Shop Etsy

Handmade Holidays With the One of a Kind Show

Dec 2, 2009

by Alison Feldmann


As we all know, once Thanksgiving passes, it can feel like a freefall through the holiday season, rushing from one event to the next and desperately cramming shopping in between. Before you let yourself get carried away on that manic bandwagon, Etsy and The One of a Kind Show have something to say about it!

Lisa Simonian, the vice president of marketing for the One of a Kind Show and Sale — now in its 35th year! — joined us to talk about the inherent value of handmade items and the fun of getting to know the people and stories behind them. 


Here at Etsy, we take this message very much to heart, and we are excited to be partnering with The One of a Kind Show and Sales® in Chicago and New York this December to present The Etsy Artist Pavilion for emerging artists. This dedicated area of each show will feature more than twenty Etsy artists — just a fraction of the incredible and diverse talents on the site itself, but a welcome alternative to that four-letter word, “mall.” We hope you can join us!


Now, on to our interview with Lisa…



Can you tell us a little about the One of a Kind Show? Where did it start?

Similar to most brilliant ideas, the One of a Kind Show was born out of a simple desire for something more!  The show is the brainchild of Torontonians Steven Levy, Martin Rumack and June Bibby.  It was 1975 and June: an artisan couldn’t find a place to sell her work before Christmas. So she, along with friends Steven and Martin, decided to create a holiday shopping venue. After a great deal of legwork and countless all-nighters, the trio launched the first One of a Kind Show at Toronto’s Queen Elizabeth Building in December 1975. Today the show is a wildly popular annual event that runs in Toronto, Vancouver, Chicago, and soon to be New York.



[Vases by Christopher Mosey]




This is the first year the show is appearing in New York — what can people expect at this show?

They can expect to find the unexpected and things they won’t be able to find anywhere else! They can expect to find truly unique gifts items from the 275 talented artisans who will set up shop at the show. They can expect to meet in-person every artist, artisan and designer represented, and they can expect to find a fun and easy shopping experience with cafes, lounges, fashion shows, artist demonstrations, expert presentations, craft workshops, live music, coat and package check, and giftwrapping.


What are your goals for the OOAK Show?

True to the founders, our goal is to create the ideal venue for artisans to sell their work and the ideal venue for shoppers to buy artisan work.


[Sculptures by Dailey Woodworking]

The One of a Kind Show has been around for thirty five years. That’s a long time! What’s your favorite memory from OOAK shows past?

I’ve been with the Chicago show for six years and I have six years worth of wonderful memories of working with my One of a Kind colleagues and with our One of a Kind artisans. What stands out most in my mind when I think of past shows is that the show is always such a happy event. You walk through the aisles and somehow it’s smiles and laughter everywhere. People who don’t even like to shop love the show! I think the concept and environment make people feel good.                                

What’s your favorite item that you’ve purchased? What does it mean to you?

A beautiful seafoam green handknit wool sweater and matching hat that I bought for my daughter before she was born. She’s now well outgrown it — but it is still in pristine condition and we’ll keep it forever… for her daughter, perhaps!



[Ceramics by Lois Aronow]

What do you think is the draw of handmade items? Besides the obvious beauty, why should people buy handmade for the holidays?

As you know at Etsy, people are more conscious these days about how and by whom things are made. There’s a newfound appreciation for craftsmanship. When an item is handmade there’s heart and soul behind it. Someone (not a machine!) had the desire, and took the time and effort, to create it. Holiday gifts should be meaningful — so it’s the perfect match.



What kind of workshops and seminars are offered at the OOAK Show?

There will always be something going on at the show stage. We’ll have fashion shows showcasing wearable art from the show, artist demonstrations, presentations by Hello Craft and ReadyMade magazine, a panel of editors discussing “The Evolution of Craft” and live music by up-and-coming musicians. ReadyMade and Hello Craft will also be conducting various how-to workshops at their booths on the show floor. Etsy will be hosting a handmade ornament workshop  with fabric from Spoonflower at their booth at the show in New York.



[Sculpture by Dolan Geiman]

What’s the number one reason to attend the OOAK show?

To shop for wonderfully unique work and to support the artisan community while doing it!









Check out the One of a Kind Show Artists Guide and the Related Items below for a sneak peek of Etsy artists selling at this year’s show. Will you be attending the One of a Kind Show in Chicago or New York? Let us know in the comments!



