Shop Talk : Emma Louise Corry
Textile artist Emma Louise Corry recently reached her 1,000th sale on Folksy. Before starting her eponymous business, Emma first graduated with an MA in Woven Textile Design from the prestigious Royal College of Art in London in 1991 when she was just 20 years old, then worked as a freelance textile designer and created window displays, before starting her own greetings cards company which grew into Emma Corry Designs. She now creates beautiful textile artwork, sculptures and cards using carefully chosen new and upcycled fabric, stitched on the same model of Elna sewing machine that she learned to sew on as a child. We talked to Emma to find out more about how her business has grown and developed over time…
How did you start your business and do you work on it full time?
I started by making greetings cards for a shop in Brighton. I made 48 cards per month and all my equipment was stored in a metal hat box! I was then approached by an American agent, who wanted to sell my designs in the US. So, alongside my job as a window display designer, I would work one day a week and every evening on my US orders.
Eventually, I decided to leave my window display job and work for myself, full time. I had four agents selling my designs, a small team working with me in the studio and together we would hand make 1,000 cards per week! Now, I work full time, but not on that scale, on my textile designs during term time and evenings in the school holidays.
How has Folksy helped your business?
Folksy is my shop window – and customers who see my work at craft fairs love the fact they can buy online too. I was really excited to reach 1000 sales in my Folksy shop a couple of weeks ago. I feel so fortunate to be able to sew everyday. Thank you to Folksy for being the most inspiring marketplace!
Have you tried selling your work wholesale? If so, what are the good and bad points of selling to shops?
I sold my work wholesale for many years and it was a very positive experience. I would say that price was always at the top of discussions with retailers. Now I love selling directly to my customers.
How much time do you spend actually making and how much on admin, social media, promotion etc?
I spend 75% of my time making and 25% on everything else. My wonderful father is my accounts department!
My best time management tip? Always allow an hour more than you think you will need and don’t get distracted by the washing!
Have you got any brilliant time-management tips?
Always allow an hour more than you think you will need and don’t get distracted by the washing!
How do you calculate your prices?
I find this part of selling very challenging, so I listen to my customers’ feedback at craft fairs when deciding how to price my work. Time is always difficult to calculate into the price of a piece.
I start planning and making for Christmas in April.
Do you find there are certain periods of the year that are busier? What do you do in the quieter times?
Christmas is always my busiest time of year. I start planning and making for this busy time in April. On the odd quieter day, I clean my studio!
Do you think it’s possible to earn a living from being a maker alone?
Yes, I do.
What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve been given?
Do not compromise on quality.
Shop Emma Louise Corry on Folksy – https://folksy.com/shops/EmmaLouiseBlanch
Read our Meet the Maker interview with Emma Louise Corry here – https://blog.folksy.com/2016/02/09/emma-corry-designs