Ho! Ho! Ho!
Merry Christmas (in July)!
For the past two years, a bigger than expected Etsy holiday rush has caught me off guard and scrambling to keep up. So this year, I challenge myself and my BBA Teammates to start preparing earlier! Share a new item you plan to make for the holidays, a holiday promotion you are considering (or insights from a CIJ promo you've tried in the past), product packaging or gift wrapping ideas, shipping shortcuts, organizational tricks for managing the holiday rush -- OR just make a present for yourself or a friend that would also be a great holiday gift idea.
The official Christmas in July (CIJ) promotion period on Etsy (July 10-20, 2014) is nearly over. And although sales have been quite brisk this month in my little shop, Pasque Flower Creations, only ONE customer used the Coupon Code CIJ20PCT to get 20% off the order as part of that CIJ promo.Perhaps I had some spillover from the broader Etsy CIJ campaign, but my own CIJ marketing efforts were clearly a near fail: D-.
Now comes the prolonged season of preparation for the holidays – beginning with back-to-school promotions, Fall craft fairs, and Halloween, followed by Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday – and then the
mad dash through December to Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. Whew!!
I’m getting tired just thinking about it!!
So – what am I going to do this holiday season to avoid the frantic rush and frazzled nerves of the past two holiday seasons on Etsy?
Well, for starters, I’m adopting Etsy’s 12-Step Program (no, not THAT kind of 12-step program), published by Katy Svehaug in the Etsy Seller Handbook on July 17, 2014. It’s called 12 Ways to Get a Jumpstart on the Holidays. Here’s the link. It’s full of helpful advice and links to other Etsy blog posts.
Just like those other 12-Step programs, the Jumpstart asks Etsy sellers to take it one day at a time.
Day 1: Establish your expectations for the season. Set SMART goals.
Day 2: Brighten your branding.
Day 3: Check the trend forecasts.
Day 4: Develop a marketing plan.
Day 5: Make things personal.
Day 6: Add more listings.
Day 7: Appeal to practical needs.
Day 8: Set a scene.
Day 9: Tighten up your tags.
Day 10: Stock your shipping station.
Day 11: Sign up for a craft fair.
Day 12: Pitch your potential. (Maybe it’s time to work on that Media Kit?)
To keep this post from becoming unreadably long and rambling, I’ll focus on my Day 1 Goals, but I encourage you to read the entire Etsy Seller Handbook post and “walk the walk” through all 12 steps.
The Day 1 goals must be SMART – that’s an acronym for:
Here are my 2014 Holiday Season SMART Goals:
1. SALES: I will hit 1,000 Etsy sales by December 31, 2014.
2. EFFORT: I will sew at least 20 hours per week from Aug. 15 – Nov. 15.
3. LISTINGS: I will have 150 listings in my Pasque Flower Creations Etsy shop by November 15, 2014.
4. LIMIT SOCIAL MEDIA: I will limit social media and team time to no more than 60 minutes per day from August 15 – December 20, 2014, to allow more time to MAKE and MARKET – and maybe even get some SLEEP!
5. MARKETING: I will post at least 3 times per week on my shop Facebook page from August 15 – November 15, and I will offer a special coupon code from Black Friday through Cyber Monday for those who read my Facebook posts.
6. OFFER NEW PRODUCTS: I will monetize my scraps by developing new products including at least:
8 doll quilts
12 zipper pouches (some personalized)
3 twined rag rugs
12 eyeglass cases (some personalized)
50 greeting cards made using fabric scraps (sneak peek below – scroll down)--and
4 calling birds, 3 French hens, 2 turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree. (Only kidding on that one – just trying to get into the holiday spirit!)
7. REPLENISH MY STOCK OF IMPULSE BUY ITEMS FOR FALL CRAFT FAIRS: I will participate in 3 Fall craft fairs, wear my “Ask Me About My Etsy Shop Button” at all 3 shows, and be well-stocked with kid-friendly, inexpensive impulse buy items and stocking stuffers at all 3 shows.
8. EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE: Shipments will be prompt, prettily-packaged, and promote my brand.
Did you catch the sequence? The first letter of the goals = SELL MORE!
Here’s the sneak peek of my new greeting cards I promised.
I’ll test market them at the craft fairs this Fall. Goodness knows I have enough scraps to make hundreds, if need be!
I’m also making progress on using scraps to make twined rag rugs. Here is my practice rug - a WIP:
And here is a closeup:
The technique is a little like braiding sideways. The warp is completely encircled by two strips of 2-inch (5 cm) fabric, so the rug will be fairly thick and durable. The strips are hand folded to resemble single-fold bias tape, but the strips are torn on the straight of grain. Granddaughter Erin and I had a "let 'er rip" get-together to create the balls of strips you see in the photo of the loom. (I may use my little bias tape maker gadget for my next rug. I think it would save time in the long run, and it would contain any ravel-y edges from the start.)
So - -I am PSYCHED to get a jumpstart on the holidays! Are you ready to join me in this excellent adventure?