October is usually when the first sniff of Christmas starts appearing in shops. For any well organised artist or maker wishing to make the most of the festive buying season they usually begin prep in Spring....yes, SPRING. Not kidding. If however you are like me and seem to fly by the seat of your pants then prep is yet to begin. My first Christmas market is in 24 days. WHAT!!! To give myself some credit I have made a small amount of new items and ordered most of the bits and bobs I either want to sell or use to create things. It is always about now that I decide I want to create a whole new product line, from scratch, and this year is no different! I am really having to reign in this manic 'Festive Making Fever' and let things go (or put on the back burner for next year). Cue music from Frozen....
Last year I was transitioning from my old jewellery business (which I had to retire due to time constraints) to my new artist name and work. I didn't do too many fairs due to this change but this year is full blown Go Go GO! I have my brand new range of printed products from home wares to accessories to stationary and I have absolutely no idea how it is going to pan out! I keep thinking I should have 'some of this' printed or 'some of that'. I guess I will receive feedback from my visitors and customers which I can then use to reduce or increase my product selection.
Every year for as long as I have been an independent maker I have realised the importance of buying from other creatives and small businesses. It literally makes the World of difference to these people...who then go and buy their presents from other makers and small businesses in a marvellous chain reaction of camaraderie. It is so true that independent sellers 'do a happy dance' every time they sell something - you are directly supporting these people and their families! I know folk who use Christmas profits for investing in new items/training, paying for events for the next year and using these savings in leaner times. So by buying at Christmas you are literally supporting people for the whole year...how awesome is that?! And if this wasn't enough, by buying small and local you can find some really creative, inventive and personal items which you will literally not find anywhere else.
SO, go forth, enjoy the spirit of the season, spend with a conscience and take pleasure in the real joy of present giving to your loved ones this year. Keep your hard earned out of the pockets of the fat cats and into those who really, really appreciate it. Mike drop.