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Catherine Erdly is the founder of the Resilient Retail Club, and helps product businesses start, grow and scale profitable businesses that last. In this podcast Catherine shares her top tips for how you can prepare to sell your products this Christmas.

EPISODE NOTES

**Please remember to rate and review the podcast – it really helps others to find it.**

Today on the podcast I’m re-releasing a conversation I recorded with Catherine Erdly last September about how to prepare for Christmas.

Catherine is the founder of the Resilient Retail Club. Catherine worked in the retail sector for two decades, working with household names such as Coast, Laura Ashley and Paperchase. She now helps product businesses start, grow and scale profitable businesses that last through her group membership and 1-2-1 consulting. Catherine shares the best things that you can do as a product-based business in the run-up to Christmas to help yourself and boost sales.

I came away from the podcast with the sense I was sharing it all too late, and actually summer is when you need to start prepping for Christmas. My hope is that by re-releasing this episode now, you will find things you can do that will save you a lot of stress in October, November & December this year. 

It is an episode packed full of specific, actionable steps, and is going to help so many of you have a less stressful Christmas season! 

Listen in to hear Catherine share:

  • An introduction to herself and her business (01:43)
  • When to start planning for Christmas  (02:19)
  • Long-term Christmas planning (04:24)
  • When to start talking about Christmas to your customers (09:42)
  • Things you can do now to start prepping for Christmas (13:14)
  • Jobs that you should leave now until after Christmas! (19:18)
  • How to make the most of Christmas if your product isn’t a traditional gift (23:16)
  • The particular opportunities you have this Christmas (28:19)
  • Tasks you should be doing after Christmas (30:00)
  • Her number one piece of advice for product creators this Christmas (33:36)

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Transcript
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Welcome to The Bring Your Product Ideas To Life podcast, practical advice,

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and inspiration to help you create and sell your own physical products.

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Here's your host Vicki Weinberg.

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Hello.

Speaker:ing this episode in mid June,:Speaker:

So we're about halfway through the year and we're also six months away from

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Christmas and that is why I'm recording this new introduction to an old episode.

Speaker:Catherine Erdly in September,:Speaker:

I really got the impression from Catherine that I was sharing this all far too late.

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In fact, I know that she was talking about Christmas much earlier than I

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was, and there's lots of things that Catherine feels that we should do to

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prepare for Christmas as early as the summer, which is why I'm re-releasing

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this episode now, so you have six months to get yourselves ready for Christmas.

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Yes, I know it seems like it's a really long way off.

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But I hope that you find this very helpful.

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I hope you find some things that you can do now that will save you so much stress

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come October, November, December time.

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So please, please, even if you listened last time, do listen again.

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Um, because there were lots of things we spoke about then that were

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possibly, you know, not time to write because we just left it far too late.

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Um, but now we have plenty of time get everything ready

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for your best Christmas eve,.

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I hope.

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So please enjoy this episode and I will see you again next week.

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So, hi, Catherine.

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Thank you so much for being here.

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Hi, thank you so much for having me.

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Can we please start with you giving an introduction to yourself

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and your business, please.

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Of course my name's Catherine Erdly, I'm the founder of the

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Resilient Retail Club, which is my membership for product businesses.

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I have 21 years experience in the retail industry and I spent the first

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17 working for high street retailers.

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So the last job that I had before I left the corporate world was at Paperchase.

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retailers start, grow and scale a profitable product business.

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Oh, thank you so much.

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So I know that quarter four is a really busy time for the retail

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business, probably the busiest.

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Um, so my first question is how far advanced do we need

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to be planning for that?

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Um, I've got a feeling you're going to say before now.

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Obviously this is going out at the end of October.

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Yeah, just to, yeah, just to put it in context.

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Then the, the, for the retail industry as a whole, the stat that always

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jumps to my mind is that one third of all money spent in the retail

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industry for the year is spent in six weeks in the run up to Christmas.

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So November to December six weeks.

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So just over 10% of the year, we take over a third.

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And probably if you're listening to this podcast and you're in a small

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business, small businesses tend to be more design led more desirable.

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So they tend to be more as a result, more often purchased as gifts.

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So if you're a gifting retailer, then it could be 40, 50, 60% of

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your sales coming at Christmas.

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So it is this huge, huge piece of the puzzle.

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And it can really make or break your year as a, as a business.

