The Business Chat – Guess what’s coming?

“That’s it, the last present bought, I’m done my Christmas shopping,” said my customer. What was scary/impressive about this statement is that I heard it last week, in August. 
In just 3 months we’ll be cozying up to glasses of holiday cheer and frantically wrapping presents. Wouldn’t it be nice if a whole lot of your work was being wrapped as presents? And not by you, but by customers of yours.
If we’re going to get our work under some Christmas trees we need to do some serious thinking and planning right about now. In my summer craft show booth I’ve had people doing holiday shopping since June. Those super organized people are great but most people don’t start doing their holiday gift shopping until the weather has that nip in the air that says that winter is coming. 
When that happens and they’re ready to buy we have to be ready to sell. It’s time to get to work.
There are 5 steps to a successful holiday sales season.
  1. Know your goals. Plan how you are going to reach these goals.
  2. Inventory. How much do you need to make to reach your numbers and when will you make it. Also we’ll talk about buying supplies
  3. Marketing and advertising. Marketing is telling your customers what you do. Advertising is how you get the message to them. This is where we’ll plan our newsletter, and social media strategies. Also our booth signage and other marketing materials.
  4. Building your display. You have 2 displays to think about. You have your craft show booth (assuming that you’re doing one or more) and your online store.
  5. Sales. Actually exchanging your work for money. Let’s talk tips for increasing your sales.
First up is to set a sales goal. Always remember, you can’t have a successful sales season unless you know what success is. What do you want from this season? Is it a number? Is it a launch of a new product or is your business brand new and you want to get started? Do you want to pay for a month on a beach from your profits? It’s your business, it’s your success, it’s up to you to define it.
Write your goals down and post that on a wall somewhere you can see it.
Now let’s think about how to achieve that goal. Where are you going to be selling your work? Venues to consider are:
  • Craft shows. Most craft shows book 6 – 12 months in advance however there are always opportunities available. Have you booked a holiday show yet? If not, then go and find one that you can get into to. 
  • Online – your own website, facebook, etsy, other gallery sites. If you are not yet set up for online sales there is still time to create an online presence. A great place to start is Etsy. Go and read how to open a shop. 
  • Hosting a home party. Or have someone else host a home party for your work.
  • Selling in stores. For those crafters who have their work in a store the holiday season is a great time to expand your presence in that store. For makers who are not yet in stores and want to be, you should approach the stores very soon as most store will already have their holiday lines picked out.
Once you have decided which way you intend to sell your work you need to think about how these sales will meet your goals. 
If your goals are financial can you sell at your choices to meet your numbers? For example, let’s say you want to sell $2500. You have booked one small craft show which cost $75, so you can expect to sell $750. You also have a website. This means that your web sales will have to be $1750 for you to meet your goals. That’s up to you to think if it’s realistic. Maybe you should find another 2 or 3 craft shows.
If your goals are to get your name out there and let the world know about your new venture then the numbers aren’t quite as important. Maybe you should be thinking about creating a strong Facebook presence or a website. A craft show is really great for getting your work in front of a lot of people quickly.
Whatever your goals are now is the time to decide. What is your idea of a successful holiday selling season? 
The next few weeks we’ll be talking about the steps in making your goals a reality. The jolly fat guy in the North Pole may not be real, but success is. We just have to make our own.
Since we’re makers, it’s no problem.

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