{Handmade Business in 31 Days — Day 27, Holiday Tips.}

Day 27// Just hear those sleigh bells ringing and jing ting tingaling too… Yep, the holiday season will be starting in just a few weeks and soon we’ll all be in high gear preparing our handmade shops for Christmas. Last year Gussy Sews was still making everything as it sold {made to order}, but in January of this year we revamped the entire shop. Not only did it change our production style, but it’s made such a difference in reaching our goals — like with ensuring a higher profitability as well as our sanity. It’s so much better to be prepared, yes? — especially during the holidays!

This next week I want to encourage you to spend some time thinking about the business goals you are going to set for the Holiday season. Things like, how can your really enjoy this bustling season as a business owner? Can can you do to be more prepared? What new, darling, Limited Edition product {!!!} will you include in your shop?

Let’s talk in greater detail about this.

paper ball garland via how about orange

Whether it’s your first holiday season as a business lady or your fifth, it’s always fun to change things up a bit. And who knows, maybe this seasonal change will inspire you to make it a long-term change! Before October ends I want to encourage you to take the time to brainstorm about December.

FIVE WAYS TO HAVE A LOVELY HOLIDAY SEASON:

1. Consider a pre-made production workflow, allowing all {or nearly all} items to be ready-to-ship. Spend the next few weeks planning + making your holiday stock, then when Black Friday or Cyber Monday near you’ll be more prepared to ship each order quickly as it’ll have been pre-made. Another way to look at this type of production workflow is breaking up the process: make the items now, focus on shipping them later. You could also prepare by making a few dozen items to list after the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale so your shop feels freshened up — complete with a full stock of new goodies.
2. Dress up your packaging embellishments or consider a gift packaging order add-on. I love the ideas of using holiday themed stamped brown paper bags as wrapping paper, extra details like these fun ribbons from Olive Manna, or mini glassine bags + homemade confetti dots to sprinkle inside. Adorable!

ribbons via Olive Manna

3. Run a Cyber Monday sale, which starts super early + includes a steep discount code. Then lessen the discount as the hours pass {make sure you know how steep you can afford to go based on the cost of materials, labor, profit % goals + overhead estimation}. Everyone loves a good sale, be sure to send a reminder to your newsletter list.

4. Plan out your holiday shipping schedule ~ what’s the latest date you can ship your handmade pretties so they arrive in time? Be sure to include this in your shop policies page, on your shopping cart page + on your “congratulations! your order has been placed!” page. Do you ship via USPS? Here’s their 2012 Holiday Shipping deadline guide.
5. Offer Limited Edition holiday products, like a spunky tie for the little misters or a giant hair bow for the little ladies. What about limited edition decor for the home: miniature trees or sparkly stars, paper garland, wreaths, or a brand new Merry Christmas card to print/mail to your loves? Do you make jewelry? What if you designed a few glam-inspired pieces for holiday parties or a glittery headband to wear on New Years Eve? Peppermint, Gingerbread or Sugar Cooky are all wonderful holiday-inspired scents for your soy-based candle shop.

hair bow via the first lime

It’s important to think of the weeks leading up to December 25th  as an opportunity to try new things within your handmade business — as well as treat your customers with a little extra love, not just as insanely busy times. Make the most out of this short, cozy, grateful season by implementing some of the above tips, and don’t be afraid to reflect on years past and what you should/could do differently. Change within your handmade shop can be a good thing, even if it is short-term :)

Homework// Pick one area of your business you want to freshen up this holiday season + make an action plan: what will the new processes look like?, what extra costs will this incur?, how can you spread the word to your customers?, when is your BIG launch date?, just to name a few.

Leave a tip below of what you have done in the past {or heard about} that made the holiday season extra special for your biz.

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Comments

  1. 1

    says

    Once again, such great business tips! You’ve definitely motivated me this morning!
    My tip: Offer ‘sets’ of items. I’ve found in the past that buyers sometimes like to buy 2 or 3 matching items to create a little gift package. So, some of my products that I normally sell separately, I package together as a set. I also discount the price just a little to encourage them to buy the set, rather than buy separately.

  2. 5

    says

    Yay! This is something I am actually ahead of the game on! I just finished my christmas bow ties collection and got lots ready to ship and I am working ahead on other items as well. I have been re-working my packaging a bit. People really seem to like DIY kits this year too :)

  3. 6

    says

    I’ve been struggling lately on whether I want to pre-make my items or continue made to order items. I would love to introduce new products but I always feel a little bogged down with rushing to complete orders, now I think pre-made might just be the way to go for me! I am constantly coming back to this series, I learn a little more each time I read your blog. LOVE it!!!

  4. 7

    says

    Again, fabulous! I have been stocking the virtual shelves this season! I do set a deadline for all Christmas orders! Usually 2nd week of December. I will usually get a few orders after the deadline but for the most part, I slow down & I settle into the Christmas season stress free. I believe I am hosting 4 Christmas parties in December.

    Pssst…… I’m skipping the Thanksgiving table this season & my man and I are going to Vegas for our 15 year anniversary! Our anniversary is actually Thanksgiving day this year!

    Have a beautiful Sunday!

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