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And a lot of the big retailers know that so they, just to put it into

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perspective, the Paperchase team, for example, would probably be getting

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next month or so at least in terms of putting together ideas and, and starting

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to think about those kinds of things.

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So a year is not uncommon at all for planning for Christmas, but

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for small businesses, I would say the most comfortable way to

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do it is to start in the summer.

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A lot of people have a bit of a quieter summer.

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So using that time to really look ahead, start planning everything from your

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messaging to your hero products, to your, um, packaging needs, everything you can

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be thinking about from the summer onwards.

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Obviously we're talking about October, so we're not really

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talking about planning ahead anymore because we're in quarter four.

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So yes, the answer is yes before now in an ideal world.

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So maybe we can talk about two things.

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Actually, what be good to know is in an ideal world, because obviously

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some people will be listening to this when it comes out, but other people

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might pick this up at various points.

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Yeah sure.

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That's the brilliance of podcast.

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Isn't it.

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So let's first of all, talk about if we were all listening to this

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in good time, what are some of the things we would ideally be doing in

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the summer to prepare for Christmas?

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And then once we've covered that, we'll talk about, okay, we're in October, what

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should we be doing with the time we have?

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Is that okay?

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Yeah.

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Yeah, for sure.

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So I would say it's all about products.

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I'm sure that you'll agree.

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It's about having the right products.

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So if it's the summertime and you are getting ready to plan ahead for

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Christmas, this is the perfect opportunity to look back at your sales figures.

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If you've already traded at Christmas.

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It's the perfect opportunity for you to look back at that and say, okay,

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what were my best products, what do I want to do with them this year?

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Do we want to move them on, change them slightly, bring out a new

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version, do another version, because this was the best.

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And I only had one product type and I think I can expand that range.

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So you really want to be looking at your own figures and information.

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You also want to be looking at the trends, what's happening overall

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and if I say the word trend and you think, oh, well I'm not a fashion

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business or trends don't matter to me.

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Trends matters to every business because a trend in its largest form is

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simply what's on the customer's mind.

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So what are they going to be thinking about?

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So you can think about macro trends, like.

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Plastic free, for example, or vegan.

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So you just want to be aware of the kind of way that the

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wind is blowing if you like.

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Thinking about how things are changing and therefore do you want to make any

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changes to your products and then getting ready to pick out your hero products

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for Christmas, because the 80/ 20 rule, which is, I'm sure you've heard of

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the idea that 80% of your sales will be coming from 20% of your products.

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That's true, especially at Christmas.

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So you want to kind of get in your head, what do you think are going

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to be those 80, those, those 20% of products that drive 80% of your sales?

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Because you only want to make sure you've got enough stock of them.

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You want to make sure the photography for them is really on point.

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You don't want to make sure that all of your marketing campaigns,

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everything else is built around those.

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You want to make those a real focus.

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So in the summer that really that's the kind of starting point is what

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is going to be the underpinning.

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What are the products that are going to underpin my Christmas strategy?

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That's perfect.

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Thank you.

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So I guess it's what are the products and then what do you need to do to make

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sure you're in the best position to push those products right at the time.

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Yeah.

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And also, do you need to develop new products because sure, you

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know, better than anyone, it takes time finding the right suppliers.

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I mean, even the summer might be too late to find new suppliers

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for Christmas products.

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Yeah.

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So it's so even earlier, you know, almost like a January is a great time

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actually, to do a lessons learnt.

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So every big retailer, after they do a major holiday event, like Valentine's,

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Mother's day, Father's day, Christmas.

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They have what they call a lessons learnt strategy meeting, where they

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sit down and they go through and go, okay, well, what worked well and added

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value and what didn't work well, and I would want to change next time.

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And that's actually probably the point at which you would want to say, well, do

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you know what that supplier, let me down.

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I'd like to find a new one or I would like to develop these

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new products for next Christmas.

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So to give yourself the maximum amount of time, but for sure in the summer is

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when you would really focus in and make that decision about what your Christmas

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products that you're going to base your kind of marketing campaign on would be.

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Amazing.

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And I guess that's also good timing.

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I mean, I was talking to someone last week who was telling me that she had

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some Christmas themed photos taken of her products, for example, back

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in the summer, because she was having a photo shoot anyway, and thought

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let's get the ones with the tinsel and the baubles and everything else now.

