Folksy Ltd

Where do you see your business heading and how can we make the journey easier for you?

(HilaryP) #1

We’d love to know where you want to be with your small businesses in a few years’ time. Are you happy running your shop part time, do you want it to be a ‘pocket money’ earner, or are you hoping to grow your brand, sell wholesale to shops and rely on it for your income?

We know that lots of people start selling on Folksy, where new sellers get a great grounding in how to manage marketing, how to take good product shots and how to find the market that’s just right for them.

We have helped loads of businesses take their first steps and build up a customer base and many have made sales in the thousands here, and then decided to set up full time.

It’s brilliant to see sellers who have been with us from the start of their venture succeeding after all the long hours and hard work – it makes the team at Folksy really happy!

So where do you see your business heading and how can we make the journey easier for you?

(Roz) #2

Hi, I only started selling my crafts 3 years ago and only really got into it about 18 months ago. I have been really happy selling on Folksy - my target initially was to sell enough to be able to take my girls on a cruise, a target I reached just before Christmas so it made a nice surprise Christmas gift for them - they have been nagging me for ages!

I would love to be able to turn what was initially a hobby into a full time business but I’m not sure that it would do well enough to sustain me. However, I am moving later in the year (subject to finding a buyer for my house) so will have to give up my main job and may well take some time out to see how things progress if I have more time to throw at it.

I love selling here on Folksy - I do sell elsewhere online and at craft fairs too but Folksy is my mainstay and I hope to develop it further. I think as far as making the journey easier the main problem with Folksy is the fact that so few people have heard about it. I know advertising doesn’t come cheap but it needs to get more recognition. I think there was talk about car stickers and the like about a year ago but nothing seems to have come of that.

All I can really say is keep up the good work and lets see Folksy becoming “the” place for selling and buying crafts :slightly_smiling:

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(Sharon Greaves) #3

Hi Hilary,
I have been on folksy for a while but more recently I have been able to dedicate more time to my designs, and I am currently loading more work into my shop. I have invested in your marketing book which I am working my way through and also a photo light box to try to get better product shots. Some of my designs can be labour intensive, but mainly I combine free machine and hand embroidery. I would like to try to get some of my favourite designs onto cards and possibly come up with a small makers package, for example a hand made brooch make. I like the idea of a mug or perhaps a tea towel design. I am promoting on Instagram and I am hoping to set up a dedicated Facebook page. I want to make this a full time business, so any advice would be helpful. Kind regards Sharon

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(Sara Leigh Thornton) #4

I run my business as a full time thing already - I even made a (small) profit last year! It must be coming up 4 years since I opened my Folksy shop after deciding to go self employed. I’m actually taking a few weeks off promoting at the moment as I have a big list of commissions to catch up on, plus I’m working on my craft area (have pinched a corner of the garage and taken it over!) When that is all set up I will be able to do better photos of my work as I’ll be able to have a clear area just for that and leave my daylight lamps set up. I’ll also have room to set out my comb binder, laminator etc, so I can utilise them better. I’m looking forward to being able to have a bigger variety of stock items :smile: I’ll also be able to spread out my pet sign commissions and keep track of work in progress more easily, which will be awesome. I want my business to keep growing steadily, and the first three years have been fab, with a steady increas in sales each year :slight_smile:

Folksy has been invaluable for learning about photography, on line marketing etc - I had a pretty good business admin background anyway before starting out, but there are so many little things that make such a huge difference.

Thank you for giving us the tags to use, that has been great. Something that for me would make selling easier would be a ‘variations’ option for listings - at the moment I offer pet signs in 3 sizes, and each size has 3 variations. It’s sometimes hard to get a straight reply from a customer on things like where they want the holes, so at the moment I list each hole option separately, so that they pick the listing they want, which makes nine pet sign listings altogether. It would be good to be able to have just one listing for each size, with a drop down menu for them to pick from on for things like where the holes are, colour etc, to save a lot of backward and forward messaging. It would also make my shop less cluttered.

But I love the improvements that have already been made over the past few years - I remember when I started how frustrating it was to load even one photo, it could take ten minutes at a time! It’s soooo quick now. And the Plus Account has been a fantastic boon, so thank you for that too!

