Sunday, 1 February 2009

Discovering Folksy

I picked up the latest issue of Sew Hip! yesterday...
... and amongst some interesting interviews and cute patterns I was rather pleased to see a feature on Folksy, illustrated by one of my Folksy Makes:
Hopefully there will be lots of new people discovering the joys of Folksy this month!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Folksy, it's similar to Etsy, a central marketplace made up of "shops" from individual makers. Folksy has "the mission to support craft and design talent through showcasing work and also providing a cost effective platform to sell 'stuff'." I've had a shop on there since they launched and I'm very pleased with it so far and will be gradually adding items as soon as I get things restocked after the madness that was Christmas.

Folksy supports both makers and making, with shop spaces for makers of handmade stuff & designers of limited edition items, crafty competitons on their blog, plus a Making section filled with tutorials for crafters to show off their skills and encourage more people to discover the pleasures of making things by hand. Makes are promoted sitewide but only appear next to listings accessed via search - so if you go to Folksy.com and find an item via search you will see featured makes in the sidebar on the item page, but if someone goes directly to your shop they will only see your items. Oh, and "materials" are allowed too - the sort of things that're known as "supplies" over on Etsy - so you can feed your crafting habit as well as shop for lovely handmade things.

The site launched in July last year and is still in its "beta" phase, which means the site is still in development, so there might not be links in all the right places yet and things are being gradually tweaked and built on and improved... but it also means that the guys running it are very keen on getting feedback about ways the site can be improved, and they've been very quick to fix things and make improvements based on community feedback and suggestions.

It's UK-only at the moment, with everything listed in £s, but sometime soon (later this month I think) the site is going international. There will apparently be an option to list in different currencies, plus a built in currency converter... so as an American seller you could list your items in $s but as a UK shopper I could view everything on the site in £s and not get in a muddle over exchange rates.

All payments within the site are made via Paypal, including your monthly Folksy bill payments - each item costs 20p to list for six months, and commission on anything you sell is 5%. You get three images per listing (automatically cropped to be square) and the search function appears to be based on relevance rather than automatically returning the most recently listed items that mention your search term (as currently happens on Etsy) ... which makes searching for things much less frustrating.

When browsing in categories you can sort items by price or by date listed, but there is no way to "pay to relist" as you can on Etsy so new items are either genuinely new or are being relisted after having been sold. You currently can't make items inactive without paying to relist them afterwards, but there is an easy-to-use holiday mode where everything in your shop remains visible but unable to be checked out - great for weekends when you might be doing craft fairs, or even taking a genuine holiday!

The front page is partly curated, and partly random, and there is a section on the main "buying" page for showing off "new items from new sellers". There are 4 featured sellers a month who are featured sitewide and they are (rather refreshingly) now chosen by their fellow sellers: one of the current featured sellers is picked at random to choose the next lot which I think is a rather nice way of doing things.

Gosh, that all turned into a bit of an essay, didn't it? Well, I hope it was useful to some of you anyway! If you've registered wih Folksy already, how have you found it? Please do feel free to post links to your Folksy shops in the comments for everyone to investigate :)

20 comments:

ali bali jewellery said...

Good article and explanation of 'what Folksy is'. Also great to see Folksy getting some print space.

I too have stores on Etsy and Dawanda and Folksy is my latest store.

Please check out my Folksy Jewellery store www.alibalijewellery.folksy.com for contemporary women's jewellery.

FairlyGirly said...

Lovely feature on Folksy and great to see an article in print!

I also have a store on another handmade site Misi.me.uk.

For handmade jewellery and beadcraft take a look at www.FairlyGirly.Folksy.com, for the perfect gift!

Tumus said...

I am very keen on looking into Folksy more as it seems better "tuned" than Etsy at the moment, though both sites have their big pluses and minuses I'm sure.

I like the crafty competitions via the blog though. That seems very neat ^_^ I've been a fan of the projects you've come up with for entries :lol:

niftyknits said...

So refreshing to not have to think about currency conversion! I'm on both Etsy and Folksy too, selling all manner of knitted oddities.

Great article Lupin - congratulations on bringing Folksy to a wider public!

www.niftyknits.folksy.com

hmsdesign said...

I love folksy - I like the clean feel to the layout, and listing in pounds, and the way admin reply quickly if you have a problem, and...

It does run a bit slow at times but hopefully that will get ironed out with time.

I sell seashore art cards, handmade sketchbooks and fabulous flowers at http://hmsdesign.folksy.com - do visit!

Silver Moss Jewellery said...

Fantastic feature! I'm a fellow Folksian - with a shop here http://www.folksy.com/shops/silvermoss - but I've learnt a few things I didn't know reading this.

And congratulations on being featured in the magazine as well!

Gingham and Flowers said...

Great article and explaination of Folksy. I haven't bought sew hip yet but great to see they're featuring folksy as the last issue I had was all about etsy(not that I mind as I have two etsy shops too!)
My Folksy shop is www.linenandroses.etsy.com

Sew Recycled said...

Great to see a good article, I have a Folksy shop and really keen to get us Brits out there.
Well done an an excellent post!
Emx
www.sewrecycled.folksy.com

Tara said...

Great post on Folksy - more people should know about it! It's really good to have a UK alternative to Etsy.

I have a Folksy shop: http://www.folksy.com/shops/Tara

I haven't yet worked out how to make the address the name of the shop though!

Sarah and Jon said...

Great post!

We love Folksy, especially the layout and features like the 'Makes' section. It's going to be really interesting to see how the site develops over the next few months.

http://www.folksy.com/shops/spoonergregory

milomade said...

brilliant post - a very good read and a good advert for folksy too.

Rhiannon said...

Glad to find out a bit more about folksy - I didn't realise there were tutorials there, will defiantley have to search that out

equally, Oh my! the rabbit egg cover on the front of sew hip! I didn't even know that magazine existed, but may have to find it just for that!

x

jennifer | themakelounge said...

I heart Folksy, too (as you well know!). I'm super excited as we're planning a fab (offline) event - keep your eyes open for something fun at the end of May!

Cat said...

Looks like a great magazine, pity I haven't been able to find it yet!

I do like Folksy, as others have said, it's refreshing to be able to sell directly in £s to peeps in the UK for a change.

The 'Makes' section they have is a great idea, and adds to the crafty community feel of the the site. I also agree that the admin are very helpful and interested in our feedback during its beta phase :)

My Folksy shop lives here http://wildcatdesigns.folksy.com.

Kitschy Coo said...

Thanks for doing such an informative post about Folksy and for giving us the heads up about the magazine too!

I'm really looking forward to the next competition being announced, maybe I'll even venture out of my 'children's clothes' box!

www.kitschycoo.folksy.com

Kristen said...

great info on folksy! I saw it las year but realized it was only for the UK - hope it goes int'l soon!

Black Rose said...

Great feature Lupin - you have explained Folksy very well! Lovely you were featured in the magazine - I bought the first issue but have not seen it locally since - must check it out online and see if I can subscribe and have it delivered.

Beaky said...

What a lovely surprise that must have been. Very good Folksy explanation. I have a folksy store too, selling all kinds of accessories -

www.folksy.com/shops/beaky

Bonita x

BlueTerracotta said...

I'm waiting (impatiently?!) for them to open to other currencies. I'm in a euro country and have wanted to start a shop there ever since I heard about it. I think currency conversion is a good idea, as a lot of people don't have time/inclination to do the calculations.

Anonymous said...

Geat feature Lupin, well done for flying the flag! I've got something coming up in Country Living and have given folksy as the contact site, so hope this helps to spread the word...x

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