Folksy Ltd

A Plea For Help And Hope

Good afternoon, all.

I have been making and selling jewellery for a few years with great success. Just over a year ago I decided to take everything online as it seemed the sensible option, with little overhead cost and freeing up my time making life and business more flexible and harmonised. I opened an Etsy shop last March, and was assured that with exposure, persistence and time it would be just like having a real shop again with a tiny percentage of the expense.

Earlier this year I discovered Folksy, but before I kicked it off I decided to double my investment in time and money on Etsy; since June I have completely transformed my shop: I have hundreds of products, I add something new most days, I followed all the books and sellers guides to the letter and have implemented all the advice I could get my hands on. Since June I have acquired the grand total of: 1 sale. One! I have numerous views every day, even if I haven’t been active that day, and the interest is clearly there, BUT, I just don’t get the whole hog to a purchase. I’m confused, frustrated and practically exhausted with it and I don’t know where to turn anymore. I’ve never been so close to giving up, which really scares me because my craft and design is my whole life- it’s just in retrograde from when I tried to make my life easier by going online.

What I’m looking for is some help and friendly advice on your experience, to restore my hope in that I have made the right decision to dedicate my life to fulfilling my passion and creating precious and exclusive jewellery pieces for everyone and anyone to enjoy. Have you experienced something similar? What are your thoughts on Etsy, and the difference between it and Folksy? Is it worth my time to stop flogging the dead horse and re-invest the same level of effort into this promising site?

Any honest opinions and an outside perspective that can shed some light on my current challenge will be eternally appreciated.

Many Thanks,
Janie
Annetique Chic

Hi Janie, I’ve never had much success on Etsy but I haven’t put much effort into it either - I find the hassle of having to stock and promote 2 separate sites too much of a headache, so I put all my effort into this one with some success.

I sell art and have an artfinder store too that I don’t promote at all but have had a few sales from so who knows!

I find the plus account an absolute boon - a fixed fee to list as much as you like all year. I’ve listed and sold some pieces that I wasn’t at all sure of and wouldn’t otherwise have listed if I had to pay a separate fee.

I’d maybe develop your photos a little - the one of the ring has too much background and not enough ring for my liking. Your photos also seem to have a grey cast on them - perhaps use a package like photoshop (or picasso, which is free) to change the white balance?

Good luck!
Stephie

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Hi Janie @AnnetiqueChic. Like Stephanie @StephanieGuy I have a shop here and one on Etsy but do little promotion of my shop over there as I feel like a very little fish in a big ocean and find it very hard to interact on the forums. I tend to only list my higher priced items over there and have sold a few with little or no effort. My shop here on Folksy is the one I promote far more and I also find the plus account great for trying out ideas you are not too sure of. It has taken a lot of time and effort in promotion but I have had quite a few sales here although sadly not enough to make a living from it and things have definitely taken a dive over the last few months but I am hoping it will pick up for Christmas. I think there are quite a lot of people around who prefer etsy and do better over there but I have never quite got to the bottom of what factors affect the ability of some shops to do better there and others over here - maybe its all down to the amount of promotion they give each site. Personally I love Folksy, I especially love the forums where everyone is so helpful and I also like the fact that Folksy admin is only an email away and I feel like I am talking to a human rather than a distant robot whenever I contact them for help.

Having said all that, the jewellery business is such a competitive market with thousands of sellers competing for sales so its going to be difficult for you whichever site you choose. I would agree that in order to stand out you will need to work on your photos a bit, maybe a shot showing items being worn would be a good idea.

Good luck with whichever route you choose but certainly don’t expect overnight miracles :slight_smile:

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The trouble is that there are so very many jewellery shops online that it’s difficult to compete. I used to buy jewellery on Folksy and have tons that I bought and more tons that I subsequently made myself!

You need to be making something a bit different, a unique selling point, that will make jewellery buyers come to your shop rather than one of the thousand other ones.

The forum is very friendly and is full of good advice, so you’ve come to the right place! Good luck!

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Thank you for your feedback- I really appreciate it.

I agree that it’s difficult to invest into two marketing strategies. I am thinking about switching my attention to here, and turning the heat down on Etsy, out of frustration if nothing else!

