Sell­ing Christ­mas Crafts

The fes­tive pe­riod is one of the busiest times in a de­signer- maker’s cal­en­dar. So what’s key to get­ting it right?

Mollie Makes - - Introducin­g Good Read - Words: Emily Barnes Il­lus­tra­tion: kate sut­ton

TWith the buy­ing sea­son be­gin­ning ear­lier each year, pre­dict­ing what your cus­tomers will want in their Christ­mas stock­ings is a tough task. Cather­ine and Jamie of home­wares and gift company Bread & Jam ( www. weare­breadand­jam. co. uk) agree. “Whilst some of it is guess work, we also have an eye on how our in­dus­try is de­vel­op­ing in terms of style,” they tell us. As well as look­ing at their favourite de­sign, print, il­lus­tra­tion and life­style blogs, Cather­ine and Jamie ad­vise brows­ing cre­ative showcase sites like Be­hance ( www. be­hance. net) for in­spi­ra­tion. Reg­u­lar re­search will give you a good idea of themes and colour­ways that are gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity. Keep in mind that trends cross fash­ion, home­wares and even your favourite make up line, so cast your eye wide for in­spi­ra­tion.

But once you’ve nailed a trend down, how fes­tive should you go? You don’t want to be left with a pile of felted Christ­mas pud­dings come 1 Jan­uary. So think about mak­ing sub­tle changes to your ex­ist­ing work that have the po­ten­tial for year- round ap­peal. In 2011, Wendy Jeav­ons of Red Brick Glass ( www. red­brick­glass. co. uk) added a soft white colour­way to her glass fairy lights. This cre­ated a year- round sta­ple favoured by wed­ding plan­ners as much as those want­ing to add a lit­tle fes­tive twin­kle to their man­tel­piece. How­ever, if you’re itch­ing to make fab­ric holly wreaths and snowflake bunt­ing then con­sider keep­ing stock to a min­i­mum or, bet­ter still, stick to cus­tom or­ders.

You can cre­ate your best col­lec­tion yet but if buy­ers can’t find it, your Christ­mas sea­son is go­ing to be a wash out. Au­thor and craft blog­ger Hi­lary Pullen ( www. twit­ter. com/ craft­bloguk) sug­gests cre­at­ing a list of in­flu­en­tial blog­gers and cre­atives who are in line with your prod­uct and ethos. “Think beyond

what to make

he run up to Christ­mas can be a stress­ful pe­riod for mak­ers. It’s the ideal time to op­ti­mise sales, but get it wrong and you can be left with a sack full of dated stock and a grumpy look­ing bank bal­ance. We spoke to sea­soned re­tail­ers, blog­gers and mak­ers to get their tips on get­ting Christ­mas right. craft blog­gers and look for those whose posts ap­peal to your niche mar­ket. For ex­am­ple, if you’re sell­ing eco friendly totes, then an or­ganic gar­den­ing blog­ger will have fol­low­ers that may be in­ter­ested in your work,” she tells us. Hi­lary also sug­gests spend­ing some time en­gag­ing on so­cial me­dia with your cho­sen blog­gers and, once a re­la­tion­ship has been es­tab­lished, of­fer to send over de­tails of your new Christ­mas range. “Hav­ing that per­sonal con­nec­tion will gain far more suc­cess than sim­ply fir­ing off a press re­lease to a group list,” she con­cludes.

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