We caught up with Catherine Hicks from Folksy shop Frinn, and found out a bit more about her business, including how she prices her work and her tips for product photography…
When did you start Frinn, and what kind of things did you think about before choosing to open your Folksy shop?
I started Frinn in 2011. When opening my shop I planned the photography, prices and pieces I wanted to sell quite carefully. Folksy looked like a really good place to sell with a real mix of creatives. Looking back I have learned a lot since then – my work has changed a lot and things have grown, in a good way.
Are you a full-time designer/maker?
No, I work two days a week for a charity and unlike a lot of other makers I wouldn’t want to do this full time. I enjoy my job, and the days that I do to work on Frinn are really productive and I really appreciate them.
How do you sell your work?
I sell my work online, through galleries and at markets. I tend to sell different pieces online than at galleries. Markets are a great place to sell once or twice a year to get out and meet people – I always really enjoy them.
Have you ever sold at a trade fair? Is that something you would consider?
I haven’t sold at a trade fair, it is something that I would consider maybe in the future, but I have enough to be getting on with at the moment!
How do you calculate your prices?
I work out the time it takes to make each piece and the cost of materials, and take into account what I feel a reasonable selling price would be.
Your product shots are consistently great. Do you think carefully about how your style and photograph your work?
Thanks! I have tried several ways of styling/photographing my work over the last few years and have finally found a way that works for me. I really enjoy photography outside of jewellery and photographing the pieces I have made is part of the process for me. The style I have now with the dark grey background is definitely something I’ll be sticking with, and I think it helps my work stand out and be recognised among others. I recently did a photo shoot with a friend to take some modelled shots. It’s really great to show how the pieces look when worn and I think it improved the look of my shop.
Have you got any tips for other makers who struggle with product photography?
Try different backgrounds and cameras and think about how you want your work to look in the end. Use natural light on a cloudy day and try different angles rather than just straight on. Once it works you will just need to replicate it for each piece.
How do you promote your work? And what do you think work best?
I don’t really and I should! I use Facebook on and off, but should do more of this. I think having sold online for a couple of years now I seem to be building the number of people who buy or like my work.
How do you feel about social media in general?
I love and hate social media. I use Facebook and follow other artists – I like to have a peek at everyday and use it to promote my own work from time to time. I don’t use Twitter or any blogging, but I really should. It’s on my to-do list!
Has your work had any press coverage, and how did that affect your sales?
I have been featured on a blog, which was lovely, but it’s hard to tell if this had any direct effect on sales.
Is there anything you’ve learned along the way that you wish you’d known at the start?
Unfortunately I have learned the hard way when it comes to selling online. There are a lot of online platforms who have approached me and I’m very cautious now. One thing I would say to anyone thinking of selling online is if there is a monthly fee, contract or if you need to submit photographs in a certain format think very carefully. In my experience I have put in a lot of time, effort and money for little or no reward. Folksy works just fine!