Welcome to Shop Talk, where sellers tell us about their Folksy shops and their craft, as well as offering a few words of advice for new shop keepers. This week we’re talking to Elki from Folksy shop It belongs to Turtle
“It belongs to Turtle! – for something a mite special”
It Belongs to Turtle sells fun greetings cards and little gifts printed with very distinctive bright animal designs. Elki’s banner and avatar have been carefully designed showing ‘Turtle’ and the descriptions of the items are great fun and add lots of character to this charming shop.
Could you describe your shop?
My shop, It Belongs To Turtle, is a platform upon which Turtle (the tortoise-shaped protagonist of the shop) introduces his animal friends to the world via the medium of cute cards, prints and gifts.
Who does your Folksy shop appeal to?
Mostly, my Folksy shop appeals to me! But, other than that I would say that Turtle is generally a bit of a hit with the ladies. Being that almost everything in the shop features an animal of some kind, I would expect my items to appeal to animal lovers but also to those with a quirky sense of humour.
Is this your day job?
As much as I would love for running my business to be my day job, unfortunately it isn’t. But coming home from work to do it is definitely my favourite part of the day! My daytime identity is that of an under-stimulated customer service type person. I would tell you where I worked, but I’m not sure I’m allowed to. You’d probably like me less if I did anyway! The best part of being bored and complained at all day is that it pressed on my brain so much that it squeezed Turtle out!
It belongs to turtle – Blog, Elki has created a beautiful autumnal banner.
Have you been into craft and the handmade lifestyle for long?
I have always loved doing crafts, and get very, very excited in shops with arts and crafts departments. In particular I have always been happiest drawing; I find it very relaxing and satisfying when something comes out just how it looked when it was inside my head.
I’m truly amazed by so many of the handmade things that I see on Folksy and always want to give them a go myself so am usually trying something new every few weeks (with varying degrees of success). Nothing but drawing has really stuck so far though!
Where do you promote your shop?
I promote my shop in all the usual places really. I use Facebook quite a bit these days; although, I was never really a fan of it for personal use so it took me a while to get into it. Now that they have introduced “pages” and all this “liking” business I find it to be a really useful tool. There is an It Belongs To Turtle Facebook Page and I have set up profiles for Turtle and some of the other animals and now Turtle has more friends than I do.
My other big promotional tool is Turtle’s Blog, and even though I don’t get that many referrals to my shop from it, it’s been really important in the development of Turtle and his personality. I’m trying to make the blog much more interactive and have just recently introduced Turtle’s Tea Army (where readers can join and take part in little missions), a Flickr pool where sellers can submit their items to be featured on Turtle’s Blog, and I’ve also been really lucky to have some other Folksy sellers write guest posts for the blog and am always looking for others to give it a go too.
Do you have plans to expand your business in the future?
As most people probably do, I hope to get to the point where running my business could provide me with a reasonable income. The route that I’ll take to get there is forever changing, but I definitely plan to expand the range of products in the shop and also to finally give Turtle a chance to shine and feature him on some products. I’ve been lucky enough to have some of my items stocked in a new shop in York, The Gift Gallery, and have found it to be a real boost to my confidence that my things have actually been selling. So I think this might spur me on to pluck up the courage and approach some more local shops. The only long-term plans I have that seem to stick are to eventually write a Turtle-based book and also to learn to make some kind of plushie versions of all the animals (then again, my sewing skills aren’t that great…).
What advice would you give to someone thinking about opening up a shop here on Folksy?
The best advice that I have been given is to do what you enjoy. Not everybody will love what you make, and it wont always fit in with the current trends, but if you feel passionate about it and love your end product then it will really shine through. There was a point where I was desperately trying to think of new products that would definitely sell, but only when I simply concentrated on making what I liked did I actually start to sell anything.
The best part I find about selling on Folksy is the sense of it being like an online community, where if you’re a bit stuck on something, there are oh-so-many neighbours to ask for a little help or guidance; some would probably lend you a cup of virtual sugar too if you asked nicely!
We’d love to hear your comments!
Get in touch and let us know who you would like to see interviewed in our Shop Talk series, or if you have an idea for an article you’d like to see on the Folksy Blog – firstname.lastname@example.org