Home InterviewsShop Talk Shop Talk: There’s Only One Amy Laws
amy laws interview, there's only one amy laws, flamingo skirt, screen-printed skirt, flamingoes, flamingos

Shop Talk: There’s Only One Amy Laws

by Camilla

 

Amy Laws has created her own one-woman label, There’s Only One Amy Laws, designing, printing, pattern-cutting and sewing 1950s-inspired fashion for women and children. We talk to her about the business she launched at a London market stall four years ago, and find out how it has grown since then. We also pick her brains for tips on craft fair success and what she thinks makes a good product shot…

When and how did you start selling your work?
The first time I tried selling my work was at a market stall I shared with my friend on Brick Lane in 2010. I had a selection of dresses, skirts and tops – some of them I’d made from patterned fabric and others I’d printed with my own designs.

What did you consider before opening your Folksy shop?
Before I started my Folksy shop I planned how I wanted each product to be displayed and wrote a catchy, descriptive blurb about each item. I created a banner and profile picture with branding to tie the page together. On a practical level I had to figure out what sizes I wanted to offer and how long it would take me to complete any made-to-order items.

daffodil dress, amy laws, there's only one amy laws

Daffodil Dresses in red polka dot or dusty blue, £45

How do you sell your work?
I sell online through my Folksy store and on my own website. I also trade at regular markets local to me in Bath – I normally have about three or four stalls a month. This summer I’ve been experimenting with trading at a few festivals as well.

Have you got any tips for selling at craft fairs?

  • I think it’s good to plan how your stall is going to be laid out before you go – you can always adjust it when you set up if you need to.
  • Try to make your stall eye-catching so it will stand out in a crowd. I’ve made large papier-mache props for stalls before, which I’ve painted in bright colours. Doing that is very inexpensive and really gets people’s attention.
  • Make sure everything is clearly priced because quite often customers don’t like to ask how much things are.
  • Take lots of business cards with you to direct customers to your online store and social networks.
  • Don’t be disheartened if you don’t sell very much! I’ve found that the more regularly I trade at a market, the more customers get to know me and my stock and the more likely they are to come back another week.
craft fair display tips, tips for displaying work at markets

Amy first started selling at the Brick Lane market in London and still does about three or four market stalls a month

Do you think markets are a good way for makers to sell their work?
Definitely! You get to meet your customers face to face and tell them the story and process behind each piece. It also gives people the opportunity to see the quality of your items first hand. As well as selling your work, craft fairs are an amazing marketing tool because you reach new customers who might not find your work online. I find that after each market the traffic to my website increases and I often have customers purchasing items after they’ve gone home and thought about it.

What should makers consider when choosing which markets to sell at?
You need to make sure the market is suited to the product you’re selling and that the customer is the right target audience. I often go to the market before I book a pitch to see what other stalls are there and see if I think my stock would fit in.

screen printing inks,

Amy calculates her prices by adding together the cost of all her materials and her labour time

Do you have a method for calculating your prices?
At the moment I price my work by calculating the cost of all of the fabrics and materials I use and then adding that to an hourly rate for the time I spend cutting, printing and sewing each garment together. I find pricing one of the hardest parts of selling. I want to make sure I’m getting a fair return for the work I put in, but at the same time I want my garments to be affordable.

Your product shots are a mix of cut-outs and lifestyle/model images. How do you choose how to photograph your work and what are the benefits of each type of shot?
I’ve developed a style that I now stick to for photographing each product. I use the cut-out images from three different angles along with a few detailed close-ups and then I have one or two model shots. I think it’s important to have a mix of cut-out and lifestyle images. The cut-out images show the garment in more detail and my colourful designs really stand out against the white background. The lifestyle/model shots show how the garment fits on a real person and show how it can be worn.

ice-cream dress, amy laws, there's only one amy laws, interview, screen printed summer dress

Amy uses both cut-out and lifestyle images for her product shots. These shots shows her Ice-Cream Dress, £45, available from her Folksy shop.

Have you got any photography tips you can share?
It’s important to get plenty of natural light on your products. I take all of my cut-out shots with my mannequin stood in between the two windows in my living room. I think it’s good to have a style or background that ties each product shot together, as it looks really effective on the homepage of your shop when each feature image is side by side. I’ve just invested in a DSLR camera and it has made a big difference to the quality of the images. I thought it was a worthwhile investment as the product shots are one of the most important elements of my online stores – although, I’m still trying to figure out how to work all of the different dials and buttons!

How do you promote your work?
I use all of the main social media sites: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and I have a blog on my website. I try to put something out every day or two, but it’s difficult trying to keep up with it when I have lots of orders to get through. I like to keep my posts varied, with promotions and behind-the-scenes shots as well as product pictures.

Which social media channel is your favourite and why?
Facebook is my favourite. I find it the easiest to use and the most engaging with my audience. I find more of the traffic to my website comes through Facebook than any other social media channel.

Is there someone you think does social media particularly well?
I think Tatty Devine have a really good social media presence. There’s lots of personality and humour in their posts, which reflects the brand perfectly.

amy laws social media, there's only one amy laws, seaside fashion, screen printing, ice-cream dress, mollie makes

Amy tries to post something on social media every day or two, and keeps the content of her posts varied

Your work has had quite a bit of press, with features in Mollie Makes, Pretty Nostalgic, Love Sewing Magazine and Vintage Life. How did those come about and what effect did they have on your business?
Mollie Makes is published in my hometown of Bath, so I sent in a speculative email with a few images and a little bit of a blurb about my work and I was lucky enough that they featured one of my ice-cream dresses. Then from there, I was contacted by other magazines. It has definitely had an effect on the traffic to my website – you can see the hits go up when the magazine is published, which is fantastic!

Finally, if you could share one tip with other makers, what would that be?
If you’re working from home I would say go for a walk every day to get away from your desk and clear your head!

 

Read our Meet the Maker interview with Amy to find out more about her work and what inspires her. 

Shop There’s Only One Amy Laws on Folksy

You may also like

1 comment

Shaz August 7, 2014 - 10:39 am

Inspirational shop owner … trying to get my head around owning a shop online and promoting it. Very excited but nervous about doing my first craft fair at the end of August

Comments are closed.