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Etsy Success Seasonal Slowdown Article: Call for Responses!

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Original Post

Hi sellers,

Summer has rolled in with gusto and the month of July is almost upon us. This time of the year, when the Northern Hemisphere is out enjoying warm temps, some sellers notice a decrease in the number of views and sales in their shops. This seasonal slowdown is well known in the retail world and its implications are felt both on and offline. Meanwhile, this is a great time to start planning for the holidays. Start creating holiday stock, and planning your packaging and promotion. They will be here before you know it!

I’m drafting a community sourced blog article for Etsy’s Seller Handbook about this topic and I’d like to hear from you. As a seller how do you use your seasonal slowdown to ramp up and get prepared for the holiday season? Based on your experience, what tips and advice do you have for other sellers? Use these questions as a guide when crafting your response:

-Press and promotional opportunities. Do you keep holiday items in your shop year round? If not, when do you start adding holiday merchandise to your shops? Has a member of the press (remember they’re now in holiday mode) ever found you during the offseason?
-Products and inventory. How do you create more inventory during your slow season? When do you ramp up production to prepare for the holidays?
-Marketing and sales. How do you use this time to flesh out your marketing plan? What about Christmas in July?
-What NOT to do. What would you recommend sellers SHOULDN’T do during slower times (hint, grossly discount all of your products).

As with all of our community sourced articles, I’ll quote our favorite advice and will link back to your shop in the process.

Thanks for your insight!

Posted at 11:40 am Jun 28, 2012 EDT

Highlighted Responses What is this?

Nickey Skarstad from knickey says
Highlighted Post

Thanks for sharing, KerriBren and heartsabustin! Remember that adding Halloween and seasonal items now is smart as members of the press are often creating their holiday issues now. What's that mean? They are searching for those offseason items and if you don't have yours listed you could miss out on a great promotional opportunity over the holiday season.

Does anyone else keep holiday and seasonal items in the back of their shops during the offseason?

Posted at 1:56 pm Jun 28, 2012 EDT

Nickey Skarstad from knickey says
Highlighted Post

crochetconcepts says:

Oh and one more thing on advice.... Do NOT do big summer discounts and sales. I learned this the hard way.

You may move some inventory but at what cost? Will you pick up a new customer? Probably not because if you drastically raise your prices then how do you know they will pay full price? Also, you are reducing the value of your work.

+++

I think this is a really great point. Before deciding to partake in the CIJ sales or host a sale of your own, first consider the ramifications that this can have on your business. Here's one of my favorite threads from daniellexo where she talks a bit more in depth about this:

www.etsy.com/teams/5002/etsy-success/discuss/6796368/

Thanks everyone for your thoughts so far!

Posted at 2:01 pm Jun 28, 2012 EDT

Nickey Skarstad from knickey says
Highlighted Post

knotworkshop says:

2) Use this time for growth. The holiday season is about maintaining. You get sales, you fulfill them. You aren't doing much growth during this time just making customers who have found you very happy. But growth is about new products, fresh photos, next steps. This is the time to do it!

+++

Well said!

Posted at 4:41 pm Jun 28, 2012 EDT

Nickey Skarstad from knickey says
Highlighted Post

Hey all!

Thanks again for your thoughtful posts and insight into your practices. You can see the published article, here:

www.etsy.com/blog/en/2012/prep-for-the-holidays-during-the-seasonal...

Posted at 3:45 pm Jul 9, 2012 EDT

Responses

Julia from JPJbeaded says

Hi everyone,

This is my first year on Etsy (so excited to be part of this wonderful community!) and I really have not yet had a chance to sell during the holidays. Nonetheless, I am definitely looking forward to it!

Since my shop is new and business is slow anyway, I take advantage of this by focusing on the creative part of the business and spend most of the time making things. In thinking ahead for the seasonal and holiday items, I refer to the color/fashion trends and try to incorporate them as much as I can into my designs (the trends are available two years ahead, and it is so fun!). I also try to make sure I maintain enough inventory in classic colors and styles. My number one goal for the holidays, however, is to make sure my shop is stocked, as I do have much of my inventory still in need of photographing and listing.

I am looking forward to hearing from others and to reading the article, Nickey. The past ones have been so helpful! LOVE the Seller Handbook -- what an incredible resource!

:)

Posted at 11:59 am Jun 28, 2012 EDT

I use my slow times to get organized. I find it's a great time to go through my supplies, to see what I need to stock up more on, or what I need to get rid of.

I have 3 huge antique dressers that I store my fabric in, and it's amazing going through them and finding what little fabric treasures I may have missed. Sometimes I buy fabric through out the year intending to use it for different seasons and it gets buried in my collection and I forget all about it.

Other times I buy too much fabric and find it doesn't sell as well as I though it would for my light switch covers ...so it's time to measure, photograph and throw it in my shop for another Etsy seller to buy and treasure.

Last year in my slow season I changed my entire way I store my items so I can quickly find them, and package them for shipping. This year I changed up my packaging design, so that when I pull my orders out, they are ready to ship, which will help with my processing time, so I am focusing on repackaging all of my older inventory to be ready for the holiday season.

