18630 Loyalist Parkway
Site 5, Box 4 Hillier,
ON, Canada K0K 2J0
|Famous Fairy Folk
Reprinted from Picton Gazette ? May 26, 2004
There are famous people living and working quietly in the County. They?re not in the tabloids but famous in their own fields. Filmmakers, writers, scientists, artists, CEOs, champions of agriculture - and Terry Wolfert and Teresa Fischer, regarded by many as King and Queen of the Fairies. Terry and Teresa create porcelain fairies that sell all over the world, international collectors compete to buy each new edition, and they have won a coveted place in the One-of-a-Kind Hall of Fame and five Golden Web awards for their website.
Until the 1990s Terry and Teresa ran an executive search firm in Toronto and Teresa made porcelain dolls as a hobby. "An expensive hobby,? she says, "but it was relaxing and I loved it.? At her first craft show, one tiny fairy attracted more interest than anything else. So she made more fairies, attended more shows and talked a lot to customers. "I?m customer-driven,? says Teresa. "Fairy lovers love to talk and we listen. They give us ideas, we respond to their requests.? At a specialty "egg art? show in Michigan their fairies were snapped up by egg artists, opening another lucrative market. There?s a world-famous egg artist living in the County, too, but that?s another story.
In the recession of the 1990s they grew weary of expensive, stressful city life (stop me if you?ve heard this before?) and searched for a rural place where they could live supported by their fairies. They discovered Prince Edward County and moved into an old church in Hillier and, with the help of Infolink?s Anne Van Vlack they built their hardworking website that grew their little business into an international success story.
www.fairys.com hums with activity, online sales, a gallery of fairies, custom wedding cake toppers including bald bridegrooms, fantasy costumes and "biker brides.? A dozen shows a year plus their excellent online catalogue services a large customer base, particularly in the U.S. and as far away as the United Arab Emirates, where one collector pays more for shipping than she pays for the fairies to ensure she gets her order next day.
The inspiration may be whimsy, but their success comes from hard work and clever marketing. Twice yearly limited edition fairies can be previewed on the website but only by customers with a special password. "It?s a marketing thing,? says Terry, and a successful one, too. Special editions always sell out.
In 13 years they have learned a lot about fairies and people who love them. Literature professors submit fairy stories to their newsletter, and they?ve heard a lot of personal accounts of brushes with fairy magic. But Terry is scientific in his approach to porcelain. "Humidity affects it,? says Terry, "So I do all the pouring in just a few weeks of the year.? Before first firing, the slender little fairies are fragile, and many feet and hands are lost. Teresa paints faces, prepares wigs and fashions costumes from beautiful fabrics, including hand-painted silks from local artist Amelie Koning. Bases are made from twigs, branches, stones and shells that Terry gathers by exploring fields, climbing trees and beach-combing.
It?s a long way from the tense world of executive placement, although their name Parx Productions is pure Bay Street, an acronym for Performance-Attitude-Results-Excellence. They often work around the clock, stopping only to sleep for a couple of hours and spend time with Brutus, their 14-year old cockatoo, a hilarious and affectionate companion.
How is that different from their old way of life? Teresa says, "We love what we do, we do it in our own time, and it?s wonderful working from home.? They sing the County?s praises wherever they go and are responsible for fellow One-of-a-Kind-er, Diane?s Designer Bears, moving to Hillier. "An artist we met in Edmonton is selling up to move here, too,? says Teresa.
Despite their relationships with hundreds of customer/friends, Terry and Teresa are private people who are probably better known in Toronto and Michigan than here, which suits them fine. They are delighted that by using their imaginations and the tools of the 21st century they can call the County home and the whole world their marketplace.