Folksy Ltd

Watch a talk by James from Folksy about selling craft today

I thought some of you might find this really interesting. It’s a talk that James Boardwell @JamesB did recently as part of the Non-Makers in Craft symposium at Shipley Art Gallery.

He talks about what craft and handmade means today, how retail is changing, what you need to do to sell craft now and why being able to tell your story is so important.

We’d love to hear your thoughts too. Do you think he’s right?


Really interesting. Thought provoking. Going to listen to it again and make some notes.
Thank you for sharing it with us all,
Suzzie x

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I really enjoyed that, found it very interesting, at first the big words was starting to loose me but after a few minutes no way was i going to turn it off :slight_smile: it’s given me much to think about, thank you @folksycontent and @JamesB

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I really enjoyed listening to this and so much of it made sense to me. Thank you for sharing it with us - now to try and adopt some of the ideas…

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With large companies using the terms ‘handmade’ and ‘crafted’ having a story and sharing it is even more important than before. Some shops online don’t even have profile information! We certainly hope that potential customers are able to tell the difference between purely handmade and tries-to-be handmade.

I really liked how James was highlighting that what we do should be perceived more as a luxury product than a cheap-type product by us first of all, the crafters/artists. And that’s the way it should be.

Lots to think about…I’ll watch it again. Thanks!


Interesting but hard to listen to him as he’s clearly not used to public speaking. I’m very put off by the way he keeps stopping mid sentence and changes what he was going to say and all the ermm’s.

I gave up in the end it was frustrating to listen to him. If I’d been there I would have left by now.

Sorry if that seems hard.

So if selling our skills, story and passion is key does that mean we will soon get a bigger, better not to mention more obvious ‘meet the maker’ section?


I thought that was very interesting. I enjoyed listening to him. I too hope the new meet the maker section comes soon as this is such an important part of who we are.

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Very interesting and I think he’s right. If I really love something and it has a story behind it, I’m willing to pay a lot for it and I really value it as something special. If something is mass produced and cheap, with no story to tell, than it has little value. The big problem a lot of us on Folksy have, is that we can see this in regard to other peoples’ things but worry about charging a fair price for our own. It’s difficult to take the plunge and charge for the creativity, the story behind our work and the time and effort that goes into it. I’ve recently started selling my craftwork in a local shop, as well as on Folksy. My items sell there quite easily at nearly twice the price that I sell them on Folksy and yet I’m still scared to take the plunge and put my prices up. I’ve added the postage to my items on Folksy, so that there is not such a gap in price. I’m just frightened to put the prices up too much in case they don’t sell. How do you get over that fear?


As a buyer I’m not looking for a ‘Story’ I’m looking for something I like, will use ie do the job I require it to do, at the price I can afford at the time or am willing to save up to buy at a later date.

I want clear descriptions what it is, what it does, size and how to look after it, materials it’s made from, price, how long before the item will be sent out, how much it will cost to get to me, how to contact the seller if anything goes wrong with the transaction.

I don’t read inspiration behind an item and tbh I doubt many do as people don’t tend to read descriptions very often any ways and want instant gratification. Quick sound bites

People don’t want to read a essay they want to shop.


Really interesting - there’s a lot to think about there. Thanks for sharing. Although I think Eileen has a point - not everyone is interested in a ‘story’ - I know that I do get drawn in when other makers talk about their own skills and products and what their craft means to them. I’m always more reluctant to talk about my own work in that way (a lack of formal study or training probably has something to do with that) so I think that’s something I need to work on (and I’m sure I’m not on my own!). Also, I totally agree that the terms ‘handmade’ and ‘crafted’ are bandied about far too easily!

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A really interesting talk. Thanks for that. I’m going to listen to it again when I have more time to take notes and absorb what is being said.

Personally, I would prefer it if those who use ‘handmade/crafted/made by hand’ to stop using those terms when the work isn’t what they call it. They should stop trying to get into our area, as it is attractive, and stick to their area. Instead of us, makers of truly handmade work, putting in the extra work and time and effort to prove.

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He raises the very important point of what hand crafted should be about and be valued for. There are people interested in the story behind what they are buying - from micro breweries, artisan bread, meat from the local farm shop where they can tell you how the cattle/sheep/poultry were raised, local cheesemakers, and that’s just my local area. We even have an event called “Munchies on the Meadow” for Kent based businesses of local produce and over 3000 people attend it - in a small village - and people come because it’s special. They can after all get bread, meat, jams, cheese in the supermarket, but some people like to spoil themselves with something special occasionally. For others it’s a way of life, a choice made to get the best they can afford on a daily basis.

Anyway, I’m waffling a bit, but the principle stands. Handmade, handcrafted is special and should be protected, and we as crafters should be at the forefront of saying, to borrow the line from L’Oreal " Because I’m worth it" - our skills, and the story behind it, are worth the premium.


We might not be able to produce a story for each item we make, but there should be some kind of story overall that allows others to make a connection between us, the makers, and our work…and the public can then assess how that fits with their own world. I think that’s the idea of ‘having a story’ is about.


Inspiring! Ive made some notes, I’m going to spend some time absorbing them and see what I can apply to my work. I don’t think finding your niche is all that easy though!

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How do you get over that fear? Easy just do it ,and while you are doing it bear in mind that cheap can put across the message that you don’t really value your work much and if you don’t why should anyone else? Apart from that I have no intention of working for 50p an hour.YOU are the original,there is not another you and that is the only place your work is going to come from.
What are we going to do with you? I have edited this post after visiting your shop and you couldn’t buy a lump of mass produced plastic for your prices,all your dolls and little mice are your own characters that must take a lot of time to make,go on up the prices,are they going to get anything like it elsewhere? No,they are not,these are your creations.


I think one of the hardest things is looking beyond what you could afford to pay. Many crafters I know (myself included) have a limited income and I know it is unlikely that I would ever buy a scarf for the prices I charge for mine even though I think they are worth more, simply because I couldn’t justify buying a luxury item but there are plenty of people out there that can.

On the subject of using the term handcrafted - its a shame there is no way of protecting the description. I know in my “day job” the term “chiropodist” is a protected tittle and only people registered with the governing body satisfying them of their competence to practice (and pay for the privilege) are allowed to use the title. Wouldn’t it be nice if the same was true of using the term “handcrafted”


If you’re not at ease with raising your prices a lot then do what I’ve been doing raise them in small steps. My items cost more now than they did when I first listed them.

There is nothing to stop you raising a wee bit then when you feel ok with that raise them again.

I know it can be hard but I remember we are not necessarily selling to those in our own price bracket.

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That’s what I’d really like too, Sasha. Wouldn’t it be great?
It’s on my wishlist and it looks like we’re getting closer to it becoming a real actual thing…

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