Welcome to my brand new blog! This is the fourth online creation for me, and it's definitely a steep learning curve which takes a great deal of time and effort.
My first creation was the website: www.ritzyswish.com, which has provided ample frustration for me since Christmas. I have to admit I have paid for my website builder (no naming or shaming), and it's not easy. I find as I add photos, text or buy buttons everything shuffles around the page, and I can spend hours re-arranging items that seem to have a complete will of their own. I am not happy with the appearance of my website or the way it is organised. Frankly, I'm receiving more traffic from my other online endeavours that I don't pay for!
The second online creation is much more successful (and easier to create). It's on that place that people either love or hate, FACEBOOK! Visit mine @ www.facebook.com/RitzySwishTextiles. Creating a facebook page was much easier, as there is a set-up format to follow. Admittedly, there was the odd thing that flummoxed me, IT terminology that is baffling... (what is a meta tag?) but there is a good help section and other facebook page owners that you can ask for assistance, most people are willing to help. The lay-out is standard, looks like a personal facebook page, but it looks good, and colleagues and customers can interact alike. The most important thing is, as long as you post regularly, the traffic to your facebook page is amazing! I get an average of 9000/10,000 users per month. Excellent publicity. I have received commission work through facebook, just because customers have viewed a product and enquired for an alternative. I have to admit, I'm not the sort of designer who relishes working to someone else's specification, but the customer is always right, and work is work.
A new addiction, my third online experience, the lovely FOLKSY. Folksy is the UK's largest online shopping market for handmade goods. I found it through an old university friend who has recently started making jewellery (beautiful treasures, find her on Folksy www.folksy.com/shops/NataliaLovat, my current favourite necklace featured below), and is more experienced in the online sales realm. She has a shop in Folksy and another in Etsy, which is a more global handmade shopping market and consequently much larger than Folksy. Her advice was thus: the two are pretty similar, they have the similar listing fees and procedures. However, because Etsy is now so large, as a small beginner shop it is easy to become lost amongst the crowds and to be successful, constant promotion is necessary. As Folksy is smaller (but still the largest in the UK), your shop is easier to find.
I have been on Folksy for just over two weeks now and I love it! I find if I list one product on a daily basis, my products and thus shop are usually in the first few pages of the main category for a while that day, and sometimes remain in the first few pages of the sub-categories for more than a week. You need a paypal account, but a shop can be set-up in about 5 minutes, it's really very easy. The great thing about Folksy are the people, shop owners and customers alike. There is a thriving community in the forums, with wealth of advice to be yielded. If you're not sure about something, someone will tell you the answers! There is a daily listing club, which has dramatically boosted my viewing figures. An event that I intend to become part of is 'Folksy Friday', basically bloggers feature Folksy products in their blogs, usually based around a theme. The only problem with Folksy, is when you set-up a shop, you create you own account, which allows you to favourite products, and buy for yourself! It's very tempting to treat myself and I have to be very strict, however, my new intention from now on is to buy handmade ('Made in China' no more!) from the UK, to support our poorly economy. So I will be buying from Folksy, as and when is necessary. Incidentally, I have not had any sales yet on Folksy, however, I have heard of wonderful stories where a new shop has listed and sold within 20 minutes! For the majority I believe it takes more time, patience and perseverance!
Finally, my last online offering is my new blog which hopefully you are reading now! I intend to blog about Textiles Artists, inspirations, new products, new materials and methods. I am sure I will have a group of student and ex student followers, and I hope to include their developments and experiences too. I'd rather not get personal (by talking about my son, my health, my love life) but purely celebrate all things related to Textiles!