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(Thecardjeanie) #5

Hi Hilary,

A little bit of history…I have been making card since 1998 and at the height of the good days I was selling to over 15 shops but sadly all but one has closed down now. Therefore, I think that the way forward is via the Internet, hence my shop on Folksy.

I have been selling here on Folksy since November 2012 and I’ve had some success. However, I would love to be selling at least one or two cards per week and not per month as I am now. I know that there are hundreds of us card makers here on Folksy so it is difficult to get noticed.

This is where I think Folksy can help us. It would be great if you could change the front page in the sections more often, say every week and have a wider selection of cards on display. I sometimes feel that the same shops appear time and time again. I also see that when a card appears on the front page is often sells within a day which just goes to show that people do look at the front pages. To my knowledge I have never appeared on the front page of the Cards section unless one of my fellow Folksy sellers ‘Loves’ my cards on one of the many Forums I contribute to.

I’d be really grateful if you could look at this aspect of the website for us.

Jeanie.

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(sandranesbitt) #6

hello

I have been selling my own knitted designs on line now for 3 -4 years. Only seriously this year though, when I started selling knitting patterns , getting commissions for my own knitting patterns being published in knitting magazines and then just before Christmas the launch of my knitting kits. I only just started on Folksy late last year, as I wasn’t particulary happy with the other site I was selling on , the mix of manufactured and resold goods along with handmade didn’t sit well with me. I’m just hoping Folksy stick to just handmade and supplies (please).

I would love the sales to be more consistent. I had a nice lot of sales before Christmas and not much since.

I’m loving your gift guides and I love been featured in them. Maybe we could have more and maybe more emails going out featuring the gift guides or individual sellers.

I promote my goods via my blog / fb etc etc etc but never know where those sales come from . From my hard work or from a folksy search or folksy featuring my goods somewhere. It would be good to know, so I can dedicate my time into the right areas instead of working blindly.

I think as well , that Folksy could use the folksy sellers to advertise folksy more. We are all doing it in our small way via our own social media channels but how about something big! that we can all get involved in and how about us advertising folksy off-line via posters , car stickers , bags etc.

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(Rhiannon Rose) #7

I have set my business up in advance of my retirement to provide me with an income when I (eventually) retire. The biggest thing that Folksy could do to help me grow my business would, of course, be to advertise, rather than rely on me bringing people in via social media. After all, if I’m doing the promoting, where will I direct people? My own website or a platform which sells other people’s goods as well? Hmmm.

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(Sasha Garrett) #8

This is my main income/ full time job so I would like to see it grow to a point where i could actually support myself on it. Online sales are heading in the right direction but still make up a small proportion of my work compared to face to face and commissions. I do a lot of commissions and that is a really easy thing to raise at craft markets (I have a sign and I chat to people) but much more difficult here. I would like a bigger, better, more prominent meet the maker section so that I could use it as a portfolio and sell my skills to get more commissions via folksy (although more sales of the already made stuff would be good to). A lot of the people here on folksy could make clients exactly what they wanted if they just thought to ask us and I feel that this fact isn’t made obvious enough.

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(Susannah Ayre) #9

For me this is currently just making money on the side of my full time job- but in a way that I take seriously and would like it to expand.
I plan on going part time with me ‘real’ job in September and would like to make more from my artwork.

I would simply like Folksy to start advertising to be honest. I know it costs- but presumably folksy is making some money from listing fees and commission- granted I don’t know how much, but I feel like instead of relying on just sellers to drive buyers here, folksy should too. :confused: Just my thoughts.

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(Bibi) #10

would love folksy to work with retailers to sell our makes through their shops too!
:slight_smile:

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(Ep2 Glass) #11

I would love to see my business become more ‘commission’ focused instead of ‘stab in the dark’! I find Folksy a great platform for selling but I agree with other posters regarding more advertising and promotion from Folksy outwith the confines of the Folksy community. It would go a long way to making my journey quicker and easier!

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(Ep2 Glass) #12

Love the stickers, bags etc idea!

