The question: How are you going to prepare your business for the holiday rush?
The short answer: I'm not. Not really.
The long answer:
So far, I've done four craft shows in the past three months (two of them "holiday" shows), all with moderately pleasing success but nothing to write home about. Sales both online and at fairs have definitely picked up since the onset of the holiday season, which is great because it means I can afford more materials.
On the other hand, it has also meant cranking out massive amounts of the same thing, something I do not particularly enjoy and that turns art into drudgery. The last thing I want. This is still a hobby before it's a business and I'm honestly not sure I want that to change.
I really wanted to do this Dickens of a Christmas Victorian show in "historic Franklin Tennessee" thing, but I'm too late to apply for it. Besides that, the booth fee was $165, it's a drive, and if it decided to have a blizzard on December 14, 2008 in Franklin, Tennessee... well, sorry, no refund.
That's a bit scary.
But I have decided that it's time to prepare myself for bigger shows with bigger advertising, bigger attendance and therefore bigger booth fees, so that is the direction my business has decided to take. I think for the most part, unless one comes up and bites me like it did last week, I'll skip most of the upcoming Christmas craft shows. I also am considering setting my sights on Middle Tennessee Renaissance Faire and will need to work on some themed things for that.
One thing I HAVE done is prepare a custom item catalog where you can pick a design, pick your colors, choose a focal pendant or your beads, and I make your design to specs. More info about that on my website: http://www.youvegotmaille.net The great thing about that is that there's no stress of building up a stock. I love doing custom orders, too.
Reason two: I'm suffering a little burnout. I have wanted very much to try some new techniques, new stuff, new designs, and have had to back burner everything to make sure I had enough stock for craft shows. So the near future holds for me some experiments in macrame, peyote bead weaving, wire wrapping, polymer clay, wire tree making, and a wacky idea I had "Christmas Ornaments for Geeks." I used to paint Warhammer miniatures and I have half a closetful (well not quite) and I thought they might make cute and amusing Christmas tree ornaments if adapted. They will show up on Etsy, maybe even in time for Christmas decorating. A lot of the above may get integrated with my first love, chainmaille. I love the way wire wrapping looks but doing it is stress for me (especially when, as with the pendant above, the results are nothing like the picture in my head), whereas weaving maille is like needlework: mostly mindless and relaxing, once I know the weave well.
But I've decided not to stress about ANYTHING related to the holidays, because that takes the fun out of them for me, so I am going to have a chat with my inner child, sit down at my workbench and play instead of working. The results of that are usually better, anyway.
3 hours ago