I really don’t mind promoting, and I am willing to do some extra marketing on social media every day; its just, it hasn’t got me anywhere so far, after months of work, and I would rather work out any problems before I continue.

It’s a great help being in touch with other artists, and the tips and advice on here are invaluable.

Thanks again!

Thanks :smile:

I have a feeling that my stuff is maybe too unique. So much that there isn’t even a market for it! I am considering where I sit, and any changes I can make to help my case, since as you say jewellery is an over saturated market online.

Thank you for the help

Your items are lovely but maybe you need a few more. I was told when I started that the more items listed the more you are likely to get seen. I also have an Etsy shop and I am also finding it hard to keep up with both so may holiday my etsy shop for a week or two and see how it goes. It is probably easier to put all the focus on one shop, I am also following all the suggested info for Etsy. I have shared an item on pinterest and twitter for you - hope it helps
Claire

Hi Janie @AnnetiqueChic

Some great advice above.

The difference between selling online and selling face to face is that people can get really close and even pick up the jewellery, most jewellery stalls at craft fairs even have mirrors so you can try things on.

So the key to selling online is the photography, you have to make the buyer feel really confident about the piece

Close up images that are sharply in focus help the buyer see how well made the item is so rather than 4 or 5 similar pictures create a strategy for your 5 photo slots and treat all your items the same. To ensure a customer has that confidence in the item.

The CLICK ME image - your leading image that gets people’s attention - close ups with a narrow field of focus of a special detail can work really well here. With jewellery of course this could just be a tightly cropped image but think about the angle of the image

@beckypearcedesigns1 does this really well and as a result we feature her items lots! See how the stone in this picture really grabs you, the colour and shine! The background drifts away out of focus.

The general picture showing the entire item clearly
Image showing the back
Image showing the details like fastenings
You could also have lifestyle shots, not necessarily someone wearing the jewellery but perhaps on a dressing table with some props.

Please don’t give up!

This could be a good read for you

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Hi,
As a fellow jeweller I’m not sure I’m going to give you much hope… I sell far more face to face than I do via either folksy or etsy, face to face also allows me to plug my skills to pick up commissions so I would never go online only. At a good christmas market I can sell more in that one day than I do in a year on folksy or etsy.
To state the obvious, jewellery on both sites is congested (I’ve never worked out what percentage my listings make up but its not going to be very big), etsy is bigger and more widely known so more people use it but you have to compete with chinese and indian makers who can sell things much cheaper than the rest of us. I’ve found it good for selling items made from unusual materials - more people are searching it for those materials and the chinese/ indians can’t mass produce them because of the rarity of the materials (I don’t promote that shop and it ticks over on its own accord). Folksy is less widely known so fewer potential customers just browsing the site (so it helps if you can drive potential customers here with promotion) but you don’t have to compete with the mass produced market or quite so many other sellers (not so good at selling things made from unusual materials as people aren’t searching here for them).
I suggest you run a search on both sites to see how your work compares with others - I had a look in your etsy shop and the first item is vintage style pearl studs so I searched for that and got almost 600 results (FYI the same search here gave me 3 items to look through). When you run the search how do your photos and titles compare? I don’t think the previously mentioned pearl studs are particularly well titled as they don’t actually contain pearls even if they are based on earrings which did). I think you could still work on your photos a bit (but I think we could all do that). Being prepared to ship to more countries would be a bonus (especially on etsy which is US centric), you don’t have to ship every where but europe and USA/ canada are good additions.
If you do decide to move your main shop over here from etsy have a look at the search terms data on your dash board and make sure you use those terms in your listings on here where applicable!
I hope some of this is useful even if its not very hope inspiring.
Sasha

I have turned Etsy into a formula for sales, but it just isn’t happening for some reason. I know so many people who swear by it- I’m just an anomaly, and completely at a loss to what I’m doing wrong. I’m willing to put the same effort in here and possibly spend another year building this site up to the same as my Etsy currently.

It’s much more sophisticated than what I have on here, and I tick all the boxes that the top selling Etsy stores do, I just can’t work out why I’m not selling anything.

It seems like the thing to do, vesting my efforts into Folksy, and I hope it proves successful in the future.

I really appreciate your feedback, thank you :slight_smile:

Do you prefer Folksy to Etsy? I’ve not heard any comparisons, but most prefer Etsy. I don’t think it’s for me.

