Feeling crafty and becoming a British manufacturer

folksy new logoIt’s official, British crafting is booming! Ironically as austerity continues to grip the nation there has been a sharp rise in those embracing  entrepreneurship and setting up on their own. Many of these people make small niche, individual and hand made items and sell them on sites like Etsy and Folksy. Etsy is American owned so buying from that site is out of bounds for us, under the rules of our project. However, Folksy is a fantastic British alternative with the added advantage of stocking only British made.

We have been contacted by endless small businesses operating almost exclusively through these sites who are as passionate about their products and customer service as much as a million pound corporation (sometimes even more so). And this enthusiasm, for me, has been contagious.

If you follow our blog you may have read that I have recently been made redundant. While I do need to find myself another job quickly I would hate the idea of being at home twiddling my thumbs. So, I have joined the ranks of British entrepreneurship and  set up my own Folksy store.


Again anyone that has been following our blog might know that early on in our project I bought a second-hand lot of leather making tools from a local auction. I have been making small bits of leather-work ever since. I think I am getting pretty good at it – certainly good enough to make small and durable everyday items to a high standard. So why not try to make a little beer money while unemployed with this new found skill?

Here is a link: http://folksy.com/shops/RawLeather – It is Fathers day soon (…just saying)

I also have a plan to have a go at running a market stall at our local farmers market.

It is an interesting twist to our project that we are going from being supporters of British manufacturing to actually becoming one (if only in a small way).

– James





Before we started our project to survive on only British goods and services I had heard of Etsy, and even bought a few things from the site, but I had never heard of Folksy. For those not in the know, Etsy is a large and growing community of crafters all selling their wares in one global market place. It is a great concept but under the rules of our project is out of bounds for us as it is American owned. However, Folksy is a British alternative selling only the wares of British crafters.


American site


  1. Good luck James, they look great. By Christmas you may be offering ladies items too…

  2. Yes, good luck – nice pieces of work – and thank you for pointing out Folksy which I didn’t know about – even thought I have bought off of etsy before.

  3. FANTASTIC!!! been waiting to learn about this!

  4. Glad James that you’re doing something positive. I appreciate it’s been a wee bit of a tough time for you and the leather goods are great. I take it you’ll do commissions.

  5. Well done James! I love the leather Key Safe – what a great idea! I look forward to seeing the range grow in the future – keep up the good work!

  6. This was the same reason that I set up on my own, and although things can go from feast to famine I love doing what I do 🙂

  7. Good luck James! It’s a lot of fun being an entreprenuer. I set up my own business two years ago. I run http://www.SeekandAdore.com which is a more up-market version of Etsy. We believe its also important to introduce the makers behind the beautiful things they make so, on Seek & Adore, you meet the makers in their online studio, read interview, watch video and ask questions. It’s a very personal way to shop. As a leather worker, you might like to see the work of Wolfram Lohr – I’m sure you’ll appreciate his skill and designs: http://www.seekandadore.com/wolframlohr/products

    If you like what you see on Seek & Adore perhaps you might consider spreading the word about us. We’re currently seeking investment so that we can do more to raise the profile of our designer-makers and help them sell more of their work. We’re on Crowdcube and we have already raised £63,000 towards our target of £250,000. Please watch our video, share it and spread the word: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=550275078349138 Thank you and good luck with your Etsy shop

  8. Lovely work James 🙂

  9. Fab items James. Thanks for telling us Folksy was British, I am now going to register with them myself.

  10. My dad was very happy with his comb and leather holder today 🙂

    As it came so beautifully wrapped I decided not to open it, so it was a nice surprise for me too!!!

    It really is very well made, and a lovely gift. I would recommend anyone considering buying something from James to go ahead! Not only was it nicely wrapped, and posted quickly, but it also had a lovely handwritten note inside which really gave it the personal touch.

    Thank you 🙂

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