February holds one of the first major gift-giving holidays of the New Year: Valentine’s Day, which is a great holiday to boost your handmade sales.
To impact sales in February, you must start planning and marketing in January…at the latest. The further ahead you can plan, the better off you’ll be, ensuring you’re prepared for wholesale orders and craft shows.
Let’s take a look at how you can prepare for Valentine’s Day to boost your February sales.
1) UPDATE SALES CHANNELS
Determine how you’ll add Valentine’s Day flair to a sales channel and which ones you’ll use to promote your products.
Updating backdrops to red or pink, adding heart-shaped props or red roses can instantly give a Valentine’s Day feel to a product listing, the home page of a website or a craft show display.
Look at each sales channel you’ll use next month and define specifics on how you’ll update them for the holiday.
Update your online shop a few weeks before Valentine’s Day, if you can, and have stock ready to go. Many people are last-minute shoppers and you have to think about shipping times. That’s also a perk you can advertise that may encourage more people to buy: “Items are shipped within 1 day of placing your order”.
If you’re signed up for a Valentine’s Day craft show, you still have time to create themed products and work on your marketing to ensure your most loyal fans show up and buy.
If you don’t have any events planned but are interested in selling through one for Valentine’s Day, you can check to see if there are any events in your area and if they still have any vendor spots open.
Do be sure you have enough time to prepare, can create enough product and that all your products will be a good fit for the event, not just your Valentine’s Day themed ones.
Lastly, mark a reminder on this year’s calendar to research and apply to next year’s Valentine’s Day events so you have plenty of time to apply, be accepted and prepare. Download THE SUCCESS PLANNER to stay on top of your planning and ensure you’re prepared for all the major shopping holidays.
Retailers typically work 3 – 6 months in advance but some smaller boutiques and consignment stores may accept Valentine’s Day products in January or even at the beginning of February.
Research local boutiques that draw in the same type of customers who are interested in your products and contact any you’re interested in approaching.
Check out these articles for more advice on selling through retailers
- 10 STEPS TO GET YOUR HANDMADE PRODUCTS INTO BOUTIQUES
- THE PROS & CONS OF SELLING HANDMADE THROUGH RETAILERS
- 5 THINGS TO INCLUDE WHEN WRITING A CONSIGNMENT AGREEMENT
You must have your Valentine’s Day themed products ready to go; product line developed, priced, photographed, etc. and be able to fulfill any orders you get. Don’t rush to get a product together and approach stores last minute and unprepared. That might leave a bad impression and make it hard for you to get orders in the future.
If there isn’t enough time for you to fit all that in, skip retailers this year and mark next September/October with a note to start planning a Valentine’s Day-themed product line.
*THE SUCCESS PLANNER will help you plan all the major projects that will help you reach your goals this year.
That should leave enough time for you to put together a lookbook/line sheet, market to retailers and fulfill orders.
Get to know any retailers you’re interested in supplying and determine their buying schedule. Then you’ll know how many months in advance to approach them.
2) CREATE VALENTINE’S DAY THEMED PRODUCTS
Determine what you’ll sell to follow a Valentine’s Day theme.
Don’t go outside your niche to create products for Valentine’s Day or follow trends if they’re not a fit for your business or brand. People are always looking for fun and unique product ideas so there’s no need to venture into jewelry or card making just for the holiday if your craft is painting.
Instead, take your existing products and find a way to tweak them to become more Valentine’s Day gift appropriate.
You may tweak your products by offering them in red or pink, such as a knitted red scarf, hat and glove set. Heart shapes can also add a Valentine’s Day feel when used for fabrics in sewing. Jewelers can make heart-shaped pendants, rings, and earrings. And soap or bath bombs can be molded into the shape of hearts or offered in chocolate, cinnamon hearts or rose scents.
Use your imagination and brainstorm ways you can add a Valentine’s Day theme to your existing products.
Consider the price points your customer may be most comfortable with when it comes to Valentine’s Day gifts.
For example, a jeweler who’s targeting husbands buying jewelry for their wives may be looking for gifts $50 and up, while gifts more appropriate for friends, teachers, colleagues, etc. may be under $50.
You know who your customer is so you’re the best person to decide the price point they’ll be comfortable with.
3) BUNDLE EXISTING PRODUCTS AS GIFT SETS
You may not need to create a Valentine’s Day product line if your products are already fitting for the holiday. You could simply add the right packaging; red and pink labels, tissue paper and ribbons or heart-shaped boxes.
Updating your product photos and adding one or two Valentine’s Day-themed props in the background could also give non-Valentine’s Day related products a spin.
Sprinkle paper or cinnamon hearts on the white backdrop your products are photographed on, add a bundle of roses in the background, or maybe your products would look good photographed on a red or pink background, instead of white.
Gift-giving is also a great opportunity to increase your units and dollar per transaction.
- Bundle products together to create a gift set – make gift-giving easy by selling two or more of your best selling products together, packaging in a gift box and finishing off with a red or pink bow.
- Offer gift wrapping – purchase gift boxes, wrapping or tags at wholesale prices and offer a gift wrapping option, charging at least double what you paid for the materials. If a gift box, ribbon, gift tag, and wrapping paper cost you $1/package, you could easily charge $5 for a gift-wrap option. Describe what customers will get for the extra $5 and you can even write a message on the card for them so they’re able to have the gift shipped right to the recipient; saving them the extra shipping charges.
- Offer rush order or shipping – if someone is a little late to the party and desperately needs a Valentine’s Day gift…like yesterday, they’ll appreciate the option to pay a little extra and have their gift sent out immediately. You may charge extra to make a trip to the post office the day of or day after an order is placed (you must decide the cost that is appropriate for your products, customer and your time). You could also offer rush shipping if you don’t already; postage fees will dictate how much you charge.
