A change of venue

In the autumn, as you may recall, I decided to set up a Folksy shop to sell me knitting and crochet. It was an experiment. I selected Folksy because it is a site that specialisies in British, handmade goods.

Under construction

Work in progress… for the shop

I can now report that it was not a success. The number of visitors was tiny (mostly, I think, arriving direct from here) and it generated no sales. The only real success was being contacted by someone who asked whether I would sell her some items direct because she didn’t want to use Paypal. Other than that, nothing. I had been warned that Folksy seems to get relatively little traffic, but I thought it was worth a punt. However, it was an experiment that didn’t work, so I’m not prepared to spend any more money on it. And so, you may notice that the link to Folksy has disappeared from the bar on the right, but a new page has appeared at the top of this blog, entitled Shop Window. Here you can find pictures of some of my creations. Rather than list everything individually, you can browse the sorts of things I have to sell and send an enquiry via the contact form.

Now, all I need to do is finish writing those two patterns I’m working on and I’ll be able to make those available for sale too.

Open for business

The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed a new link on the right hand side of the page… yes, my Folksy shop is open for business. It’s not fully stocked yet, but I thought I would make a start. So far there are just a few string bags (bling and otherwise) and a roosting pouch, but there is more to follow.

Listing is quite time consuming and I still have items to photograph, but at least it’s up and running. I would especially like to thank ItwasJudith who bought a rainbow string bag off me the other day and thus provided the seed funding to start the shop… she also reminded me about washing instructions!

Anyway, I’m feeling pleased to have made a start.

folksy

A change of plan

For ages now I have been telling you that I’m going to set up an etsy shop; or, rather, that I’m going to stock the etsy shop that I set up last year. The time has finally arrived for me to start doing this, but… I’m not going to!

Rainbow bag

This will be in the shop

Prior to embarking on the work needed to create a good shop, I decided to do some reading round (here, for example) and as a result I discovered that etsy is no longer the platform it used to be. Originally (as I understand it), it was set up to act as a marketplace for craftspeople – a one-stop-shop on the internet where you could go to sell your lovingly-created items and where buyers would understand the ethos and value. Alas, this is no longer the case. You can now sell anything on etsy, even acting as a third-party seller for cheap mass-produced stuff. So, rather than a forum for crafters, we have another ebay just without the auctions. It appears that many genuine crafters have seen a significant drop in sales as a result because buyers are swamped with choices and find it difficult to distinguish between the origins of the different goods on offer as well as the discrepancy in prices.

A bowl of bath puffs!

There’ll be bath puffs too

I acknowledge that my products could be considered expensive when compared to what you can buy in the supermarket, but generally my buyers understand why this is… from the raw materials to the time taken to design and make the items on sale. I can’t compete with Superdrug on the price of a bath puff, but that’s not what I’m trying to do. So, I turned to Folksy – a British website specifically dedicated to handmade items. It has lower ‘footfall’ than etsy, but at least visitors will only be comparing like with like. Thus far I have set up the shop, but not stocked it. This weekend, I will be photographing my stock and hopefully there should be items for sale by next week… ooh it’s all rather exciting.

 

Stocking up

So, after much dithering, I am starting to create stock for my planned shop – mainly bath puffs.

Bath puffs - upcycled acrylic, organic cotton, and recycled cotton + acrylic mix

Bath puffs – upcycled acrylic, organic cotton, and recycled cotton + acrylic mix

I have a variety of yarns to use – recycled cotton and new organic cotton (which will make very soft and absorbent puffs – more like a flannel than a nylon scrubby and ideal for the bath); upcycled acrylic (the closest I can get to the familiar nylon scrubbies and better for the shower); and a range of twines, including hemp, nettle and bamboo. I have come to accept that nylon is nylon and other fibres simply do not have the same characteristics. If you want a nylon bath puff, that is what you will have to buy. But if you want a greener option, then there are a range of fibres with a variety of properties that can easily be turned into a puff.

Woolly wash balls (left merino, right Shetland wool) and their little soap 'hearts'

Woolly wash balls (left merino, right Shetland wool) and their little soap ‘hearts’

My exploration of bathing products is not finished, however. Thanks to inspiration from my friend Anja (have you checked out her blog Free food for rats?) I am now creating what I am calling woolly wash balls – felted bars of soap*. I think that these will work well – they are self-soaping, but once the soap is used up you have a lovely felted scrubby or puff. I’m currently working with soap that was in my store cupboard, but I’m hoping to get hold of some lovely locally made soap. I’m also testing out different wools – I particularly like the idea of undyed wools (like the Shetland in the picture) and have just bought a variety of these to play around with… more on this in a later post.

The trouble with making things to sell is that I don’t get to keep them! So, I’m trying to have at least two projects on the go at all times – one for me and one for the shop. Compared to knitting a pair of socks (20 hours) a bath puff is relatively quick (haven’t timed it yet but perhaps 6-8 hours), so I should be able to make a couple of bath puffs for every pair of socks if I share the time out right. And felting is quicker, but a lot messier and not something you can just pick up whilst you’re watching the telly. At last I have decided where to start now…

-oOo-

* Which has led me to an exploration of soap… a whole new can of worms that, no doubt, I’ll write about in the future

%d bloggers like this: