Lisa Sexsmith Owner Moe Shelley

You make more than sock monkeys right?

I do. I do lots of stuff like baby blankets and onesies aprons purses skirts dresses kids clothes. But I do a lot of monkeys and monsters.

Did you start with the monkeys?

Yeah. Well I started probably 10 years ago I was running a yoga studio and I was doing yoga matt bags just because I was there. I didn’t take it that seriously. Five years ago I started the monkeys and monsters and that’s when I started the whole business a lot more seriously.

Where does the name Moe Shelley come from?

I have a couple of nicknames. When I was a kid my mom called me Mona Lisa and then my middle name’s Michelle. It was Mona Lisa then Moe and then the Michelle just sort of morphed into Moe Shelley and then when I started the business I had no idea what to call it because I’m not really big on spotlighting myself.

So you didn’t want it called Lisa Sexsmith designs?

Not at all. So Moe Shelley was a thing a few people kind of know about me but it suits me and it’s still me to me.

Why the sock monkey and monsters?

I’ve had a serious obsession with them for a long time. I’ve been collecting them and then [partner] Dean about five years ago said “Why don’t you just make them if you love them so much we buy them from everybody else.” I was like “No I’m happy I don’t need to I’ll just buy them.” So he made me one when I was asleep one night and it was hilarious. It was made of smokes. It’s really funny. He made me two before I made mine. He was like “See if I can do it you can do it.” He’s really good at pushing me to do what I love. We were having a cancer benefit right after so I made one as a donation item for the silent auction and it sold for a lot of money. I thought maybe people will buy these and then I had a whole bunch of orders from there from people who didn’t win it.

Is this what you do full time?

I waitress part-time just lunches from 11 to 2.

Here at the Drum?

No at Michael’s Pizza just down the street. It’s really good pizza. I’ve been there for about four and a half years. Pretty much since I’ve been doing this and this is our fourth market here at the Drum this Christmas.

So there’s a craft market at the Drum & Monkey that you organize.

I do. It’s the Moe Shelley Holiday Market.

But there’s other vendors as well?

This year there’s 20. So we’ll be all in the Bamboo and into the Drum as well. Awesome shopping and super varied.

What kind of stuff?

There’s a sculptor there is a couple of knitters there’s a few other sewing gals — more kids stuff — there is a taxidermist who does ’hood rats. They’re rats turned into gangsters — they wear little track suits and they have bandanas. The last one that I saw had a mirror with Cheeto dust on it. They’re to die for.

Are they real taxidermy rats?

Yeah they’re real rats.

What else is there?

My new guy is a leather worker freehand custom leather work. So he does wallets and other stuff. He does really awesome work. There’s a few print artists like Jane Trash a few jewelry girls some feather earring and leather jewelry kind of stuff. We usually have about 14 or 15 vendors so this year is our biggest at 20.

Are you going to outgrow the Drum?

I’ll never outgrow the Drum. Ever. Because they gave me my start. I may have to do things in addition to.

But you’ll always do the Drum market?


Is there beer at this market?

Yes. There’s $4 cans of Lucky $4 Caesars $4 coffee and Baileys and a $4 breakfast special.

So you can have a proper pub breakfast and then shop?

Exactly. And you can bring kids it’s family friendly. I think breakfast goes until two or three and it’s free to get in. It’s the best holiday market there is. You can eat you can drink it’s in a pub you can bring your kids you can shop. It’s great. Also I charge $20 for a table and the money goes to a charity that we pick because Dan [Northfield] doesn’t charge us for taking over the pub.

What time does the market run?

From one until five on Sunday December 1st.

Find out more at moeshelley.ca .