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So I guess if you are extremely organized, that would make sense, I guess, to

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have all of that done and ready.

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So you have all your marketing materials ready where, you

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know way ahead start them.

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Absolutely.

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The other thing to say about that is that if you have a certain product

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photographer that you like and sure, a lot of people have this experience

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where they just get booked up.

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So if you really want them to be doing the photography for you, you want it

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early, and in fact, you could argue other reasons that you might say the

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summer was almost a bit too late.

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You could even say April or May, is the the perfect time to, to really start

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because in may, for example, you've got the selection for not on the high street.

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So if you're somebody who sells through not on the high street, they start

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doing their selections around Christmas campaigns, way back in the spring.

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So if you've got great Christmas imagery and some new, exciting

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product ideas, you're much more likely to get that kind of exposure.

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If that's what you want.

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And then the other thing to think about is long lead times on Christmas

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gift guides for print magazines, they, again, for long lead time, some of

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those are selecting in April or May.

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So again, if you start that process, even if all you do is come up with your product

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ideas and get some great photos taken.

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And then don't do anything for another couple of months.

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Even just having those in hand is going to put you in such a strong position.

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You think about, something like Christmas in July.

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So there's a big PR event in July.

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Lots of brands will wheel out all of their Christmas stuff so that

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the press can go take a look at it.

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If you're in a position at that point to have your Christmas imagery ready.

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And you're really focusing on PR for example, for your business,

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then again, you're just in a, in a really great position.

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Amazing.

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Thank you.

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In terms of things like, and I don't know if there is an ideal time for this.

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It just struck me that in terms of your Christmas imagery and all of this,

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the marketing materials, what's a good time to start getting that in front of

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people because we're recording this in mid-October, which to me as a consumer

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Christmas still seems quite a way off.

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But yet it's not.

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I'm just starting to talk about it more when I'm sure If I went

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shopping the Christmas music would be in the shop What's what's not too

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early I guess to start I don't know maybe changing your etsy store to a

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Christmas banner and that kind of thing

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Yeah I mean I think it's a sort of typical Progress is um some people will

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have things up but not shout about them I think there's almost with Christmas

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It works really well to do a short to do a soft launch If you like So a soft

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launch is basically you list it but you don't really talk about it that much but

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if somebody is searching for it they can find it There will be people there are

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two two kinds of Christmas customers or two extremes of Christmas customers There

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is the person I mean I have clients who have Christmas products who were receiving

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orders in September for Merry Christmas items So there is definitely that early

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shopper the super organized person And then there's the last minute person and

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there's pretty much everything in between So the Christmas Period really starts

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said some people will start looking in September that said I'd say October is

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more standard Say mid-October I've seen a lot of product launches happening recently

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small businesses getting their products out there Again some of them have done a

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big bang Christmas shop and some of them have just listed them but not made a big

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fuss Typically what happens is you'll see that we've got to get through Halloween

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To a lesser extent perhaps um bomb fire night but then once those are out of

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the way then it just goes straight into Christmas Christmas Christmas So a lot

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of businesses will kind of get them out for that early shopper but maybe not be

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shouting about them but then there'll be full blown promotion from early November

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Amazing Thank you And it's funny you mentioned Halloween because when

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I went out to my community earlier this week and said I'm talking to

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Catherine about Christmas what should I ask Quite a few people came back

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and said but it's not been Halloween yet I'm still thinking about that

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Well if that is you know that is certainly true in a lot of people it feels

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especially if it's you and it's justyou in the business.,It can be really hard

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to think ahead So people often do focus on right I've got to focus on Chris and

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get through Halloween And then they'll switch over and and really focused on

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Christmas But the thing about Christmas is because it can get so busy anything

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that you can do to prepare in advance even if you've got a little bit of a

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quiet week this week you know at the end of October if you could write yourself

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some emails that you're going to be sending out or write You've put together

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some some Instagram posts for November December It would say future year would

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be so excited when the when you are busy and the orders start coming in that you

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don't have to then sit down and write your newsletter You can literally just

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pop into your drafts or just send out when you've already written So there's

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still definitely things that you can be doing now even in October to prepare

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yourself a bit for the busiest time

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Absolutely Thank you I really liked the idea of helping your future self

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out again and getting all of that done And we'll talk in a moment about other

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things you can do to make your life easier because I think that's going to be

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particularly relevant to anyone listening who maybe sells handmade products and

