Sign up to receive a fortnightly email from say it with news and fresh designs

Monday, 30 April 2012

Advertising my handmade shop

How do people know I'm here? How do they find my shop? I know that people will only purchase my handmade items if they somehow find their way into my little tiny section on Folksy. A few people may stumble across it by accident or come through the Folksy search function, but on the whole people won't know about my shop unless I tell them.

So I've spent the last month researching advertising. I've emailed people, joined up to new sites and been uploading pictures. And I thought you may be interested in the types of advertising I've found. Warning: I discovered lots of interesting sites, so this is quite a long post!

Social Networking
Everyone talks about Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Stumbleupon etc etc. so I'll not say much, but it's definitely worth using at least one of these - just make sure you include good links to your shop. Facebook is one of my biggest sources of traffic.

Blogs are a great way of being able to say more about what you do. I like the freedom of being able to write about whatever I want. Make sure you add a followers button and/or an option to sign up to follow by email, so that people are notified when you write a new post. And include a big fat visible link to your shop.
Also, commenting on other people's blogs is a great way of networking. I've found they often come over and take a peek at my blog just to see who it is who's left a comment. I have a new rule that I'm not allowed to read three blog posts without commenting on at least one of them. And as a blogger, it's so encouraging to know that someone stopped by to read what you write.

I'm not a forum person. I don't think I ever commented on a Forum in my life before I set up say it. I don't mind reading them, but I never really thought about contributing. Now I post in Forums almost every day. The first obvious one is the forum for the site you sell through (Folksy forums are great, so friendly). Then have a look out for other handmade / craft websites that have a community of sellers - UK Handmade and Creative Connections are good places to start.

Add a link to an item in your shop then get others to vote for you. If you get to five votes, they post your item on their facebook page. But don't stop voting - the top voted items in the month get featured in a monthly email. It's really easy to use and is a simple bit of extra free advertising. Can I encourage you to sign up to Craftjuice and get started. Then visit the 'craft talk' thread in the Folksy forums and add your item to the Craftjuice topic - we all vote for each other :-)

Craft Directories
There are several sites / blogs that include a directory of makers, designers, handmade shops and crafty blogs. Many of these will add you for free. So far I have discovered The Crafty Network, Handmade Crafts Directory, Crafty Bitz, and UK Craft Blog, but there are probably many more. If it's free you may as well get yourself listed, it only takes a few minutes.

Non-craft advertising sites
It's good sometimes to venture outside our safe craft bubble, because most of our customers will probably be out there in the world and may not know to look on specific sites for handmade goodies. This is a little bit trial and error, but I have found that Freeads is quite good and brings a little bit of traffic to my shop. It also gives you quite good google search ratings. It takes a while to upload photos, but you get a free advert so can't really complain!

Virtual shop fronts / interactive advertising
The latest additions to my advertising are sites that offer you a shop front, but that link through to your existing shop (on Folksy or wherever) if someone wants to buy something. See my sale is a new site that's only just opened, but looks promising. It's not just for handmade crafts, so again helps to branch out and reach different people. Stallholder looks like another valuable site. I've only just signed up and I'm still figuring out how it works, but essentially it looks like a shop front that links to your own site when someone clicks 'buy now'. And if you have a spare fiver, Craftfest is an online craft fair event (the next one runs for a week in June) - sign up and get your own virtual table which you can add your products to.

Get yourself featured
There are lots of bloggers out there who regularly do interviews with designer-makers. Sometimes they have a form to register your interest in being featured, sometimes they do a shout out on facebook asking for volunteers, and sometimes you just have to be brave and get in touch (the worst that can happen is that they say no!). It takes a little while to write thought through answers to the questions, but it may be time well spent. Check out the interviews on Handmade Harbour, The Crafty Network and Heart Handmade (and look out for say it featuring soon on at least one of these!).

