Julie Colquitt has two shops on Folksy: Crochet Mushroom and Yarn Yarn. She sells her fibre art bags through the first, and yarns, silks and ribbons from rural India and northern Scotland in the second. We talked to her about the two lines of her business and where she would like to go from here…
When did you start your Folksy shops, and what kind of things did you consider before setting up online?
I started my Crochet Mushroom a few years ago and then recently set up Yarn Yarn. I was a stay-at-home mum until then, but since the children started school I began these endeavours and years later it has now taken over my life!
Is this your full-time job?
It is my full-time job for now. It has its advantages, being here for the children, but I do long days, working as soon as they go to bed, continually marketing and working on SEO to keep my website going. It’s not an easy job, you really can’t take your eye off the ball!
How do you sell your work and your yarns?
I sell the yarns purely online, in my Folksy shop and through my own website. It has taken six years to get to where I am today and it’s been a huge learning curve!
What channels do you use to promote your shops?
I work really hard at SEO and word of mouth.
Do you pay yourself a salary?
As soon as the money comes in for the yarns and crochet work it goes back out again on more yarn from India and Scotland. I try my hardest to put as much back into the shops as I can.
What’s the hardest thing about working for yourself?
The hardest thing is when your children say “Mum, Mum, Mum” over and over again when you’re trying to work, like right now. I know that’s not fair, but sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day!
How would you like your businesses to develop?
I’m looking into selling handcrafted artisan products from India. I’m about to start selling handmade recycled coconut shell products, which are heavily polished. They are made by state/national award-winning artisans in India. They are fair trade and amazing! I want to help these artisans get their products out there!
You sell your work all across the world. Have you got any tips about selling internationally?
Selling internationally is the same as selling here. Make sure you keep in touch with the customer, get the product out to them as soon as you can and offer refunds if they are not happy. You need to make sure that they feel safe with you. Also make sure you have tip-top images, which I fail to achieve sometimes. That’s what I need to work on!