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they're going to be having to do a lot of making I guess anything that you can

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do to sort of simplify everything else would be fantastic But let's say for

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somebody who is listening to this when it comes out so Halloween weekend so

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you know Halloween sales you know done Um how long would it be then Six weeks

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seven weeks till Christmas not long Anyway What are the key things that we

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should be doing right now to get ready

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To get ready I think it can be as simple as tidying your workspace making sure

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that it's actually organized that you know where everything is doing Stock-take

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on your packaging making sure that you know how much you've got of everything

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and putting in an order if you think you might be running low because the last

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thing you want to do is run out of tape or stickers or boxes and then go out to

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the packaging supplier and find the lead time has suddenly extended from overnight

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to actually it's going to take them two weeks I think we can assume as well I

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think we should all be really conscious of the fact that the so many people are

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talking about delivery delays about supply chain disruption and it may not even

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affect your products but it could affect some of the supplies around your products

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like your shipping products and things like that So making sure that you've done

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that stock take you've checked that you've got all the supplies that you need You

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check that you've got the products that you need that any supplies you need to

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make your products and materials making sure that that's all ready to go have a

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tidy up De-clutter make sure you've got as much space as possible If you can do

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anything ahead of time Any making ahead of time or if you don't make and you're

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just packing then can you make up boxes Can you fold your tissue paper Anything

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that you can think of basically to speed things up so that when you are at that

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busy time that you it runs as smoothly as possible The other thing to think about is

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if there are any processes that maybe it's okay that you hand write the labels when

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you've got three orders a day but if you were to be put in through 30 orders a day

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and you had to handle wrighting them Is that going to be a problem Do you need to

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get a label printer Do you do you have a clunky process where you have to download

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your addresses one by one and then paste them into the labels Or could you find an

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app that would sync it with your Shopify All of these things are really good

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Just little almost if you can say five minutes per order when you've got a lot

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of orders that can make a real difference

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Oh I'm loving those Thank you I guess anything that could make your

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life simpler is would be fantastic

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Do your own Christmas shopping

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Yeah that was great Do you have any other sorts of um any other tips of things you

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maybe you can automate or ways of saving time Because I think these are just These

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are golden Catherine thank you so much

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I think one of the key things is to look at the streamlining the communication as

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well because talking to your customers is so so important but it can also be

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really overwhelming So if you don't have a separate email already for your

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customer services you may want to consider getting a separate email just you know

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most domains will allow you You can get like another email address for a small

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amount only a couple of pounds a month but where you could change make it to

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support@business.com Um so that you don't have you're not kind of waiting through

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and worrying about missing emails If you find it overwhelming because people DM you

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with issues you could put a little note in your Instagram bio that says for for

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uh customer service queries Please email this email address and then what you can

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do with the with the customer service email once you go separate just makes

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it easier to deal with And then maybe if you get busy enough that you have to you

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can hand it over to somebody else It's a great job that people can do remotely For

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examples if you haven't got space in to bring someone into your into your space

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to help you pack for example they may still be able to watch your emails for

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your or do something like that But then putting an auto responder on scene making

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it really clear because one of the things that people often get really worried

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about is that they want to do that instant response Oh my goodness I have orders

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to do but I've also got I've got these queries coming in and they think they

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have to immediately respond Whereas if you think about it if you emailed John Lewis

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they wouldn't respond within 20 minutes So make sure there's an auto responder

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that says thank you You know easy to set up Most emails systems will let you set up

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an auto email that goes out when an email is received that explains this email this

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address is monitored Um this this email is a monitored between nine and five Monday

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to Friday If you're uh we we endeavor to respond to everyone within 24 hours If

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it's really urgent maybe give them one way that they can contact you If it's like

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super urgent like Oh my goodness I've put the wrong address on and I absolutely have

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to tell you before it goes out like give them another option even Um even if you

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have a mobile phone that you purchased that is literally like a pay as you go

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sim or something brick phone you know like burner phone that's just for Christmas

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that just says like for real urgent queries Call this number And then you

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can relax because you know that the only reason you know number one the only reason

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anyone would ever call that number was if it was urgent So you'll know to re answer

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it but you don't have to spend your whole day sitting there monitoring your emails

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and never getting anything done because you're so panicked that there's going to

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be something urgent comes up So I think that things like that can really make a

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big difference especially if it's you know you don't have a big team helping you That

