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3 Business-Boosting Tips for the Upcoming Holidays





It’s almost November… so welcome to the busiest season for all retail businesses – both big and small!

It’s such an exciting time, and today I’d like to share some ways to encourage more sales and gifting.


1. Always keep the gift recipient in mind.

As we head into the gift-giving holidays, it’s important to remember that your customers aren’t always buying for themselves at this time of year. They’re buying for friends, family, party hostesses, etc., and they’re looking for unique gifts. Encouraging customers to gift your product is a great strategy during the holidays because when your customer gives your items to friends and family, the gift introduces you to a new customer. It’s the best possible form of recommendation!

As you plan for the holiday shopping season, try and imagine who your customers might be buying for:

  • Female friends
  • Husbands, boyfriends or partners
  • Parents
  • In-Laws
  • Grandparents
  • Teenagers
  • Children
  • Babies
  • Party Hostesses
  • Coworkers and managers
  • White elephant gift exchanges/Kris Kringles

What items in your inventory can be presented as gifts for any or all of the above recipients?


2. Cross-promote with other artists.

One of my favorite Etsy sellers sent an email last year that I thought was simply brilliant.

She contacted her customer list with a list of handmade gifts from various sellers that she was giving to her friends and family.  Just imagine if you collected a handful of your favorite sellers and introduced your favorite shops and they agreed to return the favor? How many new customers might you share and gain?


3. Offer free shipping.

Free shipping has tested as one of the very best sales you can offer your customers. People simply don’t like the added amount at check-out; it’s not a fun surprise!

I always offer free domestic shipping in December, and my products already come gift-wrapped. If you want to ship 5 bracelets to 5 of your friends, I’m happy to eat the shipping costs!

Calculate what this would really cost your business, and see if you can swing it. Because of the price and light weight of my products, free shipping only equals a 10% discount off every order … completely doable! How much would free shipping cost you?


Here’s to a happy, healthy and fruitful holiday season for us all!

Ask the Makers ~ What Do You Leave Off Your To-Do List?

It’s officially the start of the crazy season for makers and while this month has been all about how we can’t do everything at once, I thought it would be insightful to see what each of us doesn’t do. So I asked the contributing writers what they leave off their to-do list when the orders come hard and fast.

Danielle’s Answer:

I get a lot of borderline spammy emails – requests for free product, invites to things I’m not interested in, etc – I tend to ignore and delete these especially during busy times. I also tend to skip things like, grocery shopping, so if anyone wants to eat-in, they *ahem, husband* will need to work that into their schedule haha.

Eleanor’s Answer:

When things get crazy my motto becomes: ‘Good Enough is Fine.’ For example, my in laws are coming to town and I’m not going to drive myself nuts trying to home cook everything. I plan on being like the Grandma in Sixteen Candles, opening the pack of doughnuts with a knife and a announcing ‘Breakfast is Served!’.  I also tend to do inbox triage, ignoring non-urgent mails until after the storm is passed.

Megan’s Answer:

October through December a lot of stuff falls off my to-do list. Cleaning waits till the new year as does any shopping just for ‘fun’. A few years back I wised up and began donating to charities for all of my friends’ and family’s holiday gifts. This saves me the time of going out to shops when they’re crazy busy and it gives money to the people and organizations who really need it. I also have to put aside fun reading of books until the middle of December, which is the hardest thing to take off my to-do list when the holiday season hits.

Cat’s Answer:

I hate to admit it but what I always let go is all the stuff I do just for me! So at exactly the time of year I need to take care of myself the most – I don’t! Ugh! I was a little better last year and am resolved to not put myself on the bottom of the list this year. I skip my walks, my books, acupuncture, healthful cooking and especially sleep. I have been known to just get up at 3am and work. Then I collapse when it gets too late to ship. I wouldn’t recommend this!

What about you? What gets pushed off your to-do list when the holiday season comes round?

C&T Recommended Reads ~ Week 42, 2014

From Megan:

From Jess:

Little Known Ways to Sell More at Market

During the past 4 years that our Firefly Handmade Markets has been in operation in the Denver/Boulder area, we have been continually amazed by the fresh, creative and quality products that our artisans offer at our market. It’s part of what makes each market exciting for us. Also amazing, however, has been the failure of a good number of these artisans to capitalize on the several advantages inherent in selling their products in a physical marketplace as opposed to an e-commerce site; namely the ability to connect with their customers and give them the opportunity to touch, feel, and experience with their handmade goods.

With that in mind, here are our top 4 tips to make your market opportunities more productive.

Be Approachable

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Put a smile on your face, show a willingness to engage with those who stop by your booth, and be yourself. We realize that this can be challenging to artisans who are not inherently comfortable with dealing with the public. However, even if you have to step out of your comfort zone, in our experience, positive attitudes beget positive responses and interest from shoppers; translation-a smile is contagious! It’s surprising how many artisans we see who retreat into a corner of their booth and sit seemingly glumly on a chair. If you aren’t excited about your goods, why would a customer be? And don’t underestimate the value of a touch, a handshake, making eye contact. Can’t find that on the Internet.

Engage Customers In Your Creative Process

Whether through in-booth demonstrations, pictures of your awesome creative self in action, or simply a willingness to describe your creative process, give customers an appreciation of the skill and hard work that goes into your goods. If you provide them a reason to be invested in what you create, then your customers will naturally understand the thought and quality that goes into what they could own. And customers do want to own the authenticity and quality of your products.

Create A Storefront

Make no mistake-your market operator is selling you valuable real estate. Between the venue cost, utilities and equipment, marketing/promotion and manpower, your booth space is just not a random spot on a piece of ground. So take advantage of that by creating a welcoming and unique “storefront” for your booth space. It’s your pop-up shop and enhancement of your brand; maybe even an opportunity to imagine what a permanent storefront could be like for your business. Include creative signage and other touches that give someone a reason to wonder what great things are going on inside.

Don’t Scrimp On Your Display

True story-we had an artisan who was selling magnificent, high-quality products – maybe the most expensive price point to be found at our market. Yet, all of that awesomeness was being exhibited on an obviously inexpensive display set-up; the kind with faux velvet plastered over cardboard that was so flimsy it would be airborne if a small breeze kicked up. The disconnect between the quality of the goods and that of the display was obvious. Our market goers are smarter than that and could see through the lack of engagement with the product, and sadly, she sold nothing!

Simply said, how you display, what you display on and a positive attitude should be a reflection of you, your product and your aesthetic. Happy crafting and selling!

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