Planning Products

One of the hardest things about running hobby business is figuring out what to make AND when to make it. I typically print out blank calendars for the entire year and fill in the obvious holidays, and then work back from there. Just because a holiday is fun to think about and celebrate, doesn’t mean that your customer base will buy products for that holiday. Keep reading to learn more about how we plan our year around holidays, seasons and events and add in new lines and products when the traditional sales are lower.

Many don’t decorate for Valentine’s Day, but may purchase a trinket here or there. And while Christmas is obviously the best time of year for sales in retail business, don’t forget about seasonal decorating. Fall decorations take over homes after Labor Day and during Back to School Time! Take some time to plan out your holidays, seasons and events and think about what products you want to sell.

Holidays to think about for hobby businesses can be different for all different kinds of businesses. I’m going to explain how I plan and prepare for a Hobby Retail Business, where most of my sales come from my own personal website (that I heavily promote online, on social media and by reaching out to businesses and clients), craft shows, social media and word of mouth. The statistics and statements you will read are based solely on my own experiences and have not been researched further than what I have seen for myself. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. I’m always happy to help!

Top 5 Holiday, Seasons & Event Sales: *This is the order in which I earn the most sales and income throughout each year.

Holidays, Seasons & Events that do not reach the top 5, but are still worth sharing products for:

  • Spring
  • Gardening
  • St. Patty’s Day
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day
  • Father’s Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Hanukkah
  • New Year’s Eve/Day
  • Cinco de Mayo

The following Holidays, Seasons and Events are good to have available seasonally for promotions, but available at anytime. In order of average sales, here are some popular areas to think about:

  • Back to School
  • Summer & Winter
  • Football Season
  • Birthdays & Anniversaries
  • Weddings
  • Kid’s Sports
  • Summer Picnics & BBQs

Now that we have our holidays, seasons & events marked on our calendars, it is time to start prepping products for marketing and planning our marketing! I highly suggest getting a website if you don’t already have one. Just having a Facebook page is not enough. While it does the trick on a small scale, if you really want to make an income from your business, be professional and start your site. It doesn’t have to be super pricey or fancy to get started and can be done through Square, Shopify or other software programs. We are currently using GoDaddy for our store and like the ease of loading products and updating items. I’m not big on technology lingo and updates, so my site is perfect for me.

Back to the point…..prep starts early! I start prepping the next holiday more than a month in advance. I’m a little behind now (as I write this article on February 21st) on product production. I know the products I’m making for Easter, but I really need to get my butt in gear to start cuts prints this week. Next week I will paint, prepare and finish Easter products so that I can turn around and start marketing right away in March! I tend to start marketing for holidays about a month ahead of their date. Easter is March 31st this year so I start marketing March 1st. This gives customers a full month of checking out ideas and products to have time to purchase by my last day to order in time for shipping. I usually alert customers about a week to a week and a half ahead of the holiday depending on the complexity of my product offerings.

Note: I do start Christmas products much further in advance than one month. I start preparing my inventory for Easter towards the end of the summer and start marketing lightly in October, then full force November 1st. It’s hard for me to start before October 31st because Halloween is my favorite holiday, but I don’t want to miss out on early bird sales either. Do what your client bases drives you to do, but do start November 1st for sure when marketing your Christmas holiday products!

When marketing to your client base, be clear about what is involved. If a products takes 5-10 days to put together for them (paint drying, glue drying, assembly, cuts and more go into it) Let me them know! Get behind schedule? Alert every customer that will be impacted. People are more accepting of this type of thing if they are not kept in the dark about it. Just own up to the fact that things are taking longer than expected and let them know a new estimated ship/delivery date. Make customer service top of mind all day, every day to keep things moving smoothly. It will truly become what you are known for over time.

Give yourself a top 3 things to accomplish each day. Don’t try to do it all at once.

Planning allows you to have a clear timeline for your products, marketing and business efforts. Customer service and communication keeps customers in the loop and happier. Make your clients your number one priority, and the rest will follow. Allow for flexibility and unknowns. There will be lots of things that change from your original plan. You may get twenty custom orders the week you are supposed to prepare for the next holiday. You might have an event that is a full week and you are just too tired to put ornaments together or keep up with marketing efforts. That is okay!! Just start small and work your way towards your goals. If you are doing what you love and making even the slightest progress, you are doing great! I never imagined that when I started this business that it would be a full-time income and here we are. It didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen over time and with a lot of hard work. If I can do it, you can do it and I’ll be happy to help you along the way!

Have questions on anything you read today? Don’t be afraid to ask, I love to help! You will see links throughout my posts. Some are direct links to Tin Box products & pages, while others will take you to a friend’s page or an Amazon product page. As an Amazon Associate I earn a commission from qualifying purchases that you make from my links.

As always, thank you for reading and joining us on this journey! We appreciate you and the time you take to support our small business!

Simply, Beth