Thursday, 11 February 2010

Folksy Jewellery ~ Dare To Be Different!

Selling anything handmade online can be challenging with the handmade jewellery sector being particularly competitive. Take a look on Folksy and Etsy and you will see hundreds and thousands of jewellery shops. What a choice! From the traditional to the quirky, how do all these jewellery-makers attract sales? Getting the basics right obviously helps - well-made products, good quality materials and well presented photographs are all very important to getting those sales. But how do you make YOUR jewellery standout from the crowd? Being a jewellery designer myself that's a question I'd really like to know the answer to!

I asked three Folksy sellers who make jewellery that's a bit different from the "norm" what made them decide to step away from the more traditional types of jewellery.

Fee of Niche Handmade has been crafting for as long as she can remember and likes to try her hand at everything at least once! Fee uses vintage illustrations and turns them into pendants and earrings. I asked Fee what made her decide to make her style of jewellery  "I have always had a huge love of vintage illustrations and an equally huge collection of them, and I was desperate to find a way that they could be translated from the page into an object that could actually be worn and enjoyed. I wanted to make a product that was different enough to get attention but still practical enough to function as a piece of wearable art."

Where do you get your ideas/inspiration?
The Victorian era is an endless source of inspiration for me. I’m fascinated by it – the fashions, the art, the architecture, the way of life. I also like to keep an eye on what’s popular in the fashion world and my eldest daughter keeps me up to date with what's trending amongst her friends!

What are your plans jewellery-wise for the future?
I’m in the process of developing a method for printing vintage illustrations on fabric. I love the crossover of textiles and jewellery and I’d like to go down that route with my work. I’d also like to do more themed collections like my Alice in Wonderland collection, which has proved very popular.

Becky of Folksy shop Chiyo makes bright and beautiful jewellery featuring vintage plastic flowers and beads.
"I've always loved anything bright, bold and different. I went to art college for 3 years and always made unusual pieces using a variety of different media, though didn't really show this in my jewellery at first. I thought I should tone it down a bit as I was scared/nervous that no one would like my style, but as my confidence in my pieces grew and more people seemed to like them I have slowly made my pieces bigger, bolder and a lot louder. I love having a style thats different from the more traditional, its me, I've always been an individual and hopefully it shows in my jewellery. "

Where do you get your ideas/inspiration?
I get inspiration from everywhere really, out walking, looking at beautiful flowers, even when I'm trying to get to sleep, I end up tossing and turning just wanting to go downstairs and get my beads out. (I know that feeling!)

What are your plans jewellery-wise for the future?
I was asked to do a feature in Make Jewellery magazine. I made them a matching necklace, bracelet and ring, not sure exactly when its out but hopefully soon, very exciting. I've also started to make some hair bands and brooches in the same style which will hopefully be listed soon and I've been enquiring about getting my jewellery into some local shops. I'd also like to do a craft fair, there's a regular crafts market by me that I'm going to give a try.

Folksy shop Black Cats Whiskers is owned by Claire who makes jewellery in her spare time featuring buttons, polymer clay and Lego! When she started making jewellery it was of the more traditional type and Claire found the competition at craft fairs to be fierce. However, she noticed her more unusual watches and charm bracelet watches did fairly well. "I felt I needed to find more of an edge on the competition. Looking online one day I stumbled across a maker of clay beads in sweetie shapes which I ordered (and loved) and at the next craft fairs the bracelets and earrings I had made were so popular I couldn't help but decide to branch into the 'fun jewellery' direction. Now when I go to craft fairs I never have to worry because I know no matter how many jewellery sellers are there I have something a bit different to offer and its working for me (so far)."

Where do you get your ideas/inspiration?
I get my ideas from lots of places, i'm always on the look out for something a bit different and I also get lots of ideas from talking to people and special requests. The other week I was asked if I could make button hairslides and earrings so I gave it a go and I love how they turned out. If I see things I like I'm not scared to ask people to tailor things for me, for example Lilley on Folksy has made me jelly babies and love hearts with no holes so I could turn them into cufflinks. I can't say I've seen my button watches on sale anywhere else but some of the things I make are not original but I put my own spin on the design. I found some absolutely stunning butterflies and flower beads the other month that I have never seen anywhere else before and I love to sit picking a selection of lovely coloured beads to go with them on my charm bracelets.

What are your plans jewellery-wise for the future?
In terms of making - I plan to expand the range I offer. I'm already starting to make rings, hairslides and bangles that I was not making 2 months ago. I also intend to keep listening to my customers and learning what they would like to see me make - afterall you can only be successful when you make things that people are willing to buy. In terms of selling I'm starting to supply a new gift shop from 1 March and I'm looking for other opportunites for shops. I've also got lots of craft fairs planned for this year and will be continuing to keep my Folksy shop stocked up. I'll also be looking for every avenue I can to continue to promote what I'm doing. I don't think I'm going to have time for that diet ;-)

Thank you Fee, Becky and Claire. Pop over to their Folksy shops for jewellery with a difference ♥


  1. It looks great! Thank you soo much for including me :) xx

  2. Great article, its great to hear other peoples ideas! Kx

  3. Claire makes fab cards too. Thank you without your post I wouldn't have found them. :o)


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