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juggle between them I need to be packing but I'm worried about missing something I

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think can be really stressful So anything you can do like that where you you set

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expectations for your customers I mean you can't call the energy company on a weekend

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You can't call the health care You know um you know I've tried to call a big you

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know big healthcare company at a weekend which I had a question I needed an answer

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for at The weekend I couldn't get hold of them They said they'd be back there

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on Monday So I think small businesses sometimes feel like they have to be

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available 24 7 but you actually don't

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That's really good Thank you Um and I think along those lines I think Christmas

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obviously can be a really busy time of the year It can be quite stressful Um and some

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of us myself included um can't get into the habit of thinking as you said you sort

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of have to do it all but what are some things that you would say don't do over

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the Christmas period things that you would say actually don't do that now Just leave

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it to a January because I'm sure there are some things that fall into that camp

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Yeah pretty much anything that is to to is not to do with business as usual So

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if you're like I need to change email providers I need to change replatform

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My website need to change the theme on my website I need to Um I mean you know

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there's still time to to hire like a temp if you needed to get someone in quickly

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but if you needed to do major research into into getting it you know an employee

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and have to have a long lenghty interview process for example that's just not the

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kind of things Basically the only real focus in November and December should be

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on dispatching products marketing your business and delighting your customers And

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that is it has to be those those things Again big retailers They move everything

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out of November and December They don't attempt to do anything even from to be

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honest September is almost the last day I think that you want to be doing stuff

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in your on your business as it were And then those last October October should

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be preparing for Christmas and November December should be selling and shipping

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So anything that you've got on your list if you think oh you know I should stop

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Pinterest Oh I should check out Tik TOK Oh I should I should really have someone

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look at my SCO All of those things Those are January jobs So I think anything

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that you've got in the back of your head or maybe I should get this up before

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Christmas to be honest I think at the end of October it's just going to cause

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you stress It's just going to cause you stress and worry at a difficult time at

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a busy time of year And I say difficult I mean it can be very exhilarating I don't

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want to sound all negative but I think basically there's a lot of things you can

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take advantage of the fact that January is a bit quieter and you can work on them

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I would definitely not be looking to work on any major project in your business

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whatsoever Uh especially not say changing fulfillment centers or something like

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that Definitely not something like that

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Yeah I think you've already made so many people really happyby saying that because

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yeah it can be really tempting can't it to think I've got to get this sorted still

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I say the same actually even goes for things like if you're researching a new

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product or supply or even launching a new product I mean I'd say if it's especially

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if it's even if it is a gifting item but especially if it's not a gifting item oh

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gosh don't try and launch itin December

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No the only thing I'd say that sometimes you have to be cautious of is if you're

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a business that's got a really big Valentines mother's day um type business

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And you really know that there's new products that you want for that You

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kind of have to keep those ticking over If you're working on getting samples

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or working on that product development and maybe getting photography done for

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those because Just the same way that you go Halloween bang into Christmas

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Often you go Christmas bang into Valentine's day sounds which bonkers.

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But if you know, it's going to suddenly switch like that, or if you're somebody,

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for example, who sells a lot of wholesale.

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So you're dealing with retailers, people may want to know about your Valentines

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pretty sharpish after Christmas.

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So that's the, I think the only thing in terms of product

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development is to maybe have those.

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In your head, but again, the main focus.

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I mean, if that's not achievable it's not achievable, but yeah, just because

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I'd say if you've not done it by the end of October, you are not

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authorized to do it before January.

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Otherwise you just, you just stress yourself.

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Absolutely.

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I think that's so helpful.

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And what about, and what would you say for anyone who's listening and thinks?

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Well, I don't know if I'm, if my products are seasonal or I don't know

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if they will sell more in December.

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Because obviously there are people who sell things that are very clearly

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gift items, things that you would, you know, you would see as gifts.

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Um, what impact does Christmas have or does Christmas have an

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impact on other kinds of products?

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So products that maybe aren't as traditionally thought of as gifts?

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Because I mean, in theory, anything could be a gift things I buy my

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husband, but he's into sports and the random things he wants for Christmas.

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I'm sure those retailers don't think these are gifted items No, they are.

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It's generally it lifts everything I'd say.

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I mean, so for example, when I was at paper chase, I was running the

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stationary team and of course there was gifting stationary but you know,

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every all stationary lifted in December because people there's more eyes on

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the business, there's more footfall.

