This week we’re talking to Karen from Folksy shop Kettle of Fish
Kettle of Fish!
Original jewellery and decorative items made from vintage images, handmade felt and quirky finds. We think Karens products look great photographed on this wooden background, as if they were on a shelf in a ye olde victorian shoppe!
Could you describe your shop?
I really like the description given when I was a featured seller on Folksy, which said ‘a curious meeting of jewellery and illustration’ and I’ve also been told (as a compliment!) that my work is ‘like Marmite’. I started off by making the type of jewellery and accessories that I wanted to wear but couldn’t find to buy, using imagery from my mixed media artwork and the sort of things I like to have around me. It got lots of positive comments so I have since expanded the range significantly and now also make strange and beautiful decorative glassware such as candle plates and paperweights – and there’s much more to come!
I take great pride in what I do and pay great attention to detail in the design process and the physical making of each item.
Who does your Folksy shop appeal to?
I think I attract quite a mixed bag really, it’s a bit different and not everyone’s cup of tea!
A significant proportion of my customers are men, which I really like. Also, I find that most of my orders come from people who are on Folksy just to buy, not from other sellers.
Is this your day job?
I wish! I have a full time day job as an administrator for a design company, and a long distance relationship that takes up my weekends, so time is limited! It can be tiring coming home and having to do another 3 or 4 hours work but I need to have a creative outlet so it feels worth it, especially when I’m fulfilling orders.
Have you been into craft and the handmade lifestyle for long?
Always, I think. I was encouraged to be creative as a kid and have always hung onto things that might ‘come in’. As a teenager I customised the ugly inherited bits of furniture in my bedroom with collaged magazine pictures and lettering. I like to make clothes, but generally cut things up and experiment rather than following patterns. I did Fine Art at college and developed techniques for printing images onto plaster, which is very beautiful but fragile, so my current work is a shift to make those continuing creative ideas more accessible and commercial. Kettle of Fish had its first incarnation making ‘designs for interiors’ for a couple of years from 1989 when I left college and set up as a painter and decorator designing stencils and doing decorative paint techniques, I made papier mache bowls, dummy boards, bags…. all sorts.
Where do you promote your stock?
Not in enough places. Just on Twitter and Facebook at the moment….Need. More. Time.
Do you have plans to expand your business in the future?
Over the next year I’d like to get more shops selling my stuff and expand my ranges to suit different places. I’ve drawn up a wish list of target outlets and what I think they need! And I definitely need to spend a lot more time on promotion to drive more people to my little bit of Folksy.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about opening up a shop here on Folksy?
Go for it – what have you got to lose?
I liked the anonymity of Folksy at first. If I failed, nobody had to know it was me! If you want to be able to price realistically and make anything towards a living from it then make sure your shop looks professional – good photos are really important (and I hold my hands up here as some of mine should be better ) but also make sure your spelling is correct in descriptions. Promote as much as you can through Facebook and Twitter – once people start to follow you it dawns that you really are out there and doing it!
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 – email@example.com