a few different concoctions, I came out with some good results. To my surprise everyone loved it. Friends were asking me to make their Christmas gifts too so I opened up my Etsy shop to share the wealth! Turns out it’s a great escape from school stresses too!
What are your favourite materials to work with?
When I comes to Olive I definitely like to work with Essential oils. They are fabulous – they smell great too. To think they come from plants amazes me every time!
Essential oils have been used in medicine for thousands of years. While the soap does smell great, our Lavender Lane soap is also calming. You don't get those benefits from synthetic scents.
Clay has also been a recent favourite of mine especially Moroccan Lava clay which pulls impurities out of your skin and replaces them with minerals! I'm hooked!
What is the hardest and most favourite part of crafting?
Being your own boss! I love that I make my own hours, my own product for something I believe. It’s easy to be really tough on yourself and feel that you have to know everything about business and what the next steps are. Occasionally I just need to stop, breathe and let myself learn rather than be scared of it all. I find that it’s a love hate relationship…
List 5 of your favourite links and why you like them
Thekitchn.com: inspiring colours, textures and presentations of food. You can’t work without food!
Designspongeoneline.com: it satisfies my love of flowers, home décor and design, a little DIY and beautiful products. I always leave this site wanting to make, make, make!
Theweddingchicks.com: I love weddings, from the colors of the flowers to the table settings and all the details in between
Flickr.com: I love doing random word searches, you never know what kind of inspiration you’ll find
wemakeone.com: My husband's graphic design business. Get something designed so we can eat!
Do you have any advice for those in the biz?
Pick a niche and stick with it. I find wherever I go people want to tell me the latest thing to jump on board. I like to hear what people are excited about, but it’s easy to lose your vision and get off course and in the end – more stuff is just more stuff… if it doesn’t fit your niche, get rid of it!
Do you consider yourself an artist or a crafter?
Well I went to school for Fine Arts so this is a hot debate that I usually try and keep out of and I think it gets overly complicated very quickly. I like to think of myself somewhere in between. When it comes down to it I feel like its not very important. What’s important is that I’m enjoying the ride and learning a lot about myself and about life along the way!
(photo images courtesy of Christina Willows)
If you are interested in being featured, please send us an email at info(at)gotcraft(dot)com.
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