Folksy Ltd

How do you get through the times when you feel despondent about your work?

I’ve always been creative - been drawing and making things since I was tiny. Even when I’ve tried to work at ‘proper’ jobs I would end up doing creative things - designing posters, helping organise events (it was usually cheaper for my employers to get me to do the creative stuff than to pay for someone else to do it, and it saved me being bored out of my brain doing admin or accounts lol!)

I’ve been running Dandelion’s Gallery for 8 years now, and most of the time I love it (and some times I can even afford to pay my bills!)

But some times I get despondent. I see people who rake in a small fortune by making things using copyright images or trademarked phrases etc (I know they are taking a big risk, but not all of them get caught out). I see people who follow every latest trend in producing items very similar to many other people which require the minimum crafting skill, but again they make good money as they mass produce whatever’s currently the ‘must have’ item.

I just try and get on with doing my own thing - and I do ok with sales (but I can’t do craft fairs for health reasons, so that limits things a bit).

I’m not quirky enough or trendy enough to be someone who gets items featured by Folksy (I used to occasionally have an item included in gift guides etc, but it’s been a looong time since that happened). I’ve often been in the top twenty sellers list on here, but I’m not new enough to be interesting any more, so there’s little chance of me ever being the featured seller.

All I want is to be able to make a halfway decent living from my art.

I guess I have the January Blues. Anyone else get like that, and how do you give yourself a kick up the bum to get over it?

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I feel your pain Sara @DandelionsGallery and you are not alone. I gave up work about 18 months ago and would dearly love my work to earn me enough to pay my bills but alas it probably won’t ever happen so I get by doing odd bits and pieces of admin for various people and am lucky enough to have a supportive family to help me out with accommodation and bills but I reckon I will have to find proper work soon as my sister is selling her house (where I am currently living). There are good months but not regular enough for me to rely on them and in the bad months I do get moments of “why do I do this” but I love making and to me its almost therapy. I live in hope that one day I will hit upon a best seller but am not holding my breath! I sometimes think I should move into something a bit more “on trend” but then I don’t think I would enjoy it as much so on I plod hoping that one day Folksy will notice me :slight_smile: .

BTW I love your work and one day soon I hope to have one of your ACEO’s to add to my collection from other Folksy sellers :slight_smile:

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Hi Sara
I know how you feel, yes. January - such a drag that month, pfff! Your stuff is sooo cute and I see you’ve sold nearly 2000 items! I’ve sold 3. THREE! So you’re obviously making lots of people happy in your own creative way :slight_smile:
Maybe a new start to the year could be a slightly new direction to stay fresh and frolicsome! Your little bunnies appliquéd onto babygros? Creatures of the forest cake toppers? Bunny bunting? Ooh -Bunny & carrot bunting! Ooh - how about fox chasing bunnies chasing carrots bunting?!
Loads of fun still to discover Sara - best wishes.

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I also know exactly how you feel. Especially about the featured seller bit! It seems to me that Folksy often choose somebody rather trendy for this section, but some of the jewellery makers in that section have left me feeling a bit disappointed, mainly because I know how easy it is to make the items and how little the raw materials cost. I don’t want to say too much about this because it would give away who I am talking about, but still… The other thing I have observed is that a lot of the featured sellers seem to have come over from the dark side, with a fully worked out marketing strategy, are on Folksy for a couple of weeks causing a stir, get featured, make a killing, and then disappear from the site, presumably back to whence they came having found some new customers. I can see that this is a legitimate marketing tool. It is straight out of Machiavelli’s handbook, but this is how it goes these days.

Sorry I can’t be more cheerful, but in the context of me getting just 1 view :disappointed:, 2 nights in a row, I’m struggling,

Sam x

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Hi Sara
I can’t help with most of your questions but your shop is wonderful :slight_smile:
Just popped you onto British Crafters FB page today and on Twitter too.


Every little helps and all that.
Keep smiling and keep the faith, it’s almost February!

Dottie x

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I know how you feel too @DandelionsGallery … I haven’t been inspired to make anything new for ages now. Maybe once the days get lighter and it’s not so cold in my spare room where I craft…

On the plus side, the baubles I ordered from you went down a storm & looked just lovely on my brother’s Christmas tree :relaxed:

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I was going to suggest British Crafters! :slight_smile:

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Have you considered approaching local pet shops and/or rescue centres about stocking/selling your work? You might need to review your prices to factor in their commission (which tends to be higher than online) but it would help to bring in extra revenue.

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Thanks! We don’t have a magic wand to make sales but at least on the FB page people say nice things and come and visit your shop :slight_smile:

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I think you should be proud. You have sold almost 2000 items. That’s great. I feel despondent too as not been able to sell much and can’t justify renewing my plus account which is due to expire.
Keep on at it. Your items are good!

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This rarely happens to me but if I feel I’m getting there, I usually walk away and enjoy the outdoors. Or I get into other creative things, such as cooking or baking which are the easiest and quickest to get into. Einstein used to call this method ‘combinatory play’. Or I just wait for this period to pass.

I don’t know if this helps…I don’t mean to be philosophical or too general…I just know these phases come and go and what I try has worked me so far…

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I think that January is a very bad month for despondency in all sorts of areas. There is quite simply not enough sunshine in the UK for our physical needs so we get Sad ( I certainly do and have bought some Vitamin D tablets to see if that helps).

This thought may not help anyone’s sales but it is worth noting. After all how much better do we all feel about… well just about everything really…when we wake up to sunshine and a blue sky…
.
So if anyone is thinking about changing things because they are fed up in January, wait until Spring and sunshine and you may want to change things but probably in a much more positive way.

