Author’s Note: (Even if you’re short on inventory or time to do these tips for Christmas, you’ll find this article valuable because you can do this days before Valentines Day or Mother’s Day. It really WORKS. Many crafts people report making more money IN A FEW HOURS this way than at a huge craft fair.)
Do you think it’s too late to sell your crafts the last few days before Christmas? You’d be amazed at how many crafts people tell me they have made more sales in a couple of hours a day or two before a holiday than in the three previous weeks combined. It’s all about using the bad habits of procrastinators to your advantage.
Here are a few tips for making some last minute cash:
Many people wait until the last minute to shop. I don’t want to stereotype or alienate my male readers, friends and loved ones but from my experience, guys tend to shop at the 11th hour and this is a good thing for YOU as a crafter. Hanging out where men are captive audiences is a guaranteed way to turn your craft into cash at the last minute. Particularly if you make wearables like jewelry or scarves, jump on this. Many guys have no idea what to buy their wives, girlfriends, sisters and mothers so they appreciate your suggestions.
Pick the most upscale men’s salon or barber shop and offer to set up a display of your wares at peak hours. Make sure and approach it as if you’re doing THEM a favor rather than the other way around because you are. (The owner and operators likely haven’t done holiday shopping yet either so they can have first pick without having to leave work.) Also, mention that setting this up will be an attraction for them as well so it will draw in new customers for the salon. You will sell more than you would in a craft show or retail setting because guys won’t be cheap in front of other guys. There’s kind of a magnet effect. One buys and they all start opening their wallets.
Even as late as the 24th, if you get permission to set up at a large office building in the lobby or break room, you’ll be doing the employees and the employers a favor because lots of guys (and gals) are planning to leave work early on Christmas Eve and stop on the way home to pick up last minute gifts. I’ve heard crafters say they sold more in a lunch hour Christmas eve than all month long.
Medical personnel often have to work on Christmas eve so a hospital is a great place to have a last minute sale. Ask the HR department if you can set up in an area that the nurses and doctors gather on their breaks.
Another great place to set up a last minute pop-up display is a nice neighborhood sports bar where regulars gather for lunch and dinner. (think Cheers). If you get the guys at lunch time, you have a captive audience. Many of us eat out the days before Christmas because we’re going to be cooking the next few days, so you have the advantage of couples as well and believe me, if there is a table of handmade jewelry set up, women will crowd around. They’ll not only buy for friends and family but will show the guys the pieces they like.
In all of the above instances, be sure to have plenty of cards and brochures with your contact info and write a description on the card what the person liked if they don’t buy it so that they can call or email you later. Also, do a drawing for a piece of your work. Just put out a bowl to collect business cards or scraps of paper for them to put their name and email address on. Ask permission to add the to your newsletter list so that you can let them know in advance when you’ll be back at that location or somewhere near by. (Valentines Day, Mother’s Day, etc.)
Have you noticed that many of the small boutiques that sell handmade are low in inventory the last couple of weeks in December? As a maker with crafts to sell, it’s to your advantage.
Many indiependent retailers respond to the media’s fear-based projections by ordering light this season in anticipation of slow sales due to ever increasing online buying. But the trend of discerning consumers searching for unique, handcrafted, meaningful gifts is catching retailers unprepared with insufficient supply and no time to re-order handmade gifts. Last minute shoppers are too late to order from Etsy sellers in time for Christmas and shop owners are missing out on revenue if they don’t have inventory.
Are you wondering how you are going to find time to market your craft over the holidays? A lot of people let their marketing fall by the way-side between Thanksgiving and New Years but this can lead to slow sales in January and February.
One of the best methods to sell more craft is to make sure it’s seen at holiday parties.
If you have friends or family who host holiday parties in their home or office, ask them if they would like to borrow some of your art for the party. Whether it’s wall art, table-top or wearable, your work will be seen by lots of new potential customers. Just be sure your friend has cards with your contact info handy to give to anyone who admires your work.
If your make jewelry or wearable art, you should wear it every single time you leave the house, even to run to the grocery store. And always have cards with your contact info in your pocket. But especially over the holidays, you can get other people to be your billboards as well. My employees and friends always knew they could borrow a piece of handmade jewelry, a scarf or other wearable art to attend special luncheons or parties. The only requirement was that they keep my cards in their handbag and anytime someone complimented the piece, they told them who made it and where they could purchase one or something similar. It’s not imposing. They’ll love wearing and talking about your work. It’s often a good ice-breaker at cocktail parties.
If any of your friends work in a place where they see lots of people every day, they can be a great source of marketing for you just by wearing what you make and telling anyone who admires it how they can contact you.
Don’t over-look how many women are shopping for the perfect outfit to wear to the holiday parties. They will need accessories as well so it’s a great idea to approach some upscale boutiques and ask them to display your work with their dresses. If they don’t already sell jewelry or whatever accessories your make, they can up their average ticket by showing the customer a piece of yours to match the outfit. They have nothing to lose if you do it on consignment. And you have everything to gain.
It may seem like days before Christmas is too late to plan a sale of your handcrafted gifts but this is actually perfect timing. Surveys report that most consumers have not even begun their holiday shopping and even those who say they’re finished are still likely to purchase more if they see something really special.
The days prior to the holidays, everyone is feeling rushed and wondering how they’ll find time after work to get to the stores to shop. It seems employers are not falling for the frequent “sick days” employees are taking to get their shopping done.
In order to have their employees come to work rather than play hookie at the mall, or spend on-the-clock time shopping online, companies are now very receptive to vendors coming in to sell to their staff during lunch breaks.
Most corporations don’t take a percentage of the sales or ask for a space rental fee. Apparently they recognize that it is to their advantage to have the option for their employees to get some of their shopping done during business hours.
It’s always nice to hold an event with no fees or percentages going out. If you’re used to there always being a trade-off, it may seem odd that there are people who simply would love the convenience of being able to shop at their workplace. Talk to Continue reading →
Terri has been self employed for over 30 years in businesses developed out of personal interests in the advertising, home furnishings, fine arts, healing arts and contemporary crafts fields. She started her first business in her 20s . Her most recent business, a gallery of contemporary craft, continues to thrive under the creative direction of a new owner. The businesses were all profitable and started on very little capital. Since selling her gallery in 2007, Terri has continued to help aspiring entrepreneurs, artists, crafts people and collectors become their own boss while making a living based on their passions.