It is smack dab in the middle of August, and I cannot believe I am going to say this but… I spent the last week starting to get the shop ready for the holiday season. Yep, that is right. The local pool has not even closed up for the season, and I already have the holidays on my brain! First, however, let’s talk about something pretty exciting: NEW BAGS!!!!!!
I have a lot of requests for specific bag designs, that go outside the current bag styles I have in the shop. MOST of these requests, I do have to say, are for backpack style bags. While I do understand the need for these style of bags, after all is said and done as far as materials for said bag, it would not be fair for me to be producing them, and keeping the pricing fair for you all. I will continue my searching for affordable ways to produce this style of bag design, but until then, I have another new design to talk about! MARKET BAGS!!!!!
My friend Megan has been begging me for a bag in this style for some time, and I actually made one for myself for the pool season this year to make sure the design (although pretty simple, but with obvious BVG flair) was good, and sturdy, and held up through lots of use and washings! These bags will be available in the shop soon, just in time for harvest season.
I spent a good portion of last week not at the sewing machine, however, but at the computer getting the shop looking good and updated. I like to switch out the main product pictures in listings to showcase some of the more awesome designs you all come up with for bags. I also got around to listing the Fierce Bags, as well as creating listings for custom bags using premium Spoonflower or Kawaii fabric. Now, some of you may ask “Brooke, why are you making sure NOW that you have the shop updated? We are still lounging in the sun at the pool, biding our time before school starts!” Well, the answer is simple: I have been caught off guard in years past, and I will not allow that to happen again.
August is the perfect time to make sure you have a game plan for the holiday season. That way, you are not caught unaware! So here is a good checklist of things that I do to ensure I am adequately prepared to make it through the holiday season.
-Make sure you have a game plan for ready to ship items. For me, this includes smaller items, such as Velma Clutches, Roxie Bags, Glamour Cases, Mini Minkerchiefs, and some fun kid items like totes. It is always better to have TOO MUCH stock then not enough. Last year, I did not have many ready to ship items come Black Friday, and it caused me to have an influx of custom orders that I needed to get shipped in time for holiday delivery. The time between Thanksgiving for me last year was filled with 18 hour work days, and tons of stress and worry about not having bags done and delivered in time for the jolly man in red to deposit them under the trees of my awesome customers! So starting now, I set aside time every day to complete and stockpile ready to ship items that I can list a little later!
-Go through your shop and make sure that all of your listings are tagged correctly. Make sure that any gift certificate listings are tagged, and easy to find for gift-givers. When tagging (this will be a separate blog post soon-ish) make sure that for the holidays, you tag with “gift for moms” or “best toddler gift” or whoever that specific item would be a good gift for. This is actually an awesome idea for ALL year long, as other gift giving opportunities arrive for customers, but the holiday season is especially important for these tags.
This is also a good time to get some better shots of your items, whether it be in trade from an amazing pro photographer, or re-photographing items you already have in stock. Make those shops look SHARP with amazing product pictures!
– Have completion dates set in STONE. Do not allow for yourself to have any wiggle room. I am currently in the process of setting stocking dates for the Halloween Trick Or Treat Bags. That gives me a clear finish line, when those bags need to be completed by, and it gives you all a date that you all can expect them to be available in the shop. It makes it easier on everyone if the shop runs on a schedule, that way no one misses out, and I do not get overwhelmed with a stocking on a Saturday night when there is way too much going on here at home, or in the studio.
I plan on keeping this blog going on a more regular basis, with updates, new photos (YAY!!! PRO SHOTS!!!!! Keep an eye peeled for those, I am working with an amazing photographer!!!) and various marketing ideas, as well as awesome gift giving ideas and handmade shop spotlights. As one final thought, I would love to ask you all: In light of me launching the new Market Bags here in the next week or so, what OTHER bag styles would you love to see me carry? I know, I know, you all want backpacks. But what else? Wallets? Ipad cases? coin purses? Let me know in the comments here, or you can always find me on the Facebook Fan page, and drop a note on the wall over there!