The holiday season can be a very stressful time for everyone. There is always so much going on. Since things are getting a little bit back to “normal” the pressure to have a successful holiday season for your business is even higher! Here are some tips that I have put together, which I have used in the past and have gathered from others on how to navigate and survive selling during the holiday season!
Hand Self Care
When we are knitting, crocheting and stitching continuously, we need to look after our hands. Since we won’t be able to craft our best without them! One way to have happy hands is to moisturize and massage them regularly. Especially during times when they are working really hard.
When working with fibrous materials that suck the moisture out of your hands very quickly it is important to moisturize to prevent severe drying and cracking. Moisturizing your hands will also improve your nail strength. You will be less likely to break a nail that could snag on your projects.
When looking for a hand cream, it is important to look for specific ingredients to help your hands best. Look for emollients (ex. Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter or oils) because they will help soften your hands. To prevent water loss in your hands, look for occlusive ingredients such as glycerin, petrolatum, sunflower oil and jojoba oil. If your hands are very cracked, it is advised to stay away from fragranced products that might further irritate or burn your skin.
The American Massage Therapist Association recommends you stretch your hands before working hard by opening and closing them for a few minutes. Use heat and cold if you are experiencing some pain to help elevate your muscles and reduce inflammation.
You can also give yourself a hand massage to help alleviate pain as well. Healthline has a great resource to instruct you on how to give yourself a hand massage. I found this great video that shows how you can massage your hands.
Take breaks and space out your workload
I know the urge is really strong to just keep going and do one more row or one more section. But it is very important to take breaks and to space out your workload into small chunks to allow yourself to rest. When working on something that is very detail-oriented and strains on your hands and eyes. Eyes and hands need to rest to avoid straining them.
Taking breaks will not only help you stay healthier but will also help reduce your frustration. You are not performing at your best when you are tired. Something that would take you half an hour normally can take you much longer when you are tired. At the end of the day by taking breaks you are saving yourself time!
If you are feeling overwhelmed to the point that you feel like you can’t take breaks, this is when you should ask for help from people around you. If you feel like you can’t keep up with packing orders or adding your tags to your products, it is essential to ask for help. Many hands make light work!
Another thing to be mindful of when working is your posture and how you are sitting. When you are sitting for a long time it is essential to not hurt yourself in the long run. When sewing your chair and table should be at the right height and your sewing machine is in the correct position to not stretch too far forward. When you are knitting or crocheting it is best practice to not slouch and have your needles/hook properly in your hands. Compression gloves can help when working for a long time to reduce inflammation and pain in your hands.
Batching your work
Batch working is a great way to use your time effectively during this holiday season. Instead of multitasking and having your attention scattered from different areas, it is essential to do only one thing at a time. If a bunch of orders need to be packaged, do them all at once, instead of trying to pack right after you make something. Or when photographing products block out a section in your schedule to do it all at once. You will be a lot more efficient and productive if you can block out sections of your time to have your full attention on something.
Make something for you!
As makers, we tend to always make things for other people. But sometimes you need to take the time to make something for yourself. Like that pattern that has been sitting in your cart for months or bought, but it’s sitting waiting for you to start it.
Give yourself a holiday present and start that project just for you! No one else.
Or if you don’t feel like making something for yourself the ultimate goal is to just do something that makes you happy. Do something that you enjoy, to take your mind off of the crazy chaos of the holiday season.
For me, I like setting goals. So I like to pick something as your reward for something that I would like to accomplish. For example, you could make the goal that after the last craft show I will take myself out for dinner. Or on December 24th I will give myself one hour of me-time. Goals are a great way to incentivize yourself and get through the tough times.
Even when busy creating inventory marketing still has to be done. When this is the case, there never seems to be enough time in the day to do everything.
I highly recommend pre-scheduling your marketing content ahead of time. I like to schedule my content a week or two in advance, but some people schedule up to a month.
The program that I like to use to schedule my content is Later. I found that it suited my needs to focus on Instagram the best. Other programs such as Buffer or Hootsuite work great too.
