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We all know that once October hits, you will blink and the holidays are here. October also signals the start of the holiday sales season.
Let’s take a look at your holiday production schedule and what you can do to create a process that will help you keep up with your orders.
Have you ever been in the zone, cranking out orders and then suddenly realize you’re out of an important supply? You frantically contact your supplier, but because it’s the rush season, they don’t have it in stock. Your stomach drops because you’re going to have to tell some customers that you cannot fill their order.
This is a scenario we want to avoid! Take a good look at your standard supplies and make sure you order enough now to get you through the rush. This includes raw materials as well as packing and shipping supplies.
If you have sales data from previous years, you can use that to figure out how much you’re going to need. Otherwise, decide on a percent increase in holiday sales that you’re comfortable with and order with that in mind.
Order those supplies now, as shipping rates are increased during the holidays and you’re competing with other makers to get supplies. And this year shipping is going to be especially chaotic, so it's better to be safe than sorry!
Transit times are also longer, so you don’t want to have your supplies stuck in the shipping system when you need them!
One of the biggest parts of preparing for the holidays is answering the question, “how much of each item do I need to make?” It can be tough to figure this out, and it’s not an exact science.
Take a look at your past sales to decide which of your pieces is the most popular, and see how many you’ve sold in the past.
If you have any regular or “mainstay” items that sell consistently, I recommend you plan out your production of these items through January or even February, so you can keep up with sales without scrambling to make more during your busiest time. Batch working will save you time and your sanity!
If you’re making special items for the holidays, make those now so you can take photos and get the listings up asap. Remember by October many people are already shopping for holiday gifts.
Once you have a list of how many items you need to make, you can create a production schedule for yourself to get each one done.
First of all, you want to incorporate your time into your pricing so you are paid appropriately. Secondly, if you know how much time you need to make a product, you can figure out if you have the time to make more if you need to later.
We are moving into the holidays and that means lots of work for craft and handmade business sellers! But if you plan wisely for holiday sales, and get your production schedule set and ready to go, you can be ready to fill those orders and have a great holiday season.