Home NewsDevelopment What’s changing at Folksy?

What’s changing at Folksy?

by admin

The last few months have been very busy at Folksy and it feels like we’re only just starting to get back to normal after the Christmas rush. The growth in traffic has been really encouraging and we’ve had some fantastic feedback from buyers and sellers who really appreciate the fantastic things (and people!) that they find on Folksy.

We’ve also had lots of feedback about what people would like to see, and just wanted to give everyone an update on what’s planned for the next few months. There’s quite a lot so please read on…

We’re coming out of Beta on 1 May 2010

Folksy has been in Beta since it started and we’ve been working through the valuable feedback we get to fix bugs and make improvements. Although there are still lots of things we want to improve, the system works well now and it’s time to come out of beta (a bit like taking the stabilisers off your bike). The main difference that this makes is we’ll start to charge 5% commission on all sales. The money this brings in will help us to develop, manage and promote Folksy.

To do this we need to make some changes to the way that sellers are billed. These are outlined on the billing help page.

Improving search and organisation

The number of items and shops has really grown in the past few months. We know that we need to improve the search to cope with this, as well as reviewing the categories that are used for organising everything (we’ve made some changes already) and introducing shop sections so that sellers can organise their stock.

We’re also looking at new ways of featuring and promoting interesting shops and items that sell well, and generally showcasing the fantastic things for sale. Wishlists have been a frequent request, so we’ve aded them to the list of improvements.

A better way of finding materials

Materials (or crafting supplies, whatever you want to call them) are a huge part of Folksy but we don’t make enough of them. So we’re planning to create a proper category for them and promote them to make them easier to buy, and in the longer term we’re going to create a separate site / sub-brand of Folksy for materials.

Promotion and PR

The traffic to Folksy has grown enormously in the last 6 months, but we still need to do more to get the word out. Facebook integration to help sellers promote is in development. We’re also looking at search engine optimisation, PR and promotion. The Folksy Festive Sampler was such a big hit that we will probably do another (but not so festive this time!).

Help and site management

We have hired a new admin person (hi Toni!) to help keep the site running. We’re also moving over to a dedicated help system which will help us to manage support emails more easily and create a searchable bank of frequently asked questions. We’re also reviewing the help and guidance that we have on the site to try and make it clearer.

Going international

We are open to international buyers at the moment, but not to international (non-UK) sellers. While opening internationally has always been part of the plan, the feedback we’ve had lately is that our current audience (buyers and sellers) doesn’t really want this. It’s a tricky one, because we’d love to expand, but don’t want to do it at the expense of the people who appreciate Folksy at the moment. To do it properly would involve development work which we don’t want to prioritise over other improvements, so we’ve decided not to open internationally.  However, we are thinking about how the local model could work in other countries (e.g. Folksy Australia) so if you think it would work where you are please get in touch.

Everything else!

We’ve got a designer as part of the team now, so we’ll be reviewing the site design and making sure that everything looks as good as it possibly can. We’ll also review the various processes around the site (like buying or listing) to see if we can make them smoother.

There are always lots of other things that need to be taken care of too, like site performance, quality control, enquiries etc so we’re really doing our best to keep making Folksy better as quickly as we can. These things take time and effort so we’d like to expand the team of Folksy Folk who keep everything going. If you think you could help us with PR or development please get in touch.

And finally…

A big, big thanks to everything who has supported us so far. We are really appreciate the feedback we get (positive and negative) and want to thank everyone who has shopped or sold or promoted Folksy up to now. Onwards and upwards!

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38 comments

Dig The Earth March 26, 2010 - 3:51 pm

Exciting news! Good luck guys :D

Nicky March 26, 2010 - 3:58 pm

Excellent to know what’s going on and good news about the exciting developments.

Emily Pickle March 26, 2010 - 4:02 pm

All seems to make sense. Thanks for keeping us updated x

Flora March 26, 2010 - 4:28 pm

Great news – all looks like positive stuff. Thanks for the update.

Leanne March 26, 2010 - 5:39 pm

Thanks for the update, it’s all very exciting. The changes we’ve seen so far have been great, keep up the brilliant work:)

heather aka NiftyKnits March 26, 2010 - 7:03 pm

Exciting news – I just heard about this from a customer on twitter. My local bookseller told me he used folksy this week, word is definitely getting out.

Quincifer (Purple Shmurple) March 26, 2010 - 7:15 pm

Great to know that having only joined a few weeks ago, there are many good changes to come!

Also glad there won’t be an international expansion – it’s great for promoting British-Made!

sharon March 26, 2010 - 7:16 pm

So this time next year, we’ll be millionaires?

Hurray!

amyorangejuice March 26, 2010 - 7:31 pm

thank you for not going international, I think that franchising it out to different countries would work fantastically well. Now let me rearrange the items in my shop and I will be a happy seller!

Izabela March 26, 2010 - 8:25 pm

that is great news, I hope we will all get more sales and more exposure with all the new changes!
thank you for all
Izabela from
Blue Fish Handmade

Anne March 26, 2010 - 8:26 pm

Thanks everyone.

No guarantees Sharon but we’ll do our best ;)

Amy – yup, we’ll get shop sections in as quickly as we can :)

Amanda Robins March 26, 2010 - 10:50 pm

I agree that opening up to international sellers could be detrimental to our sales. I would also appreciate having categories as my shop is a mish mash of various crafts and needs tidying up.

