Holidays 101 for the Handmade Business
The holidays are great for retailers and I expect this holiday season to be busier than ever. If you are not already thinking about your business strategy for this the holiday season, well, you're late. Good news is you're not too late! I start thinking about my holiday offers in August and September 1 is when I begin my holiday planning, if not before. While most people don't start shopping until Black Friday, some are shopping all summer long. Your business model and norms will help you determine your should-be start date but in the case of handmades, chances are you sell in person at events fairs and festivals, online through Etsy, Shopify or your own website or through social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, Pinterest, or some combination of these. Consider the habits of your target buyer and the likelihood of a short selling season and allow extra time for shipping.
If you sell at Fall and Christmas festivals, you are probably prepping well in advance of September 1 in order to build up your required inventory. If this is you, kudos sis, I know how much work it is to prepare and how much work it is to execute. With COVID, my largest fair was cancelled this year and no others have opened up. As much as that was not in my business plan and I really do enjoy fairs, I have no choice but to regroup and come up with a new strategy to crush my holiday sales. If this happened to you as well, I feel your pain and I know it sucks. I also know we've got plenty of time to brainstorm, execute and market anything we desire this holiday season if we get moving.
So let's get moving!
The first question I asked myself before planning my product lines, marketing ideas and policies is this...
What do I desire to create?
I know, probably not what you expected but it's a crucial step often overlooked.
We often look to trends, best sellers and inspiration when we begin our planning process, and while there is valuable data found in those places, they all miss the most important piece of creation - the love infused into every item we create when we create them from the heart.
Did I lose you again? It does sound slightly crazy but it is 100% true.
When I first began my handmade business, Dragonfly Designs I had a million amazing ideas. I also had no idea how to execute many of them. I looked to craft groups and Youtube for inspiration and tutorials and I also took many popular ideas and 'best sellers' I found and replicated them. I am ashamed to say I didn't know better. And I found some success in that strategy, though I do not recommend it. Here's why...
When I create or re-created someone else's idea, the energy behind that creation is rooted in need. I need to have a successful launch, I want lots of holiday sales, this worked for so and so, so it should work for me. That need energy is not a powerful or valuable one to be presenting products to market. So let's shift it.
What if instead, we sat with ourselves for a moment and asked ourselves what we desire to create this holiday season? Then we listened for the answers....
Holiday cards and printables are on the predicted best seller list this holiday season, does that mean we all should go make cards and printables? No! But if you love to create cards and holiday printables, then you should capitalize on this opportunity and get creating!
What do you love to create? Go make more of that! It really is that easy.
Next, plan your supplies, inventory needs, pricing and marketing timeline. Start researching distributors, sourcing and creating. Map out your launch dates, ordering deadlines and delivery expectations. Get super clear on who your product is for, why they would buy it and how it improves or brings joy to their life. Now start creating tag lines, graphics and keywords/hashtags.
Consider the increased demand for shipped goods for the holidays and order your shipping supplies early, including boxes, polymailers, bubble wrap, filler and tape. Priority mail boxes can be ordered at no cost from the post office. U-line and Amazon are great sources to purchase boxes and filler. I purchase tape and bubble wrap from Walmart usually.
Also consider how you will package your products for local delivery/pick up including bags, tissue paper, stickers, care cards and other advertising inserts. I make all of my own care cards, inserts and stickers using my cricut machine and software and my home printer. Templates can be found on CreativeFabrica.com, Etsy, or have fun creating your own.
Doing this work in advance really helps the actual product and collection launches go so much more smoothly. One of the problems I see many creators run into is they do not know how to word their sales posts, they don't know what to say, and as a result, their sales posts look very sterile and fail to invoke buyer emotion. Invoking emotion is key in sales posts that convert.
Do you see why being emotionally and energetically connected to what you are creating makes such a huge impact? If we create what is popular with no genuine connection to the product or cause, we offer nothing for others to buy into. No magic, no vibes, no holiday spirit, just stuff.
No one wants to be the girl who sells stuff. I am the girl who offers high quality creations infused with love!
Tapping into your joy for creating will not only help you create and sell with ease but you'll receive the added benefits of feeling amazing throughout the entire process. Nothing better!
By the way, whether you are creating handmade goods or selling services this strategy works all year round, but during holiday times it is extremely important to be clear on what you want to create for the world and to get and stay organized. Anyone who has worked handmades during the holidays will vouch for this. Working Christmas Eve to finish orders while your family waits at the holiday table sucks. Don't let that be you for the sake of a few dollars. Honor your time, honor the boundaries you have set in the form of order close dates and don't feel bad saying 'no'. Saying 'no'' is a form of self-care.
I cannot wait to see all of your holiday offers and may this be your best season yet!
P.S. If you are next level serious about killing it this holiday season, I highly recommend snagging a copy of the self guided Sisters in Success program. Check out the programs tab for all the details and subscribe to the newsletter to hear about my latest courses and offerings first.