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OK, I’m going to make a bold statement now. I think I have a successful shop! Actually, I have four online shops on Folksy, Etsy, Dreamaid and Zibbet. I’ve been selling for 11 months online and across the Folksy and Etsy shops I have 54 sales.

Were you expecting the number to be closer to 5,000? Or 500? What do you think it means to have a successful shop? Is it loads of sales, loads of stock, repeat customers, wholesale orders, being a household name?

I guess like most sellers when I started I was a bit naive and imagined that customers would be queueing up to buy my jewellery on a daily basis – maybe I wouldn’t be able to make things fast enough! I soon learned that making the jewellery and listing it was the relatively easy part. There were all sorts of things about promoting online that I didn’t even realise that I’d need to do – blogging, tweeting, chatting in forums, all that was new to me. Now I spend a lot of time promoting, but I’ve learned to focus on the things I enjoy. And customers still don’t come in droves. So why do I think I’m successful? Maybe I’m just mad LOL

It’s because of the best thing about online selling, something I’d never even thought of when I started my shops. It’s about the customer experience. A lot of people I’ve sold to have emailed me about the jewellery, have left me feedback in the shops, have blogged or mentioned my shop in other forums and online venues. I’ve been lucky all my feedback so far is really positive. And that’s the real joy of it for me.

Everytime I sell an item and put it in the post, there’s a bit of anxiety about whether the recipient will really like it. After all, they’ve only seen a few pictures and read my description of it, and I’m no David Bailey in the photo department! And all my designs are from my imagination and are things I’d like to wear, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the world shares my taste, does it? So the relief and pleasure when you get feedback that it’s beautiful, that my mum will really love it, that it’s well made, that it’s better than the picture etc etc is really sometimes better than the sale. I don’t think people working in a bricks and mortar shop get that experience very often. So I’m happy to trade loads of customers for a few, happy buyers any day!

It’s lucky that making jewellery is my hobby and I do feel for people trying to make a living from their crafting in such tough economic times. And if a hundred people suddenly found my shop and each bought an item, I’d be overjoyed. But just at the moment, on an average of a just over one sale a week, I’m quite a happy bunny. So my advice to new shops would be, don’t be impatient, work hard and the customers will gradually come and then, well, it’ll be lovely!

You can see Blue Forest Jewellery at:

Folksy shop
Etsy shop
Dreamaid store
Zibbet store


My story really started about 2.5 years ago at the secondary school where I work. I work with pupils aged between 12-18 in what is called the Alternative Education Base. We are a very large school of approximately 4000 pupils and the pupils we have in ‘The Base’ are ones who, for many, many reasons, cannot be in a mainstream class. In the Base they have a bit of space, a bit of peace and quiet and are able to do their normal school work in a less hectic environment. Many of them are not with us for long, some are with us off and on for years and many come back to visit after they have left school altogether.

Anyway, part of my work there is to do projects with the pupils and one idea I had for this was to make jewellery with them and sell it to raise funds. Firstly however, I had to learn to make jewellery : ). This I duly did and proudly brought my spoils into school to show them off. I was more than a little amazed that some members of staff wanted to buy them from me, and then they wanted me to do jewellery parties. Beadybird was born!

Fast forward a year or so and I had begun a love affair with gemstones and around the same time was off work for approximately 4 months after an operation. This gave me more time to concentrate on my jewellery and I realised I was having much more fun! Consequently, I gave up one full day a week at school and now spend that day solely on jewellery. I sell in two shops in Edinburgh, I have two Etsy shops The Silver Starling, I do regular Craft Fairs (which I LOVE!) and this year I’m organising the classes for the second Edinburgh Bead Fair which will be held on 26 September Edinburgh Bead Fair

My longterm goal is to be able to give up another day at school next year. In the past 2.5 years I’ve completely turned what I thought was ‘my lot’ on it’s head and become involved in something fantastic which I had never even thought of! I’ve met so many lovely, talented people via my jewellery business and even now, every single sale is a little thrill and a personal achievement which gives me the enthusiasm to get into my workshop with my lovely beads. Long may it continue!

Avril Scott
The Silver Starling
Beadybird – Handmade gemstone jewellery

Hi, I’m Nicola and I recently set up an online jewellery shop with Folksy called GewGaws. I’ve always loved jewellery and wanted to learn how to make it myself but never had the time until now. To tell you a little about myself, I’m an art historian and previously worked in a museum. When my contract ended last October I found myself with some spare time and a need to feel creative and productive so I signed up for a couple of beading workshops in Birmingham. Kate at the Birmingham Bead Shop in Digbeth and Estelle at The Bead Loft in the Jewellery Quarter are both wonderful teachers and have lovely shops with an excellent range of beads so they really fired up my enthusiasm! I started making a few things at home and gave some away but managed to sell a couple of things too which got me thinking about setting up a shop. I eventually came across Folksy. I was really impressed with the site and with how many creative people were out there, which was also a little intimidating, but I could see that my things could fit in too. It also looked really easy to use so I decided to go for it. The name GewGaws was suggested by my boyfriend and it means a showy trinket, bauble or ornament, which seemed to sum up my jewellery quite nicely. I also wanted a name that was a bit abstract, and just one word, so that people would remember it.

So, with some help from a graphic designer friend, I set up the shop and uploaded a few necklaces, mainly chunky colourful ones, and some charm bracelets. Then I told all of my friends and advertised on Facebook and Twitter. To my amazement I sold a necklace straightaway! Admittedly, it was to someone I know, indeed, all of the first few items I sold were to friends or acquaintances, but after a few weeks I also sold a couple of bracelets to someone I didn’t know (this may have been a result of posting the items on Craftjuice, another invaluable resource). I’ve now sold 14 items on Folksy and had a few commissions from people so I’m really pleased with how things have gone. It would be nice to sell more (and maybe even make a living from it!) but I am realistic that money is tight for people just now and there is a lot of competition so I’m considering other ways of branching out, such as trying out craft fairs. I have also found that the marketing side of things does take up a lot of time but it is worth it and allows you to meet other crafty people, who are all lovely and incredibly supportive. I’m still looking to find a job in a museum but have every intention of continuing to make jewellery – it’s given me a real sense of achievement and I absolutely love doing it!

Find Nicola’s lovely items here

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