PS My own major antidote to January despondency is to book a winter sunshine break. From the moment of booking the anticipation keeps all despondency at bay and in fact that solves absolutely Everything… but I know not everyone can do that so I’m not gloating (just feeling pretty excited)… and will send everyone happy sunshine waves

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It’s hard work, isn’t it? The thing is, if we all move into making ‘on trend’ items, then everyone will be making pretty much the same thing and the market will be saturated in no time. I see that happening in a large craft group I belong to on Facebook - something becomes popular, suddenly everyone starts making it, and then they flood the market, prices crash, and people are left with loads of unwanted stock. I figure if you’re going to run a business like that, just selling things because they are popular, you might just as well become a re-seller of other people’s items anyway - I’d far rather, like you, stick to doing what I enjoy (and keep fingers crossed for the big break through one day!)

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It’s taken a while to get to just under 2,000, but it’s been a steady increase each year :slight_smile:

I like your suggestions - but I used to sew a lot, and em enjoying not having to do it as part of my work anymore lol! (plus the sciatica is playing up in this damp weather, so sitting at the sewing table can’t be done much at the moment anyway).

I did used to do bunny bunting, but for what people are willing to pay for it, it’s not really cost effective, and I had a spell where a certain other ‘crafter’ (I use that term very loosely!) was copying whatever I did, which drove me mad. Now bunting is really easily available, and I don’t really want to do a lot of that kind of thing, although I do still do the odd thing for a friend or a charity item.

Thanks for your reply - and I’m sure your sales will pick up soon :slight_smile: x

Aw, sorry you are struggling too :frowning:

But we will plod on, eh? I guess the positive thing about having a low amount of views is…the numbers can only go up!!! (There, that’s me playing Pollyanna’s ‘game’ - and it’s always easier to do it for someone else than yourself, as she found out!)

(((hugs)))

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Aw, thank you! That is so king of you :smiley:

The sun is actually shining here today - I’m feeling more positive :slight_smile:

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So glad the baubles went down well :slight_smile:

My head is full of ideas - my body refuses to get into creative mode and actually let me get on and make stuff. I think I’m so full of adrenaline from September through to December as I have so many Christmas commissions to get completed, that in January my body goes on strike.

I know what you mean about not wanting to work in a cold room - luckily we’ve not had snow or ice down here, but it’s been weeks of dark days, heavy rain and high winds, and the house gets damp. Unfortunately my father, who is a prize plonker, thinks that the heating should only be on when he is in the house, as my mother and I don’t count as people. As he spends most of the day down his shed (hurrah!) that means he doesn’t want the heating on in the house (boo!). He comes up every hour to turn the thermostat down low enough so that heating doesn’t come on. Mum and I just wait til he’s gone back out and turn it up again, but it’s a constant distraction. I don’t even have a radiator in my room, and have to rely on heat from the one on the hallway - but he’s ok. So long as he’s warm, that’s what counts. This is why I need to be able to make a good living - to get my mum and I away from him and his selfish ways.

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The pet shops around here are all chain store ones who don’t deal with individuals, sadly. There aren’t that many reputable rescues (and some I wouldn’t touch with a barge pole!)

I did used to try, when I saw a new shop being set up in town, run by someone independent, popping a ‘welcome’ card through their door before they opened, welcoming them to the area, and giving a free sample of the cards I made, and my contact details in case it was anything they would be interested in stocking. Not one of them ever replied to even say ‘thanks, but no thanks’, and perhaps I should have followed up with a visit in person when they had actually opened, but I’m quite a shy person, and having already felt rebuffed I could never pick up the courage to go in after that.

Your cards are beautiful - I hope your sales pick up x

I justify the Plus Account by looking at the price of local craft fairs. I can’t do them anymore, due to health reasons, but did them many years ago. Nowadays the really good ones over several days costs hundreds of pounds (couldn’t afford that anyway), the cheap ones (£5 - £10 a table, 1 day) are full of mass produced imported ‘crafts’, and very little real craft, and the only ones who make any money seem to be the ones selling imported tat. The middling priced ones (£30 - £40 for one day) are more selective with who they let sell, but often the footfall is low, so it’s a gamble to book one of those anyway.

I figure with the Plus Account, at £45, I can be open 24/7 to a worldwide audience (and I do sell a fair bit overseas) - it’s marginally more than a decent quality one day craft far, and I can list as much as I like through the year.

By the way - a few days before your Plus Account is due to expire remember to renew everything in your shop, so that you get the extra few months worth out of it :slight_smile: (But don’t leave it until the last day as the site is bound to crash if you do that - it’s sod’s law!)

x

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A walks is always a good way to blow away the cobwebs - but this winter it has been rain, rain and more rain down here, with very few dry days lol! My sciatica’s playing up, as it’s been so damp, and there’s only so many times I can enjoy a walk in the rain lol!

I do enjoy cooking, but my father only allows the kitchen lights to be on when I am cooking his tea - any other time he gets really angry if it’s so dark that we need the big lights on (we’re allowed to use the couple of under counter lights, if it’s really dark, but they aren’t really very effective, and it’s not much fun cooking in a cold kitchen with not much light. The positive to that is that I don’t bake cakes much any more, which is hopefully helping my waistline!

I know the low mood will pass - today we actually have sunshine this morning and a blue sky - yay! I just have to remember that spring is on the way :slight_smile:

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