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 Kwun from Folksy shop Treacle Zoo
“Treacle Zoo! – A menagerie of handcrafted sweetness x”
Treacle Zoo’s amigurumi animals and treats are very hard to resist, super kawaii! Kwun’s excellent photography, beautifully sharp images and carefully selected backgrounds ensure the vibrant colours leap off the page. Perfect gifts for kids and adults, these cute characters are very collectible!
Could you describe your shop?
Treaclezoo – a menagerie of handcrafted sweetness. It is well-stocked with kawaii amigurumi gifts and keepsakes, and really amazing faux food. If it were a real brick & mortar shop, you would most likely overhear in there, “Oooh! I really like that! Ooooh! and this – sooooooooooo cute! I want it… what for? I don’t know, but I really really want it!”
Who does your Folksy shop appeal to?
Biscuit fiends? Dieters? Those with a weakness for cute? Anyone who likes kawaii, and eye-candy faux food, or for those who know someone who does.
Is this your day job?
I run Treaclezoo alongside managing the bulk of the childcare in our home, and all the domestic niceties of being a housewife. I have all the paraphenalia (ie. a kiln in the garage and LOTS of bisque!) and training for running my own mobile pottery painting business. I also do a bit of freelance for a publishing company.
Cute Treacle Zoo Cavebears! on Flickr
Have you been into craft and the handmade lifestyle for long?
I grew up enjoying Why Don’t You and Blue Peter makes, and have always loved trying new crafts, working out how to make things or seeing how things are made. I take immense pleasure looking at what others have created, even if I don’t always have the money to buy!
Where do you promote and sell your stock?
I am terrible at promotion. I update my flickrstream regularly to share my latest projects and designs, but that’s about it for me . I have a FB page for Treaclezoo, but I am not making use of it enough.
I used to sell my stock in a lovely shop in London, but it didn’t work out and I must admit I’m glad: I feel happier selling direct to my customers rather than fulfilling wholesale orders, which I didn’t enjoy and found tedious. I was approached last Christmas by Urban Retro to have an online pop-up shop: that was fun and successful. I enjoy attending local school fairs too, meeting customers face-to-face, getting instant feedback and talking about my work, especially encouraging young craftsters to have a go.
Do you have plans to expand your business in the future?
I do run Treaclezoo as a proper business – I am registered with HMRC and like to make sure my books are healthily balanced: I have made a good profit every year so far- yay! Perhaps I am not ambitious enough, but I am happy with how Treaclezoo is running now. I am lucky to be in a position where our home life isn’t dependent upon my income, otherwise I can imagine it would be a very different story! I have very happy customers, many returning ones, as well as regular new ones: good customer service is paramount. I continue to work on new designs and have a cloud of projects in my head.
Much as I love Treaclezoo, I have a family I love more: work-life balance is important to me and I have chosen not to pursue potential extra sales from active promotion strategies… I want to enjoy my children, have time for my husband, family and friends. I also like to craft for pure enjoyment, not just for the shop. When things are quiet, I design and work on new products or replenish stock: my Danish cookies collection existed just in my head for almost a year before I managed to get a chance to work on the actual pieces and bring them to life. I am often asked for patterns, maybe I will decipher my mysterious codes and share my designs: that would be a new direction for Treaclezoo.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about opening up a shop here on Folksy?
Be true to yourself, and make what you love. Know that if you open a shop here on Folksy, you are a business (in the eyes of the law), so make sure you know what you are doing! There is a wealth of knowledge and experience being shared on the forums here and on other handmade blogs and networks: make good use of them to determine what strategies you wish to pursue to make your business work for you. Maybe you want to become the next maxed-out handmade designer-maker who needs to expand by outsourcing because there aren’t enough hours in the day to fulfil your overflowing order books. Or, maybe like me, you’d be happy for things to tick on gently, busy enough, but not frantic. There is space for everyone, that’s what makes handmade so wonderful: there’s no set formula, the handmade revolution is as organic as the individuals who make it what it is.
We’d love to hear your comments!
Get in touch and let us know who you would like to see interviewed in our Shop Talk series, or if you have an idea for an article you’d like to see on the Folksy Blog – firstname.lastname@example.org