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Um, so I would say.

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There are of course there are products, you know, if you've got

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a very wedding focus business, for example, then Christmas may

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not be your biggest time of year.

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Apart from the fact that, you know, thinking about, could you have an

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element of your business, which is about, you know, your first Christmas

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as a married couple, that kind of thing.

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And also be aware that there's a huge number of engagements happen

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between Christmas and new year.

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Another example.

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So even if you think to yourself I'm wedding, which is all summer focused,

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it's just worth thinking about whether or not you'll get some peaks or spikes

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around the Christmas time period.

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Obviously, if you're really super summer focused brand, then it may be that you

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aren't as you don't see such a big bump.

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I'd also say arguably, some fashion isn't as.

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Seasonal It's not quite as focused on Christmas and less.

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Cause, cause it's tougher.

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It's tougher to gift fashion.

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You you'll get a bump for Christmas party.

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You'll get a bump for some people buying outfits for Christmas parties that

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usually happen sort of in November.

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You'll also get a bump for the carve the Turkey outfit as we call it.

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So people will buy themselves a new outfit for Christmas day and

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you'll see a bump in anything that's clothing related, that's giftable.

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So jumpers, scarves, hats, gloves, anything like that, that could

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be given as a gift, but sort of typical everyday clothing.

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You don't necessarily get as much of a lift at Christmas as some other products,

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but I'd say, I'd say the majority of.

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product categories.

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will see some kind of lift, even if it's quite utility, because

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again, utility can be a great gift.

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People gifting, you know, zero waste household cleaning

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starter packs, things like that.

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Somebody's really passionate about the re you know, reducing

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their environmental impact.

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So I think that.

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I would, I, I think I'd ask yourself, could this be given as a gift?

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And if you have literally nothing in your business that could be given as a gift,

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you know, just thinking about whether or not it's worth, maybe for next year,

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well definitely for next year developing a product that is giftable, or even a

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way of just making some of your products more giftable, because it is a huge, huge

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opportunity for you and your business.

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But, uh, there will be some, some products more than others that,

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that, that will, um, spike for sure.

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Okay, thank you for that.

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Because I mean, I'm with you that I think a lot of things are giftable,

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even if you perhaps don't, you know, if, if they're not obviously giftable,

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because you know, it depends, it depends more on the person that you're

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buying for doesn't it than the retailer that you're, that you're going to.

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And don't forget about gift cards as well.

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If you've got a shop and maybe your product, maybe it's quite niche, maybe

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it's to do with a hobby, but there will be a customer that will want

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to come and get a gift card and, and purchase it for someone so that they

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can go and choose their own items.

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So think about what you could think.

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EVeryone can participate in Christmas in some way.

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It's just working out how.

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Yeah, that's great advice.

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Thank you.

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I think giftcard is fantastic idea because as you say, if it's something very niche,

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it might be that, you know, I might not know what to get someone who liked fishing

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let's say for an example, but I could get them a gift voucher so they could go

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and choose what they wanted or needed.

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So that's, that's really good suggestion.

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Thank you.

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And I believe a lot of e-commerce sites, giving the functionality

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now anyway, don't they to, yeah.

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A lot of them do, and sometimes I think they do charge for it, but even if you

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had to activate it for November and December and have it, you know, workable

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for that and, um, and then go from there.

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But, uh, I think it's definitely worth trialing it at least to see if you've

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got a customer who wants to give your, your product, you know, you know, your,

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your niche product area as a gift.

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Well, that's great.

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Thank you.

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That's exciting actually, isn't it so many opportunities.

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So many opportunities.

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And I think that what what's really exciting about Christmas

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is that often you can kind of feel how the customer is thinking.

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So if you've got the product that the customer is looking for at this

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time, it just feels so much easier.

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Everything just moves easier.

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It's much easier to sell.

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It's harder to sell to a customer that's not looking for, I mean, it

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sounds really obvious, but I think it's worth remembering that that sometimes

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it can feel really tough to sell.

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It's like you're pushing water uphill, but at Christmas, your

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customers have money to spend.

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They want they really, really invested this year more than ever in creating these

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magical moments and creating memories in creating a lovely Christmas experience

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because so many of us did not have a great Christmas experience last year.

