WHETHER YOU’RE NEW TO THE SELLING SCENE, OR JUST HAVEN’T DONE IT IN PERSON BEFORE, CHRISTMAS IS THE BEST TIME TO MEET CUSTOMERS AND MAKE AN IMPACT
How to sell your makes this Christmas
So your crafting game is on top form and you’re ready to get your makes out there – now what? If you’ve never stood behind a market stall or set up shop online before, the idea of facing an army of Christmas shoppers can be daunting. There’s no need to let nerves hold you back from making the most of festive sales though – all sellers were once newbies, and with December right around the corner, there’s no better time to find buyers who are on the hunt for unique gifts like yours.
LET YOUR BRAND SHINE
If you want to start selling, how do you find that customer who wants to shun the big boys and buy directly from the maker? Firstly, think about what your best sellers and most popular creations are, then figure out who would be buying them as gifts, and use social media to find them.
“People buy from people, and you’re what makes your product unique,” points out Leona Thriftola, who runs The Roller Coaster of Running an Indie Business ( www.facebook.com/theindierollercoaster). “Video is an excellent way to bring it to life and let your customer get to know you, the human behind the business. Share behind-the-scenes peeks and tell your customer why your product will make their life better.”
Leona recommends sharing your videos on Instagram Stories and IGTV, “or do a live Q&A on Facebook. Find out who your customer is by asking questions that’ll make them feel involved. It doesn’t cost a penny, either!”
Taking the things you’ve lovingly made out into the wild can be nerve-wracking, but exciting too. Make sure your personality and values shine through in everything, from how you promote yourself to the smaller touches like packaging. The key is to make it both meaningful and memorable. “Create the things you love and find customers like you!” enthuses creative business owner Michelle Lanstone of Auntie Mims ( www.auntiemims.com).
When it comes to selecting products, Michelle has a few pointers: “While it’s better to set your own trends, it’s worth looking at social media to see what’s likely to be big this Christmas.” Maybe your products suit the Kitschmas look – items with a nostalgic, retro feel – or create new traditions. Michelle suggests doing your research, then thinking about how you can “offer something on trend, but also unique.” And, don’t forget that if you’re personalising your products, you’ll need to give yourself enough time to complete your orders. “Find suppliers who can react quickly, so you don’t have to hold lots of expensive stock,” advises Michelle. “Also, know when to stop. Nobody likes grumpy customers whose orders aren’t fulfilled!”
MAKE A STAND
You’ve sorted your social media, set up your online selling page, and things are looking good, but there’s nothing better than meeting your customers face-to-face. Christmas is the best time to get out there and try a craft market, so you can share your makes in real life. After all, customers are more likely to buy when they can see it for themselves.
While bigger events may already be booked up, there’ll still be plenty of smaller local events to sign up for – ideal for a first booking. “Try to find out as much as possible about previous events run by the same organisers, so you can decide if it’s suitable for your work,” says Sinead Koehler of Crafty Fox Market ( www.craftyfoxmarket.co.uk). “Ask fellow local makers about which events they found to be successful, although remember what works for one seller might not work for another, so find out who goes.”
Once you’ve taken the first step, you’ll need to think about the stall itself, showing off your makes to their maximum potential. Sinead’s top tips are to “plan the layout carefully in advance, paying attention to the space available. Try to build some height too, so it stands out.” And, you’ll also need to think about the colours and display. “Create a cohesive look that matches your online shop. Also, pay attention to signage and make sure all your items are clearly priced.”
If you don’t have huge sales on the day, don’t worry too much – it’s about getting yourself out there and making connections with shoppers and fellow makers too. Bear in mind that a lot of online retail often happens directly after events, so get those business cards at the ready and your online shop stocked up for those post-market sales.
And, the most important thing of all? Enjoy yourself. One of the loveliest things about selling your makes in person is the amount of compliments you’ll get about your work. While sales might seem like the end goal, a genuine ‘ooh’ is always going to make that hard work and effort worthwhile.