Join a blog ring / link party
I had no idea what a blog ring was until a few weeks ago. Apparently they used to be popular 'back in the day'. The lovely Sarah from Merry Berry and the Little Panda has just set one up - find out more here.
You can also join in with link parties, where you leave a link to your blog and check out the other blogs that have been linked. It's a good way to both find new blogs to read yourself and get a few new visitors to your blog. I like Handmade Monday, but there are many to choose from.

And if you have a little money to spend...
I'm just beginning to think about spending some money on advertising. I had a trial with google adwords and whilst it brought lots of visitors I didn't get one sale from it, so have put that on hold. It's very expensive too - I had £55 to try out and it lasted about six weeks with two different ads running. For cheaper options try a Made it Flaunt it showcase (£5 per item per monthly showcase), UK Handmade showcase (£10 per showcase) or The Handmade Gift Guide (£2.95 per item for six weeks).
And if you have a local magazine or village newsletter it's worth contacting them to see how expensive their advertising is. My local one is pretty expensive, but my mum's one does small ads for 20p per word so I might give that a go.

Phew, I think that's everything! I can't guarantee that any of these will bring you visitors or sales. I'm monitoring google analytics closely to see which ones work for me - and maybe I'll write another post in a couple of months letting you know which ones brought the most traffic. EDIT - follow up post is here.

I'm sure this is only the tip of the iceberg and there are probably loads of great ways of advertising that I've not discovered yet. Feel free to comment if there are any you know of.

I'm linking this post to Handmade Monday. Hello to any readers who have popped in from there - I hope this was a useful post for you. If, having finished this post, you're in search of more interesting crafty blogs to read, why not pop over to Handmade Monday and see what else is linked.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Folksy Friday: Badges

Back to things I like. This week I've got a selection of my favourite badges from Folksy. When I recently moved the remaining stuff out of 'my' room at my parents house I found a small shoe box full of badges that I used to collect when I was younger. I can't wait to sort through them. I like to pin badges on my bags to keep them bright and cheerful. I'm hoping I might find a few gems hidden away in my childhood stash. And it's very tempting to buy a couple of new ones to join them...

As always, click on the pics to find out more about the badges and the amazing designers who have made them.

Biscuit badges
Badge the Badger
Camera badges
Cut Copy Create
London icon badges
Cecily Vessey
Fruity moustache badges
Cartoon dog badges
Crafts Council
Craft badges
Kate Broughton
Set of four badges
Lisa Hunt Illustration Doodle Shop
Prettify badge set – bunnies and blossom
Asking for Trouble
Bird and bow badges gift tag
Sophia Victoria Joy
Pigeon and friends illustrated woodland badges
Vintage postage stamp badge
Tangle Crafts
Happy badge party pack
Tea and Ceremony

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

I won!

I'm very excited to have won a giveaway by Handmade by Edwina. She was celebrating six months of selling through Folksy, and as hers is a shop I've admired for a while now I was keen to enter. I can't believe I've won :-)

A gorgeous package arrived in the post this morning, all beautifully wrapped in tissue paper and ribbon. I should have paused to take a photo, but I was too excited and just dived in! Inside I found a wonderful pink and purple patchwork cosmetics purse - which is just the perfect size for keeping my on-the-go beading projects in, so the slightly too small pencil case with the awkward opening has just been replaced!!

And that's not all, inside the purse there was some gorgeous vintage lace. Lace isn't something I've used very much. I've made the odd card with a bit on, but this is really pretty so I'm inspired to think of something special to make with it.

Can I encourage you to take a look at Edwina's shop? She has some wonderful handmade items, and the quality of the purse is fantastic so I can definitely recommend her. I particularly like:


Thursday, 19 April 2012

Folksy Friday: Spring has Sprung

I normally only do a Folksy Friday once a fortnight, but when I saw the Folksy 'Spring has Sprung' curator competition I just had to give it a go. You know spring has sprung when the bulbs start poking their heads above ground. Such cheery colours to brighten up your day. So here we are with a bonus page full of gorgeous daffodils and bluebells that can be found on Folksy.