Thank you so much.

You say you think most people prefer etsy which I have to admit was a feeling I had until I started a thread recently and the responses surprised me - might be interesting for you to read

If you sell well offline then your items are clearly popular so you should be able to sell them online too. I had a peep at your shops and can see that there are a few things that you could do to help improve your sales.

The problem with selling online is that, as Hilary mentioned earlier, you must must must be able to demonstrate through photography how appealing your items are in the flesh. With online selling it is simply not enough to just have a great product, you have to be able to present it properly or it just won’t get noticed.

At the moment your photo’s are a bit dark and they don’t pop and catch the eye. You could try getting a light tent or some other form of diffuse lighting specifically designed for photography (it’s not too expensive but makes a world of difference). Also learning how to properly use software to improve your photos helps a lot too. To sell well online you really do have to be pretty adept at product photography, there is no other way around it.

You could also improve your titles, descriptions and tags (both here and on Etsy) to help you get found. Your titles need to be more descriptive and use short phrases that people who would like your items might use to search for them. Tags should also be short phrases (ideally, that match the phrases in your title … especially for Etsy) rather than single words. If you sell multiple items that are similar then use slightly different phrases for each one so that you have more chance of being found.

I sell here and on Etsy and I have to admit, I do much better over there than I do here. I advertise both sites a similar amount so I think it’s really down to the fact that Etsy has a larger share of the handmade market so gets more visitors. That can be a bonus or a downside because it has a squillion more sellers too so can be harder to get found (another reason that it’s really essential to have attractive photos and good SEO).

I hope this helps! Don’t give up without trying some of the suggestions from this thread … it really will make a difference I’m sure. :slight_smile:

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I did my accounts the other day and noticed that I had steady sales on Etsy until 8th December, when I stopped selling and didn’t have another sale until March! I don’t know if I was affected by some sort of reorganisation on the site but it’s never picked up. I also did an experimental search on Etsy- “The Owl and the Pussycat Cufflinks”. It came up with “no results” even though all the keywords were in my listings. It only came up when I changed my title to those exact words. Very annoying. Even Google does better than that!
So no, I’m not wild about Etsy (but it’s no picnic getting sales here either…)

hi, I prefer folksy as it is smaller and more friendly but the dark side is easier to crops photos when listing and you can also add links to matching items which you can’t here. I had most of my sales here within my first month when I was listing new items everyday but that has slowed down now. Folksy is a UK site and I much prefer it so it is my main site.

Hi Janie,

I have a shop on here and on etsy (as well as my own website) and of the two I much prefer and get more sales from @folksy.

I honestly believe selling online is all about the photos - it took me a while to get mine right, but now I have a little area set up on my workshop windowsill, with a daylight lamp next to it, and quite often have to brighten the pic and remove colour cast in photoshop elements too. I use the same formula each time, same background, same lighting. It has made a huge, huge difference to my shops getting my photos sorted.

I had a good play around with my camera white balance settings a while ago too - there’s some info on my blog about it - that really helped. http://www.beckypearcedesigns.blogspot.co.uk/2010/03/playing-around-with-my-camera-2.html

I can only think it must be the photos that aren’t grabbing people, as the jewellery and the all the info in the listings and descriptions are fab. Don’t give up - good luck!

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Hi, Janie!

Like many others I have shops on both Etsy and Folksy.
For each sale I have here I have three on Etsy, and I find my Etsy shop more or less looks after itself promotion wise.

However, it is different for everyone, and I like the community feel of Folksy.
There are pros and cons with both.

I agree with @beckypearcedesigns1, that photos are key, and make a huge difference to sales.
For me, beach backgrounds work well, and I definitely sell more items when they are set on a beach!

Good luck…hopefully you’ll have a flurry of Christmas orders,

Sarah x

I’m off to the beach now! :slight_smile:

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How do you mean your Etsy shop looks after itself promotion wise, Sarah? Because mine doesn’t seem to! :slight_smile: I favourite lots of shops and items and seem to get very little in return…

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Christine @coatimundi I dont promote my etsy shop at all but providing I add the occasional listing and tweet an item every day I seem to get views and the occasional sale - not 100% convinced that some of the views aren’t from robots though. Not too sure why the tweets bring in views since the ones I make from folksy don’t seem to do the same.

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