Karla and Casey Gift - 1 Dorit Candle Holder in White Gold, Short Size
Karla and Casey Gift - 1 Dorit Candle Holder in White Gold, Short Size
Sweet Pea in Purple - Large
Sweet Pea in Purple - Large
Rosey Cozy Cowl with Button brown and cranberry
Rosey Cozy Cowl with Button brown and cranberry
large giraffe stuffie in pale yellow
large giraffe stuffie in pale yellow
Tumeric Laptop Sleeve
Tumeric Laptop Sleeve
Oxidized Peony Cocktail Ring---made to your size
Oxidized Peony Cocktail Ring---made to your size
Tree Landscape, Handmade Copper Cuff Bracelet
Tree Landscape, Handmade Copper Cuff Bracelet


  • CatzillaCrafts

    CatzillaCrafts said 7 years ago

    The recycled license plate map is amazing!

  • hypothesis

    hypothesis said 7 years ago

    Hypothesis loves one of a kind items! Great article and show.

  • pootsies

    pootsies said 7 years ago

    How awesome!

  • revampedart

    revampedart said 7 years ago

    very cool stuff, along with the theme of hanmade holidays, check out yesterday's blog about homemade gifts, there will be more to follow for sure

  • recycledwares

    recycledwares said 7 years ago

    what a great idea, wish i could be there.

  • SimpleJoysPaperie

    SimpleJoysPaperie said 7 years ago

    Wonderful line-up! Good luck to all who will be at this show!

  • craftscafe

    craftscafe said 7 years ago

    Great event! Wish I could attend... Thanks etsy for covering it!

  • italianpostcards

    italianpostcards said 7 years ago

    What a fantastic idea!

  • 3littlebirdsboutique

    3littlebirdsboutique said 7 years ago

    I am a HUGE advocate of One of a kind items! Here is an OOAK girl's vintage inspired dress from my own shop:

  • couturedesignsbym

    couturedesignsbym said 7 years ago

    Handmade vs. made in China...hmmmm, I think we artists can agree what makes something special. Good luck to all this mad season!

  • PeppermintDaydreams

    PeppermintDaydreams said 7 years ago

    Wow looks amazing! Wish I was in the area...I'd be there in a heart beat.

  • BabbidgePatch

    BabbidgePatch said 7 years ago

    fabulous pics !

  • urbanknitfits

    urbanknitfits said 7 years ago

    OOAK! So great! Love this story. I'm so happy they are coming to New York, a perfect place for it! Giving OOAK pieces is such a great idea, because it really makes the recipient feel special because they too are OOAK!

  • bylynnkrestel

    bylynnkrestel said 7 years ago

    i have been many times to ooak toronto - absolutely amazing and inspiring! it was in vancouver this year for the second time! i have travelled long distances to attend - and was never disappointed.. some day i will show there!! if you are able to go - don't miss it!!

  • sonyarasi

    sonyarasi said 7 years ago

    Beautiful work!

  • ModernMetalJewelry

    ModernMetalJewelry said 7 years ago

    Good luck to all attending! All great picks, but I am crazy about the Lois Aronow bowls. Just fantastic!

  • corelladesign

    corelladesign said 7 years ago

    What a fabulous event. I wishing I could be there.

  • redyellowandblueink

    redyellowandblueink said 7 years ago

    what an awesome event! Wow and in it's 35th year!? looks like a lot of fun for the east coast.

  • LisaFerinDesigns

    LisaFerinDesigns said 7 years ago

    I might try to get to the Chicago show! Beautiful stuff!

  • BlueTerracotta

    BlueTerracotta said 7 years ago

    How exciting for the artists and buyers who will be able to go!

  • CarryTheWord

    CarryTheWord said 7 years ago


  • vintagemercantile

    vintagemercantile said 7 years ago

    Had I known of the Chicago show earlier I might have tried to go back (I was raised there) and visit with friends while taking in the show. Is there a way to get on a mailing list for next year? Thanks, Lisa

  • buttercupbloom

    buttercupbloom said 7 years ago

    Fantastic! Have a great Show!!

  • Ebruk

    Ebruk said 7 years ago

    What a fantastic idea.!

  • babinka1981

    babinka1981 said 7 years ago

    Very nice! I love it!

  • cutiepiecompany

    cutiepiecompany said 7 years ago

    We'll be in attendance at the ny show--can't wait to check out the Etsy pavillion!

