Why use an online marketplace?
There are lots of choices when it comes to selling handmade craft in the UK, and while we might be a teeny bit biased, we really do think Folksy is the best place to sell your handmade work online. Here’s our lowdown on how Folksy works, why we think marketplaces are so good for designers and makers and why you should sell on Folksy…
Folksy is a my shop window, and customers from craft fairs love the fact they can buy online.
Emma Louise Corry
1. The tricky stuff is taken care of
Easy to set up – you don’t need html coding or a website designer
Marketplaces like Folksy are designed to make it as easy as possible for you to set up a shop and start selling. You don’t need to know html coding or have any fancy design skills to set up your shop because it’s already been done for you – all you actually need is your shop name and you’re good to go. You won’t need to worry about techy things either, like whether your online shop is mobile or tablet friendly or if it’s optimised for the latest Google algorithm change, because that’s taken care of too.
You have your own shopfront
When you sell on a marketplace, you get your own shopfront that you can customise so it’s unique to you! On Folksy, you can upload your own banner (or use one of our designs), choose an avatar, write your shop tagline and fill in your maker profile to let people know more about you. You can even create collections and choose products you’d like to feature. You can change your banner, avatar, and featured products as often as you like to keep your shop looking fresh and up to date.
Learn how to create and update your Folksy shop
Easy checkout & secure payments
Payments are automated and secure, so you won’t need to faff about with invoices, cheques or bank transfers. On Folksy, customers pay via Paypal which also accepts payments by card – so there’s no need to worry even if they don’t have a Paypal account yet. And if you or your customer has any problems with payment, we have a very nice support team ready to help you with any problems, so you’re not on your own!
You can read more about our Express Checkout here
2. Marketplaces are low cost, low risk
Low fees and commission
Marketplaces vary in their pricing structure, but generally you pay a small fee to list an item in your shop. On Folksy that’s just 15p+VAT – we need to add VAT because we’re a British company and we pay all our taxes :) Then once you sell an item, you pay a commission fee to the marketplace (only 6%+VAT with us, compared with 25%+VAT on Not On The High Street).
Low fees and low commission make Folksy a really inexpensive way to start selling your work and very low risk. So you can test the market, experiment with products and try out new ideas without spending much at all. It’s also nice to know that when something sells through Folksy, over 90% of the money goes directly to the maker – unlike when you sell through a shop or gallery.
If you’re planning on listing a lot, or just want to have peace of mind, you can also upgrade to a Folksy Plus account, which costs £45 a year but allows you to list as many things as you like for free!
Read more about the Folksy Plus Account
All new Folksy shops get 3 free listings
We want to make things as easy as possible when you’re first starting out, so as a thank you for choosing us, all sellers get 3 free listings when they open a Folksy shop. So it’s actually totally free to set up a Folksy shop and start selling!
We don’t hang on to your money
On Folksy you get paid as soon as your customer pays for their order. The payment goes directly from them into your PayPal account. The money then stays in your PayPal account until you spend it (yay!) or move it across into your bank account. We don’t hang on to your money – you earned it, so you get it! Then on the 1st of the next month, we’ll send you a bill for any commission or fees earned.
Read more about how billing works here
Folksy offers an amazing opportunity to take those first steps into selling. With all the tools on hand for you to just add your photos and information to build your our shop with advice on how to do it. I always encourage people pondering whether to make the move, to go for it!
3. You’re in control
When you sell on Folksy, you list the products you want to sell (and how many you have available), you decide the timeframe for sending out your products (so you can give yourself enough time to make, package and post your products), and we send you an email when a customer orders something from your shop. You package up and post your product, and let the customer know when it’s on its way using our simple shipping notification system.
You retain your customer data
At Folksy, we believe that every customer you earn is your customer, so unlike on some other marketplaces you get to keep your customer data, including their email address. That means you can start building a relationship with your customer – you can add them to your mailing list and send them occasional newsletters to let them know about special offers, for example. Just remember to ask for their permission before adding them to your mailing list though. It also means you can sort out any problems or answer any questions directly.
Folksy has not only provided a selling platform which has been really easy to use and manage but also has provided a safe selling structure and lots of tips, advice and support.
Liz Hutchinson Jewellery
4. Marketplaces give you an audience
A ready-made audience looking for handmade
Wherever you choose to sell your work, you need it to be seen. If you sell through your own website, visitors to your shop will be a mix of those who find you through search engines like Google, those who come direct (maybe after a recommendation), those who are referred from elsewhere (a blog post, for example) and those who come as a result of your own marketing efforts (through social media etc). You have to work hard to drive people to your site.
