Ask the Makers ~ Holiday Prep
This month we’re asking the makers all about holiday prep work! Yes, it’s that time of year and hopefully you’re already in the midst of yours. I think you’ll enjoy looking at the different ways each of us get ready for this crazy time of the year.
I don’t do shows, though I am doing one Christmas market this year! So my main aim when it comes to preparing for Christmas is to make sure my online shop is in tip-top condition. Also, I do a stock-take and ensure I have enough of my most-used materials so that I won’t run out at a critical time!
Because I sell online, I’m pretty strict about ‘final order’ dates, too. For international customers, it’s December 1st and for local (Aussie) customers, it’s December 10th. That way, I know I have enough time to make the orders AND to ensure they are shipped and arrive in time for the 25th.
It also means I’m usually done making by around the 15th, which gives me the chance to take a bit of a break and actually enjoy the holiday season, rather than being stressed and busy right up to Christmas day. Sure, I might be missing out on a few sales, but my sanity is more important to me at that stage of the year!
Every year I tell myself I’m going to be better organized for the holiday season. This year, I’m doing better than normal! Back in September, I finished up my holiday products so that I would have time to print/produce them, photograph them, and get them listed in the shop. This is actually my first year making holiday cards so it’s a bit new to me. I will admit that they will only be sold at fairs and in my online shops because I’m terrified of sending out 300 cards to brick and mortar shops and getting 100 back come February.
I’ve just heard back from the holiday fairs I applied to so now is when the rubber hits the road so to say and I start planning out my booths, printing up product, and sending the word out to local shop owners so that they’ll come out and see me.
This is also the first year where I’ll be officially closing up shop from December 23rd till January 1st. The last few years I’ve kept my shop open but no sales ever come in and I’m depressed that I’m not on vacation re-energizing and relaxing. So this year it’s vacation time! This is my way of preventing burnout. Having something amazing to look forward to might be the one thing that keeps me going strong these last 3 months.
Every year I intend to start getting ready for Christmas as early as possible but never start preparations as early as I plan to. Something always get’s on the way of making stock in advance so after two Christmas seasons of mad stitching, I decided to start getting ready for the next Christmas in February when my shop is the most quiet. It might sound a bit extreme but it worked for me this year and that’s what I intend to do from now on. I like that I still have my best sellers fresh in mind after October/November and still in the mood for the festive crafts which is always helpful in coming up with the new designs!
I start my Christmas season by announcing an early bird offer in July, usually in my newsletter. It is an offer on my best sellers so my current customers can place their orders early. That gives me a motivation to start making Christmas items and get ready for the collection release in September – October. I know that if I don’t have Christmas orders, I will never get that box out with supplies and start stocking up! Furthermore, having early bird orders also helps me to prevent the burnout as the orders are spread over time.