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 :)