Jules Hogan designs and makes knitted textiles, and sells her collection of accessories, gifts and home products through her Folksy shop. We talked to her about how her business has developed, how she promotes her work, and her tips for selling at markets…
When did you start your Folksy shop, and what kind of things did you think about before choosing to sell online?
I started my Folksy shop in 2012, and I listed some of my best sellers.
Are you a full-time designer/maker?
I am not a full-time designer/maker but divide my time between freelancing for a knitwear studio and making my own collection.
How do you sell your work?
I mainly sell at craft shows and online, but I am also dipping my toe into wholesale.
Do you have any words of advice for other people selling at markets? What has worked well for you?
As designer/makers we can be quite shy but it’s important to engage with customers – they are generally very interested in finding out about you and your process of making. Talk to other exhibitors too – there is such a great creative community and everyone shares advice and offers support. Having different price points is important – a customer who loves your work may not be able to afford a high-price item but something at a lower price may entice them.
Have you ever sold at a trade fair? Is that something you would consider?
I haven’t sold any of my current collection at a trade fair but it is something I’m looking at for the future.
How do you calculate your prices?
This is the most important aspect of making, especially if you take your work seriously and want to create an income. It’s taken me a while to get this right! I pay myself an hourly rate, for knitting, making and finishing, then add materials, and 25% to cover selling fees and extras. Multiply this by two for trade and multiply by two again for the retail price.
You were one of the makers who took part in our photo shoots with Yeshen. How do you think the product shots he took have helped you and your shop?
The shoot with Yeshen was fantastic. The photographs have improved the appearance of my shop, helped with publicity and eventually will increase sales. The images give a story to the pieces. It was great watching him in action and I think my own photographs have improved too.
How do you promote your work? And what do you think work best?
I must admit I’m not great at promoting my work. I think this stems from working in the design industry where you have to be very discreet. I am slowly getting better – I have a Facebook, Twitter and Instagram page. Social media is a free, useful tool. Facebook and Twitter both give you a great audience for advice on a new product, sharing ideas and keeping customers up to date. They have worked best for me, but I like the visual of Pinterest too.
Have you had any press coverage with your work?
I had some press last year with Country Living Magazine and they found out about my collection through my Folksy shop!
Are there any areas you particularly struggle with?
Self-promotion, and I wish I had more time for just making in the studio. You have to wear many hats as a designer/maker. Accounts, PR and photographer!
Finally, do you have any tips for other makers?
Find your niche – something that is unique to you.