Introduction

Screen shot 2010 09 30 at 7.56.56 PM 300x198 Folksy: An Online Vendor For The Brits!

Folksy Mainpage

About a week ago I got a comment on my blog from Becca Williams and I checked out her website.  After looking over the site I can across the fact that she sold on Folksy.  My first thought was, “Why haven’t I heard of this?”  I mean I know most of the online arts and crafts places.  I went and checked it out.

Folksy is an interesting handmade selling website.  In a lot of ways it is similar to Etsy, Artfire and Zibbet.  The one big difference from Folksy to the rest of them is that Folksy only represents sellers from Britain!   The sellers on Folksy can sell anywhere they want but only residents of Britain can set up shop on the website.  According to the website about page this is part of the Folksy business plan.

General Info

In general Folksy works similar to Etsy.  People pay over Paypal.  There is a 20 p charge to list an item, this is actually slightly different and I will explain that in the pros, and Folksy charges 5% on every sale a seller makes.  It provides an area for forums but no chat rooms.  Lastly each item can have 5 photos.  As for the general listing process I can’t review that being a USA resident I can’t set up a shop on Folksy.

The layout of Folky is very similar to Etsy.  The home page features several items currently for sale and buyers are able to search the shops by different categories.  The site features are not as fine-tuned as Etsy but that will improve over time.   Along the navigation bar there are links to the different main areas of the shop that roughly correspond to similar areas within Etsy.

Pros

There are some nice positive points of selling on Folksy.  For 20 p listing fee you can list 5 for handmade and a 100 for supplies of the same item under that listing for no additional charge.  On Etsy a seller gets charged 20 cents for every listing even if it is the same item.  Also the listing time on Folksy is 180 days, which is longer then Etsy.

Another nice feature under Folksy is that a member’s username does not have to be the same as their shop name.  That means when you create a username on Folksy and decide to create a shop later your not locked into having your username be your shop name.  This is something people on Etsy have been asking for years.

The next nice feature is that Folksy doesn’t mind sellers have the same objects on multiple pages.  This means you can have a Folksy shop and an Etsy shop.  If Etsy finds out you are selling the same items on a different service Etsy will penalize you for it.

Lastly from a sellers perspective there is a nice recently viewed items area on the right hand column.  For someone shopping around this feature has become pretty standard on many websites and is nice to see on a handmade artist selling page.

Cons

Screen shot 2010 09 30 at 7.58.25 PM 269x300 Folksy: An Online Vendor For The Brits!

A Listed Item on Folksy

Now Folksy is not all perfect.  There are several downsides to this page.  For starters all descriptions and titles must be written using certain HTML tags.  Many sellers are not tec savvy and this would be difficult.  Also there is no clear definition of what “certain” HTML tags means.

The next con is that all prices are in pounds.  Yes if your selling to British residents pounds is a fine gauge.  But for most people around the world Dollars and Euros is the industry standard.   This might be also compounded by the fact that only UK residents can sell on Folksy making it British focused.

Now In order to sell on Folksy you must have a Pay Pal account.  This isn’t so bad.  The problem is if you decide to have the person pay you in a different way you have to send Folksy a message to tell them the item has been sold.  That is time consuming and cumbersome.

If you are selling something more risqué or might be considered adult themed you might have some problems with Folksy.  Currently under the Folksy policy “adult items” are determined by the administrators of the website.  So does adult mean selling nude pictures, lingerie or sex toys?  There is no clear policy just that the Folksy administrators get the final say.   Another question I have is it ok to sell an item like a corset as long as the photos are not graphic?

The last area of major concern for me is the fact that the forums are not moderated.  As the site is currently small I don’t think this is a major issue.  At the same time if this site is to grow forums need moderators to keep people that don’t understand that manners are important in the online world under control.

Conclusion

Folksy shows some interesting promise.  I like the idea that they are focusing on the British market and supporting British sellers.  At the same time if I was British I might be concerned if this site get the same traffic as Etsy or Artfire?   This is something that the artists will have to decide on their own.  In general I do feel in many ways that Etsy needs more competition to improve so places like Folksy thriving is good for all of us on Etsy.

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