Posted at 11:59 am Jun 28, 2012 EDT

Kerri Bren says

I am a brand new shop and haven't been on Etsy for a full year yet. I feel like I was just getting going when all the sudden things completely dropped off. I have been spending the last month focusing on wholesale opportunities, setting up in a local all handmade consignment shop, and attending festivals/ craft fairs.
I am currently working on a couple of halloween items that are a lot of fun. Also, I have been experimenting with new fabrics, more heavy duty upholstery fabrics such as faux leather and vinyl. I am very excited to start listing my fall/winter collection in late July and early August!

Posted at 12:02 pm Jun 28, 2012 EDT

I am a newbie on ETSY having just offically opened my shop in April but I have been in the jewelry business for over 10 years and the slow months (summer, in this case) are the perfect times to re-organize your atelier space making sure you have all the supplies and packaging ready for the eventual rise in sales.

I work alot with trend boards. Right now, I'm finalizing my styles, colors and looks for Fall/Winter. It's also the ideal time to prepare a fall campaign and Holiday campaign (fresh images) with your new products. I'm setting up a photoshoot date giving me the incentive to push harder and finish my collection! JULY is work, work, work when it's play, play, play for everyone else!!!! But, it's something we love, right? So it's okay!

So excited for Fall!!!! Not the weather tho....;( peace.

Posted at 12:15 pm Jun 28, 2012 EDT

Also new to Etsy this year. I am going to watch this thread and your blog for info. I am waiting for my slow down time, I really want the time to create new things. This month rather than being slow has been my highest selling month both by order count and revenue. So I am thinking maybe the slow month will be next month, not sure. But I'd love to start stocking up.

Posted at 12:17 pm Jun 28, 2012 EDT

When I first started the slow down freaked me out. I was like...what? Where did all the people's go?!

Now, it is a huge part of my annual plan and I really enjoy the time to breathe.

I just finished completely overhauling my workshop and office. A project I have been wanting to do for a while but could never even consider in the busy season. So it was top of my to do list when the slow down hit. And now I am so excited about my workspace again!

One thing I do all busy season is keep a notebook of ideas. As a creative type and since I design most of my own patterns, the ideas are always coming. But in busy season I do not really have time to flesh them out and really play with new designs. So I keep a notebook for ideas, articles or photos that inspire me, a thinking scrapbook kind of.

Then when the slow down comes I take it out and start playing around to develop those ideas. I Take time to try out new patterns and work out the kinks. Play with new fibers. It is really when crochet is more for me than the business in a way. :) So far I have 2 new designs ready to go and be launched for fall/winter.

And building inventory is essential or I would never make it through busy season. I take a look at my sales stats and history of my shop to see what may need more inventory and look at upcoming trends to select new colors to offer. This is really my prep time so I am still very busy but more behind the scenes busy.

Also I do a lot of research and marketing. Now is when writers and blogs and fashion peeps are getting ready for fall and early winter editorials. So I start communicating with them, pitching, sending samples for consideration if applicable. All marketing that pays off down the road.

My "down time" has become my busy time.

My biggest advice to sellers would be freak out less and do more when the slow down hits. Take this time to maybe work on new product, build inventory of your biggest selling items, research places to submit your work. Just because customers aren't buying now does not mean you should also slow down. This is time to get your house in order and ramp up.




I also started working on intnational expansion this year and am seeing more southern hemisphere sales as a result. That is a nice little bonus!

Posted at 12:17 pm Jun 28, 2012 EDT

This will be our 2nd holiday season with etsy. We are using the slow time to create new designs and stock up on the items that sold well last year. We were much busier than we anticipated last Christmas, and were lucky we had ordered shipping supplies in bulk to save money. Our Holiday type items don't really sell well, but they generate a lot of traffic to our shop, so we will renew those items in August. I strongly suggest that new shops join the Holiday Boot camp (when the time comes). The information and active participation in the boot camp is very helpful! As for the CIJ, we have decided to use the slow time for a much needed vacation!

Posted at 12:23 pm Jun 28, 2012 EDT

Oh and one more thing on advice.... Do NOT do big summer discounts and sales. I learned this the hard way.

You may move some inventory but at what cost? Will you pick up a new customer? Probably not because if you drastically rice your prices then how do you know they will pay full price? Also, you are reducing the value of your work.

My biggest advice is not to let the slow down rattle you. Stick to your business plan for your shop. There are ebs and flows to retail including online shops and marketplaces like Etsy. Take this time to regroup, research and recharge your batteries. But don't react to the slow down in a way that is not in line with your overall goals.

Posted at 12:28 pm Jun 28, 2012 EDT

I'm not having a slowdown! I have two craft markets in July, and one in August. This is also the time of year to apply for holiday shows. I'm continuing working on my usual items, and adding holiday ones, too. I'd love to do a Christmas in July sale, as I did so well on Cyber Monday, but I'm worried about my inventory disappearing before the craft shows.

Posted at 12:28 pm Jun 28, 2012 EDT

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