Sometime this summer, I began to notice on social media and in various Facebook groups that fellow makers were talking an awful lot about preparing for the holidays. One of my favorite hand letterers was hard at work shooting her holiday line in July! At the time, I had been a full-time business owner for only a few months, and I compared myself to others and worked myself into a mental frenzy in the process. While I was building and refining my wedding paper offerings and getting adjusted to life as an entrepreneur, I felt like I was months behind in creating a witty, stylish collection of gift items for the holiday season. After all, that’s what hand letterers do, right?
In a call with a trusted creative mentor, I voiced my concern over creating new product: Where will I find the time? How will I afford all that inventory? Will I survive without an amazing holiday season? In response, she posed an important question that altered my mindset on the issue permanently. She asked, “What is your motivation for adding more product to your shop?”
BE WHERE YOU ARE
It hit me like a ton of bricks. While I can see myself creating an intentional and unique line of everyday items in the future, I don’t have to be there now just because all the more experienced shop owners are doing it. I don’t need to succumb to the pressure that builds when social media provides a window into the living rooms of fellow letterers whose dining rooms are swallowed up by packing material as they prep thousands of mugs for shipment. I say that in no way to demean a living room full of mugs, but rather, to give myself freedom to be where I am, right as I am.
If I’m honest, my motivation to create an awesome line of holiday goods did not come from an intentional place. Rather, it came from panic and pressure to conform to someone else’s story. Without a strong rationale and story behind a product, I’d simply create stuff that would fill someone else’s house without a whole lot of heart behind it.
WHY EVEN BOTHER WITH HOLIDAY PRODUCTS?
It’s good that weddings are my season right now. I love working with couples--solving problems with them, creating beautiful keepsakes that will help them love on their guests and will become family heirlooms for generations to come. I know from several years as a wedding vendor that in the aftermath of the holidays comes an uptick in business. January-March have routinely been my busiest months. I don’t have to operate from a place of fear in the most personally joyful part of my year.
That said, this year I’m taking baby steps toward a holiday line because the holidays hold significant meaning in my life. I also want to provide a way for others to honor their loved ones with highly personalized, hand-crafted products that provide an alternative to items found in a big-box retailer. And most importantly, as a Christian, I want to help others celebrate the advent season, the season that is about anticipating light coming to a broken world. And if I am eager to create paper goods for ANY occasion, it’s that. Finally, I want to help people gift creative souls with kits and experiences that will help them tap into their creative energies--gifts that help people be creators rather than just consumers.
For that reason, these are the products I’m excited to share and promote this year, and these are the products that I’ll feature for sales and discounts in the infamous shopping days after Thanksgiving. Maybe next year I’ll be inspired to create a sassy new product that will celebrate boss ladies, but for now, I’ll leave that to the women already doing it well!
HOLIDAY OFFERINGS FOR 2015
This season, I’m excited to offer the following items. Linked items are already listed in my Etsy shop and website, and unlinked items are coming soon, by 11/20.
Christmas cards for your favorite babysitter, teacher, and boss
Cards for a couple’s first Christmas together
A quote calendar
Calligraphy kits-- starter and advanced
In tomorrow’s post, I’ll share how my shift to self-employment is impacting the way I’m gifting this season.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
If you're a seller, how do you approach preparing for the holidays? If you're a shopper, how do you approach gifting for the holidays with authenticity? Leave a comment below!