The 2022 holiday shopping season is early here in the United States. Already, back-to-school is off the shelf, and holiday-themed items are everywhere in retail stores. It's time to get your stuff together and make the most of the holiday selling season. There are a lot of steps that you need to take to prepare for this important time of year. For many artisans, it is their main selling season!
The steps include:
- booking your events, lodging, and travel
- getting your inventory in order
- marketing the events
- ordering packaging
- display booth management
Together they will help make your retail season successful. Use festivalnet.com as your first stop in searching for and booking your holiday craft fair or art festival. Our basic membership will allow you to identify any event in our system. Upgrade to a Pro membership to access more details of these events. Use our FAQ if you have any questions about membership and search results. If you are a business owner or festival coordinator, festivalnet.com is a great place to list your events.
Most holiday events are already booked up & their deadlines have passed, sometimes smaller events allow applicants until closer til their event date. Searching by attendance will help you find smaller events. Even when an event's deadline has passed, it's perfectly fine asking if there has been an opening!
Once you've identified and booked all your events, it's time to book your lodging. Do this soon because for the more popular shows, hotels can sell out quickly. A short-term rental makes a lot of sense for multi-day events as they usually have better laundry and cooking facilities than a hotel.
Contact other vendors you know and see if it makes sense to share a room or short-term rental. Splitting costs is a great way to increase your profit margin. Getting to know other vendors will help you in other ways too. Friends can help you set up, watch your booth and give you advice on how to improve your sales.
Travel is lugging your holiday merchandise and everything you need to display it to some field or parking lot. If your vehicle or trailer can't make it, you are out of the festival entrance fee and all those coveted holiday sales. Check your tires, change your oil if you need to, buy new tie-downs, and make sure you are ready for the road.
The next thing to do is to reach out to your loyal customer base and let them know where you'll be during the holiday shopping season. Previous customers are always a great source of traffic. Use your social network, print mail, and email lists to make sure that attendance to your booth is as strong as it can be. Make sure your interactions are not just “I'll be there” but give a preview of what your work will be, try to make them excited to see what new products you have for them.
Also, see if you can be featured on individual event marketing campaigns. Having your work in a printed gift guide or social media post builds enthusiasm for your work.
If you are like most crafters, your inventory has gotten a little stale during COVID. Make sure you go through it and remove or update anything that is out-of-date.
Not only should your inventory be appropriate to the season it should also be current or fashion-forward. Bright yellow, blue, camel, and purple are at the top of the fall 2022 colors. This is not the year for pastels.
This is a good time to check the pricing of your items. Make sure they are in line with current product or service rates.
If you have old merchandise you have to sell, put it in an out-of-the-way place or bargain bin. Make sure your customer knows that you know it is not your best product.
Do you have enough business cards? Time to order more if you don't.
At this time it's also a great idea to be ordering seasonal-themed packaging. Most customers are shopping for holiday gifts this time of year. You want to be able to present your work in a way that is attractive. Specialty tissue, boxes, wrapping, or other appropriate items make a great touch when selling your precious work. Don't forget to include a business card with each item. They are probably going to different people and you want every one of them to know who you are.
The next item on the list is your booth display, be sure to include seasonal decorations to make your booth the most attractive it can be. Garland, wreaths, dried leaves, and shelf liners can all be used to add a little touch of the season. Wash the flooring of your booth, clean the glass on your jewelry display case or buy a new rug if your old one is tired. You want to attract the traffic at the fair into your booth to make the most sales you can.
Have a wonderful and profitable holiday season. For many small businesses, it's the busiest time of the year. Put your best foot forward and make the most of it.
image: markus spiske