Every Wednesday The Folksy Blog will be finding out a little bit more about one of our sellers in our ‘Shop Talk’ series. This week we’re talking to Leanne Woods from Folksy shop ‘See the Woods’
“See the Woods – Home to beautifully handmade gifts and accessories”
If it were a high street shop it could be called ‘Accessories R Us’! But lucky for Folksy it’s not. This gorgeous array of beautiful products are all handmade by Leanne using various techniques; sewing, knitting, crochet, applique, beading. The shop has a simple but effective hand drawn banner and avatar with a signature single flower, used in many of Leanne’s designs.
Could you describe your shop?
My shop is a collection of gifts, accessories and home wares inspired by natural colours and textures with a playful appeal.
Who does your Folksy shop appeal to?
Hopefully everyone! Really though, I’d find it hard to say who my work appeals to with any accuracy. My customers so far include babies with pinwheel buntings hanging in their bedrooms and a few young ladies in their 80s who love a bright new handbag for Church in the Summer.
I love to use British fabrics and some of my favourites come from Prestigious Textiles, they’re producing some beautiful designs at the minute and I think a lot of my customers really appreciate that. I suppose my shop appeals to people who enjoy quality and the opportunity to own things which are produced in small quantities and who are a little young at heart.
Is this your day job?
Yes it is, rolled in along with my family and caring for my daughter. In truth this has become my day, night and weekend job but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It allows me to spend time with my family and have the flexibility that a regular 9 to 5 just can’t provide.
Leanne has a great blog – ups, downs, humour, craft – a great regular read!
Have you been into craft and the handmade lifestyle for long?
Well I was taught to knit by my great aunt when I was 3 years old. I remember absolutely hating it, though now I love to knit and it has become the creative thing I do to relax after creating all day, if that makes sense. My mum would tell you that when I was a kid no wall went without a sticker or a doodle of some sort and my dad will tell you that he was force fed half cooked sausage rolls made from scratch and coconut ice, which for anyone who doesn’t already know is basically about a pound of damp icing sugar with a bit of coconut chucked at it so I suppose I’ve always been creative … in my own way!
When you’re not selling online where do you promote and sell your stock?
I provide stock to a couple of small gift shops on a fairly regular basis and two more seasonally. I do a fair amount of promotion in my home town and have had a lot of sales due of that. I’ve also had a handful of very successful parties recently in the homes of other people. I’ve been very lucky and the parties have been requested and so far each party has led to a another and another, they’ve turned out to be a great form of self sustaining promotion. Very recently I’ve started attending craft fairs again after avoiding them for a couple of years. A run of bad experiences left me a bit put off by the whole notion of craft fairs, but I’m happy to say that it really is just a matter of finding the right ones and putting in the time to make a name at those fairs by attending regularly and I’m definitely enjoying the whole experience again.
Do you have plans to expand your business in the future?
Well there is always the plan to have my own shop. I’m fairly certain that would be every crafter’s ultimate goal, to have shelves brimming with their own pieces and those of others too. My husband has even become a bit fixated on it recently and he’ll arrive home and tell me about this brilliant little building that already has a coffee shop on the ground floor and we could run it and have my shop upstairs and it’ll be great …. and then I have to reign him in a bit and tell him to calm down.
In the meantime I’d love to have a few more stockists in larger towns, possibly Belfast and I’m working towards that. I have this little day dream of strolling into Avoca to find a selection of my things sitting on a little table near the greenhouse.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about opening up a shop here on Folksy?
Honestly, I’m still learning myself, but I think we all are. A couple of things I’ve found along the way are that’s it’s really worth getting the photos right in the very early days, mine were awful to begin with. They don’t have to be professionally taken, just bright and clear and a good representation of the item for sale will do the trick. I know setting up shop can be very exciting and its easy to get carried away, snap a few photos quickly and start filling the shop but a poorly taken photo of what is possibly exactly what the customer has been looking for will put the customer off. It really is worth taking that extra bit of time to get the right photos before uploading them.
It’s also worth keeping in mind before setting up, that there really is a lot of promotion involved in selling online. It’s best to think of Folksy as a push bike rather than a bus and it really isn’t as simple as paying the fare and hopping on for the ride. There’s a lot of pulling your own weight involved and it can seem daunting, but the promotion side of this business can be a lot of fun if you let it and you’ll meet some fantastic, kind and amazingly talented people along the way who are always willing to lend a hand.
We’d love to hear your comments!