Home InterviewsShop Talk Shop Talk :: Sixes and Sevens

Shop Talk :: Sixes and Sevens

This week we’re talking to Charlotte from Folksy shop Sixes and Sevens

Could you describe your shop?

Sixes and Sevens is a place to buy cushions that are modern, fun and unique. I like to make the kind of cushions that will make people smile when they walk in and see them. The designs are all original, and everything in the shop has been handmade by me. Most of my cushion designs are hand painted, some incorporate felt and others unusual fabrics. I also sell pillowcases and a pin cushion which is popular.

Pin number pin cushion

Who does your Folksy shop appeal to?

People with a sense of humour I guess. Anybody who likes fun designs, and handmade products in their home. Although my cushion designs are unusual I try to keep the cushion quite neutral, usually made from calico and painted with black fabric paints. This means they can fit in with any colour, or scheme, from floral to bold colours. You don’t even need to have a sofa, my cushions look great on your bed. I even made a cushion to go in someone’s car, strange but true.

Is this your day job?

My main job is taking care of my three children. The youngest is in nursery so is still at home a lot which reduces the amount of time I can spend making. When she decides to ‘help’ it can get very messy very quickly. I always knew I wanted a job that would mean I could be at home as much as possible and if using my creative skills means I can do that it will be fantastic. By September I will have to decide whether the business is bringing in enough money, if not I will have to find a day job too.

'Put your feet up' Cushion

Have you been into art, craft and making for long?

I’ve been making things as gifts for friends and family for about ten years. I don’t have any formal training in any of the things I do. I taught myself the sewing skills with help from my mum, and get inspiration from everyday life. I’m really pleased that handmade items are becoming more and more popular, you can buy a mass produced cushion for a few pounds these days but my customers obviously appreciate the time, work and creativity that goes into designing and making my cushions.

Where do you promote your shop?

Well promotion is probably my biggest weakness. I have a Facebook page , a twitter account @sixesandsevens and I try and get on the Folksy forums as often as possible. Basically anything that’s free as there is no room for a marketing budget right now. Most of the time I just end up chatting, which goes to show I’m not a great business woman.

Do you have plans to expand your business in the future?

Between now and September I plan to push the business forward in every way I can. The next 9 months will be crucial in terms of my business continuing. There is one bricks and mortar shop selling my cushions at the moment (The Shop of Interest, in Glasgow) and I hope to have lots more carrying my stock soon. Obviously my ultimate goal is for Sixes and Sevens to become a well-known brand for home textiles. Until I get my big break I’ll keep creating and making.

'Lean on me' Cushion

What advice would you give to someone thinking about opening up a shop here on Folksy?

Folksy was the first place I had ever tried selling anything and although it was daunting I soon realised it was easy enough to get started. For people just starting out I would say be realistic about your expectations, it might take months before you get a sale and then it could be months before the next. Customers need to know that you and your product are there before they can buy from you so promote in any way you can to as many people as you can. And lastly, if you are selling something that’s already available to buy online, try and think of what you can do to make yours stand out and be noticed. Your product sticking in a potential customers mind is as good as sticking your business card to their keyboard.

Thanks for reading, we would love to hear your comments about this shopkeepers work…

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2 comments

helen aveyard March 2, 2011 - 8:29 am

Hi, just read your blog and found it both inspiring and reassuring. I also recenty opened a Folksy shop and was nervous whether people would want to buy anything and whether I would enjoy making to sell rather than just making for fun. I have found that I get a real buzz when something i’ve made is bought by a stranger and that it’s quite addicitive! I go back to my full time ‘real’ job in four weeks but i’m determined to keep building up my little business, hopefully one day my little textile business will be big enough to be the main bread winner! Good luck with promoting your business, your cushions are unique and beautiful and i’m sure it’s only a matter of time before you get your big break.

Jane Lightfoot March 7, 2011 - 9:52 am

Hello Charlotte, your blog has certainly struck a few chords with me. I too have just set up a Folksy Shop which was a steep learning curve with all the computer stuff and trying to improve my photgraphic skills! Your designs are great and unique and I’m sure you’ll do well. I too find the promotion the hardest part (I’d rather be making!) and have yet to try Facebook, I’m going to get my teenage daughter to help here! she’s still laughing at my attempts to get to grips with trying to write a blog/ setting up a website! Good luck, and keep up your lovely work.

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