Devising Strategy

Fall is by far my favorite season. Some people consider Spring a time for renewal – but autumn is my time to shine and muse and focus on the coming months. Perhaps it’s knowing that another Chicago winter is upon me, and this pushes me forward to breathe in all of nature’s fading smells. It’s also my last chance to prepare for the holiday retail season. In the past two years I never went forth with a specific strategy towards making an easy flow for production, promotion, and product prep. But this year I am devising a plan.

First up is knowing what to spend time creating and what to put on a backlog for sewing. January thorough March I can devote to experimenting and designing, but between now and the end of December it’s all about making what sells. A recent epiphany I had while selling at 50/50 was to make staple pieces in limited color assortments with multiple sizing. As I’ve moved away from doing one-of-a-kind designs via vintage or printed tees, I now have the option of offering clients my favorite designs in multiple sizes. Using only thrifted fabrics makes this seem daunting. But with my current color palette of burgundy, navy, gray, and yellow, this methodology is now possible. Thrift stores are teeming with tees in these shades, so there’s no reason to not work with multiple pieces in standard combinations.

Next, it’s all about promotion. I’ve come to see that Facebook and Etsy Forums aren’t my best venues as they essentially preach to the choir. Twitter has been excellent for generating views, but my real ticket is getting front page status and posting to Craft Gawker. These have been my most successful avenues for bringing forth items to new audiences. Also – my Google Analytics show that traffic has been pretty even keeled throughout the day – so I’ve started to list mid day and again late at night – for all my international web surfers.

Prepping for the holidays also requires doing some major deliberating on how I will be taking photos of my items to fit trending themes throughout Etsy. Having my models hold pinecones last year really increased my treasury, and thus FP, exposure. So that’s something I will do earlier and with a specific strategy by referencing Etsy’s merchandising list for the season. In addition, I am making thank you cards, ordering biz cards, and assembling my eco-mailers in advance – so that when the rush does hit, I’m not frantic getting shipments out on time.

All this while waiting in anticipation for a shift at my day job starting in November when I will be working full time – another reason why I’m thinking ahead now. As I look forward to more responsibility and increased hours at ACS, I know I’ll be losing PP time – but at the moment I’m enthused and thankful that I have a job that I truly love and am proud doing. So until then it’s prep prep prep and then come January when I’m fighting hibernation all the experimentation can begin again!

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