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Sell Holiday Classes and Merchandise Now

One hundred days until Christmas.

That alone can make a retailer anxious. But the reality is even more urgent.

Manufacturing, importing, shipping, staffing shortages: it all continues to be affected by the pandemic, with no end in sight.

Two years ago we eye-rolled those list-writers, mega-planners and ahead-of-the-game consumers, shopping for gifts waaay before the holiday season started. Today it’s a top news story, educating consumers on what to expect from small and large retailers and encouraging that your holiday shopping happens now. You snooze? You will likely lose.

So jingle those bells, let’s kick off the holidays


-Displays: your store doesn’t have to go full-on Christmas décor, but consider highlighting an area with decorations, seasonal merchandise, class promotions and gift ideas

-Start planning and promoting events and classes

-Online sales: get your online store up (gift cards, merchandise and classes)

-Host events and promote gift ideas, new classes and new inventory (don't be afraid to let your customers know that inventory is limited and space is limited in classes. Creating an urgency creates sales)

-Keeping social distancing and other guidelines in place; start with using clip art like this (download these creative social distancing images to your computer)


-Displays: maintain part of your store with Fall and Thanksgiving displays and décor

-Continue to create events and promote limited seating

November 1

-It’s full on holiday time

-Get creative with gift ideas: sell themed packages, gift cards and heavily promote limited stock of new inventory

-Get those customers in your doors and on your website to buy gift cards and book classes


-Christmas music can be safely played in your store

Black Friday and Small Business Saturday

-This is where your creativity is really going to count: be careful about sales and discounts and coupons and offers. You are selling entertainment, a therapeutic experience, family time, friend time, alone time, art education, mood boosters, stress relievers and connections. Do not devalue it by putting it on sale. You are selling a priceless experience. Use the feelings/experiences mentioned above in your marketing. It's an authentic, highly important connection you provide


-Host demos, offer a free 20-minute online class, make a time lapsed video of a technique: show off what you offer and the benefits

-Continue to heavily promote packages and gift cards

-Sell gift baskets. Get creative with packaging, but be consistent. These need to be aligned with your brand


Please be patient with your vendors. They are dealing with many of the same issues you are and a little kindness and understanding goes a long way.

I am very okay with calling this the “new normal” because I don't see creative retailers backtracking and returning to how we retailed two years ago. Yes, we will be back to sitting next to each other without masks, but how we connect and engage and sell (that's the biggie) comes with these new eyes and an appreciation for our creative business operations.

Look at how far we’ve come over these two years! As overused as “pivoting” and “adapting” are, it’s true. Successful creative retailers are like clay, reshaping ourselves and our store to stay one step ahead of the game.

How you can use these strange days (ah, years) to continue to grow your store and better yourself?

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