  • girltuesdayjewelry

    girltuesdayjewelry said 7 years ago

    Those vases by Christopher Mosey are gorgeous! They look like fire!

  • AnAapparel

    AnAapparel said 7 years ago

    Standing Ovation

  • handyhandscorner

    handyhandscorner said 7 years ago

    I am happy Etsy stuff is getting widely recognized!

  • nowonder

    nowonder said 7 years ago

    I love the texture of the items you picked!

  • yummyandcompany

    yummyandcompany said 7 years ago

    good luck at the show everybody!!!

  • gilstrapdesigns

    gilstrapdesigns said 7 years ago

    Wow that's exciting. I wish we had something like that here that we could be apart of. I'm excited just reading about this fabulous event. WOW!

  • gilstrapdesigns

    gilstrapdesigns said 7 years ago

    I hope that all of the ETSY artisans do really well make a lot of contacts and of course sells. Good Luck to All.

  • CharliesApt

    CharliesApt said 7 years ago

    Wow, wish I was going!!

  • EvenAndy

    EvenAndy said 7 years ago

    Good luck to all participating:) Sounds like it will be a wonderful event:)

  • tanisalexis

    tanisalexis said 7 years ago

    fantastic! the OOAK show is always a hit here in Canada. Best wishes to all the artists!!

  • rosebudshome

    rosebudshome said 7 years ago

    for people like me who can't be there, I thank you.

  • Furiousdreams

    Furiousdreams said 7 years ago

    I hope someday to get to one of these shows- they're great exposure for us Etsyites. Thanks for sharing!

  • WickedlyGood

    WickedlyGood said 7 years ago

    I love this show and I have gone to it for many years, so glad to Etsy there this year! I'm bringing friends and I plan shop til I drop!

  • FrostedWillow

    FrostedWillow said 7 years ago

    This looks like it would be so much fun to attend! Lots of great things to see!!!

  • shizendesigns

    shizendesigns said 7 years ago

    Beautiful items!!

  • odiliafu

    odiliafu said 7 years ago

    This event must be fun!! I also like the custom fabric printing idea from Spoonflower.

  • VixVintage

    VixVintage said 7 years ago

    Next year for sure. Thanks for sharing.

  • SamAndCoop

    SamAndCoop said 7 years ago

    We will be showing there! If you can't make it, please visit my store.

  • rebounddesigns

    rebounddesigns said 7 years ago

    Don't forget, there are Etsy artists showing in the main portion of the show as well, not just the special Etsy Pavilion. I'll be in booth I 13, come say hi!

  • AnniesWearableArt

    AnniesWearableArt said 7 years ago

    Just one more great reason to go back to the windy city! :)

  • TickledPinkKnits

    TickledPinkKnits said 7 years ago

    I'm so excited to be part of the Etsy Pavilion at the NYC show. Look for me in "Booth" H59 and stop by to say hi! :)

  • jbeaudet

    jbeaudet said 7 years ago

    I wish I could go!

  • oldworldprimitives

    oldworldprimitives said 7 years ago

    I wish I could be at this show! Good luck to all who will be participating.

  • BululuStudio

    BululuStudio said 7 years ago

    Love it.

  • whyte

    whyte said 7 years ago

    Love the stuff you have in NY!

  • blueskyclouds

    blueskyclouds said 7 years ago

    I would SO LOVE to go to this show!!!!!!! And be in it too!!!!! Good luck to all!

  • 1AEON

    1AEON said 7 years ago

    Nice selection!!! Holidays are so great!!!!!! Im super stoked!

  • JDavisStudio

    JDavisStudio said 7 years ago

    Stop by and see me in NYC :) So glad Etsy is partnering with this great show!

  • TheLoudLion

    TheLoudLion said 7 years ago

    ooooh - i wish i could go....i grew up in Toronto and do miss it a lot...especially the snow. Good luck to all participants! xoox

  • bijougirldesigns

    bijougirldesigns said 7 years ago

    ooohhh..I wish I lived closer and could come! I hope it's an amazing show!

  • TheWayUmakeMeFeel

    TheWayUmakeMeFeel said 7 years ago

    I wonder if Vintage clothing will/was included. Etsy doesn't do a good enough job of promoting it. I always feel that they need to do more. I have one of a kind super fabulous vintage! check it out.

  • LustreBeads

    LustreBeads said 7 years ago

    Ooooh! Wonderful!

