Ask the Makers
Sometimes it can feel like you’re being pressured by your customers to make seasonal items for every holiday under the sun. While it may be profitable to make items for some holidays, others might leave you with piles of unsold stock. This month we asked the makers if there’s a seasonal item they won’t make, whether or not their customers are asking for it. I think you’ll find the answers really interesting.
While I don’t outright refuse to make seasonal items, I do shy away from them mostly. At Christmas time, I do make a few season items but once I sell them, I don’t restock with any real urgency because the season is really short and I don’t want to get stuck with them for a whole year. I never really dabble in Halloween or St. Patrick’s Day. I like items that are relevant all year but could be promoted for a certain holiday or season, like Valentine’s Day which is very general.
There is one item I think about making but haven’t and am hesitant about. It isn’t seasonal but rather stationery for grieving events such as memorial service programs. These products are needed and often are not planned and thus there’s a rush to get them at the last-minute, which is a key value proposition of my products. I have no good reason not to sell them except that it feels exploitative and bad to earn money on a product that’s needed for a sad occasion. I think I have the wrong attitude about this (I have personally put together memorial programs for friends and they are very grateful), but it’s hard for me to get past the feeling. Death is a subject no one is really comfortable with.
For whatever reason, I have never made anything for Thanksgiving. I just never have thought about people giving gifts on Thanksgiving when Christmas is right around the corner!
I generally don’t find St Patrick’s day or Halloween themes sit well with me or my product. There’s something about overly green food (or any themed coloured food for that matter) off putting and I personally think the Halloween holiday is just not us here in Australia.
I can’t think of a season or holiday I specifically won’t make something for – although the non gift giving holidays are not really big sellers for me. I don’t like to promote my groundhog jewelry for Groundhog Day since that little Punxsutawney Phil always annoys everyone with his six more weeks of winter predictions and I don’t want any guilt by association ….
Absolutely! I generally avoid all the Easter fuss, as I don’t feel that my jewellery and Easter really have anything in common. I also don’t make anything themed at Christmas time – for the same reason. I do, of course, do a Christmas gift guide – but I don’t make anything specific for it!
The only seasonal or holiday items I really promote are love-related stuff at Valentine’s Day, and stuff for Mum around Mother’s Day.
I do, however, structure new major line releases around seasons. I try to do two a year – one in Autumn and one in Spring, and I generally aim to have some sort of seasonal ‘feel’ about the collection – even if it’s in a very abstract way!
I don’t make much holiday-themed work because my apartment is so small, I can’t imagine where I would put leftover stock. This past year I did finally make holiday cards for the winter season and they sold like hotcakes. So I will probably make them again but I don’t like having to hold onto the extras for a whole 12 months.
Now that I’m launching into more ‘utilitarian’ items in my shop, such as scarves and tea towels featuring my illustrations, I’m setting up their releases around the appropriate holidays and seasons. After all, nobody wants to buy a scarf in April.