Hey, Boss Babes! Are you ready for a fresh batch of small business tips? We thought so. ;) Today we'll be making our list & checking it twice, because even though it's only August, the holidays are right around the corner. We're here to help you plan 'cause we don't want you to get a lump of coal for Christmas. We teamed up with 6 small business owners, including The London Fashion Agency, PaperFinch Design, Wandering Whisk Bakeshop, Love Offering, O'Berry's Succulents, & Marry Me Tampa Bay to bring you a set of tips you can use to help prepare your small business for its best holiday season yet. Put your hair in a top knot & let's get to work!
Rosie Davies | The London Fashion Agency
"Christmas for us starts in July-- we get busy selecting our clients most press-worthy products, like Matthew Calvin’s Meteorite Bar Earrings. We then pitch high resolution imagery to long-lead publications. Long-lead press deadlines can be as early as July / August so it is a very busy time! This process goes right up until December for short lead and online publications. We also publish our Christmas Gift Guide Subscription, via PR Dispatch, to support independent businesses to get their products into Christmas Gift Guides on a budget, with insider tips and guidance from the award-winning LFA team.”
Amy Braswell | PaperFinch Design
“I've learned, in the six and a half years that I've had PaperFinch, that the holidays are brutal on a shop and maker. Brutal in the best way, but brutal nonetheless. A few tips I've learned over the years? Crockpot meals. That's a big one. I make ahead and freeze crockpot meals - that way, from around November 1st to December 24th, I can just pop one in the crockpot, turn it on, and my family doesn't have to eat out. Well, not every night at least.
I also have learned to shop on Black Friday! I don't mean I'm at Best Buy shoving people out of the way for the latest and greatest TV. I mean I'm online taking advantage of the amazing shopping deals and stocking up on items that I know I use over and over again in my business - for me, that's ink, fine art paper, packing supplies, everything! I buy as much as my storage area will allow - up to a year's worth if possible. I even stock up on courses I've been wanting to take on my downtime - other small business sellers have Black Friday deals too! I've saved thousands of dollars on my most-used items by sticking to this trick.
Finally, for my own sanity, I set strict cut off dates and I stick to them. People will try and order on December 23rd and expect to have it in hand by Christmas morning (Thanks for that, Amazon). But it's important for me to enjoy the holidays with my family as well. In the meantime, I turn on the Hallmark Channel nonstop, hire seasonal help, and set up a temporary shop on our dining room table where I can get to work, assembly line style.”
St. Petersburg, FL
Jen Jacobs | Wandering Whisk Bakeshop
"I like to think ahead when the holidays start getting closer. It's important to come up with a menu, start recipe testing and get photos taken of my product so I'm ready for the holiday orders. Plus, I'm a HUGE fan of autumn (even though it doesn't get cool in Florida), so I like to infuse pumpkin and fall spices into my desserts as early as possible!”
St. Petersburg, FL
Josefina Sanders | Love Offering
"I mentally prepare myself by watching holiday movies while I spend time creating. I set up one day of the week to specifically focus on holidays starting in September. Typically those days are on a Monday. I use that time to rack up on ideas of things to sell, create coupon specials, and draft out any holiday workshops that I want to have."
St. Petersburg, FL
Jamie O’Berry | O’Berrys Succulents
“I try not to overbook with too many events. There are a lot of options to be a vendor holiday events or markets, so I research and ask other makers about ones that are the most successful. Over the years I have found that it’s better to stick to one event a day than two or three, which causes me to split up my inventory and have the need to find staffing to make sure each booth is covered. I decide my end goal of dollars I hope to make and then figure out how many of each product I need to produce to reach that goal. I also make sure I order gift boxes and gift bags in October so they’re ready to go in advance. I recently added t-shirts, tote bags, and enamel pins to my product offerings and plan to combine some of this inventory into gift sets. Most customers appreciate something that can be gifted the moment they take it home. I also work all the way up to Christmas Eve. There are a lot of last minute shoppers (especially those wanting plants) and if you take off that day, you miss out on big sales. Also, I recommend having a nice “about me and where to find me” tag with the purchase, so the person receiving the gift can come back and shop with you.”
St. Petersburg, FL
Anna Coats | Marry Me Tampa Bay
"We all know the holidays come and go in the blink of an eye, so I set aside time in early November to layout our 2018 marketing plan. In the wedding industry, engagement season kicks in before the end of the year, so if we waited until January, we'd start the year off being reactive versus proactive. I recommend getting started on the new year before the holidays begin, no matter what industry you're in."
Amy Brown | sea sage
"Preparing for the holidays starts at the end of summer (sadly), so this is the time to get going on Christmas gift guides for press, ideas for marketing in the lead up to the holidays, and your advance plan of action. As I am in the fashion industry, I also confirm and book trunk show dates and look to see if I want to offer any special Christmas discounts or contests. For my brand, the holiday season sets the tone for sales, so I really focus on outreach."
How do you ramp up for the holidays, Boss Babe? Let us know if the comments below & on social media. We love learning from other makers & business owners and look forward to celebrating the holidays with you!