It’s mid-January, the Christmas rush is over and venturing outside in the storms and sleet is not ever-so tempting, so it feels like a good time to look back at last year and see what was happening across Folksy: what was hot, who sold well, who was buying, where were they coming from and what were the looking for. This year, we’re digging a little deeper, and taking a closer look at the stats to see what trends and tips they reveal…
Best-selling shops of 2014 (by revenue)
On Sunday 5 January 2014, Anna Day sold her first item from Buttonsy – the shop she had set up with her husband. It was a Copper Peacock Necklace and it was the first of many. We started to see a huge number of references to Buttonsy in our analytics and, as her following grew, so the sales began flooding in… and they just kept coming. In only its first year, Buttonsy sold 2,624 items, rising from nowhere to become the best-selling shop by revenue on Folksy in 2014. Anna credits her Facebook page for this success, so back in the summer we asked Anna to share her secrets for using Facebook to grow your business in our Craft Your Social Media series. Anna will be telling us more about the phenomenon that is Buttonsy soon, so keep your eyes peeled for that on the Folksy blog. However, even the impressive number of items Buttonsy sold was not enough to beat Lisabellah, who climbed from number 3 in last year’s charts to the top spot in terms of total items sold, with a gigantic 3,308 sales. You can read Lisa’s top tips for getting noticed on Folksy here. Here is the full list of the top 20 best-selling shops on Folksy…
Top 20 best-selling shops (by revenue):
Best-selling items of 2014:
Lisabellah also dominates the list of best-selling items, with three entries in the Top 10. It’s worth noting that many designers make individual pieces that can’t be repeated, so most pieces sold on Folksy are one-offs and will only ever sell once. However, this list does give valuable insight into how some shops have been able to maximise their sales. Firstly, the appearance of two multi-buy deals run by Snappy Crocodile in the Top 10 indicates that buyers like offers and discounts (it should be easier to run promotions now the discount codes facility is up and running). Secondly, the appearance of Paper Moon Craft’s ‘Christening Keepsake Card for Godparents’ in the Top 10 shows that having a niche product can be lucrative, as you might be one of only a few people meeting that need. Thirdly, the fact that it features both a Mother’s Day product and a Valentine card proves that designing products (or tailoring your titles and descriptions) for key events can be great way to boost sales and get yourself seen at the busiest times of year for online sales (more tips on that here). Our final observation is that people seem to really like rainbows (and Charlie)!
Top 10 best-selling items (by units sold):
Most expensive items sold:
The most expensive item sold on Folksy in 2014 was a Retro Armchair by BBBespoke which sold in May for £1,150. However, the average order value across the site was £18.27; the average order value of the top 20 shops by revenue was a little higher at £19.92; while the top 20 best-selling shops by units sold had an average order value of £10.22, which reflects the fact that many of these focus on low-value, high-volume items like cards and supplies. Interestingly, the average selling price has increased year on year, and is up £2.43 on the 2011 average of £15.84. That could suggest more people are starting to understand the value of handmade and are happy to pay a bit more for something created by a skilled maker or designer, or they have a little more disposable income to spend on non-essential items. Getting your pricing right is critical, and it’s still something many designers/makers struggle with. The key is finding the pricing ‘sweetspot’ where the ‘perceived value’ of your product is in line with its price and, crucially, you are making a profit. We know it’s not easy, so we’ll be running more blog posts this year on the topic of pricing.
Top 5 items sold by price:
1. Retro Armchair by BBBespoke
2. AM05 Desk by Spokeshaved
3. Danish Armchair by BBBespoke
4. Handmade Farmhouse Kitchen Table by The Old Table Co.
5. Harris Tweed and Sunshine Yellow Quilt by Lisa Watson
Most ‘loved’ items of 2014:
By pressing the little heart button on a listing, it adds it to your ‘favourites’. The products below got the most presses this year. Items featured on social media are often favourited. This seems to be because when someone sees something in their ‘feed’ that they like, they tend to act on it immediately. That ‘action’ could be clicking through to buy the item, however, not everyone who sees a product will want or need to buy it right then, so instead they ‘like’ the post or click through and ‘save’ it to their favourites. All the products in this Top 10 are ones we featured on Folksy’s social media in 2014 and most also sold pretty well… although that can bring its own challenges. Sometimes a product can be so popular it takes the maker by surprise, and they are left either frantically making orders, or unable to fulfil orders entirely. So before you launch a new product, it can be worth scoping out other suitable businesses who can step in if you need help, and pricing your work to cover any extra costs you might have to pay (eg additional labour or machinery) if demand outstrips your production capabilities. Prepare for success, not failure.
Top 10 most ‘loved’ items:
Best-selling categories on Folksy:
The most popular category on Folksy in 2014 was a tie between Jewellery and Homeware, in terms of the number of items sold. Each category took around 25% of sales, which means that together jewellery and homeware accounted for over half of all items sold on Folksy. Within those, the best-selling Jewellery sub-category was Necklaces & Pendants, and the best-selling Homeware sub-category was Home Decorations. Maybe not surprisingly given they are low-value items and therefore sell in volume, the best-selling sub-category overall was Cards (by number of units sold). When listing products, it’s important to place them in the most appropriate category as that increases their chance of being found and bought, however as some products fit into more than one category, knowing which are the most popular sections can help you choose where to place them. The list below might also be worth referring to when developing new products, as it can be useful to know if there are certain types of products that tend to sell better than others.
