This week we’re talking to Emma from Folksy shop The Yellow House
Could you describe your shop?
I like to think of The Yellow House as the online equivalent of that quirky little shop in that interesting winding street offering all sorts of eclectic stuff to curious passers by! (Of course I’m not sure if that’s really how it is, or how it just is in my head!) Regardless, I do like to offer a real mix of things, whether it’s a print, a bracelet or an apron. Basically, my shop is chock-a-block with my passions!
Who does your Folksy shop appeal to?
I get a real mix of customers, actually. It’s probably 60/40 ladies to gents. I thought that my prints would only appeal to kids, or parents, but they seem to be mainly snapped up by adults buying them for their own mantelpieces or as presents for friends! I think my customers are definitely people with a sense of humour.
Is this your day job?
By day, I am a mild-mannered illustrator, by night a crime fighting superhero. Well, at weekends anyway, as the illustration deadlines tend to get in the way during the week. I also do a few hours every now and then for my local library service, which is great as I get to read all the kids books and dream up new illustrations or prints for them. As you might have guessed, fairy tales are a big influence!
Have you been into craft and the handmade lifestyle for long?
I’ve always been interesting in making things, although it’s really taken off for me in the last five years or so. When I was a child, my mum used to help me make chairs for my Sindy dolls out of disposable plastic cups, and my grandfather was always making something. He once made my sister and I amazing broomsticks to go with wonderful witch’s dresses my mum had sewn for us; they looked like they could’ve taken off at any moment! I loved pretending to be Mildred Hubble.
I got my own sewing machine for my birthday one year, but I only really made things with straight lines, like simple curtains, for ages, until I decided to give purse making, patchwork and sewing my own clothes a go in the last year. These days, I always have to be making something to keep my hands occupied!
Where do you promote your shop?
I’m a bit lazy at this, but I always post about updates on my blog at www.emmamccann.blogspot.com, and I shamelessly plug myself on Twitter, although I try not to do that so much as I think it puts people off reading your Tweets if you’re always trying to sell something. My husband is particularly great at word-of-mouth promotion; he does like to show off about me, but that’s all part of the husband job description, I think!
Do you have plans to expand your business in the future?
I always have plans for new prints, but I have to arrange my screenprinting time around my illustration deadlines, so it can be tricky. At the moment, though, I’m thinking of closing a couple of other online shops I have and just selling exclusively through Folksy. Not only is it well run and based in my own country, but I have had much more success selling there than any other site. Plans, plans, plans!
What advice would you give to someone thinking about opening up a shop here on Folksy?
Update your wares regularly and don’t underestimate the importance of good product photos. I’m in the process of updating all mine to better quality ones.
Most of all, make and sell what you enjoying making and selling. If you hate owls, for example, don’t go on making them just because they’re popular at the moment and everyone else is doing it. Become a trend-setter yourself!
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