Interview with Folksy

Here at BlogAndBuySale we often feature creative sellers who use Folksy as a way to showcase and sell their products. We are thrilled to talk to James Boardwell who is one of the co-founders of Folksy and also Emily Barnes who is in charge of spreading the good Folksy word!


Emily, tell us about your role within Folksy! what do you get up to day to day?

It’s my job to talk about Folksy, which I love. I get to interview the makers who sell their work on Folksy and then share their story through our weekly Meet the Maker post on I’m also in charge of Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram and so am constantly on the look out for new ways to share our passion for making and selling handmade whether it be images of artist studios, updates on local craft fairs or simply something amazing we’ve found on; it’s my job to tell that story.

What inspired you guys to set up Folksy? 

Folksy was created with the aim of showcasing the work of UK designers and makers. James Boardwell and Rob Lee came together to build Folksy in 2007 after being inspired by the energy in the craft communities in the UK as well as North America and Australia. At the same time the web was offering ways to crowd source solutions to problems and we were inspired by the work of Clay Shirky amongst others in pointing out that the web could lower the cost of doing things as a group. We believe in craft, in making things with craft skills and also the meritocracy that a marketplace brings.

Why should people go to folksy rather than any other online showcase? 

The main thing that sets us apart from all other online showcases is our focus on ‘British handmade’. Almost all the items available on Folksy (excluding craft supplies) have been hand crafted by artisans, designers and makers right here in the UK. We don’t support vintage or second hand in an attempt to sustain a healthy thriving craft community for makers in the UK.

If folksy was a person how would describe them?

If Folksy were a person she would be fun, inquisitive, creative, bold & courageous. She likes the simple life; the great British countryside, imperfection, good food, a warm fire and her old garden studio. Making would be a way of life.

You currently only showcase the best of British handmade goods, do you think you will ever expand overseas? 

Possibly. There’s so much for us to do to in the UK that we don’t want to overstretch ourselves. Certainly, we really like the idea of extending into Europe (the regional aspect to crafts in Europe is fascinating) but the UK is our home and we’re getting it right here first.

There are hundreds of craft fairs over the country each year, which ones did you attend? and which craft fairs would you recommend buyers and sellers to check out ?

We recently had a brilliant weekend at the Renegade Craft Fair in London. It has a great reputation in the US for good quality, innovative craft and for the second year running came to the Old Truman Brewery in East London. Visitors to the Folksy stall were invited to help embroider a huge Folksy logo, post their email details through our 3 foot cardboard postbox and see examples of the types of work and makers we have on the site. We also documented the event by taking pictures of every maker exhibiting over the weekend – you can see the collection here.

We’re huge lovers of the offline world of making, so much so that we have recently teamed up with events listing site GoGoMargo to bring together details of your local ‘making’ events from craft fairs to farmers markets.

Our advice to buyers and sellers would be to go & check out as many local events as you can – research is key. And once you’ve found one you like, spread the word! Craft markets need the support of their local community and as a buyer or a seller we can all help using word of mouth, social networks and listings sites to let others know.

Folksy was started up by a group of friends, what’s the best bit about working as a collective?

Well everyone at Folksy believes in what we’re about and in reclaiming craft. It’s not easy as a small business to manage against the big boys and we have to all muck in at times to get things done but this brings us together, we enjoy being part of a small dynamic team.

And lastly do share with us any big plans for 2013!

We’re *almost* at the stage where the site is where we want it. There are some things we’re close to implementing, like a dashboard for sellers to see their views and visitors and our next plans involve creating a better browsing experience – different ways into the data.