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So I think that we'll see more than ever this year is people really wanting

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those special items so that they can have those special times with family

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and have those memories, which sounds to be sort of super emotional, but you

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know, Christmas purchasing is emotional, but it is exciting as you say, because

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it's the time when the customers out there are looking for things to

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buy, customer's not always looking.

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We saw in the summer a real tip because the customer was busy, going to the

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restaurants and bars and seeing friends.

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So it was harder to sell to them because that wasn't what was

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at the forefront of their mind.

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Whereas what's at the forefront of their mind right now is finding that

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perfect gift for their loved ones.

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So if you can help them do that, it will just feel so much easier

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than any other time of the year.

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So it is really exciting.

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It's when you have the most eyeballs on your business, you're, you're just able to

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sort of test things and try things so much more easily and just see what happens.

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That's amazing, thank you.

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So let's jump even further ahead if that's okay.

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I've just got one or two more questions.

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So let's jump forward to January or 26th of December or whenever, you

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know, whenever Christmas is over.

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Yes.

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What do we, what could we be doing then?

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Um, because I know you were talking about, you know, we need to be planning early

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and I guess there's also something to be said for keeping up momentum, reviewing

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how you did, what should we be doing once Christmas sales are over, we've had a

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little break and we're ready to get going?

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Yeah.

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I think the best thing do little tidy out little housekeeping,

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make sure that you've changed.

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If you changed any of your product descriptions, which are definitely

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recommend it's worth doing.

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So if you've mentioned that something was a great stocking stuffer, for example,

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make sure that you've changed everything back so that it it's not referencing to

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Christmas, make sure that all of your imagery has been changed back and make

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sure that your home page is reflecting everything, your newest products.

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I think definitely taking the time to do a lessons learnt strategy type review,

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where you go through Christmas and you ask yourself how it went and you make yourself

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some notes because you think, oh, I'll never forget how this was, but you will.

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So it's always really good just to ask yourself, say what went well,

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what didn't go so well, not in a kind of finger pointing or blaming

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type way, but just try and be as scientific and as objective as possible.

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Think about which suppliers worked well.

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Did your courier company let you down, which of your sales channels, if you

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have multiple sales channels, which ones that those were the most successful, what

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kind of price points worked really well?

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When did the selling really kick in?

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So you don't panic next year.

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If, if you really found that, actually I didn't sell that much until the

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middle of November or the end of November, make a note of that.

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So that next year you don't sit there at the beginning of November

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thinking, oh no, what's happening.

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Make a note of what worked really well.

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What you sold out of that you could have sold more of if you had more to,

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to sell what you really thought was going to do well, but underperformed,

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what you didn't sell much of at all.

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What you've been left with, all of these things are really important

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to capture in the moment because you really just won't remember.

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It'll just slide.

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It's like childbirth.

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There's just block it all out.

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So think about.

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Did the packaging supplier let you down.

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Do you actually really need to find something, you know, something,

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someone else for next year or really great questions to ask.

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And where do you want to target yourself next year?

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What do you want your sales target to be?

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Where do you think?

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What do you think it could have been?

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If everything had gone to plan.

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And also having a look at some of your, actually in January, some of the really

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big events, if you want it to be part of like a Christmas fair or Christmas

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market, some of the biggest ones, the most popular ones actually start putting in,

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putting out for applications in January.

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So again, if you want the biggest choice of everything you want to

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think, be thinking about it early.

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And then in terms of your customers, I would just make sure if you've been

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able to gather email addresses from people over Christmas, make sure that

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you start being consistent with your email marketing so that you can build up

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that relationship throughout the year.

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So make sure that you're, you're taking advantage of the fact that these people

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have bought from you and nobody's more likely to buy from you than

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someone who's already bought from you.

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So make sure that you don't just see it as a kind of one-time bump, but

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you actually use those relationships that you've now got with people who

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That's brilliant.

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Thank you.

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And you're right, I think an email list is one of the best things you

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can have in terms of having a group of people who've bought from you already.

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So therefore, hopefully like you like your products and it might

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be interested in buying again.

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So yeah, I think, I think that's a great thing that anyone who hasn't done after

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Christmas sort of getting your email list together could be until you retire.

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What am I trying to say in time for Christmas next year,

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seems would be brilliant.

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Yeah.

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So one final question for you.

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Um, what is the number one thing you would suggest people do to grow their Q4 sales?

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If, if, if everyone's, someone's listening and they're thinking, oh,

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there's so much I should be doing.