  • baconsquarefarm

    baconsquarefarm said 7 years ago

    Would love to attend one of these shows someday, wonderful eye candy for the soul and eyes to behold. Good luck to all the vendors-designers as well.

  • reworkedart

    reworkedart said 7 years ago

    i am in love with that map on the wall...

  • riricreations

    riricreations said 7 years ago

    Best of luck to the sellers and shoppers!

  • patspottery

    patspottery said 7 years ago

    I wish they would have one here in Florida!

  • YayaOrchid

    YayaOrchid said 7 years ago

    I too wish I could attend. Best of luck to everyone!

  • littlemoandfriends

    littlemoandfriends said 7 years ago

    good luck! i'm sure it will be fun!

  • QuiltFinger

    QuiltFinger said 7 years ago

    Exciting! There can never be enough events like this!

  • JewelsofLuxury

    JewelsofLuxury said 7 years ago


  • opendoorstudio

    opendoorstudio said 7 years ago

    This is an awesome show and a great opportunity for these artists! I have been and unfortunately will miss it this year! great feature!

  • OneClayBead

    OneClayBead said 7 years ago

    Beautiful pieces- and I love the one of a kind bags! I would buy something just to show off my bag!

  • tastesorangey

    tastesorangey said 7 years ago

    When is OOAK going to happen in the Bay Area????

  • PillowPallooza

    PillowPallooza said 7 years ago

    Wish I could be there !

  • MTcoffinzUnderground

    MTcoffinzUnderground said 7 years ago

    Oh that looks like such a fun event!

  • spacejam

    spacejam said 7 years ago

    how wonderul!! I wish I could go...

  • FairyDecos

    FairyDecos said 7 years ago

    Very nice picks and seems to become a great show! All the best! FairyDecos*

  • cynthiadelgiudice

    cynthiadelgiudice said 7 years ago

    Wonderdul! Good luck on the show!

  • greeneyezdesignz

    greeneyezdesignz said 7 years ago

    Wish I could go! I LOVE one of a kind things! I can not believe that someone has not done this before in the greater Houston area.

  • PickalaPoopa

    PickalaPoopa said 7 years ago

    opening day is here! my booth is between knottyloop and thebrickkiln, good company. looking forward to seeing everyone.

  • ArtisticIntentions

    ArtisticIntentions said 7 years ago

    Fabulous!! Thanks for sharing!

  • missbatch

    missbatch said 7 years ago

    Hi all- I'm here at the OOAK show in Chicago getting set up... and it is AMAZING! There is so much diverse and incredible work. If you're in the areas, please stop by and say "hello"! Etsy is at booth 3001 and the Etsy Artists Pavilion is right next to the main cafe. Hope to see you here! -Christina

  • JourneyDesigns

    JourneyDesigns said 7 years ago

    This is great. I had no idea and so close. Maybe I can check it out next year, that would be some fun Christmas shopping. Good luck!

  • Iammie

    Iammie said 7 years ago

    Great items, love them.

  • SimpleTraditions

    SimpleTraditions said 7 years ago

    I love EVERYTHING!

  • tigerlillyshop

    tigerlillyshop said 7 years ago

    very excited to be a part of the NYC show! we are in production mode counting down.... aaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

  • galstudio

    galstudio said 7 years ago

    The 'Art' of great craftsmanship... 'A person who works with his hands is a laborer. A person who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman. A person who works with his hands, his brain and his heart is an artist' Louis Nizer

  • LucindaAndJane

    LucindaAndJane said 7 years ago

    beautiful items! gifts should be handmade, I think they mean more that way. I've been handcrafting gifts for my family for years, as its always appreciated more :)

  • GemmaBeads

    GemmaBeads said 7 years ago

    Stunning selections! I love one of a kind shopping and gift giving!

  • bessmartin

    bessmartin said 7 years ago

    can you give me vendor information on the license plate map shown on the advertisement for the One of a Kind Show? thank you

  • lilprincessbow

    lilprincessbow said 7 years ago

    Wow what an awesome show! too bad I am too far away to attend! maybe next year they will be in LA?

  • lifeofcolors

    lifeofcolors said 7 years ago

    How about a OOAK show in Colorado? :-)

  • heahea

    heahea said 7 years ago

    I love the one of a kind shows,they are inspirational! My favorite artist in T.O. was Leslie Anne Green an amazind ceramicdoll artist!

  • IslaNewYork

    IslaNewYork said 7 years ago

    I'm definitely going to check it out!!!

