Friday, August 8, 2014

Why Handmade: Winter Holidays?

by Lynn Mohney of Prunella’s Workshop

It’s 88 degrees outside. The sun is shining bright. The air conditioner is on full blast at home, and I just returned from a trip to the pool from the kids. Shortly, I’ll get to work on jewelry. What is on my mind? Christmas. Chanukkah. Winter Solstice. Kwanzaa. Any others I may have inadvertently missed. The biggest holiday gift giving season of the year.
Irritating? You better believe it.

Spider Pendant #7 - Rust and Mint by Lush Beads

I, like many, complain when retail stores start rolling out Winter Holiday items before Halloween has passed. I don’t want to think about shopping yet. I don’t like leaving things for the last minute, but I do have time. Almost four months, in fact. However, as a jewelry designer, it’s never too early to think about the holidays. In fact, I have to start thinking about them on December 26th. Now that it’s August, I am in full blown holiday mode when I’m working in my studio.

Cosmic Love by McDonald Mixed Media Art

Think about it, though. If you are a small business of one, maybe two people, your merchandise isn't going to create itself. It takes time to create even our simplest designs. In the busiest time of the year we can’t be caught with our pants down with no merchandise to sell. The later we wait the less we can accomplish.

Dewy Grass (8x10 mat) by J. Barrows

Furthermore, we need to be prepared for the shoppers who don’t procrastinate. People begin their shopping in September, and sometimes earlier. This is especially true with unique one of a kind art. One may be able to still buy a blender on December 24th. They might have to travel a little, or go to more than one store if blenders are the hot item, but they know what they are looking for. That’s not necessarily how it works when one is purchasing handmade items. As a shopper, you may not have even thinking about a certain person, when you see the perfect handmade item for them.
This brings me back to where I am. It’s blazing hot, and I have to think about the winter holiday gift giving season. In some ways, this isn't too difficult. A necklace is a necklace whether it is August or December. I need to stock up on them and make certain I have enough variety available. However, I also need to consider if I want to make any holiday specific items. They can be big sellers when people are feeling festive, but once the season is over, any remaining stock is likely to sit around until next year. Also, this brings up the matter of inspiration.

Dragonfly Brooch by Stray Notions

Can you inspire yourself to make little snowmen in August? I’m having trouble too. I want to think of sand between my toes and a suntan on my skin. I want to lay around in lush green grass as I listen to the thunder rolling in. My feet and shoulders are bare, and my boots and coat are safely locked away in the attic for a few more months. The winter doesn't need to rush in.

Public Garden Snow 2- 5x7 Photo Print by Lucie Wicker
How do you prepare for your holiday season? How do you maintain a positive attitude, and not become a Mister Scrooge? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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