Setting up our folksy shop was an area I dealt with. I'm a very competent PC user, and found Folksy really easy to use, and imagine it would be too for anyone who is less experienced with the internet and computers. The specifications for avatars and banners is clearly listed, and the free image hosting meant it was easy, and quick to upload our first batch of products. The only thing I felt was missing was some sort of drop down menu to allow buyers to choose which variety (e.g colour or pattern) of a product they wanted. At this point I wasn't aware that I could ask sellers to PM me with which design they would like, and so I think we've ended up spending more than we needed to on listings. Other than that, Folksy has been excellent, and maybe this feature will be introduced in the future.
I was daunted first going into the Folksy community, as I'm a techhead but I know next to nothing about crafts. However, once I looked around a little, I realised that my lack of knowledge wasn't going to be a hurdle to participating on the forums. Everyone is just wonderfully nice, and willing to take a look at your shop and give some constructive advice. There are also lots of threads that allow you to promote your store - my personal favourite is "What do you love in the shop above?", as it gives you feedback on what people like in your store...and gives you the chance to blow all the money you've made in one go. Ooops! The community at Folksy is as near to perfect as it could be, and is so less intimidating than those on eBay or Etsy.
This is where things have gotten tough for us. We've only sold one product (incidentally my favourite of all of our items) out of 32 that we've uploaded to the site. As far as I can tell, our photography and item descriptions are great, but we're lacking in exposure. I think that promotion will take time, a determined effort, time, perseverance, and most of all, time! It would be easy to become disheartened at this point with just one sale, but at the same time, we haven't been buying much (online or offline) because January is a financially tight month for most of us. So we will continue to try and promote where we can, and hopefully the sales will come.
We've had some business cards printed, which look pretty snappy if I do say so myself. We've also been given the go ahead to display a poster in our local community centre, all very positive steps. Sadly, the one area we were relying on for more exposure is proving tricky at the moment - craft fairs. We're not short of ones going on in the nearby area, but they all demand public liability insurance. We don't have this, and at the moment are not in a position to be able to afford it. There are some options, such as the AIR, but we don't think we fulfil the criteria for membership. Every other option seems to be a minimum of £50, which is more than we'd want to spend. However, if we get really desperate we may have to just bite the bullet and fork out for it.
The first month has been tough in many ways, but at the same time we weren't expecting to be driving round in flashy cars and flying helicopters by the start of February. I feel that the community at Folksy provides sellers like us with a great motivation to carry on pursuing our shop, and so I'm afraid Folksy will be stuck with us for a while!