It’s the end of summer, already September and of course many of you are juggling children, after school clubs, work and trying to do some craft as well. Yes, for many of you, I realise the last thing you need to be doing is ‘planning ahead for Christmas’.
However, I heard on the radio this week that busy career women get so much done because they do just that – plan ahead.
So whether you have little people or not, I am suggesting you start getting ready for those hectic weeks before Christmas when you may be juggling any number of events, website updates, food planning, gift planning, carol services…. Hopefully, you will be so calm by December when you will be able to accept each and every invitation to have fun without becoming exhausted!
Don’t dismiss the humble list. Buy a notebook or make a dedicated ‘planning list’ on your computer (I have one on the go all the time and it’s great when you cross a few things off!)
1. Websites – your information needs to be up to date with gifts you can either make in advance or make quickly once ordered. Plan now what you want to sell and how many of any one item you think you will need (or can face making!) If you sell on a host site (dawanda, crafty magpie, etc) count these sales into your calculations. List ideas and add great ideas when they comes to mind.
‘an all-year-round’ wreath for which I can make flowers on an on-going basis, so don’t have to have too many ‘ready to go’
2. Make samples if you don’t have them already. Then unearth some tinsel from last year or gather twigs of holly or fir, and take some festive pictures. Write or rewrite copy to be fresh and relevant. Decide on dates to upload new website content– drip-feed for added interest! Decide on dates, too, for blogging or tweeting, and what and when you will push Christmas lines on FB. Note these dates so you can stick to a plan when the time comes.
3. Make a shopping list of materials you will need and get ahead on ordering. Check out ebay for simple things like cellos for cards, brooch clips, jewellery findings – things that you don’t necessarily need to see to buy.
caption – ‘no-water needed’ hanging basket. These take days to make, so I would not offer to have one ready for Christmas if a customer wanted to choose the colours
4. Christmas fairs? Consider the following:
– If this is an event you attend regularly, make sure you have new and exciting designs. Nothing worse than someone saying ‘oh I bought XYZ from you last year’ which of course could mean ‘so I won’t be buying from you this time’!
– If the venue is new, you could present last season’s stock, along with some of your newer designs
– Decide if you will also offer to make to order. Often I find visitors to events come to me with a list and say ‘what can you help with for…..’ One year a lady bought eight of my seedpod room scents in one go and then wanted more in specific colours. She said they were just as suitable for men as for women and sorted out couples too! Another time, a grandmother bought each grandchild one of my felt kits, which has spurred me on to making one suitable for boys this year, as the others are all a bit ‘girly’.
– Don’t leave yourself short, but don’t overstock – ooh, the most difficult thing of all! Just look at how many shops have post Christmas sales and you can see how difficult it is to estimate demand accurately. Lucky you if you can sit and make your stock during an event – it’s added interest for buyers, too.
caption – this apple blossom branch is a one-off. I would not be able to repeat it, though could offer to do something similar
5. Enjoy your planning – it’s all part of the fun of giving pleasure to all your customers – old and new!
Time to procrastinate……this month’s words: silver, rain, rock pools
About Nancy Shafee
Nancy Shafee is a member of the International Feltmakers Association, Surrey Guild of Craftsmen and Professional Crafters Guild. She runs regular workshops both for wetfelting and for coiled fabric basket making and examples of her work can be seen at