It was an interesting chat that raised a lot of topics. Below is a summary but it was a meaty discussion that we got our teeth into so make sure you have a cuppa ready and are sitting comfortably to read this....
Folksy Vs Etsy
I like Folksy because they are British and it's not as saturated with sellers as Etsy (yet!) so it feels easier to stand out.
Etsy is a huge marketplace that is known globally. Whereas the benefit of this is you reach customers around the globe but you are up against lots of competition.
I have a shop with both and I like them both for different reasons. I like Folksy because I will support British where possible and I have had more success with them. However, Etsy allow me to offer discount codes to reward my customers, help drive sales and measure the effectiveness of after sales from craft fairs.
Here are what other #CraftBlogClub peeps think....
@Dainty and Ivory - I've been trying on Etsy but nothing yet!
@Flutterby Button - I find it really hard to stand out on Etsy now, seems saturated.
My advice is to look at the shops that are featured plus Folksy show best selling brands on their homepage. Make notes as to why you think they have success. Is it because of their imagery, their descriptions, the type of products they sell or the price points they sell at? Check out your competition and make a plan of attack!
If you are an Etsy seller you need to sign up for their newsletters which offer lots of advice and support for their sellers.
I asked if anyone has sold via their Facebook page....
@jet011 I have but only to people I am already friends with on there
@IcySedgwick I get a lot of people showing interest on FB but no sales
I have made a sale via my Facebook page and people can buy from me directly but it's main purpose for me is to see what fizzi~jayne is up to and find out about promotions & new products. It also is a portfolio of my work past and present.
@IcySedgwick has blogged about the challenges of Facebook's algorithms here
I've talked a lot about craft fairs recently on this blog, here are what others were saying....
@Flutterby Button has more success with craft fairs, especially around Christmas etc.
@hookstitch - October through January are my main big selling months
@TheWrightCoach sometimes it depends on where the fair is, it needs to be central and have passing trade. It's better if all the products are handmade crafts
Knowing who your customer is helps product development and pricing which is why I like craft fairs to meet people
It's important to get your brand out there and I would recommend to sell in more than one place to be seen. You need to focus your time on what is right for you and your brand and the way to find out is to try out different places to sell.
What do you do to promote your products and shops?
@EmmaRuthJones I'm planning a variety of things at the moment, driving traffic via blog and more interaction on Twitter
@LoveAmyBecca Twitter is a good place, as is Pinterest and through my blog
Good imagery is key to selling online....
@hookstitch having that great eye catching photo is a must.
@LoveAmyBecca recommends a mini light studio for photos, we bought one for £30 and it's brilliant
@IcySedgwick I like to take my photos outside on an overcast day - clear lighting but no harsh shadows
Teaser alert! ~ I have blog posts planned dedicated to photography in July, including a guest post from a photographer offering tips
As well as good images describing the features and benefits of the product are key to sales. For every feature add why that is a benefit to your customer. This article from Craftseller offers advice on writing engaging descriptions
@Kay_O My struggle would be pricing, because it would never reflect the time/effort
This is a common challenge. Never undersell yourself! you have a skill that has a value and costs to cover
@TheWrightCoach We tend to cost materials & time and then look on Folksy and see what similar items are being sold for
@IcySedgwick I have an hourly rate, plus the cost of materials.
What you also need to consider is any depreciation of tools you use. For example a printer will need to be replaced at some point.
Doing what you love and being able to earn money from it is an amazing feeling but it can be frustrating when sales are quiet. My advice to those who are feeling despondent is it takes time to build brand awareness and a regular customer base. I am at the early stages of my business plan so I am not making record sales yet but it is a journey! I have a plan with small steps to achieve that will keep me focussed and less likely to feel disheartened.
So if you are a seller or thinking of selling my advice is to follow your dreams, persevere, be patient, have a plan and have good friends & family on hand who can give you a pep talk when you are not feeling so positive.
Just give it a go, who knows what is possible until you try.
It was a great chat for me as I am passionate about offering support to others wanting to sell and make a living from their talents.
I recommend following the below on Twitter, they regularly post useful articles on selling and you should check out their websites which are full of resources:
Claire Hughes and Polly Dugdale from Handmade Horizons
Is there a topic you need advice on? Let me know, I am happy to share my knowledge and experience and what I don't know I will find out.
Pssst.... I am next hosting #CraftBlogClub on 17th June. The topic is yet to be decided but if you would like to chat about anything craft or blog related let me know.