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Hi! I’m Lucy.
Chardonnay and vintage finds lover, founder of the handmade jewelry brand bel monili *and* your new guide to making your handmade business WORK online.
With 2 months to go until Christmas shopping is in full swing, it’s high time to get a product production schedule into place. Since the vast majority of shopping will be taking place online this year as in recent years, this is your chance to really get some great traction in the online side of your business.
As an artist, I know EXACTLY how difficult it is to try to corral your creativity when it comes to deciding what to make. I mean…isn’t creative freedom why we do what we do?!
The thing is, though, you are also a business owner…and that means having a plan for how you are going to make money. This is crunch time, and in order for you to make the most of this upcoming holiday sale traffic, you need to be stocked and ready to go.
This means making a list of the items you want to make and then creating a product production schedule to get them done.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself when making the decision:
Take a look at your sales trends from previous months/years and find out what your best sellers were.
Can you duplicate those products, create new variations/twists or improve upon them?
These are going to be your “bread and butter” items. They are the things that you know will sell and you should invest your time in.
Focus on creating, beautifully photographing, and creatively listing these items online.
After looking at what sold best, you also want to evaluate what materials you have on hand and see what you can create with those. Your product production schedule will depend on what materials you have ready to use.
Time is of the essence now. You don’t want to be launching into any big new product designs without having properly planned and tested the market. (I.e., don’t put all of your time into something wild and new if you aren’t 100% confident it will sell.)
Do you have the materials to create multiples of your product? (Which is always nice…especially when it comes to photographing and listing on your website!) For example, if you make earrings, do you have enough to make 3-4 of the same pair?
This is VERY important, especially right now.
The USPS is overwhelmed, overworked, understaffed, and underpaid. You need to be able to ship your product securely. You also need enough time to guarantee its safe arrival for gift-giving.
If you have your packaging and shipping systems in place, this should be a breeze. If not, this is the time to evaluate your product line. Decide what is going to be the easiest and safest to ship out.
I’m a BIG fan of batch working, especially when it comes to creating. Even if your art is one of a kind, you can still batch-create by working in steps to increase efficiency.
I create one of a kind upcycled vintage collage necklaces. Each one is different, since I use authentic vintage costume jewelry and a piece cannot be duplicated.
🎨 When I am creating, I will sit down and create the “base” collage part of the necklaces in one large batch. I will get out all of my materials and start to create, putting them aside on a tray to set/cure as I work on the next one.
Working this way allows me to see EVERYTHING I have at once, to get into a serious creative groove, and to end up with a big step of the making process complete.
💎 On another day, once all of those pieces have cured, I will sit down and do all of the beadwork. Again, I will get out all of the materials and tools I need for beading, and I will just get to work. It becomes quite rhythmic: in reality it doesn’t take much longer to bead 10 necklaces than it does to bead one.
📸 At the end of that day, I have a big batch of completed necklaces that are ready for photographing and listing.
At the end of the day, you need to be creating what YOU love. This is the pinnacle of handmade business ownership: you have figured out a way to get paid to do what you love.
So, what is it you WANT to make? What is that thing you LOVE to work on…the thing that really lights you up when you get to dig your hands in?
Once you have answered these questions, you should have a pretty solid list of where to start and what to make. Congratulations!
Look at your calendar or planner for the next few weeks and block out the time you need to make your products.
Make sure you are realistic about your making time, and plug those projects into your schedule (here’s my post all about finding/blocking time) and get crafting.
After running bel monili (my handmade jewelry business) for 10 years, I launched Bloom in 2019 to create a community where handmade business owners could learn, grow, and support each other in this wild venture of small business ownership. Welcome to Bloom!