“Bookity! – Quirky and unique items of all kinds for book lovers!”
Folksy shop Bookity has a fascinating line of products all made from unsaleable, damaged books. From Shakespeare confetti to handbags made from hardcovers, Lou uses every part of a book (including some great quotes!) to create this unique range of products for literary enthusiasts. The photography is consistently sharp and well lit but with products set naturally around the house giving a relaxed, informal atmosphere to the shop, just perfect for settling down in with a good book…
Could you describe your shop?
In a word – bookish! I create quirky, eclectic bags, clocks, garlands and jewellery recycled from old books. I make sure never use valuable or rare books. All my items are made from damaged, unwanted or unsaleable books.
Who does your Folksy shop appeal to?
I would hope that my shop appeals to people who love books – that could mean readers or writers equally. I use love to use genre books such as Mills and Boons, historical romance, detective and comic books. I also hope that it appeals to those who are interested in upcycling and recycling of unwanted things, and those who love the unusual and quirky and humorous.
Is this your day job?
It’s my aim to be able to support myself fully from my crafts in the coming twelve months, but at the moment I supplement my income from Bookity with a part time job, working (surprise surprise) in a second-hand bookshop! I do about 10-15 hours in that job and about 25-30 hours (or more depending on my sales) on Bookity.
Take a look the Bookity Blog, a very interesting read and lots of excellent Folksy Fridays!.
Have you been into craft and the handmade lifestyle for long?
I’ve always been a creative person. I loved art, crafts and design at school,. I enjoyed sewing, woodwork and metalwork and so it was no real surprise that I went on to do my degree and masters degree in design. I worked with small crafts businesses for a time after my degree until I realised that more than anything I wanted to set up my own business and do what I loved full time. I’m glad I did. I never regret giving up my salaried role – this job I have made for myself is the most fulfilling one I’ve ever had.
Where do you promote and sell your stock when not selling online?
This is an area that I’d like to develop more. Like all crafters, I find it is so time consuming to make and sell online that the additional work of attending craft shows and marketing my work to potential retail outlets tends to fall by the wayside somewhat. I’ve taken part in two craft events in the past year – a craft collective event in Decemeber 2009 and the Oxford Literary Fesitval in February 2010. They were both successful for me so I do want to do more. One of my goals for the coming year is to sell to five retail outlets such as small independent craft shops and galleries.
Do you have plans to expand your business in the future?
As I always used to tell small businesses like mine – you need to write down your business plan! I haven’t done this yet – I tend to keep all my goals in my head. One of my main goals is to increase my garland sales over the next year, and to do this I need to rethink the process of constructing them, to make creating them quicker and easier. I can’t afford to take on another person at the moment, but increasing my sales would mean that this would become possible.
My partner, Matt, also has ideas for his own products so I’d like to join forces with him over the next year. My dream is for us both to be self-employed in the next five years, creating things we love – this is definitely not going to become reality any time soon but I think we all do need something to aim for long term.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about opening up a shop here on Folksy?
Experiment with your products before even thinking about starting to sell. Look at the best and most efficient way to make it! Test your products and check for any user issues. Show your prototypes to people and get their reactions! This feedback you gather will lead to a better product.
One of the most diffiuclt areas for me is always what price to put on an item. I take tips for pricing from looking around at the marketplace, both craft and more commercial pricing, taking into account my costs in time and materials. One important thing – don’t undersell yourself!
Finally, one thing I that I always do is to resend or refund anything that gets lost in the post. I take the view that whatever I send is my responsibility until my item reaches the person who paid for it. I think that this generates a lot of goodwill, and whenever it happens it makes my customers very happy! Happy customer = happy shop!
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