Well I made the final decision to remove all items from my shop - I find it too dis-heartening to spend hours making something and then having to spend 10 times the effort in promoting it! I advertised in the showcase section that everything was reduced to half-price or offers before I remove it all tomorrow. However there seems to be no interest so does no-one want an all cotton kimono for just £32.50, an apron for £5 or a girl’s dress for £7.50?
Why remove them you’ve paid to list them why not just let them run till they expire otherwise you might miss a sale
Also just promoting the forum is not enough.
Having a shop is hard work it’s not only make and list followed by instant success. It is like any business you need to put time, research and energy into it.
It is unrealistic to expect huge sales straight away. Did you know most small business don’t see a profit in the first 2years.
I’m afraid promoting ie advertising your items in as many places as possible is a big part of having a shop along with research and development, doing the administration eg all your paperwork accounts, writing descriptions, making your items, taking your photos, dispatching your goods to customers and being your own customer service department.
All the jobs that are done in any business only when you are a sole trader you have to do it all. Yes it is extremely hard work but simply giving up at the first fence is no way to go.
Stick at it work at it and eventually you will start to see results.
You need to work on your photo’s you have 5 photos slots to use and you only use two or three.
Try taking a overall photo of the whole item.
Show the back and the front as well as the more detailed close up shots.
Your titles need work as do your descriptions remember internet shoppers only have your photo’s and descriptions to go on. They can’t pick something up and examine it like in a bricks and mortar shop.
You’ve sold items even with your lack of photo’s and descriptions, so think how much better you would do if you improved in these area’s as well as promoting in more than just the forums.
I’m not your target market as I have plenty of aprons I make them for myself, I don’t have children to buy clothes for and you don’t have any thing in my size.
So you need to think who are my target market and how can I best reach them.
I would not buy something that in the description says there is a pocket but its not visible in the photos. Why isn’t it in the photo’s, take a close up of it let the potential customer see the pocket.
I would suggest not laying your items on the floor to take photos as it puts people off, no matter how lovely and clean your floor might be. Try laying down a nice white sheet on the floor then laying your items on top of the sheet. It will also make your item stand out more.
Hi, for what it’s worth (as I have been listing papercuts since October and sold none yet!) I completely agree with Eileen’s comments above. You have some lovely handmade products but the photos are letting them down in my opinion. I agree with Eileen it would be a shame to close your shop without trying a new approach which would include getting some much better photos, also of course promotion. Perhaps you could think about ways of showing the items to their best advantage, do you have a photogenic friend who could pose in a kimono or apron, is there a little girl who could model the very sweet wrapover skirt? Could you show items in a “lifestyle” setting? Also perhaps think about contrasting background colours, some things don’t look that interesting against white.
… though it’s good to have one photo against a white background as magazines etcc. prefer that if they want to use it. There are useful photo tips on the Folksy blog.
I’m sorry that you feel so down hearted but I know what you mean. Some of my items take longer to photgraph and list than they take to make and I have far more success selling them at craft fairs than I do here but I keep at it. You’ve made as many sales via Folksy as I have in almost 2 years so don’t loose heart it takes time to build a brand.
As Eileen says if you have paid for the listing why remove it? You might as well leave it until it expires, have a break from promoting for a couple of weeks and then come back to it hopefully refreshed and reinvigorated. You could work on your photography and descriptions (we all need to do that) or maybe see if there is a local craft fair you could have a stall at - your items are sure to sell and it would boost your belief in your product (which I feel is dropping). Maybe make some easter/ spring items and then get BritishCrafters to do the promotion for you?
Yes I do appreciate what you are all saying. However, I have not just started up, but been up and running for 4 years. In that time I have made 23 sales. About 1/3 were supplies which I am not really interested in selling anyway (other than excess stock), another 1/3 were sales of small items and the remaining 1/3 were items of clothing which I sold at a loss (including a fully lined, boned prom dress with undernetting which I sold for £10 which didn’t go anywhere near even covering the materials).
My original idea when setting up shop was to make items to order with the items in the shop being just examples of my work. I loved the idea of making one-off items that were original, collaborating with the customer to produce something unique which they could not buy on the high street, but at a reasonable price. I have never once had a custom order!
I have no wish to sell masses of items, therefore it would not be worth the effort of learning to be a clever photographer, getting to grips with ‘tweeting’, pinterest, blogging etc! I am not in my twenties, thirties or even forties - all I want to do is sew! So if no-one wants anything made then I have plans for many items I would like to create for myself!
Therefore, as stated, I will remove the balance of my stock at the end of today and dispose of it - probably won’t even bother with ‘e…y’ as I have wasted time with that before with no sales even at 99p starting prices!! Don’t worry - I am not as bitter and depressed as I sound - looking forward to being creative, especially since the new Sewing Bee is on! I will probably leave up my shop front just advertising a commission service so please bear it in mind if you want something specific/unusual etc!
I do wish you all luck though in your endeavours. I think is is a real struggle for crafters to get their work valued for the time and effort involved and I do admire all the successful artists out there who have made a go of it!
Unless a potential customer reads your profile they’d never know you did custom work.
So what would be the best way to advertise custom work?
Make a listing in your shop for a custom item. For example, if you were to offer to custom make a skirt for someone, list it at the price you’d charge for a custom made skirt and then the customer could buy it and contact you with the precise details.
If you search on Folksy for ‘custom’ you’ll find lots of listings for custom items for all sorts of things.
If you’ve made an item of clothing for yourself, say a skirt, why not take a few pics, including you wearing the skirt, then list it with Custom in the title, saying you’ll change the material, size, length and even alter the style. At least then the customer can visualise what it might look like, and what they might want to change. I think once the customer has a starting point then the custom bit of the order would become easier.
If you are going to offer a commission service then people need to be able to see the range of skills you can provide but also the quality of your work hence the need for a range of products and good photographs - I doubt that just having a store front advertising a custom service would work. I get my custom work from doing craft events - people see the range of work I have and it then opens the conversation about having something custom made (I’m currently making a copper ring based on the copper cuffs I have and a necklace in a different colour to one I have listed - both commissions came via craft fairs). If I sell enough pre existing stock at the fair to cover costs then its a bonus, any more than that and it means that I have extra money to make something special to expand my portfolio. (eventually I hope to be able to pay myself a wage but at the moment I putting the money back into building the business)
If you search for custom in the clothing section of folksy you’ll find a few people who offer to make things in your specific size/ colour but they all have samples of the finished item for sale for you to look at. It also tends to be clothing that is a bit more unusual than a cotton kimono or an apron eg prom/ bridesmaid dresses, club wear or steampunk costumes.
Have you also removed all your Sold listings. That’s a shame as someone might have spotted something on there which they liked and got in touch even if you have nothing currently in your shop.
Think I must have done in error, thinking they were not needed anymore- you can tell I am not much good at this!
If I was ordering something custom made I would want to see a photo of a similar item and possibly some idea of what fabric could be used for the item, because I wouldn’t want to choose the wrong fabric. Would it be an idea to have a listing with samples of fabric which someone could then choose from. For example - a listing titled something like “Fabric Choices for Girl’s Skirt” and also a photo of the skirt you would make. If you have “samples” already made, then you have a good start, if you have fabrics available which are suitable to make your “sample” skirt then you have the beginnings of a good shop specialising in custom made items. I don’t know whether this would involve a lot of work, photographs etc. Good luck with whatever you choose to do. Marg.
Have just put up my first custom listing - do you think it is fairly clear?
I think you are missing is your production time eg how long it takes from order to complete it ready for posting/shipping.
You do need to say if you want a potential customer to give you their size in say size 12 or do you want them measure their bust and length from nape of neck to where ever they want the top to finish. ie to waistline, and can that be in inches or cm?
But yes it’s a lot lot clearer you are offering custom made / made to order. .
It is a lot clearer that you are offering custom made. It is not clear which fabric pattern goes with which name (ie is the one with pink flowers Lola W…?) so how is someone supposed to specify which fabric they would like the blouse in? Secondly you say you could use the fabric to make up a pattern of our choice - is it worth giving some indication of if there is enough fabric to make a long sleeved blouse or a child’s dress? I know you state that there is 1m of fabric but I don’t know how much fabric is required to make things and whilst I know it states on a pattern how much fabric is required to make an item I don’t go looking at patterns as I don’t have the sewing skills to make them (and I suspect that anyone who does know how much fabric is required and looks at patterns could make the item themselves).
When I have been doing custom work (and when I have paid to have clothes made for me) people want to know that they are going to get exactly what they want and that it is going to fit / sit perfectly. I have made chains up to 16 3/4 inch length as that has been what is required by the customer, yesterday I was at a client’s house making sure that the ring I’m making for her was the right size before I finish it off but that is the service that they are paying for. So stating that you can work from a clients measurements to ensure perfect fit (and a diagram indicating where they would need to measure) would be a real bonus.
Thanks all for your comments. However I had a ‘moment’ where I thought ‘why am I doing this?’ and I realised I don’t have to do it. It is time to relax and just do pleasure sewing! So I have just bitten the bullet and am closing down!
Darn it! - It won’t let me until I have paid outstanding fees of 18p! Hope I don’t change my mind!!