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Well, I made it through my first holiday season with Pine & Boon! Thank you to all my lovely customers and partners for supporting my small business!  While, I am celebrating the success, I also am so happy to have learned so much.  Let me explain... I felt fairly relaxed in November, since I was out of town for Thanksgiving, and did not offer any promotions because of it. I am still recovering from moving my living space and studio in November as well. Then, there was a big restock order that I completely unexpected. Now, I am writing this having just cried for dropping an order in the mail slot at the post office without a stamp. I literally shed blood AND tears for these orders.  I stayed up until 2am last night, and boy did I learn a few things.  I thought I would share the following tips for other makers and customers who want to know what it is really like to be a maker.

Holiday Survival Tips for the Small Creative Business

1.  Remind customers of your shipping polices.  Trying to rush for a few customers quickly turns into a big losing an order to the post office gods.  Currently, I state on my website every item is made to order and ships out in 5-7 business days.  However, I have never taken that long to ship an order.  But in times like this, sticking to my policy is much needed.  Be clear about order deadlines, and even communicate to stockists re-stock order deadlines for around the holidays.

2.  Do not stay up late working on orders.  This may be okay for makers who paint or make jewelry, but my work is a little hazardous at times.  I use a lot of hammers, razor blades, and a very strong industrial sewing machine.  I sliced through half of my finger with a razor blade, and punched a major hole in the tip of my other finger.  I am typing this very slowly....

3.  Stay on top of supply and material orders.  This can be hard to do if you do not have a a steady cash flow. Twice my  leather supplier messed up my order.  Keep priority mail boxes on hand around the holidays, sometimes the post office runs out.  Change my December order deadline to the 5th, not the 19th.

4.  Get help and prepare stock.  Think about training a holiday intern and get a supply of stock ready and ship orders.   Also, prepare coupons and PR to stuff in each order.  I may not be fast, but I can be generous.

5.  Re-think my designs to make them more efficient.  How can I be more realistic about production but also keep my design aesthetic?

6.  Sacrifices will have to happen, but remember to take at least 5 minutes to meditate and do a little yoga every day. Nothing is worth not taking care of yourself.


  1. Jess, you are so brave to be posting this honest assessment, but I think so many people can relate to what you are going through and will feel relieved to know that they are not the only one feeling overwhelmed. You are a marvel and an inspiration!

  2. oh my jess! you can't go on slicing fingers/punching holes in yourself! do take 5 minutes to meditate OFTEN and set aside time for yoga every day. you are doing an awesome job with your beautiful work and a self-assessment is an excellent and essential way to help you avoid repeating mistakes. keep going, and remember - slow and steady will win the race. take care of yourself!