The last few months have been very busy at Folksy and it feels like we’re only just starting to get back to normal after the Christmas rush. The growth in traffic has been really encouraging and we’ve had some fantastic feedback from buyers and sellers who really appreciate the fantastic things (and people!) that they find on Folksy.
We’ve also had lots of feedback about what people would like to see, and just wanted to give everyone an update on what’s planned for the next few months. There’s quite a lot so please read on…
We’re coming out of Beta on 1 May 2010
Folksy has been in Beta since it started and we’ve been working through the valuable feedback we get to fix bugs and make improvements. Although there are still lots of things we want to improve, the system works well now and it’s time to come out of beta (a bit like taking the stabilisers off your bike). The main difference that this makes is we’ll start to charge 5% commission on all sales. The money this brings in will help us to develop, manage and promote Folksy.
To do this we need to make some changes to the way that sellers are billed. These are outlined on the billing help page.
Improving search and organisation
The number of items and shops has really grown in the past few months. We know that we need to improve the search to cope with this, as well as reviewing the categories that are used for organising everything (we’ve made some changes already) and introducing shop sections so that sellers can organise their stock.
We’re also looking at new ways of featuring and promoting interesting shops and items that sell well, and generally showcasing the fantastic things for sale. Wishlists have been a frequent request, so we’ve aded them to the list of improvements.
A better way of finding materials
Materials (or crafting supplies, whatever you want to call them) are a huge part of Folksy but we don’t make enough of them. So we’re planning to create a proper category for them and promote them to make them easier to buy, and in the longer term we’re going to create a separate site / sub-brand of Folksy for materials.
Promotion and PR
The traffic to Folksy has grown enormously in the last 6 months, but we still need to do more to get the word out. Facebook integration to help sellers promote is in development. We’re also looking at search engine optimisation, PR and promotion. The Folksy Festive Sampler was such a big hit that we will probably do another (but not so festive this time!).
Help and site management
We have hired a new admin person (hi Toni!) to help keep the site running. We’re also moving over to a dedicated help system which will help us to manage support emails more easily and create a searchable bank of frequently asked questions. We’re also reviewing the help and guidance that we have on the site to try and make it clearer.
We are open to international buyers at the moment, but not to international (non-UK) sellers. While opening internationally has always been part of the plan, the feedback we’ve had lately is that our current audience (buyers and sellers) doesn’t really want this. It’s a tricky one, because we’d love to expand, but don’t want to do it at the expense of the people who appreciate Folksy at the moment. To do it properly would involve development work which we don’t want to prioritise over other improvements, so we’ve decided not to open internationally. However, we are thinking about how the local model could work in other countries (e.g. Folksy Australia) so if you think it would work where you are please get in touch.
We’ve got a designer as part of the team now, so we’ll be reviewing the site design and making sure that everything looks as good as it possibly can. We’ll also review the various processes around the site (like buying or listing) to see if we can make them smoother.
There are always lots of other things that need to be taken care of too, like site performance, quality control, enquiries etc so we’re really doing our best to keep making Folksy better as quickly as we can. These things take time and effort so we’d like to expand the team of Folksy Folk who keep everything going. If you think you could help us with PR or development please get in touch.
A big, big thanks to everything who has supported us so far. We are really appreciate the feedback we get (positive and negative) and want to thank everyone who has shopped or sold or promoted Folksy up to now. Onwards and upwards!