(Feathered Avenue) #13

I want to make my craft business my full time job, that would be my dream - I simply love making things and being creative - I’d be going mad in my house if I didnt have an outlet for my creativity! The response from buyers/family/friends when they love something I’ve made boosts me. Unfortunately, this is just not viable at the moment - but in the future, who knows?

One thing I struggle with at the moment is having a jumble of a shop! I have over 300 items and if I’m honest, I need to split my shop as my collection is not cohesive.
I also think having 300+ items is a major disadvantage when it comes to getting highlighted on the front page, I doubt I’ll ever be selected because I have different themes and photograph techniques! Certain items have to be photographed a different way, some items were photographed at different times and it just doesn’t scream cohesion. The task of unpacking and rephotographing and then updating over 300 items is just way too daunting. My own fault of course!

The solution I know would be to split my shop but as I’ve purchased a plus account, having to buy another plus account to separate my collection is just not viable at the moment.

I would love an easier way to organise items in my shop. Currently, in shopkeeping, having to drag items from the very bottom of the page to the top is very time consuming and puts me off even attempting to organise my shop. I would love some sort of grid so that you could organise how items are shown on your front page or a grid so that you could organise items within each collection. Being able to choose and set the photo for collections would also be fantastic. I know currently, you can by dragging the item to the top of your collection however again, very time consuming when you have so many items.

Although I chat about Folksy all the time (seriously obsessed lol) I am often met with confusion or comments like, “You should try this website instead.” etc. because no one I’ve met so far has ever heard of it. Traffic to Folksy is a big issue - I have recently seen adverts on TV for Etsy and Not On the High Street, who knows if they actually boosted traffic to these websites but their names are out there.

I know lots of my friends use their phones to buy gifts so a buying app would be vital I feel. To be found on the Google Play store (or even recommended as a ‘‘similar app to this…’’) can only be of benefit to Folksy!

Personally, I love Folksy. I purposely choose it and I continue to support it because it’s British focussed, I find it easier to navigate than other comparisons and there’s no surprises when I buy something when it comes to postage! I also appreciate Folksy being on the forums and allowing us to vote for new features. It doesn’t feel like a big corporation who forgets about me, the little guy. I would just love an easier way to separate and organise my shop!

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(Susannah Ayre) #14

I agree with the app! I use my phone for 99% of what I do- and if I shop online I always do it from my phone and I’m certainly not the only one.
I use the Etsy app for buying and selling and would definitely do the same for folksy- but you’re dead right- this is where shopping is going now so folksy would benefit from moving with it. :blush:

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(Oh Button Me) #15

I started out just making personal handmade gifts for friends and family. I chose Folksy as it was British and very friendly. I would love to be able to make more money through my makes but at the moment I would be happy with one sale.

I would also like to branch out and try out different crafts as I sew for my day jobs.

Love for Folksy to be put on the map more were people know to look on here.

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(Rosesworkshop) #16

I see myself more as a small scale artisan than a mass manufacturer, but I would love for more of my sales to be through Folksy. I do my best to source my materials locally from the UK; it seems a backwards step to then use huge multinational corporations to sell my products instead of a UK site.

I would echo the other sellers that perhaps getting Folksy wider known might be good for all of us.

From a technical point of view, “Variations” please! If I can make the same cushion in three different sizes I would have to have three almost identical listings - with all the SEO issues that causes. On the other site I have one listing with variations, which also includes being able to have a different price for each variation if desired.

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(Julie Maginn) #17

My business is full time for me and my sole income and has been for 6 years after redundancy (one of the best things that ever happened to me!!!). The majority of my sales are from my stall and through various local outlets. I’ve been on Folksy about 3 years after reading an interview with someone who mentioned it and was curious. To date that is still the only time I have come across Folksy outside of this website. For the first couple of years I just let my shop tick away quietly in the background. I had a slow pc and no wifi so didn’t use any social media or even the forum. Then at the latter end of last summer my pc and I finally had an argument to which there was no making up and out of necessity I got wifi and a laptop…and pushing the boat right out a smart phone!! I discovered the forum and people talking about promoting etc. I found just from interacting in the forum my sales increased mainly from some lovely fellow Folksy shop owners. So I decided to try the whole social media thing. So in January I started using facebook and twitter and have just started Instagram too. My intention is to build up my shop to replace my weekly stall eventually. Like others have said I find it frustrating spending so much time trying to promote my shop myself when I never see any advertising from Folksy itself anywhere - other than tweets. I always have to explain to everyone what Folksy is.

I agree with @featheredavenue about organising our shop. I love rearranging my items but find it so tedious in the list format. I am constantly having to go back and forth between that view and the actual shop view. Having mini tiles that were in rows of 4 like the shop that we could drag and drop would be so much easier than a single list or even doing it from the shop front itself even better.

I’m looking forward to the improved meet the maker section. I’d also love an extra picture or two per item. I often fill up the 5 with all the various views but would eventually like to add pics of packaging and work in progress. And I’d love the description box to be bigger when typing in. I’ve found my descriptions getting longer and have to keep scrolling up and down to see what I’ve just put!

I would LOVE postage options, first, second etc and to be able to cap postage at a certain amount. I think many of us struggle with trying to work out all the possible combinations for additional postage and then it still never comes out right!! I know lots of us say we will sort out postage over payments in our meet the maker section but I’m sure people don’t read it as they don’t know it’s there. And you are expecting a customer who may well be brand new to trust that after they have paid up front you will refund anything. P&P charges are the single biggest thing that put me off of buying on any website.

I also think that from an item page the link to the actual shop front needs to be much more obvious.

On the whole though I love my shop and am really happy with how it is looking. I really want to stick with it and see it grow. I am learning all the time about better ways of doing things like photography and how to use social media. I have recently started using Hand Made UK’s facebook page and have doubled my facebook followers and picked up a new customer in less than a week, and my Folksy views are also up. I have noticed they do nice colourful posters promoting their page which gets ‘shared’ around facebook. Perhaps Folksy could do a similar thing promoting itself which we could share on our pages, sorry if you already do, like I said, social media newbie!!

Anyway, sorry Folksy but you did ask!!!
And @HilaryP I love your book!! :smile:

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(Sue) #18

@HilaryP, may i ask you where do you see folksy in 5 years time? As a huge successful company with tens of thousands of sellers and buyers & lots of people working in an office? Or the same warm little company doing its best to promote British handmade crafts with a slightly bigger fan base and a few more successful artists including those selling on here today?
I have definately cut down the number of craft fairs I do, Internet selling is the way to go for me. I have spent too many years loading and unloading for varying amounts of money in return, sitting working from home is much more time effective, I still do a few to meet customers in the real.
It was a buyer that 1st introduced me to Folksy! Not a seller, I haven’t looked back since, one thing I would like to see is a folksy app, I have no idea of the cost of implementing one of these, but I was disappointed when I opened up my new phone and there was one for the other side but not folksy, is it worth risking money and giving it a try? Otherwise, keep Folksy the same, I like it as it is, I don’t want people to have options to buy different work, I hate working to commission, it stresses me out, not knowing if the customer will like what I offer (although they do!) The only other thing I would say is, could it be someone’s job in the morning to sift through the new shops from the previous day and zap out the non British ones and the ones with bought in goods.
So keep up the good work and we will too :blush:

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(Bibi) #19

I also wonder if there is any way folksy could harness the collective buying power of sellers when it comes to supplies/printing of cards etc?

Thank you - folksy has been a really important part of my recovery.
:slightly_smiling:

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(MichaelTerryArtisanJewellery) #20

Hi,

I want to expand my jewellery sales in 2016 but I want it to stay hand-crafted. I don’t want to grow too big where I can’t supply my own creations/designs. Whenever I sell a piece of jewellery it is rapidly followed by an average of two more sales (to people who have seen it first hand and are friends of the purchaser). To reach this goal I would like to increase the activity on my Folksy Shop. My target for 2016 is to increase sales by 150%.

I have been selling from Craft Stalls to date, but more and more they are becoming extensions of Car Boot Sales. The last Craft Fair I attended (Christmas) there were three stalls that hand-crafted the rest were selling items made in China. Love Folksy’s UK hand-crafted philosophy.

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