Cecca from Dick and Franny March 26, 2010 - 11:26 pm

Thanks for the update!
It all sounds pretty good (apart from the commission, which sounds a little high compared to other sites?).
It’s definitely the right choice not to go international. The USP of Folksy is that it’s UK only – it must be the reason that most sellers and many buyers join.
Looking forward to being able to sort my art from my jewellery! :-)

Hilary off of Haptree March 27, 2010 - 12:12 am

Excellent stuff, you must all be really excited about it, this site has moved forward so much over the last 6 months and I can’t see any reason why it wont continue to go from strenght to strength. (Thanks particularly to Anne who I feel has been pivotal in continuing the great community spirit we have here)

Treaclezoo March 27, 2010 - 7:59 am

Thank you for the detailed update, Anne, great to hear so much is happening & planned for.
Onwards & Upwards!!

SallyF March 27, 2010 - 12:43 pm

Great news all round and a fab, bold, brave business move to keep it UK selling. AM also pleased to hear about the categories that will make such a huge difference to buyers and sellers.
And finally hi toni, hope you’re settling nicely :-)

katie @ june petals March 27, 2010 - 9:17 pm

Loving how everything looks and works. Great job to the Folksy team!

Sparrow Primitives March 30, 2010 - 8:24 am

Thank you for the update. Very pleased Folksy is not opening up to international sellers – the USP of Folksy is that is all British made. Here’s to the future :)

Diggi Woodturning March 30, 2010 - 9:50 am

Sounds great. Can’t wait. Must make more ready for May 1st !
Hi,Toni & Good Luck to all

Anne March 30, 2010 - 10:43 am

Thanks everyone. We really appreciate all the support. Exciting times!

artiology March 30, 2010 - 7:22 pm

wow this is great news. I am looking forward to the changes. good luck with them.

Laurie Salinas March 31, 2010 - 2:21 am

Are you going to let U.S. sellers sell on folksy any time soon?

Anne March 31, 2010 - 8:51 am

Hi Laurie. No, sorry. It’s in the announcement above – we’ve decided to keep Folksy UK only as we’ve had feedback that that’s what our buyers and sellers want.

It’s a shame because we’ve had a lot of enquiries from overseas. Sorry to disappoint you.

heather aka NiftyKnits March 31, 2010 - 10:54 am

A shame for Laurie and other overseas enquirers (is that a word?) but great news for us. go UK!

Karen March 31, 2010 - 1:27 pm

Well, I’m glad it’s going well, but I have to say that I think that it’s a mistake not to at the very least open up to the rest of Europe.

BaggieAggie March 31, 2010 - 2:19 pm

I’m glad it’s going well too, but really surprised at the 5% commission charge. Commission fees elsewhere are 2.5%, 3%, and the highest (Etsy) is 3.5%.

BaggieAggie March 31, 2010 - 2:37 pm

Also, are there plans to allow more photos? I find that three aren’t enough for bags, especially as the uploads have to be square (which is a problem for getting handles into the frame without losing detail – detail is lost and it’s hard to regain that without the option to upload a fourth (or preferably fifth) photo.

Jane Pidgeon March 31, 2010 - 3:14 pm

I don’t mind paying commission but agree that 5% is too high. 3% would be more acceptable.
Definitely could use 5 photos to show, for example, close up of quality of stitching, general overall view of item, back, front and inside for starters!
However do appreciate the huge amount of work involved and thanks to Anne and the others / Jane

Traceyann Papworth March 31, 2010 - 7:00 pm

Congratulations on coming out of Beta!

I love Folksy. But apart from other folk who sell on the website I don’t think anyone out there has heard of it. I buy a variety of mags and haven’t seen Folksy advertised. I did a small poll at work and no-one had heard of Folksy. If Folksy doesn’t reach a wider audience the sellers will eventually dry up their audience and will look elsewhere to sell. This would be a shame. So please Folksy – get some ads in mags.

Best wishes,

Traceyann x

Alicia at Knitwillo March 31, 2010 - 7:06 pm

Exciting times and great news about the shop sections.

Anne March 31, 2010 - 9:30 pm

Hi all. Thanks for the comments. We’ll look at providing space for more photos.

The 5% – it’s not the cheapest and it’s not the dearest either. Everyone needs to weigh up what’s right for them. We know we need to make sure that people feel that’s good value!

Traceyann – Folksy sellers are featured quite regularly in mags now, but there are a lot of mags so maybe you haven’t seen them! We are working on getting the word out though :)

Zia Meadows April 1, 2010 - 6:51 am

Wow great-must confess I have no idea what beta is anyway! I think 5% is very reasonable-some people have charged me 27% from the very start too- hopefully more money going into folksy will bring more traffic and sales too!

Ley Holloway (vintage beadery) April 2, 2010 - 11:21 am

Thanks for the info, all sounds good, I am pleased about the uk only sellers bit.

sharon April 4, 2010 - 5:33 pm

Just to add – it was with a huge and happy relief that I read that we’re not going international. (- just yet a whiles anyhoo.)

We little fish in the big ponds thank you so much for that. ♥

Mariska April 24, 2010 - 11:08 am

Well I think that folksy should go international, or at least for europe.

Maybe a european version?
(Only Netherlands is way to small) :)

fancymade April 28, 2010 - 3:52 pm

I like the sound of these changes. I think 5% commission is reasonable, especially compared to commission taken in galleries/shops etc. I like the idea of being open to sell Internationally but that the site will not be bamboozled with loads of International sellers. All good.

Lou June 7, 2010 - 1:33 pm

Disappointing to here that overseas sellers will not be allowed. I have a shop here but can no longer sell as I have moved to France. I think you should open up to Europe at least.

Just my 2 cents. :)

Peter Wrigt July 9, 2010 - 2:33 am

I think that you are right to not allow sellers from outside the U.K. It would make things just too difficult for everyone.

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