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?
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.