For more ideas on offering add-ons without increasing your workload, check out “Tactic #2” in this article: HOW TO MAKE LESS BUT SELL MORE AT YOUR NEXT CRAFT SHOW
4) PROMOTE YOUR VALENTINE’S DAY THEMED PRODUCTS
You must market, market, market to sell those amazing Valentine’s Day products you’ve just created.
Put together a blog article to be posted on your website and shared on social media channels and in your newsletter. If posted far enough in advance, it can also help boost your S.E.O (search engine optimization).
When people are searching “unique Valentine’s Gift ideas under $50” on Google, your article with the same title may show up, attracting the perfect customer.
Here are a few more article ideas:
- Roundup – involve other handmade businesses and create a handy list of gift ideas for your readers. “Top 10 Valentine’s Day Gifts for Pet Owners” could feature your products, along with 9 other crafters’. Ask for permission to use a photo of their work, link to their online shop and request they share the blog article once it’s up. This can help get your products in front of new audiences, as well as the other businesses you feature.
- Fashion – give readers ideas on outfits or looks they can try for Valentine’s Day and include one of your products. This type of post could work for:
- Hair accessories
- Nail polish
- Activities – if a lot of your shoppers/readers are local, you can put together a list of fun events happening around the city for Valentine’s Day. End the post with the perfect gift to give at the end of the day, which, of course, would be one of your products.
- DIY – you could also share ideas on how to celebrate Valentine’s Day at home and an activity that involves one of your products. For example:
- A bath & body vendor could suggest a DIY spa experience using their bath products
- A food or drink vendor may share a recipe to make for Valentine’s Day dinner, dessert or drinks using their product
- A knitter, sewer or jewelry maker may explain the steps to make a craft they can give as a gift and share their DIY kit that includes all the materials they need
You can advertise online using platforms such as Google Adwords or Facebook ads and drive traffic to a Valentine’s Day listing on your website. If a particular blog attracts your ideal audience, see if they have any advertising opportunities such as a banner ad or featured post.
Start sharing Valentine’s Day related posts on social media 2 – 3 weeks in advance so people have enough time to place orders and have products shipped. Share sneak peeks of your Valentine’s Day products, related blog posts, memes and product listings.
Plan to send a Valentine’s Day-themed newsletter 2 – 3 weeks in advance. You may want to offer a special promotion to your newsletter subscribers or simply share a link to your blog post or product listings.
If you plan far enough in advance (we’re talking months in advance), you can send a press release to magazines. February issues typically hit stands in mid-January and they’re planned, printed, and shipped well before that so you must stay way ahead of schedule for this tactic.
If it’s too late to approach magazines for this Valentine’s Day, mark next September/October in your calendar with a note to prepare a Valentine’s Day-themed press release. You should send it out by October or November for a chance to make it into next year’s February issue.
Local media outlets don’t work as far in advance as major magazines so you may try sending a press release to local newspapers and TV stations. You could get a TV spot or an interview with a local newspaper.
You should be sending your local press release at least two weeks before the date you’d like to be featured, which gives you time to follow up if they don’t bite after the first message. Find the right person to send your press release to, create a newsworthy angle, get a press release drafted and send it out.
If you use a platform such as Etsy, being featured on the homepage could result in a big boost of traffic and sales. To increase your chances of being noticed and chosen for a Valentine’s Day feature on the home page, be sure your basics are covered:
- Products are posted in advance – if you’re posting Valentine’s Day themed product days before February 14th, there’s not enough time for Etsy editors to find your listing, or for shoppers to have your items shipped.
- Photos are top notch – if photography is not a strength of yours, go simple; plain white background, indirect sunlight and minimal props. Let your amazing products speak for themselves.
- Titles and tags are Valentine’s Day focused – use keywords shoppers would actually enter. Although it can be fun to come up with your unique product names (e.g. The City Bag, The Ann Scarf, etc.) it’s very unlikely someone is going to search for a “city bag” or “Ann scarf” unless they’re aware of your business and know the exact product of yours they want to buy. Use each tag space available and keywords people are most likely to enter. You can try Google’s Keyword Planner tool to get ideas on top searched keywords.
Etsy editors are also going to look for:
- A full product line – Etsy won’t send people to a shop that has one product that fits their theme while the others seem disjointed. For example, if a vendor has a quirky Valentine’s Day card but their shop doesn’t have a Valentine’s Day collection (e.g. only one or two Valentine’s Day cards to choose from), is off-brand (e.g. some cards are watercolor, some are Stampin’ Up style and others are photos turned into card, etc.) or has unrelated products (e.g. shop sells handmade cards, jewelry, and knitted scarves)
- Good Customer Service – Etsy obviously isn’t going to send people to a shop that has several negative reviews; your customers are Etsy’s customers and they want to be sure they have a good experience on their platform. You should also offer international shipping so anyone on Etsy can purchase your products.
If you follow the steps above and don’t get featured, you’re still setting yourself up for success. Having Valentine’s Day products posted well before February 14th, photographed beautifully and with the proper titles and tags will help shoppers find your products and be more likely to purchase.
Did this spark any Valentine’s Day ideas for your craft business?
If you’re scrambling to prepare for this February or are wondering about other ways to boost sales (all year long), check out THE SUCCESS PLANNER HERE.
Hey, I’m Erin 🙂 I write about small business and craft show techniques I’ve learned from being a small business owner for almost 2 decades, selling at dozens of craft shows, and earning a diploma in Visual Communication Design. I hope you find my advice helpful!