In this week’s Shop Talk interview, we go behind the shopfront and talk to Isky from family business Dot & Cross about branding, the importance of consistency in product photography and why you shouldn’t devalue your work in your pricing…
Do you all work full-time on Dot & Cross?
One of us works full-time on Dot & Cross and the rest have their own day jobs and work on the business in their spare time.
When did you start selling your work, and what kind of things did you think about before choosing to open your Folksy shop?
We started our business in October last year, so we’re still quite new. We have our own website but we wanted to sell on other platforms like Folksy. We wanted to reach a like-minded audience and Folksy ticked all our boxes because it helps sellers develop their professional skills as much as it showcases their products.
How do you sell your work?
At the moment we sell mainly online through our website and other platforms like Folksy. We also sell through some selected markets – we’re actually going to be at the Spitalfields Designers / Makers market on Saturday 19th July and Saturday 16th August, so do come and say hello.
How do you calculate your prices?
We recommend the book Pricing for Profit by Peter Hill. It’s easy to read and is great for people who are new to business. The main thing we got out of it is to never underestimate or devalue the time you spend making your products.
You donate a percentage of your profits to charity. Can you tell us more about that?
We decided at the start to give a percentage of our profits to three charities every year to causes that are important to us. Cancer has touched our lives so our two main charities are Bowel Cancer UK and Breast Cancer Care. Our third charity will change every year and this year we will donate to The Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal for the centenary of the First World War.
Your product shots work really well – they’re clear, simple and consistent. Do you do your own photography?
When we first started we did get a photographer in to shoot our products which were styled by one of us who does this professionally. We’ve since invested in our own equipment as we realised we need much more imagery for our new products, emails and social media channels.
You make different types of work, yet there is a consistent style running through your product shots. Is that intentional?
Yes definitely. We take a lot of care to ensure the range works together and we reflect this through our photography. We want our products to look their best and a simple backdrop seems to work well.
Do you think it’s important to have an identifiable brand?
Absolutely. We work really hard to ensure that our brand is recognisable and associated with the quality that we strive for. We’ve used our ampersand logo for a lot of our packaging and communications, so next time you see one hopefully you will think of us!
How do you promote your work, and what do you think work best?
We promote our work mainly through social media and google advertising. However, nothing really beats word of mouth, so we hope that our customers recommend us to their family and friends.
How do you feel about social media? Which channel is your favourite and why?
Social media is a necessary tool to promote our business. It’s a great way to connect with our followers and meet like-minded people and businesses. It’s very hard to pick a favourite as they all have their own benefits but if we had to choose it would be Twitter for interacting with people and Instagram for all the amazing images!
What do you find hard about having your own business?
Starting a new business is exciting but it can also be a challenge. There are so many decisions that need to be made – big and small – which can impact the business. Luckily we’re a team of five and we support each other at every step.
Where would you like your business to be in five years?
We would like to be in a position where we are wholesaling our range so it’s available on all five continents!