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Um, I can only think of one thing.

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What would the main one be?

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I think the main one is really focus on your excitement, which sounds

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like a bit of an odd thing to say.

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But by that, I mean, if you're not excited about your product, then

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why would your customer be excited?

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So you really have to ask yourself that question and it can be hard because you

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can be looking at a product, especially if you started looking at it in January

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and you're just getting into Christmas now, I'm thinking im sick of this.

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I've seen it so many times.

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I don't care anymore.

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I'm sure everyone's going to hate it.

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You know, all of those things and you just have to really connect with why is

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this the best gift for your customer to give to their loved ones at Christmas?

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How are you helping them have an amazing Christmas, really connect with that

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because as soon as you get that sort of fire in your belly and you get excited

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about it, That shows up in everything that you do, it shows up in the words

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that you use in the emails that you write.

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It shows up in social media for sure.

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If you're on something like Instagram and you're talking about it, you can

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all tell, like, when you, when you see someone talking about something

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where they're like, okay, we've got these, you know, you've got these

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things and the news on the other hand, you may see someone who's like, oh

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my goodness, I just got the samples.

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They've arrived.

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They look amazing.

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I can't wait to get this up on the website.

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You immediately get drawn into the person who's got that energy.

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It's the same thing as if you go to a Christmas market and we've probably all

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been to these events and you'll see, some people will be on their phones behind

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their store, not making eye contact.

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And then you'll have the person who's over there saying, hi, how are you?

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Waving and smiling at everyone, even if it's pouring with rain, you know,

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and you just get drawn to that energy.

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You get drawn to people who are excited about their products.

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People want to buy things that people are excited about.

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They want to buy products that are going to really delight their loved ones.

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So you have to really believe in it.

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And I think that actually has a real impact because it gives you

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the, the energy to keep going.

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It makes everything that you do just much more appealing to the customer

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because they feel like, well, if you're that excited about it it must be great.

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And it also just makes it more fun.

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I think, I think if, if, as much as you can possibly think of it as having

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fun, showing up, helping your customers celebrate Christmas with their loved

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ones, I think that is almost the most important thing that you can do.

Speaker:

And what does it, what does it mean to protect that energy?

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Do you need to.

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Say no to other things in your life.

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I mean, I'd argue if you run a product business that in your personal life

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is probably a lot that you shouldn't be doing in the fourth quarter.

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I don't get a new puppy or move houses, obviously, you know, life

Speaker:

happens, you can't avoid it, but thinking about what, how can you keep

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the rest of your life a little bit quieter during that time so that you

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can rest and not just feel completely overwhelmed and run off your feet.

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That's so brilliant advice.

Speaker:

Thank you so much.

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And I really liked what you said about the excitement, because you're right.

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I mean, selling products in itself is exciting.

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It's exciting when someone chooses to buy from you, but someone choosing to buy

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from you for someone else, like this is a whole other thing it's super exciting.

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You know, your gift might make someone's Christmas, I think is good.

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So I think you're right.

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And it's really easy to lose sight of that among the to-do lists

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and everything else for sure.

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You're welcome.

Speaker:

Well, thank you so much for that and for everything that you've shared

Speaker:

today, Catherine, um, where can people come to find a bit more about you?

Speaker:

So I most often found on Instagram.

Speaker:

I'm at resilient retail club.

Speaker:

So come on over, I share tips about growing your sales, about managing

Speaker:

your stock about everything to do with having a profitable products list.

Speaker:

Oh, that's amazing.

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Well, thank you so much.

Speaker:

Thank you so much for listening all the way to the end of this episode.

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If you enjoyed it, please do leave me a review that really helps

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other people to find this podcast.

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Make sure you subscribe so you don't miss any future episodes and do tell

Speaker:

your friends about it too if you think that they also might enjoy it,

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you can find me at vickiweinberg.com.

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There you'll find links to all of my social channels.

Speaker:

You'll find lots of more information.

Speaker:

All of the past podcast episodes and lots of free resources too.

Speaker:

So again, that's vickiweinberg.com.

Speaker:

Take care, have a good week and see you next time.

Speaker:

Thank you so much for listening right to the end of this episode.

Speaker:

Do remember that you can get the full back catalog and lots of free resources

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on my website, vickiweinberg.com.

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Please do remember to rate and review this episode if you've enjoyed it

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