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Holiday Tips and Advice to Etsy Sellers and Makers from a Top Seller | How to prepare for your best Holiday season

Posted by Lauren Miller on

It's July 2017 and even though we are sitting in 90 degree sunny days, it marks the official start of the handmade holiday season, at least for makers and Etsy shop owners. This year will mark my 10th Etsy Christmas season at Sunbasilgarden Soap. And as I prepare for Christmas 2017, I thought it would be the perfect time to share with fellow makers my top 10 tips on how to prepare for your best Holiday season ahead. These tips are rather basic but have served me well over the years and with fingers crossed and a lot of old fashioned hard work, I am looking to cross into 30,000 Etsy sales this season. Hope you find something helpful in these tips and best wishes for the most magical making time of the year.


  1. What you do now in the summer will determine your Holiday season. DO NOT let the slow down of summer sales convince your mind otherwise. Believe me, your mind will adjust and say, "oh I will do that in September or October." It's natural and a fact that sales for all retail slow down in the summer. People are out enjoying themselves and their families, out of the routine of life and spending money on experience, not necessary stuff. But that is all about to change as soon as kids return to school and pumpkin lattes are being served up. The biggest gift buying season of the year will be underway in no time. So right now, carve out the time now to start planning what you will make brand new and what will be back from years past in your Christmas line up. Just get on it because as we all return to our regularly scheduled program, you will simply run out of hours in the day to plan, make, ship and sell from Oct- Dec. Start now!
  2. Clean up your websites. Whether you are selling on Etsy, Amazon,or Shopify , I guarantee your listings can use a clean up. Now is also the time to correct spelling mistakes, focus on your SEO and improve it and update product pictures. This can be the not so fun part of selling online. But if you tackle a few listings every night, you will get there. Google can take up to 2 months to find your website listings so these fixes need to be done in summer if you want to be found in the winter. You should absolutely if you can begin listing your holiday items on Etsy. Major bloggers and Press finalize their features by the end of the summer. When our Coal soap was featured in the December Huffington Post, this was found earlier that summer. So even if you are not selling so much in July, get your gems listed online so they can be found.
  3. Begin stocking up on mailers and USPS shipping materials. This one might be a basis tip but I can think back to one of my early Etsy seasons where I ran out of flat rate mailers only to have to physically run to 4 different post offices to find more and come home to ship over 100 packages that day. This mistake never has happened again. We literally have stock out our ears but it's free from the post office and you can always return it to your post office if come Jan you are over run by Priority mailers. As the season gets busier the ship time from the post office also gets longer. So stock up now and have them shipped to your home for free.
  4. As you are getting prepared in the summer months for your best selling season, buyers don't really want to hear all about it. So as much as it's tempting while you are creating the most fantastic holiday gifts, try and only share on your social media a hint or two. Don't go overboard when it's 100 degrees out. Now this is not to say you can't start pinning. Pinterest boards tend to run a few months ahead on holidays. So get those pins url links active now.and shared on group boards too. I recently started using Tailwind to help do my pinning for me and it is life changing. Check it out here. But as soon as we have all packed it in for the summer, then you can start sharing it from the roof tops on your other social networks like Instagram and Facebook
  5. Decide now your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales strategy. It's very wise and almost expected to have a wonderful sale to start the holiday season. But remember, Black Friday traditionally begins the holiday shopping season. Do not give such a deep discount that you run out of stock. Again, a lesson well learned. Remember your end of year total revenue is your focus, not just the month of December.
  6. Update your technology if you can. I lost a laptop and printer this summer and it caused quite a few weeks of frustration having to ship orders while not having the proper tools. But this also was a blessing as it would have been so much worse to have these fails in November. I ended up having my laptop fixed ( thank goodness for insurance) and picking up a small out of the box laptop as back up. Because things that will go wrong, will always go wrong in Nov and December. 
  7. Look ahead and decide when will be your last shipping day now. I always run right up to Dec 22nd because that is just how I roll. But you decide what works best for your life. I am super lucky to have a family that puts up with my soap season and they know, 16 hour days, 7 days a week from Oct- Dec is just what I do. But come Dec 23rd we shut all three of our websites down and take a much needed family break until Jan. And do our holiday celebrating, and yes decorating because we typically have a Fall wreath still on the door. But this is what works for us. Look at what you have in December. And plan accordingly. You might have holiday entertaining or other events you wish to enjoy. Your kids might still be very young and this schedule would not work. So plan early and let your customers know your last day of Holiday shipping. My family can put up with quite a lot of take out and frozen dinners as long as I clearly communicate the end date and stick to it.
  8.  Prepare yourself to let go. The more you sell in the holiday months, the more you will open yourself up to more buyers.That is awesome and really the name of the game right? But occasionally you will find a few who are unreasonable or had other expectations and then there are lost or late mail deliveries. It's a magical yet nutty time of the year.  When you get that convo from a customer, you know the one, let it go!. It will only drain your energy and create more drama in your mind. Look at the entire holiday picture and as fast as you can move on. It is not worth it to give up your energy and reserve. I would suggest having a few Etsy besties who you can privately vent with but do not turn to social media or let it take the wind out of your sails. Vent and let it go! 
  9. If you are not using a Dymo Label printer for your small business by now, go on Amazon this very minute and buy one. It will change your life and save serious money on ink and brings your shipping labels to about 2 cents each. Not to mention they are waterproof in snow. If you sell in any type of volume, go look at Shipstation. You can merge all of your websites into one. And pay a commercial rate verses Etsy rate. Or heaven forbid, the US postal rate. Two things I wish I had done in year one of my business. Danielle from the Merriweather Council has this great article on this very subject and explains it in great detail. Just get your printer. End of story.
  10. Last tip and more of a recommendation is to support your fellow makers. When you are online, and have a moment, comment on their Instagram and Facebook posts. Don't let them hang out there in the breeze. Give a like and a comment and cheer them on! I am a huge believer that we are all in this thing together. And no one else really gets it as a fellow handmade maker. Be nice to one another and for goodness sake, buy their stuff for your own gifting this holiday season.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to share with your fellow makers! I would love to hear down below in the comments your best Holiday selling tips.


  • This is a great article. Very insightful. Thanks for the post.

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