Saturday, 18 July 2015

Selling online is not as easy as it looks!


I love to quilt, I love reading, writing and eating everything quilty… well, maybe not eating… but you get the general idea. Sometimes however, I feel the need to set aside large quilting projects and pattern writing, and instead work on smaller items – not only do these come together quickly, but they’re also much more manageable in this muggy heat we’re currently enduring!

One of the greatest things about patchwork and quilting is that there are always new techniques to learn, new fabrics to use and new patterns to collect. It’s these techniques and fabrics that inspire me to create my handmade gift items – purses, glasses cases, cosmetic pouches, cushions and so on, many of which I sell through my Folksy and Etsy shops.

I have been a seller on Folksy since its Beta years and I have watched it grow
while selling the odd item now and again. However, it’s only recently that I’ve started  making an effort to learn more about selling online through marketplaces such as these, and let me tell you, there is a lot to learn!


There are many out there (I was one of them) that think selling through these outlets is simple - you just create a page, upload a few items, add a brief product description and a couple of photos, then sit back and wait for the orders to come flooding in! Well, I assure you, it’s not that easy at all!

Not only do you have to make quality products that people will want to buy, (let’s face it, not everyone is as obsessed with hexies as I am!) but you then have to think creatively about how to photograph it, how to describe it to make it attractive to a passing visitor, what tags to use to help buyers find you - and that’s after you’ve decided on an eye-grabbing name and the sensible price of the thing! (And don’t get me talking about pricing, that’s for another blog, let me just say – there is a HUGE difference between hobbyists just wanting to cover their costs to designers and crafters needing to make a living!)


Anyway, back to this blog… I have also recently opened an Etsy shop, mainly because I wanted to sell PDF patterns for instant downloads which Folksy doesn’t currently offer, but also to tap into the US market - quilting is so big over there. I have sold one item so far, with no marketing at all on my part, so we’ll see how that goes. I do have a lot of reading and learning still to do, and thankfully both Etsy and the lovely people at Folksy have amazing databases of useful articles and guides on everything, from taking great product photos (I'm getting the hang of cutouts now!), writing descriptions and using tags, and how to use blogs and social media to share your creations with the world. I’m not by any means intending to take over the world, but reaching more of it and spreading my obsession love of quilting would do nicely.

Finally, I have a little announcement… patchwork and quilting specialists Doughty’s of Hereford are now stocking all six of my quilt patterns – these are the printed versions, available in the shop or over the phone at £6.95 each.


This week I'm linking up with Late Night Quilter's Tips & Tutorials Tuesdays and Let's Bee Social over on Sew Fresh Quilts - come and visit some truly inspirational quilters.

Thank you for stopping by, as always your comments are very welcome.

18 comments:

  1. Creating patterns sounds hard so I'm sure you'll figure out the selling part as well.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the great post and for linking to Folksy :)
    HilaryP
    Community manager @Folksy

    ReplyDelete
  3. You are so right! It is not easy. But your items sure are adorable. And the photography is beautiful. Best of luck with your sales!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Lorna, I have been working on my pics, so it's really good to hear people notice! :)

      Delete
  4. Visiting from Lets Bee Social. I found the same thing, I have had my pattern available on Etsy and Craftsy, but sales are low. There are huge numbers of patterns available. You are so right that you need the right tags for people to find you, and I obviously haven't figured that out yet, LOL!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for visiting Carole, yes, there is a lot of competition out there, I guess we just have to persevere and cover everything... Mind you, that takes up half your day alone!

      Delete
  5. Your little pouches are adorable! Selling on any online venue is a lot of work. Its very hard to get a foot hold because there are so many shops! I think some people believe you just have to open a shop and the masses will come! It's a daily commitment!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for visiting Jayne, yes it is hard work, I can't believe it's taken me all morning to arrange a sale in my shop! Let's hope all the work and brainache is worth it in the end! :)

      Delete
  6. I enjoyed this post. I have never heard of Folksy. I will have to jump over there. I question why some people on Etsy sell 100's of the same items I sell, yet I do good to sell one item every few months. I have noticed that they have been around for years so maybe the built a customer base from the beginning. I keep studying those blogs and reading all the articles. Maybe some day. Good luck in your endeavors. Debbie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Debbie, I hope my rantings brought you a smile :) Folksy have been going for a few years now, but don't have the large team or money behind them to do what Etsy does, yet that is. Hopefully they'll grow with the help of its sellers, which I'm sure is how Etsy has become the beast it is today! Good luck to you too :) Lou

      Delete
  7. Selling on platforms such as Etsy, Folksy, and Dawanda are almost a science. Not only do you have to focus on beautiful product shots like you mentioned, but there is so much social media efforts that are needed to keep it running. Good luck with you shop!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Allison, I think science is the right word for it! :)

      Delete
  8. I don't have the patience for trying to sell things. I make for fun for myself & as gifts for now. Maybe someday...good luck with your sales-everything is adorable!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I can certainly agree with you on selling online is not easy. I had tried it for a short while but didn't have any success at the amount of effort I was able to put in. Your store on folksy looks really good; professional, uncluttered, cute... I wish you the best of luck!

    ReplyDelete