Embroidered Barrette – Daffodils
Lynwood Crafts
Daffodils print
Photography by Gail Griggs
Bluebells and daffodils button necklace
Erkinwald Crafts
Retro yellow button earrings
Lymehouse Jewellery
Bluebells birthday card
Craftie Nellie
Blue flower studs
Workshop by the Sea
Striped fabric buttons
Bluefaced Leicester laceweight yarn
Abstract Cat Crafts
Daffodil daze bracelet
Beady Daze
Heart of the daffodil necklace
Sulwen Arts
Bright yellow crochet doily
Hand Made by Fausta
Big yellow cocktail ring
Quercus Silver
Long yellow glass earrings
Daffodil brooch
Handmade by Birdcage Creative
Stud button earrings
Yellowboots Designs
Bluebell wood candle
Emporium Candles and Rosehip Textiles
Campervan coaster
The Mosaic Garden
Yellow ninja companion

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Money money money

I'm sure you've heard the terrible news about the royal mail price increases. I've stocked up on stamps, but there's not much I can do about parcels. And a while back the Folksy listing fees and commission went up. And materials aren't getting any cheaper. So I'm here with some rather sad news...

As of the end of April my prices will be rising. I'm sorry I have to do this, but my aim will still be to bring you gorgeous handmade cards and gifts at affordable prices. They will just be a little more expensive, but hopefully still very affordable. People keep telling me that my prices are very reasonable for handmade, so I'm really hoping you'll still buy from me.

I will need to put my delivery prices up to reflect the higher postage costs. But I will also be spreading some of the price increase across some of the items in my shop as I don't want high delivery prices to put customers off, and it also helps bring in a few more pennies from offline buyers, hopefully keeping the total prices as low as possible.

So, if you have your eye on something in the say it shop, I recommend you buy it before 30 April. And it will be one less item for me to painstakingly go through and change the prices!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Jewellery making supplies

Following on from my post back in January about card making supplies, here are my favourite places to buy beads and other bits and pieces for making jewellery.

First up has to be Beads 4 Crafts. They have a fantastic range of beads, threads, findings and bags/boxes for the finished items. And you get a free pen with every order (my husband has finally twigged that the number of beads 4 crafts pens around the house demonstrates how many orders for beads I've made!!). They are great for cheap beads, especially if you like to buy in bulk - you can get 100g of seed beads for £2.49 which are fine for stringing, but not regular enough for bead weaving. The website is easy to navigate and find what you're looking for, and postage is only 99p.

The Bead Merchant is a bit more expensive, but you get what you pay for. They are great for when you want regularly sized seed beads. Prices range from around £1.30 - £2.90 for 10g of Miyuki seed beads, and £1.70 - £.3.25 for 5g of top quality Delicas. They also sell Nymo, which is the thread I like to use, as well as Fireline and other stringing materials. Postage starts at £2 for orders under £20. 

EJR Beads are great for extra special feature beads. They have lampwork beads, polymer clay beads and ceramic beads in many wonderful colours and shapes, but some are very expensive (usually the ones I like best!). The Charlatan Collection is my favourite for affordability, with packs of 10 beads costing around £1.30. There's also a wide variety of stringing materials. Postage starts at £1.75 and rises with the weight of your order. And you get a free gift for every £15 you spend :-)

And if you live near Cambridge (which sadly I don't any more and I miss this shop very much) there's a wonderful treasure trove of beads at The Beaderie. The owners are very friendly, and always willing to chat and offer advice. Unfortunately they don't sell online yet, but if you're ever in Cambridge it's definitely worth a visit. 

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Folksy Friday: Text

It's time for another Folksy Friday!

This week I've been searching Folksy for my favourite items that are made from recycled book pages or text. I hope you like my selection! As always, if you'd like to find out more about any of the items just click on the picture to go through to the seller's shop.

Text magnetic pegs
The Art Angel Company
Resin antique silver ring
Dear George Designs
Personalised text hearts
Paper hearts creations
Bonjour framed artwork
Wall Envy Artwork
Water colour humming bird
Under A Glass Sky
Book earings
Blue tit gift tags
Seed packets
Reformed Readers
Block print cards
Butterfly framed art
Terror Dome
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...