The same applies if you have a shop on a marketplace, but marketplaces offer the additional advantage of having their own footfall – on Folksy that’s ¼ million of people every month – and those people are looking for handmade products like yours!
More likely to be found on search engines like Google
Marketplaces usually attract a higher number of visitors from organic search. One of the reasons for this is that Google takes into account the ‘authority’ of a domain, so in most cases products on established marketplaces tend to rank higher on Google than the same products in other online stores. BUT to make sure you have a good chance of ranking well on search engines you’ll need to write good product titles and descriptions, and if you have more than one shop watch out for duplicate content – if you copy and paste your listings you might end up being invisible to Google!
Find out how to write a good product description
Learn why you should never copy and paste your listings
Folksy is a great platform for getting your work seen. They are also great on social media and promoting their sellers.
5. You might get featured and promoted!
Social media and press features
Another advantage of selling on a marketplace is that they have established mailing lists, loyal fans on social media and press contacts. At Folksy we’re always looking for products to feature on our social media channels, in newsletters to our subscribers, online gift guides, blog posts and to send to press – marketplaces regularly receive requests from journalists looking for products to fit a particular brief. But to maximise your chance of being included in any of these, you need to have good product shots, so it’s worth investing some time and money in your images.
Read our product shot tips
Get spotted by shops
Independent shops and galleries often search Folksy and other marketplaces for products they would like to have on their shelves. So if you’re interested in selling your products wholesale or on a sale-or-return basis to retailers, having a well-stocked shop on a marketplace can be a great way to get noticed.
Read more about selling to shops
What I love about Folksy is that it’s a completely British platform and allows you to be seen in what is a very competitive market as buying handmade becomes increasingly popular.
6. Strength in numbers
One of the best things about joining a marketplace is that you become part of that community. At Folksy we believe in strength in numbers, so not only do you get the support of the Folksy team, you also get a whole community of friendly, like-minded makers behind you too.
As a Folksy seller you get access to our Talk Folksy forum where you can chat to other sellers, ask for advice and share tips. If you have a question you don’t want to ask publicly you can post it in the ‘Folksy Sellers Areas’ which is private area that’s only open to Folksy sellers, so you don’t have to worry about your question being seen by potential customers. You can also meet other sellers and pick up advice in our #folksyhour Twitter chat every Tuesday evening from 8-9pm (UK time). We cover a different topic every week – you can see the schedule and read how it works here.
The interaction between Folksy and their sellers has been invaluable and I have taken on advice when and where I can. I love being part of the community on the Talk Folksy forum and the #folksyhour chats are an enjoyable way to chat and exchange information with other sellers.
Big Bird Little Bird
7. We’re here to help
We have a really nice support team who are here to help you if you get stuck, so you’re not on your own! Our support team are based in the UK and they’re very quick and efficient :) So if you can’t find the answer you need on the Folksy Knowledge Base, just drop them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and they’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
As a Folksy seller you’ll also get a weekly newsletter packed with inspiration, tips and advice for selling handmade online.
I wanted to reach a bigger, national (even international) audience because there are only so many prints a person’s parents can reasonably buy and display in their house. I opened my Folksy shop in 2011 and, joy of joys, started selling my work to people other than my parents… and I’ve been pootling along ever since, making work and selling it online.
Jewellers Heather and Steve from Written in Silver share their experience of selling on Folksy.
- We started off with a shop on another marketplace, but we found it was too US-based for us and intimidatingly immense. It was also very time-consuming to maintain and get visitors to find the shop. We then looked to Folksy as it was British.
- Setting up our Folksy shop was easy: all the software is already set up and the security issues are taken care of too.
- It’s inexpensive, which gives us a chance to try out new products and see what the response is. We always want to explore new ideas, so it’s great to be able to add in and take out items easily. We can also keep our Folksy shop looking fresh by moving collections around and adding new photos.
- An online marketplace takes some of the pressure off promoting your own work. To be successful there needs to be plenty of footfall and we know there will be plenty of people looking via Folksy – plus it’s always open!
- We love the feedback facility too as we try very hard to give a great service, so it’s heart-warming to have that connection with the person you have made a piece for. Folksy is a very friendly place and in many ways feels as local as the Cornish galleries we make for.