Create a Content Calendar
To create a lot of content in advance, first, plan your content using a calendar or spreadsheet. Within my spreadsheet, I have created a calendar to map out the different holidays and ideas for each day. I like to use the notes function to add the caption for that day’s post. So when I schedule my content I can copy and paste it right into the scheduler. Hubspot has a great social media calendar to get you started. The Social Media Content Calendar | Manage Your Promotion
Use template and stock photography
I also like to batch create the images for your content using Canva templates, and stock photography. You can make your own Canva templates using the ones supplied and your brand fonts and colours, or you can get a head start by purchasing templates from a company, such as The Stock Shop Co. (Affiliate Link)
I then download the ones I need and schedule them for the different social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest!
Remember why you like doing your specialty in the first place
When things feel chaotic and frustrating in your business it can be challenging to keep going. Especially when it feels like you’re drowning in a to-do list. When this happens I like to remind myself of my why.
I like to ask myself:
Why did I want to start my business in the first place?
Why do I love what I do?
And write it down somewhere that I can look back at it when times are tough and I am losing my motivation. This will help you recentre your efforts and give you the extra push needed to get you through the late nights.
A bonus is that it will also show through when you are talking with your clients. Remembering your why will help you feel rejuvenated and excited again, which will being light and passion back to your customer service.
Label and extensively organize your show bins
Another important thing to remember, especially when you are going to craft shows, is to intensely label and organize your sales bins. Go full Marie Kondo on them!
Invest in a label maker or a lot of masking tape
You can never have too many labels! I like to label on the side of the bin exactly what it is in it. So that it is easy to quickly glance through the list and know where I can find that particular size or item to restock my booth.
Make a system
When packing your bins think about your process and create a system to help streamline your process. For instance, put things together into categories such as packing, accounting, product type (ie. jewelry, mittens, small hoops, big hoops, etc.). Then arrange them in a way that they will be in the right place that you will go to naturally grab them. When setting up your booth, place all of your packing supplies where you think you will first go to reach it.
My last tip is to colour code your bins, whether it be the physical bins themselves in different colours or the labels on them. This will create a visual cue at first glance so that you can quickly find what you are looking for. Your brain also likes to organize things by colour. So another way to easily organize your products is to put like colours together. That way it will be easier to find and put them away.
Just do your best!
It is easy to put a lot of pressure on ourselves when this is usually the biggest time of year for sales.
I want to remind you to be gentle with yourself. It has not been an easy last couple of years, so it is essential to continue to be gentle and kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make as many sales as you want to or if you end up running out of something. It’s okay!
Pick yourself back up, dust yourself off, and try again. All you can do is do your best!
Start or Improve your online store
With the holiday season still a little up in the air the state of the pandemic. It is always good to have a backup plan. Investing some time to optimize your online store is a great way to help your plan A and B because there are even more people nowadays preferring to shop online. You don’t have to do it all at once, you can improve as you go. Here are my top suggestions to help you improve your online store this holiday season.
Well lit Product Photography
Make sure that all of the products on your website are well lit, and ideally on a plain background. Very dark product photos, won’t show off your beautiful artwork well. An easy way to shoot well-lit photos is to create a lightbox, this can be easily done with a cardboard box, diffusing paper and a desk lamp! I found a great video on how to create a lightbox at home.
Values and Benefits
Take another look at your product descriptions. Writing a very in-depth product description is a must for all of your online products. Since you cannot do your sales pitch in person describing the value and benefits of your product, you need to do it here. Tell your customers everything that they want to know about your product.
Customer Testimonials and Reviews
Add Reviews, testimonials and past customer photos are a great way to show the quality and reputation of your product. People purchase products from people that they like, know, and trust.
To find out more about how to improve your product pages, I have created a free checklist of my top 10 points to create converting product pages.
This holiday season is quickly approaching, but it doesn’t have to be stressful! I hope that these tips will help you have a joyful and successful holiday season! Let’s continue this conversation, follow me on Instagram and let me know what other tips would be helpful!