4 min read
Ukrainian EggCessories didn't start out as Ukrainian EggCessories however it has been existing in different forms for about 35 years now.
This is Gloria Olynyk, half of the original owners. The other half is my husband Michael. When I was younger I wrote Pysanky with my family but it stopped for a while as I got older and life got busy. The time before I met my husband I was dancing in the Kalyna Dancing Group in Toronto.
Later I moved to Winnipeg where I met and married my husband Michael Olynyk. Shortly after we moved to British Columbia. The first five years we settled in our first home on an acreage (sort of in a country'ish area) near the urban area of Coquitlam. We had our two children and settled into family life. Then later we met an older couple (John & Sophie) through our church who were involved in writing Pysanky. Sophie had many years of experience and was an excellent egg artist. We connected and started talking about going to shows to sell our eggs.
As us women started discussing our Pysanky, the men started talking kistky. Michael was experienced in electricity as he was a shop teacher so they both started making and inventing their own kistkas. They made both manual and electric and had a company called "Kistka Fabricators". This took off but later John backed out and Michael was on his own.
Michael kept improving his design with products and materials used in aerospace and also had his electric kistka design CSA approved.
Since we started manufacturing our own kistky we thought why not package dyes as well. Michael started looking into companies that sell powder dyes and we started with the first 8 colours. The dyes came in large batches and we had to figure out how to package them all up. With trays of powder dyes, a bar across the pan to help level out our scoops to ensure we got the right amount of dyes and spoon in hands, we started to spoon the dye into packages. What a mess! We ended up getting our kids involved and we would laugh when they were covered in different colors. A few other people over the years helped out and once we got a place that offered work for those dealing with different disabilities to help package the dyes. They managed filling the dye for years but it truly was even difficult and messy for them to package the dye by hand.
During this time we sold our dyes and kistkas for a while and were a small company as everything was done in our garage. We also added wax as well. We got blocks of wax, melted them in electric cookers and poured them into trays of squares, let it set and then dumped them into cold water to cool. It looked like we were making chocolate bars and had lots of fun. The kids job was to package them all up into individual plastic bags.
Later after retirement we moved to the Sunshine Coast and decided to find an easier way to package up the dye. Michael travelled to a packaging convention in San Francisco and bought a big packaging machine that we set up in our garage. What a difference that made! It was so easy that we added in 5 more colours to our line for a total of 13 pysanka dye colours.
Michael and I made all the electric kistky together. We hired some teenagers to help put the packaged dyes into envelopes and when the Internet became popular we went online with Ukrainian Egg-Cessories. Or son set up a beautiful website for us which meant we started to get orders from all over.
We started advertising and selling to many Ukrainian shops. There were a lot more Ukrainian Shops around that time. Unfortunately many have closed since as retirement came about with many of the owners of these shops.
We had lots of fun during this time. All our hard work and perseverance became profitable supporting this beautiful craft of Ukrainian Pysanky. We even did some TV interview shows, set up many demos and shows in malls (with another friend of mine), and taught classes in school with 30 kids in each class. Each one had a candle and a parent who was there to supervise. The kids loved learning about Pysanky and making their wax lines on their egg shell. I loved watching their eyes open up when they would see their beautiful colorful Pysanky for the first time. That was rewarding enough for me as a teacher of our beautiful craft.
And so our time with Ukrainian Egg-Cessories continued over 35 years. It has been 35 years of a wonderful life and we found that as we moved past retirement that it was time to retire for real. In 2014 we decided to sell the company but for the longest time it seemed that no one was interested in Ukrainian Egg-Cessories.
In 2015 we started to talk to Kathy Verrelli who showed interest in purchasing our company and at the beginning of 2016, it became official. We spent time with Kathy showing her the ropes on how we run our company as well as how to make all the electric kistky.
We are still an ongoing support to Kathy and are happy to see that our company continues to supply egg artists all around the world.
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