Monday, July 21, 2014

Christmas in July - BBA Team Challenge - July 2014

 Ho! Ho! Ho!

Merry Christmas (in July)!

Each month the Blogging Business Artisans Team poses a challenge to its members.  And this month the challenge came from – moi!   And so, without further ado, here’s the challenge:

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 ultramarathon 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. 

The words on the cards are made from fabric scraps fused to cardstock.  I learned the fusing technique in a tutorial by Lisa and Sarah posted on A Spoonful of Sugar Designs blog. 

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?








  1. Holy moly! When you spell it all out like that, it's a ton of work--but I know all of it needs to be done. It's cute that your goals spell out "sell more." I haven't decided how I'm going to handle the holidays with my design biz, but I need to think of something!

  2. Wow, those cards are GREAT! This way you get to use up those itty bitty scraps :) Ooh, the loom looks like so much fun! I like Tshirt-yarn! The 12-steps make a lot of sense! As always my problem is to add more listings...

    1. I had just mentioned to my hubby that I thought t-shirts would make nice SOFT rugs. The cotton ones are durable (and use up scraps) -- but not super soft.
      The cards were fun.

  3. LeAnn - you are totally awesome! I need to hire you to get me organised!

  4. Wow. I did not realize Etsy was jumping on the CIJ wagon. I do my holiday shopping all year round as not to be hit by the huge expense. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I can relate. We have 9 grandchildren, so I shop all year. The challenge is to remember where I hid everything!

  5. This is one power packed post!
    Your goals are very clear and multitudinous. but set in writing well ahead of time, attainable. It will be fun to see you reach them!
    The loom does look like fun. Your cards are great.

    1. Thank you for the vote of confidence, Margaret!