One of my favourite things to share is shops that I stumble upon completely naturally and just HAVE to share with you guys because they’re so perfect. Whenever this happens I reach out to the shop owner and ask if they are interested in working together. Every so often the shop I contact has never worked with a blogger before, and I can introduce them to my followers and review their products, and no one has done so yet. That’s such a great feeling! I love all the shops I work with but it feels extra good to “discover” shops and hard working people who deserve major recognition and are yet to receive it.
This is one of those cases!
I was planning to attend the Craftadian expo in Toronto, and was contemplating putting my felt balls in it. Ultimately I chose not to, but I was following the event page and one of the shops who was participating in the show was Laniland. The display picture for the shop page got me right away – an adorable little face pillow, held in front of a child’s own head. How fun! I clicked through and browsed the etsy shop, loving every creation I saw even more than the last. It was clear, I HAD to contact this shop owner. I mean, I was about to re-vamp B’s big girl room, it was perfect timing. Alana was so pleasant and excited to work with me! She let me choose a pillow for B’s room, and I chose a sweet girl face pillow with a black and white geometric back.
It arrived so quickly because Alana is basically a neighbour. I couldn’t contain myself when I opened the big box – she was perfect. Immediately B was hugging her and resting on her. Most of the time she is in B’s room, but no matter what room she is in, she lights it up. I always knew pillows could make a huge difference in the decor of a room, but this was just perfection. She is whimsical and modern, and she is fun to play with and to rest on.
In addition to the adorable face pillows, Alana makes gorgeous mobiles, play blankets, buntings, and more. She creates all of them by hand, and they are so well made. I will forever recommend her shop for any decorative needs you may have for your nursery and/or playroom. And since I was posting this review, Alana was kind enough to give a 25% discount to my readers. YEP. That’s no typo, 25% off! Just head to her etsy shop and use the code USHIM25! Code expires at the end of August. Enjoy!
Get to know Alana and Lanliland a little bit better below!
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
My name is Alana, I am a stay at home mother of two rambunctious preschool girls (Alexa is almost 4 and Anika is almost 2) and partner to a funny, loving, hardworking, and amazing man, Andrew. We call ourselves the A-team. I was born and raised in Toronto. I’m a really easy going person who loves to create. I have always had the need to make things, whether it be with wood, concrete, fabric, or pretty much any material I could find suitable for a project. I have been told that I’m a little bit of a materials hoarder.
My past employments included working as a make up artist, designing and painting of iron furniture and products, and restoring and painting of antique sculptures. I attended college for Desktop Publishing and Fashion and Cosmetic Management in my early 20’s, then at the age of 31 I decided to go back to school. I attended the Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCADU) where I received a BDes in Industrial Design with a minor in Material Arts.
The year that I graduated, my partner and I decided to start a family and we came to a mutual agreement that I would stay home to care for the child. Two children later and absorbed with everything to do with children, I was needing to do something for myself so I began to design again.
Tell us a little bit about your shop – How did it come to be?
It all started when my 1 year old daughter and I were playing peek a boo behind round placemats at the table. I pinned some eyes and cheeks on them to resemble faces, and the idea of the Doll Face Pillows came to be. Within a couple of weeks, I had a few different Doll Faces made and decided to open up an etsy shop about a month later to see if I had any interest. From then on, whenever I was inspired and had the need to make something, I did. Some of the products make it to the shop, and some don’t. It will definitely be ever evolving, I’m always prototyping new ideas because it keeps me interested in what I’m doing.
Is there a meaning behind your shop name?
I’m the Lani in laniland! My youngest brother started calling me Lani when he was a toddler and it stuck. Laniland is my land of creativity, where I get to dream up and realize new designs that need to come alive.
Which of your creations is your favourite?
I am really loving the feather mobiles right now. They’re so calming to make and the end result is a product that exudes peace and tranquility, a perfect vision for anyone who wants to sit back and daydream. The Doll Face Pillows will always be my favourite though, they really make both kids and adults smile and that’s important to me. They were also the start of sharing my recent creativity with an audience. It’s a really wonderful feeling when people tell you that they love what you do.
What have you learned since you opened your business?
It’s a lot of work! but… It’ll be worth it if you love it.
You’ll know early on if you’ll be up for the challenge of sustaining it or not.
What is your biggest tip for someone interested in starting their own business?
Don’t let yourself second guess your ideas and dreams, jump in and just do it. We are on this earth for such a short period of time and we should all be doing what we love. Do with passion, drive, and openness because it could change in an instant or be ever evolving.
What does a day in your life look like?
The girls are awake an hour before I am almost every morning. Singing, playing, screaming and dancing all dressed up in tutus ready to take on the day. We try to get out of the house daily to visit family or friends, food shop, or run around in the backyard because it’s been a really really long winter. When the youngest naps, I slow down and create in my mind while I do what needs to be done around the house. The afternoons are just an extension of the mornings. I often can’t sit still during a show or movie, so after dinner and kids are put to bed, I usually sit at the kitchen table and either draw on the computer, sketch, sew or prototype. It’s not very exciting and everyday seems to be the same. I often have to look at the calendar to remember what day it is, but it’s our everyday right now and I’m enjoying the excitement of the children.
What inspires you?
Right now it’s other people that inspire me. It’s ever changing. I could say that everything inspires me and so many things have, but everything can’t inspire you all at the same time, it’s an easy answer, but it’s also true. People are so different from each other and I love trying to think of what individuals are like, what they like and posses and why. I’ll need to get out the house more, and meet more people 😉