This week we’re talking to Helen from Folksy shop Helkatdesign
Could you describe your shop?
My shop sells hand screen printed and sewn cushions. The cushions are inspired by our countryside and national emblems. They all have printed back detailing, as I like the idea of a surprise on the back often making the reversible and even better than the front. Each cushion is a one off with every one having a slight variation. They are rustic and in my eyes like little works of art as they were originally developed as a sideline to canvases making original work a little more afford.
Who does your Folksy shop appeal to?
The cushions appeal to both men and women (unusual as normally men don’t get cushions!!) They do have a relaxed feel and the colours are muted and subdued – even the reds! I love the simple looks of scandinavian soft furnishings and combining them with a British twist.
Is this your day job?
This is my day job. I have multiple sclerosis and wanted to have a business that fitted in with me. Working for myself was the easiest option. I sold my first canvas 5 years ago and have moved from hobby, to part – time to full time. Last December Country Living magazine made me their Creative Champion along with the Natwest Every woman Rural business 2010. A feature in Country Living opened up more doors.
Have you been into craft and the handmade lifestyle for long?
I did a textile degree over 20 years ago, followed by fine art at college. I have always loved interiors, painting and drawing.
Where do you promote your shop?
I don’t really promote my shop, but have been in a lot of blogs, I have an ethos of working just on the product and trying to improve it constantly.
Do you have plans to expand your business in the future?
Another 2 designers work with me and I finally have an admin assistant. I don’t really want to expand further, as you can lose what people loved about your product in the first place. The next step would be an industrial unit but I am happy with the studio at the top of my house.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about opening up a shop here on Folksy?
Nearly all my British stockists found me through Folksy so I am extremely grateful and pleased with the site. I don’t do trade shows Folksy is a great way to promote and showcase my business. For others starting up, try your product locally first – village fairs, school fairs/sales house parties charity sales. Try not to copy, or compare your product just focus on making it the best. Don’t invest until you have demand! Then join Folksy!! a great way to g how successful designs will be The only person to promote you is yourself and your product, I am helping a friend make her shop on folksy at the moment. Photos are important – as many as possible.
We’d love to hear your comments!