I like to add small touches to some of my bags: hand-sewing little silver-tone or gold-tone medical charms (ECG/EKG heart beat charm, stethoscope charms) to my pouches. OR anatomical heart embroidery patches!"
My initial passion for sewing started with creating simple handbags and clutches, but shortly after it transformed into medically-inspired bags. Having spent 7 years in a medical setting myself, I came to notice what medical professionals like AND need. I also have a very large friend and family-base of nurses, doctors, vet techs, PTs, etc. in my life and listening to the various requests from them- is what has led me down this wonderful path.
My goal is to not only bring some colour and fun into a medical professional's daily work-life (or school-life), I also try to help them (or you?!) be more ORGANIZED! Because how good does it feel to be organized AND look good doing it!?"
Sometimes I could call myself a bit 'indecisive' (when it comes to fabric colours and patterns) but I look at it as a good thing! :) Why? Because thanks to this indecisiveness, I am easily able to create a pure one-of-a-kind stethoscope bag for my customers. It makes it that much more special to me to offer a bag that no one else has on this world:) Isn't that cool though? I love it:)"
For my dog-themed stethoscope bags - I like to donate $5 CAD for every purchase, to my local animal shelter (Animal Love Foundation of London, Ontario). So that always makes me happy when I see an order for a dog-stethoscope bag!"
I always have music playing in the background while I work. I keep current with a variety of new music, especially in the indie/alternative genre. I love discovering new artists & depending on my mood- I love playing some classic Nina Simone or Otis Redding. I try to keep my atmosphere lively and inspiring.
Nicole says that when not creating, "You will either find me out walking my frenchie, Inka, or 'working'. I am not one to sit and ‘relax’. My relaxing time would consist of something partly ‘active’. Something like: painting. I have only recently found a little side 'passion' of mine- which makes me that much more excited about it because I'm slowly bringing it INTO my byKusia creations. I paint random abstract patterned designs with acrylic paint. I started to paint because I initially wanted to add some of my own colours to my 'Thank You' cards & business cards, and that’s what lead me to paint and design my own patterns on blank canvas fabrics! (Cutting them up and finally sewing them into bags.) So I have (and will have) some byKusia pouches designed and painted by me!
If I'm not working on something byKusia (or painting my thank you cards), I'm either researching and browsing trends and inspirational pattern/textile/colour schemes. I'm also a huge 'DIY'er'. I love DIY projects for the home, for ex. I had a lot of fun making a yarn wall hanger art piece, which is now hanging in my living room and I can't be more proud of it:)
I LOVE rummaging through used or thrift-stores and refurbishing furniture (dressers, tables, lamps, ANYTHING). I sometimes participate in local online-auctions. & have acquired some pretty cool vintage items. I also love painting planters for all my houseplants. Basically, anything that would require some painting- whether it’s just a touch-up or make-over- I'm interested! :P
But when I actually find some down-time for myself (which is quite rare these days), I'm switching between reading business and crafting books to fictional & biographical books. I also like to listen to a variety of podcasts. The only time you will see me sitting on the couch watching TV is because my boyfriend and doggo are missing me! Although, even that does not last long- I'm the go-go-kinda person & I wouldn't want it any other way!"
Although my main focus are my medically-inspired accessories, I still find myself veering off the road and getting distracted with creating some classic handbag/clutches/make-up bags (like the ‘old days’ of my sewing days;) ). So you’ll still find a variety of sizes and styles of makeup bags within my work. I can't help it- I see something and if an inspiration pops into my head, I can't get it out until I create it. :)"
Running and owning a small HANDMADE business is ... a world of its own. I'm also a bit new to it all and because of that I admit that it can be difficult. However, that definitely does not mean I don't enjoy it. I LOVE everything about it. Without my awesome customers and fans (and more seriously: my partner; my biggest supporter and motivator) - I don't think I'd physically and mentally be able to do it. Nothing worth doing is easy or quick, but if you have people- or something- in it that allows you to enjoy it, then I believe that’s what brings you both happiness and success. A fantastic SUPPORT system!
