This week we’re talking to Lynsey Searle from Folksy shop Swirlyarts
Could you describe your shop?
A mish-mash (in the good sense of the word!) of lots of different crafts with an emphasis on chickens and upcycled paper goods. Also colourful and surprising! Because I use discarded materials in my work you never know quite what you will find in there! The materials I use influence my work.
Who does your Folksy shop appeal to?
People who want to buy lovingly made items that are eco friendly, and, chicken lovers! Also when I display my work at fairs it seems to attract lots of children – I think it’s the use of colour that draws them in.
Is this your day job?
Yes I run Swirlyarts as a full time business alongside my other business which is a blog that shows off gorgeous handmade items. It’s called Cuteable. In fact if anyone wants their Folksy shops shown off on Cuteable (we get approx 1,000 visitors a day!) then just send me your shop details (firstname.lastname@example.org) I’m also a mum to two gorgeous girls so I’m kept very busy.
Have you been into craft and the handmade lifestyle for long?
I’m a qualified primary school teacher (although I don’t teach any more) and one of my specialisations at university was art. I’ve always loved art but it morphed into a love of craft when our elder daughter was born and we couldn’t find any birth announcement cards that we liked. My Mother in Law bought me some card blanks and the rest, as they say, is history. My mum has always mended clothes and is an avid crochet fan so there has always been something crafty surrounding me. My daughters now adore making things and have their own set of crafty drawers and are developing my skill of saying ‘don’t throw that torn book/piece of cardboard/tissue paper away as we might be able to use it!’
Where do you promote your shop?
I have my personal blog (http://swirlyarts.blogspot.com/) alongside Cuteable that I use to show off new work, what I have been thrifting and I use it as a general insight into my life. I’m an avid user of Twitter @swirlyarts and I have a Facebook page (also Swirlyarts) although I don’t use it as well as I could due to lack of time! I also use Flickr quite a lot and regularly add my new work to groups on there.
Do you have plans to expand your business in the future?
I have an ideas book that I take everywhere with me brimming with sketches and random jotted notes so I have lots of new product ranges on the back burner! I would love to have more independent shops stocking my work – I have a few already doing so but really need to push myself forwards and actively seek out new venues for my work. I’ve been accepted for Saltaire Arts Trail (28th, 29th and 30th May) which is the next step up in terms of craft fairs and in the future I would love to attend one of the big trade fairs. I have quite a way to go before then though and I’m working on making Swirlyarts a recognisable brand which is fairly difficult as I never know what materials I will be working with next! A much more manageable goal is to hit 200 sales in my Folksy shop – not many more to go now!
What advice would you give to someone thinking about opening up a shop here on Folksy?
Research your product well and ask yourself why yours is different from everyone elses? Detailed descriptions are essential as are good photographs. Consider setting up a blog as it’s a really good way of getting ‘the person behind the product’ know and you get to show off all your new work! Also, the forums are a great way of asking for advice if you need any – the sellers I have had contact with on there have been very friendly and professional and very willing to help.
We’d love to hear your comments on this great Folksy shop!
Get in touch if you have an idea for an article you’d like to see on the Folksy Blog – email@example.com