When selling crafts as a Craftpreneur, keeping up on your inventory by staying ahead of the buyer is crucial. Here’s our tried and true annual craft production schedule to stay ahead (without being overworked).
Hey, y’all! As we head toward a new year, this is the time of year I start looking ahead. And no, I’m not talking about New Year’s Resolutions!
I start creating goals and craft ideas based on the holidays throughout the year. I use this time around the holidays (which is a little slower for us) to plan out my strategy ahead of time for making all of our seasonal and holiday wreaths.
Being a Creftpreneur has its challenges, and staying ahead of your customers’ buying habits is one of them. If you aren’t able to stay ahead of your customer, you’re fighting a losing battle – and you’ll lose every time.
In this post, I’m sharing our production schedule and how we plan our craft production to ensure we catch our ideal customers when they’re ready to make purchases.
Before we dive in, we offer loads of help and tutorials for Craftpreneurs. If you need help starting or building your business, check out Small Business Budget Template 101, 5 Sanity-Saving Small Business Shipping Tips, and How to Price Handmade Items And Actually Make Money.
What is a craft production schedule for Craftpreneurs?
Production schedules in other businesses usually involve creating a plan to introduce their products to their customers and how to streamline that plan.
As Craftpreneurs, we learned quickly that we couldn’t make and sell Christmas wreaths during the holiday season. Instead, we needed to make them ahead of time because our customers started buying their holiday wreaths and decor up to 2 months before the actual holiday.
So, by waiting until the holiday season to sell our wreaths, we were losing out on money and customers.
Once we adjusted our thinking and planning and created our production schedule to begin working ahead, our business grew quickly.
Making A Craft Production Schedule Based On A Craft Calendar
One question I get asked a lot is, “if waiting until the holiday season is too late, when should I start making seasonal and holiday crafts to sell?”
It’s a great question because, after all, the holidays are a crafter’s “busy season.” We don’t want to miss the window of opportunity, right?
My answer: You need to start your production schedule earlier than you probably think!
Buyers start buying seasonal and holiday items at least 4-6 weeks before the holiday. And they start browsing way before that.
They may wait to purchase until closer to the holiday in mind, but they start looking and dreaming of that perfect piece for their home weeks before that.
Let’s use a real-life example to illustrate my point. Halloween buyers often decorate at the beginning of October (about 4 weeks before the holiday). They start looking for their Halloween decor right after Labor Day (almost 2 months before the holiday).
If you don’t have your Halloween items completed and in your store before Labor Day, you’ve just lost a lot of potential buyers (who could become repeat customers).
A Production Schedule Helps You Stay Ahead Of The Buyer
In order to have the most successful holiday sales you can, you need to stay ahead of the buyer.
But we’re so programmed to begin thinking about holiday seasons at certain times. As Craftpreneurs, we need to break that habit and create a new way of thinking that will help your business.
That’s where making a craft production schedule comes into play.
I recommend staying about 2-3 months ahead of the holidays in your craft-making schedule. That way, you can create and have inventory available when people are ready to purchase.
And as a bonus, you won’t be scrambling to try to finish all of the crafts within a time crunch!
For example, your craft calendar might say to begin making St. Patrick’s Day and Easter wreaths around late January or early February.
Trust me – it may seem early, but it’s NOT.
Here’s another example. Springtime is the time to think about Mother’s Day, summertime, and June and July holidays. I could go on and on!
If you follow that train of thought all year long, there aren’t any “slow” months, per se, in your production schedule because you are always preparing for the next holiday that’s around the corner.
Y’all, I have used this method for years now, and it works.
NOTE: A way to help you gauge when to start switching your seasonal production to the next holiday is to keep an eye on your local craft stores.
Joann Fabrics, Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and others know when to set up their seasonal and holiday decor. If you’re seeing decor for a particular holiday in their stores, it’s time to get a jump on your own craft production schedule.
One Exception To The Craft Calendar Production Schedule Method
The one slight adjustment I would say to my general 2-3 months ahead rule-of-thumb is to start Christmas items in July.
Yes, you read that right…July! (or, honestly, even June)
July may FEEL too early to start making and selling crafts for Christmas, but don’t forget about the popular Christmas In July event that many online retail shops participate in. That’s why working on Christmas items in June can be advantageous.
Etsy.com, for example, always holds an annual Christmas In July sales event towards the end of July, and it’s a huge benefit for you to jump on board with their sales event to make use of their advertising power.
Believe it or not, buyers know about this event and shop in July – for gifts for others or decor items for themselves.
Pro Tip: When working that far in advance, it’s important to utilize proper wreath storage, so your hard work doesn’t go to waste. Make sure to protect your assets!
The Craft Production Schedule Calendar We Use
Now, y’all…we’re crafters! We do things visually, right?
With that in mind, I created a graphic to break down for you how I plan my own craft production calendar for selling my crafts.
Holidays For Craft Production Schedule Planning
Here is the lowdown on all the major (and some fun minor) holidays and seasons throughout the year, broken down by month.
PRO TIP: the exact date of a few holidays (like Mardi Gras and Easter) shifts each year. They can even fall in different months from one year to the next. I’m giving exact dates for holidays that stay the same and simply listing holidays that shift dates. Make sure to look up the dates for those holidays from year to year as you plan your craft production schedule!
