Christmas craft shows and online holiday shopping preparations are the focus for October. Design and retail shopping trend reports reveal what customers will buy this year, and photos of Christmas booths show you how to design a display for holiday markets.
Granted, October may feel a bit late for some craft business owners to start holiday sales preparations. The holiday shopping season seems to start earlier and earlier each year, and many business owners begin preparing in the summer.
I've included this action plan in October because that's when a lot of Christmas shopping trend forecasts and holiday decor and gifting trend reports are released. Those reports will give you valuable information about predicted holiday shopper behavior, which can help you make more effective marketing decisions for the holiday season.
If you want to get a jump on preparing for the holiday shopping season before those reports are available, check out some of the trends tools I've listed in the seasonal craft artist business plan for August.
Those tools won't tell you what's predicted for the upcoming holiday shopping season, but they will show you important trends from previous years. Usually (but not always — hello, 2020, I'm talking about you) you can use the previous year's trends as a solid starting place to inform your plans for the upcoming year.
In addition to learning about style and retail trends for the upcoming holiday shopping season, we'll also look at how to get your booth ready for Christmas craft shows. I have lots of photos of gorgeous holiday market displays that are full of ideas you can use to transform your own booth into a holiday wonderland.
Here's what we'll look at to help you get ready to sell more crafts during the holiday season:
Holiday retail industry trend forecasts aim to predict shoppers' behavior for the upcoming holiday season by surveying large groups of people and comparing responses to previous years. These reports are generally published in September through November. They help business owners understand their customers and include plenty of information craft business owners can use to better meet their customers' needs.
1. Research the latest Christmas shopping trends experts are forecasting for the upcoming year.
In late September and early October I spend a lot of time reviewing retail industry trend forecasts for the upcoming holiday season. I keep an eye toward how those trends may impact craft business owners and then publish a report each year.
You can read my most recent Christmas shopping trends post to get an understanding of these trends.
If you want to dive into your own research, I've posted a list of many of the retail, design, and fashion trend forecasting sources I follow, so you can check them out for yourself.
2. Make note of any trends that may impact your business.
As you review shopping trend predictions, you'll find some that will impact your business and some that aren't particularly relevant to you. You'll also find some trends that you can respond to, and some that you may not be able to do anything about.
Make note of any predicted trends may impact your business. Note whether the impact would be positive or negative, and note those trends that you can act on.
3. Decide if and how you'll respond to retail trends in your business.
From your list of trends that you could act on, decide if and how you'll respond to them to meet your customers' expectations.
You don't have to jump on every trend. Chose a couple that are manageable and that you believe would have the biggest impact on your business. Make a plan to implement your new strategies.
The next steps in your holiday marketing action plan are similar to the previous section, but now we're going to examine design trends for the upcoming holiday season. Free holiday style forecasts are also often released around this time of year. They will show you the types of motifs, colors, and themes that will likely be popular.
4. Review holiday style trend reports for the upcoming year.
My favorite source for holiday style trend forecasts for craft business owners is Etsy.
Etsy trend forecasts reveal searches that are growing on the handmade online marketplace, so they are specifically targeted to reporting the interests and preferences of people who shop for handmade items.
While the reports are meant to help Etsy sellers meet their customers' needs, they always contain plenty of information a handmade business owner can use whether you sell on Etsy, at craft shows or through other venues.
Here's where you can review the most recent Etsy holiday trends report.
5. Note any trends that interest you and fit with your existing brand.
You don't have to jump on every trend that comes along. As you review predicted Christmas trends, you'll find some suit your brand and others are way off target for the look and feel you want to create.
Make note of any trends that do seem to fit with your existing brand. Feel free to ignore others. Again, you don't have to jump on every trend.
6. Determine if and how you'll incorporate those trends into your holiday products and/or marketing.
You can reflect holiday style trends in your actual products or in your marketing materials and booth design.
If the trends work with your brand's aesthetic, consider incorporating some into your designs.
You might not want to commit to creating handmade items featuring design trends that may or may not be popular over time. You can still reflect trends in your product photography if you sell crafts online or in the way you style your display booth if you sell at Christmas craft shows.
For example, if checkerboard prints are hot, you could switch out your regular table covering for one in the trendy pattern. If nostalgia is a trending theme, you could style your product photos with props that show your product in that light.
If you're going to sell your handmade items at Christmas craft shows, you'll probably want to decorate your booth to reflect the holiday season.
You can make a few simple changes to your regular display. Adding some twinkle lights and Christmas garland can have a huge impact. Or you could go all-out with a holiday theme throughout every element in your display.
Small changes might make more sense if you do one or two small holiday shows. But if you sell at several big Christmas craft shows, it might be worthwhile to invest more in that display.
Instead of listing specific action steps here, I'll add links to several pages with Christmas craft show display photos. Check them out, and look for ideas you could implement in your own holiday booth.
I earn a commission for purchases made through links on this page.
To learn more, please see my disclosure.
These booth photos show you how to use simple evergreen boughs, strings of lights, or a slim pencil Christmas tree in your 10x10 booth space.
Here's a booth that uses a clever arrangement of display crates to form a tree shape, a craft vendor who makes all holiday-themed items to sell at Christmas shows, and elegant booths decorated with fresh evergreen boughs.
Ten portable holiday displays show small, simple changes you can make to your regular booth to make it ready for the festive season.
Greenery - both trees and garland - are used in these booths to great effect.
These photos show booths belonging to craft artists who have added some holiday-specific items to their regular product lines or grouped existing products into holiday-themed color blocks.