02 Jun Winter Is Coming: Use Your Summer Downtime to Prepare for Crafting Season
Crafting Season Approaches
Summer may be around the corner, and sales have slowed a bit, but winter IS coming. The crafting season really kicks off at the beginning of each fall and runs through the end of the year. While knitters, quilters, and crocheters might be distracted by the warm weather and the chance to venture out of doors, as a crafty entrepreneur you can use this downtime to plan for your best sales season ever. Today we’ll give you our top tips and tricks for making the best use of those slow summer days.
Assess Your Inventory
Summer can be a great time to assess what’s been hiding in the stockroom. Determine which products have moved and which ones haven’t. You can hold a limited-time summer sale, but if you’re wary of adding markdowns to the shop, then start brainstorming! Customers are more likely to purchase a product if they can imagine how they would use it. Work up project samples, highlight patterns designed for those specific materials, and share what other customers have made. Consider how you can utilize your inventory in a modular crafting project. Your customers may be venturing back into traveling and summer vacations and modular projects are great for travel and because they’re usually smaller, they aren’t limited by seasonally specific materials (wool is ok in the summer if it isn’t a big sweater or blanket weighing you down!)
Spend some time trendspotting for the fall. Use some of the resources from our Where Do Trends Come From article to find out what’s going to be hot this fall. Look for new and interesting materials and styles, ways to reuse and repurpose products you already stock, and inspirational makes that will have your customers clamoring for more. This can help you plan your fall events and classes, and special product launches and craft-alongs.
Cleanup on Aisle 5
Those slow days of summer are the perfect time to clean and polish your shop! In the physical sense, take the time to make repairs to lights and fixtures, shampoo the carpets, polish the floors, and repaint if necessary. Ensure your logo and signage are up to date, and everything looks clean and fresh. We know you’ve been trying to keep things sanitary through the pandemic, but now’s the time for a deep clean.
Rearrange the store, designing new displays and featuring new products for fall. Customers are more likely to browse and explore when faced with new or different environs. Group similar materials together (worsted weight yarns or cotton fabrics), organize around what you’ll need to complete a project (think project bags, needles and notions, and yarn), highlight your favorite tools in a “staff picks” section…the sky’s the limit!
And don’t forget the digital! Summer is a great time to reassess your website. Is the basic information still up to date? Do your links still work? Do you have new products to spotlight or could you improve the product photography that’s already on your site? Review your social media accounts and make sure you’ve added easy links to purchase and that those links are fresh and up-to-date! Remove anything that you’re no longer using. And finally, check your Google Business listing (or create one) to ensure it’s up to date.
Stay in Touch
Even if your customers aren’t visiting your shop, make use of all those virtual connections you’ve made over the past year. Keep sending those regular newsletters, and continue your social media efforts, highlighting great summer projects and teasing your fall season. Experiment with “start your holiday crafting early” and get folks in the mood to buy and craft for cooler temperatures.
Get Your Calendars Ready
It’s looking like we’re going to be able to get back to in-person events this fall, so start planning now! Prime knitting and crochet season begins as soon as the weather hints at fall, so being ready to go at the end of August and beginning of September and running through Christmas is a must! Think trunk shows and pop-ups, hosting designers for a weekend, community craft-alongs, and more. And remind customers to get started early on holiday crafting projects. Every crafter has their annual moment of panic sometime during Thanksgiving weekend, when they realize there are only 4-5 weeks until Christmas and there’s no way everybody on the list is getting a knit hat, quilt, or hand-embroidered pillow. Take advantage of the slow season to research different kinds of holiday gift projects—and think both long-term and short-term. Create a list of projects that crafters can start in the fall to give as gifts, and create a second list of projects for last-minute gift crafting as well. If you have a ready schedule of classes and make-alongs, chances are they’ll join you!
Though we’re eager to get back to in-store and live events, do consider your customer base and the virtual efforts you’ve made in the last year. Some customers may still be reluctant to come to the store or join bigger events with crowds of people, so give some thought to adding virtual options to in-store events to keep those customers engaged and purchasing. Virtual gift craft-alongs in the lead up to the holidays are a great idea for those customers who are making gifts at home, but still want to participate in a communal activity.
Build an Advent Event
If you haven’t thought about it yet, now is the time to plan an amazing December. Whether it’s sales, new products, last-minute gifts, or crafting inspiration, develop a marketing plan now for the 24 days leading up to Christmas. Select a theme and start to plan daily social media posts, last-minute gift craft-alongs (think small projects!), weekly newsletters, and more. Remember that customers love to be surprised and delighted and are ready for some fun after the last year we’ve all had.
If you’d like more help planning for an amazing fall retail crafting season, contact us today so we can put the summer to good use!