I definitely have more than one piece that I have fell in love with making. It would be very difficult for me to choose just one.
My favourite pieces to create are the spontaneous and impulsive creations of mine. Sometimes- I enter a zone of: ‘I see a fabric and I need to use it RIGHT NOW’. Usually I don't even know WHAT I'm going to create, but I know it's going to be fantastic.
I love shopping through the random fabric scrap selections of Fabricland, and picking out some super funky, thick tapestry-like linen fabric. Something so ‘out-of the ordinary’ that I don't think most people would even look at it, let alone pick it up. So I like bringing in something 'odd' or atypical & making it into a useful beautiful 'thing'. :)
My most recent impulsive creation using my tapestry-like linens with women's face-I was way too excited about creating!"
There have been a few customers that I've had such fantastic communicating experiences - that we joke and say we are like Etsy pen pals- because some are all over the world- probably never able to meet in person. You’d be surprised to learn how many people out there share the same values and problems as you! It’s really reassuring and heart warming.
I'm a very open and easy-going person. I love this developing market of handmade platforms, like Etsy, for the ability to chat one-on-one with your customers- something you can't get with the larger box-store companies. So if I can be my casual self, crack some jokes here and there- then I will! & I get very positive feedback from my customers- & this is what allows me and motivates me to continue to do what I love!!!!
We all know how important reviews are when you are selling items - no matter if you are a small business or a ‘big box-store’ company. So when I receive a notification from Etsy, Facebook, or my Gmail, my heart skips a beat before I read it. I love when my customers share photos of their new byKusia piece. For someone to leave a star rating is so awesome- but when people actually take their time to write me something- it's what makes me smile and want to dance! A few of my favourites:
Olivia: 'I could not be any happier with my purchase! I purchased this item for my sister who works as a medical assistant. Needless to say she LOVED everything about this pouch Christmas morning. Working with Nicole was so easy. She gave me many options for fabric colors and bag charms. She worked hard to make sure that we were both happy with every detail about the pouch. I will definitely be buying from Nicole again. The personalized notes inside the package really set this apart. Overall I am extremely happy with my purchase from this shop! I highly recommend customizing a pouch with Nicole! :)'
Lexie: ‘She does amazing, quality work! Great communication and delivers fast.’
Christine: ‘Beautiful, carefully made piece. Came with handwritten note from seller - you can tell she loves what she does ! Thank you !’
A: The pouch is the perfect size for my stethoscope and other things I need for nursing school. I’m in love with the design.’
Diedre: ‘Purchased the EKG stethoscope bag - it is everything I wanted and more!!! The craftsmanship is impeccable-it is so well-made and the attention paid to detail is impressive. The design of the bag makes it easy to store and transport my stethoscope, badge, pens, etc. (it also fits nicely in a binder for transport to school). The best part of my purchase was working with Nicole--She got my bag to me in the states quickly; it was beautifully packaged and I even received an extra goody! The customer care/service is top-notch!!! I will definitely be back to see her new designs, and to possibly collaborate on a custom bag :)’
Stacie: ‘Absolutely adorable! I use it everyday for all my nursing supplies and it's very helpful to keep everything located in one place!’
P: ‘Loved! I gave it as a gift for my friend who is going into to her nursing program and she was obsessed! The pouch also has a some padding inside to protect your stethoscope which I was happy about. The item was shipped on time as well! Thank You!’
Stephanie: ‘Love my stethoscope bag! It's a lot more plush and sturdy than I was expecting which is great for work. It hold all of my stuff (scissors, tape, pens, and other medical supplies) really well. Oh and it's super cute!!!’"
I regularly post to my Instagram account: @bykuusia (two u's in there) & Pinterest: @bykusia.
I do have a Facebooke page (@byKusia) - but I am not as active on it as Instagram and Pinterest. ;)
I have in the works: my own website- so stay tuned:) www.bykusia.com (*under construction).
Meet Nicole on May 5th at 90 Hunter St East between 10 am and 2 pm!