Have you noticed that many of the small boutiques and galleries that sell handmade are low in inventory the last couple of weeks in December? I have, and I know why. And this is to your advantage as a maker with crafts to sell.
As a result of the media’s fear-based reports, small retailers ordered light this season anticipating slow sales. But guess what? Discerning consumers are searching for unique, handcrafted, meaningful gifts this season, catching retailers unprepared with insufficient supply and no time to re-order handmade gifts. Many people haven’t even started shopping yet which means shop owners are missing out on revenue if they don’t have inventory. While the big-box retailers can mark their wares down after the holidays, and still make a profit, as you know, craft retailers don’t have the margin to discount since their markup is so low. So, they are afraid to purchase this late in the season.
Tomorrow’s Mother’s Day and while I’m sure YOU have your mom’s hand made gift all wrapped in an earth-friendly, re-usable treasure, do you know there are many people who take their mom out on Mother’s Day and let them choose their own gift? Some actually send their mom’s money to buy their own. I didn’t realize this until I had a gallery and Mother’s Day, not just the days prior, but actually on Mother’s day, our sales were always up there with the Christmas holidays. Women would come in with or without their families, see something they loved and a pay cash. We always heard, “my daughter (or son) sent me the money to buy myself something.” This surprised me because for me the fun in giving is coming up with the idea.
People feel very generous towards their moms on Mother’s Day (as they should everyday) and as an artist or crafter you’re missing the boat if you don’t make sure that your creations are in their line of vision tomorrow. No, it isn’t too late. The shopping isn’t over yet…
I’ve had a number of inquiries recently from crafters who sell seasonal crafts and are concerned about the off-season. Many fiber artists who craft “cold weather” garments are worried about the coming slow months. And I’ve also heard the same concern from crafters who make summer-sunshine appropriate crafts. Yes, we are going into a season where it may be tough going if you make only woolen hats, mittens, etc but you have a number of viable, profitable options.
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.