Meet the Vendor: Totinette bijoux
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Torie and I have a jewelry line called Totinette bijoux, which is designed and crafted in Portland, Oregon. Each piece is lovingly made by hand in my home studio. My vision is to create simple, beautiful modern classics – every day pieces that can stand alone or be layered with your other favorites.
What’s the latest thing you’ve been working on?
I am currently learning how to carve wax so I can have my own jewelry designs cast in metal. It’s been really fun to work with new materials and tools and I can’t wait to see how they turn out! My first project is a set of three rings that can be worn together or individually. When worn together they create a simple landscape.
What was your first memory of making something?
When I was growing up my mom always encouraged me to make gifts. One year we made googley-eyed pom pom monster Christmas ornaments for our family. She helped with the hot glue so I didn’t burn myself. Each monster definitely had its own personality and I remember feeling so happy with how they turned out. She still has two of them – one has a distinct mono-brow made of pipe cleaner and the other one is the baby. Those are still among my favorite ornaments and I enjoy reliving this memory each year when I pull them out of the box and hang them on the tree!
What do you love most about craft show vending?
I love the sense of community that comes with selling at craft shows. It’s wonderful to meet the shoppers and see people out enjoying themselves and supporting artists. I also love meeting other vendors, seeing old friends, and feeling awed and inspired by what everyone is making and how they display it. With all of the work that goes into getting ready for a show it’s so much fun to come out of my cave and celebrate crafts with everyone face-to-face!
How did you get started in your business?
Totinette began in 2003 as a line of handmade handbags. I was at a St. Patrick’s Day party where I only knew a couple of people. As a somewhat shy introvert, I was sitting by myself but happened to be right next to a conversation that changed my life. It went something like this:
Girl: “That’s a cool bracelet.”
Guy: “Oh, thanks! My sister made it. She’s a designer in LA.”
It was a cuff bracelet, and as I looked at it I had the thought, “I could make that! If only I knew how to sew.” Over the course of the next few minutes I decided to ask for a sewing machine for my birthday (which was only a few weeks later) and teach myself to sew. I had never been the least bit interested in sewing until that very moment. And that’s how it happened. My grandparents gave me a cute little refurbished sewing machine that I still use to this day. My mom came up and gave me a basic crash course in how to use it, and off I went!
What does that have to do with jewelry? Nothing. And everything.
I started selling my bags at craft fairs, including the very first Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago, approached boutiques, built a website, and met tons of cool people along the way. A group of girlfriends and I were asked by Sasquatch Books to write a craft book, which we did! We were also guests on a crafty tv show! Then one day, after selling at all sorts of fairs and events both locally and nationally, one of those friends (Cathy) and I decided to start our own monthly craft fair in Portland and call it Crafty Wonderland. We now produce two large scale craft fairs each year at the Oregon Convention Center and have a retail store in downtown Portland that features the work of over 200 local artists!
Somewhere along the way I grew tired of sewing alone in my basement. I floundered for a while trying to find my next line of goods, but realized that I have a deep passion for jewelry, both antique and handmade, and I want to share that with the world…so here I am!
Be sure to check out our Instagram for your chance to win your very own Gold Pineapple Necklace