Best-selling categories by % of units sold, with best-selling sub-categories on the right:
=1. Homeware – 25%
3. Cards & Stationery – 16%
4. Clothing & Accessories – 13%
5. Supplies – 11%
6. Art – 8%
7. Wedding – 3%
Homeware: 1. Home Decorations, 2. Kitchen & Dining, 3. Christmas
Cards & Stationery: 1. Cards, 2. Notebooks & Scrapbooks, 3. Stationery & Bookmarks
Clothes & Accessories: 1. Accessories, 2. Sleeves & Bags, 3. Babies & Children
Homeware: 1. Commercial, 2. Handmade, 3. Design Services
Art: 1. Prints & Digital, 2. Printmaking, 3. Mixed Media
Wedding: 1. Stationery & Accessories, 2. Jewellery, 3. Hats & Hair Accessories
Where did people come from?
Organic search (ie Google, Yahoo, Bing) was still the biggest referrer for Folksy in 2014, which means that good SEO (search engine optimisation) is crucial. A lot of makers get intimidated by the term SEO, but it’s not as scary as it sounds. One simple way to improve your ability to be found on search engines – and improve your ranking on them – is by adapting your product titles and descriptions so your product better fits the searches people are doing. For example, if you’re an artist and your work is called ‘Untitled’, writing that as the product title means it will get lost among the millions of other untitled works across the world wide web. Whereas if you give it a more specific title like ‘Whitby View, Lino Print‘, it should show up in searches for Whitby, print and variations of lino, and if someone searches for all three on Google, hey presto, they get a product that exactly matches their needs! Getting people to talk about your work on their blogs and social media channels also helps boost your rankings, as it increases the number of references and links to your shop or item. We’ll be writing more about SEO and how to boost your rankings this year.
How visitors arrived at Folksy in 2014:
Organic Search – 33%
Direct – 28%
Social Media – 21%
The Folksy Weekly Email – 3%
During 2014 products and shops that were shared on social media led to around 21% of all visits to Folksy. Of the social media channels, by far the most successful for both referrals and sales was Facebook, which alone generated 18% of all sales on Folksy, and accounted for 86% of revenue from social media. It’s worth noting that almost all of the sellers in the Top 10 have very strong Facebook pages – this doesn’t necessarily mean they have a huge number of followers, but those who do follow them are highly engaged: they are their fans. There are several reasons why these sellers have been able to grow a strong fanbase, and we will look at this in more detail in another blog post, but the main points to note are that each one has a clear brand identity, and focuses on doing one thing and doing it well.
Looking at the other social media channels, Pinterest generated 6% of all visits to Folksy last year, but only around 1% of sales. One of the reasons conversions from Pinterest are so much lower than from Facebook could be because Pins are relatively permanent and remain until deleted by the user, so if they are an older Pin the click-through can lead to product that has sold out or expired. Our most popular board this year by views was Gifts for Men, which was featured on Pinterest’s Ultimate Gift Guide, and our most popular Pins were a mix of tutorials and selling tips. During 2014 we also introduced Rich Pins, which means that all Pins from Folksy now include real-time pricing, stock availability and a direct link to the product page, making it easier for people to buy. So we will see if and how that affects conversion from Pinterest.
Although Twitter generated fewer visits and sales than Pinterest and Facebook, the number of visitors coming to Folksy from Twitter is still significant, and it works incredibly well as a means of communicating with other makers, organisations and journalists. The impact of Instagram is harder to judge, because currently you can’t embed links in posts so it doesn’t register on our analytics. However, we do know that Instagram is a great tool for brand-building and has a very active and supportive community of makers, designers, photographers, bloggers, stylists and influencers, so it’s definitely one to keep watching. Finally, blogs accounted for around 8% of all visits to Folksy, but converted better than Pinterest and brought in more revenue than Twitter. So it’s absolutely worth building relationships with bloggers, commenting on their posts, engaging with them, and politely asking them (by email, snail mail, product samples or press releases) if they would be interested in featuring your work.
Overall, these social stats show it’s vital to have a business presence on social media, but it’s worth knowing the strengths of each one as it’s often more effective (and less time-consuming) to focus on just one or two, and that means picking the ones that match your needs and will work best for you.
Total % of visits to Folksy from social networks during 2014:
Facebook – 51%
Pinterest – 29%
Twitter – 7%
Blogger blogs – 6%
Others (including StumbleUpon) – 7%
(Featured image: You Are The Best print by Oh What Lovely)
Overall, it’s been a good year for craft and a good year for Folksy. We hope this review is useful and that there are some insights in here that will help you grow your business in 2015. If there is anything we have missed off, or you would like to know more about, let us know!