Remember, shoot to stay about 2-3 months ahead of each holiday or season in your production schedule!
January has the following seasonal events or holidays to keep in mind:
- Winter (snow, everyday crafts), Chinese New Year (can sometimes fall in February)
- 1st – New Year’s
- 5th – National Bird Day
- 13th – National Rubber Ducky Day
- 15th – National Hat Day
- 18th – Winnie The Poo Day
- Third Monday – Martin Luther King Jr Holiday
February has the following seasonal events or holidays to keep in mind:
- American Heart Month, Black History Month, Super Bowl Sunday
- 2nd – Groundhog Day
- 14th – Valentine’s Day
- Third Monday – President’s Day
- Mardi Gras (can sometimes be in March)
- 17th – Random Acts of Kindness Day
- 20th – Love Your Pet Day
March has the following seasonal events or holidays to keep in mind:
- March Madness Basketball, National Women’s History Month
- 8th – International Women’s Day
- 12th – National Plant a Flower Day
- 17th – St. Patrick’s Day
- 20th – Spring Equinox (Spring Begins)
- 23rd – National Puppy Day
- 31st – National Crayon Day
April has the following seasonal events or holidays to keep in mind:
- National Garden Month, National Pet Month
- 1st – April Fool’s Day
- Easter (can sometimes be in late March)
- 13th – National Peach Cobbler Day
- 22nd – Earth Day
- 23rd – National Picnic Day
May has the following seasonal events or holidays to keep in mind:
- National Bike Month, National Strawberry Month
- 1st – International Space Day
- 4th – Star Wars Day
- 5th – Cinco de Mayo
- Second Sunday – Mother’s Day
- 25th – Memorial Day
June has the following seasonal events or holidays to keep in mind:
- Summer Begins, Fireworks Safety Month, National Great Outdoors Month
- 4th – World Bicycle Day
- 5th – National Hot Air Balloon Day
- 8th – World Oceans Day
- 14th – Flag Day
- 20th or 21st (varies) – Summer Solstice (Summer Begins)
- Third Sunday – Father’s Day
July has the following seasonal events or holidays to keep in mind:
- National Hot Dog Month, National Ice Cream Month
- 4th – Independence Day in the US (4th of July)
- 7th – Chocolate Day
- 14th – Cow Appreciation Day
- 25th – International Red Shoe Day
August has the following seasonal events or holidays to keep in mind:
- Back to School, National Peach Month
- 2nd – Friendship Day
- 8th – International Cat Day
- 15th – World Honeybee Day
- 26th – National Dog Day
September has the following seasonal events or holidays to keep in mind:
- Fall Begins, National Save a Tiger Month
- First Monday – Labor Day
- 9th – Teddy Bear Day
- 13th – Grandparent’s Day
- 19th – International Talk Like A Pirate Day
- 21st, 22nd, or 23rd (varies) – Fall Equinox (Fall Begins)
October has the following seasonal events or holidays to keep in mind:
- Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, Breast Cancer Awareness Month
- 1st – International Coffee Day
- 4th – National Golf Day
- 12th – Columbus Day
- 27th – Black Cat Day
- 31st – Halloween
November has the following seasonal events or holidays to keep in mind:
- National Gratitude Month, National Peanut Butter Lovers Month
- 1st-2nd – Day of the Dead
- 17th – World Peace Day
- 20th – Universal Children’s Day
- Fourth Thursday – Thanksgiving
- Day After Thanksgiving – Black Friday
- Late November or Early December – Hanukkah Begins
December has the following seasonal events or holidays to keep in mind:
- National Pear Month
- 12th – Poinsettia Day
- 21st – Winter Solstice (Winter Begins)
- 25th – Christmas Day
- 26th – Make Cut Out Snowflakes Day
- 31st – New Year’s Eve
If you want to have this craft calendar to hang up in your office and help you plan your production schedule, click here to order your 2023 Craftpreneur Planner PDF and print it out!
Use A Craft Calendar To Plan A Production Schedule For Your Business
Using a production schedule doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming, y’all! In fact, it’s one of those things that you can plan once (if you do it right) and use over and over again. I hope this tutorial showing you how we make our helps convey the concept and makes it easier to create your own (or use ours if it fits your business).
If you want more Craftpreneur business inspiration, check out:
- How to Open a Shop and Sell on Etsy
- How to Organize Wreath Supplies
- Business Laptop Recommendations To Propel Your Business Into The Next Year
- How to Build an Email List to Boost Your Sales
- How to Display Wreaths at Home and Craft Shows
If you need any help with centerpiece-making, bow-making, wreath-making, or crafting in general, be sure to check out more of our tutorials on How to Make Wreaths.
We would love to see your beautiful bows! Please share with us over at the How To Make Wreaths Facebook Group.
Finally, if you’re interested in more info on learning how to make wreaths, where to buy supplies, and being in a community of like-minded crafters, check out our Creative Coaching Subscription Group.
If you love to craft, check out our Eat. Sleep. Craft. Repeat. t-shirts and click on the picture below!
Thank you so much this will be my vision for 2020!