Folksy is the home of British craft. It’s a place to buy and sell handmade or designed work from independent designers and makers based in the UK. But you probably know that. We’re also a team of people: James, Sian, Doug, Amy, Hilary and Camilla (and sometimes, but not often enough, James A, James R and Rich), based on the edge of the beautiful Peak District national park in Sheffield, UK. That’s us above (plus Emily, who left us to go and live in Portland, Oregon – we miss her), about to get drenched on a walk in the Peaks and then having some food with friends after.
Why do we ‘do’ Folksy? We mainly do it because we believe in:
- Craft skills. We love craft and design skills, the process by which people use their creativity and talent to make beautiful work. Most of all, we love making.
- Strength in numbers. Professional, portfolio and hobbyist designer-makers can reach a mainstream audience, test markets and grow their business more effectively on Folksy rather than through costly galleries and boutique shops.
- Cottage industries. Small scale production and handmade goods offer ways to be creative, manage resources effectively and support local economies.
- Meritocracy. Any designer-maker can list their work as long as it is hand crafted (no vintage or mass manufactured work is allowed). This creates a meritocracy where great work from hobbyists can rub shoulders with the best from established professional crafters. The work should stand for itself.
- David not Goliath. :)
Folksy is run by James Boardwell and has been since it started in 2008. The inspiration for Folksy came from seeing the energy in the craft communities in the UK as well as North America and Australia in the early 2000s. At the same time the web was offering ways to crowd source solutions to problems and James, having worked in researching and designing digital services for the BBC decided to build a great place for people to showcase and sell their craft work.
Folksy launched in summer 2008, employed its first member of staff in 2009 and has since risen to become the most popular UK site for independently crafted and designed gifts and supplies with over £1 million in sales and a community of 13,000 or so designer makers and a bazillion* buyers.
We don’t have millions in VC funding. We’re not a hot start-up. But we do have the support of a wonderful community of designer-makers who believe in the same things as us. Join us: register to sell with us, drop us a line to tell us how we’re doing or pop in to visit us sometime, there’s usually tea in the pot.
(*OK, not a bazillion – how much is a bazillion anyway? – but a lot).