  • heahea

    heahea said 7 years ago

    I always find the shows in T.O. inspirational.I especially love the dollceramic artist Leslie Anne Green to be amazing!!

  • rosalera

    rosalera said 7 years ago

    I will be attending the Chicago show. A friend of mine does the promotion for one of the OOAK show partners, the Alliance for the Great Lakes. I believe they still have some free passes to the event. Contact if you are interested.

  • PaisleyAnnHome

    PaisleyAnnHome said 7 years ago

    ooh interesting! the marketing materials are so different from renegade and the other indie craft markets. The design seems like it would appeal to the more snooty crowd. Which is a good thing.

  • adam Admin

    adam said 7 years ago

    See you tomorrow, Chicago! I'm expecting some awesome OOAK action and something called "Italian Beef." Looking forward to it!

  • FashionTouch

    FashionTouch said 7 years ago

    Oh, I wish the show would be in Canada, I have to check if something similar happening here:)

  • floricultcha

    floricultcha said 7 years ago

    Come to Boston!!!

  • especially4ubyEandT

    especially4ubyEandT said 7 years ago

    Looks great!

  • xmittens

    xmittens said 7 years ago

    Not only am I excited about being one of the chosen artists, I can't wait to shop for all of the people on my gift list!

  • sharonclancydesigns

    sharonclancydesigns said 7 years ago

    Looks like fun, wish I could be there!!!

  • alectonyx

    alectonyx said 7 years ago

    i always love etsian articles they're always showing the best items ever. Taking a break from custom made orders 12.07.09 so HURRY!

  • scarfandskirt

    scarfandskirt said 7 years ago

    I think I will go, it looks fantastic.

  • carolynsartcrafts

    carolynsartcrafts said 7 years ago

    I think Etsy should have a One-of-a-kind category. Although every handmade item is likely not identical to any other, I think there is a DIFFERENCE between one-of-a-kind and handmade - like one-of-a-kind has at least one or two major components different from any others of the same theme ( like Christmas, necklace, soap, etc.). I spend a lot of money and time getting supplies and designing items to be one-of-a-kind by the definition above. This would take some effort on Esty's part to monitor such a category but I for one would gladly pay an extra nickel for the distinction,

  • LaAlicia

    LaAlicia said 7 years ago

    wish I could be there too!

  • bstrung

    bstrung said 7 years ago

    Nice. I wish I could go.

  • thebestvintage

    thebestvintage said 7 years ago

    Very Cool!

  • pileofstones

    pileofstones said 7 years ago

    Incredible items and artisans, would love to be there.

  • tinyhearts

    tinyhearts said 7 years ago

    I can't wait! My fingers are numb from sewing so much inventory! Thank you Etsy, thank you thank you!

  • dolangeiman

    dolangeiman said 7 years ago

    Hello everyone: We have just about every work posted in our Etsy shop available for sale in our booth at the OOAK show. Find us in booth 5053, in the front row when exiting the elevators. We're thrilled to see the partnership between Etsy and the OOAK show!

  • mytangerinedream

    mytangerinedream said 7 years ago

    Vintage clothes don't get enough promotion I agree with the way you make me feel.They just don't make things like they use to.

  • Bluebrooch

    Bluebrooch said 7 years ago

    The most beautiful things!!

  • BellaPuzzles

    BellaPuzzles said 7 years ago

    Fantastic and lovely items. When will there be a OOAK show out here on the West Coast?

  • zipartist

    zipartist said 7 years ago

    Such a great way to show the artisan talent of so many people....I have a very interesting and unique talent...I love making something out of the throw away of other, or used, or broken items as well.....recycling to me is such a natural do check out my brooches and pendants that I make from recycled zippers, both vintage metal and nylon, and gently used jewelry. I would love to see you bring something like this to the bay area of California...I would also enjoy helping to participate in this happening.... Thank you Etsy for giving me the chance to continue my life in following my passion, after retiring....and sharing the OOAK show.....

  • TreeHuggerStudio

    TreeHuggerStudio said 7 years ago

    I wish I was going we need a OOAK show in Indianapolis!

  • lilipadcreations

    lilipadcreations said 7 years ago

    yay!! this is awesome! thanks! Chicago was amazing, what a great show, sooooo looking forward to the first NYC ooak! whoooot!

  • nappingcat

    nappingcat said 7 years ago

    I want to live there when I grow up! Any one in Southern Oregon wanna start one of our own?

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