Busy seasons are a blessing that may feel like curses sometimes. Survive busy seasons in your business by creating a handmade production line. Let’s talk a little more about this season!
I am so excited to enter this season with you all through this KKAME blog and serve you all with constant content to share and prepare for the most joyous – yet busiest – time of the year! Yes! You heard it, I said it, running a handmade business is not easy going and living on your own terms. It can get pretty busy and we are all going to dive in to this season together and talk about the busy hustle of preparing our handmade business for the up season and survive it!
We are going to kick off this season with tips to rock your handmade production line to prepare for gifts, favors, and craft fairs. Getting ready for these events is very exciting however time consuming and monotonous. Creating the same thing over and over again can become such a drag after a while and may feel like it-never-ends. I am here to hold your hand and let you know that YOU GOT THIS! Full disclosure, I have never participated in a craft fair yet however I am a big fan of bulk production for gifts (I love making and giving things to everyone around me!) and today I am going to share my tricks to this process with you.
Let’s dive right into it, I am as excited as you are, and let’s rock this holiday season together!
1. Set Goals
First on the list is to set goals for your handmade production line. These goals must be attainable and realistic. As I mentioned before – in my post about starting a handmade business – the key is to start small. I know as a maker our minds are just filled with endless possibilities and inspiration that we equally love and feel passionate about. Keep in mind that in order to be successful we need to go through these ideas with a fine tooth comb and pick just a few of these ideas to add to your goals.
For example, for a craft fair, pick your top three designs per category (hats, scarves, mittens) and make those in your color palette. Another word of advice is to determine your palette. Remember – too much selection becomes overwhelming to customers.
Reflect on your pace. How many items are you able to produce without losing your mind and still being able to attend to you family, friends, and work life? All of these needs to be kept into consideration. Now between knowing your pace and choosing your specific items to produce, you should now be able to set realistic goals for yourself.
2. Set up your environment for the handmade production line
The secret here is a clear set up = a clear mind. It is so much easier to concentrate when our mind is clear. If you want to increase you chance of making the most of the time you set aside for production, make sure to set your environment up for success
Another thing with preparing your environment is setting up your production area. This should include everything you need in order for the handmade production line to produce the item right at hand. Keep it organized and only have exactly what you need. This clear set up keeps your mind from getting overwhelmed.
3. Set aside a definite time
Time tends to just fly right by when you are working and in your creative zone. It is very important to keep balanced in all things we do – remember your hustle is serving a greater purpose that you yourself must attend to. Look into your schedule and see where you can set aside a definite time to sit down and attend to your production line and stick to it. Say you work for an hour in the morning then play with your kids for another hour and then return for another production setting. Don’t forget to eat, stretch, LIVE. If watching shows are your thing, tell yourself you are going to watch one episode while working then take a break.
4. Work in batches
Working in batches is the heart and key to a production line. Now that you have goals set, your production space organized, and production sessions defined, you are all set to begin your line.
Divide all materials needed to produce your item into batches. You can use piles, bins, trays, whatever rocks your boat to keep these batches organized. I like to work in batches of 3-5 items depending on what I a making. If I am working on a sunflower pot production line I will work in batches of three. Instead of having all my pots present, I will only have three pots and three wires available in each batch pile.
When working in batches you simultaneously work on each item based on steps. Again, with the example of my sunflower pots, I will work on the dirt portion first for all three pots, then the stem, then the petals. The magic of working in batches is when you finish the last step for each item you not only have one item done but you have three. This tricks your mind into thinking things are working faster and add up inventory quicker. It helps us refrain from thinking we are doing the same thing over and over again because the feeling of finishing three versus one item is much more satisfying.
4. Stay motivated
Staying motivated during production lines and the busy season is very difficult. We have so many things we want to make and try for ourselves but are stuck and committed to our goal and inventory production. It is crucial to stay motivated during this time.
Listening to music, podcasts, or watching shows on creativity extremely boosts our chances of staying motivated. Surrounding yourself with creativity tends to keep us pumped in what you are doing. There are tons of creative podcasts for small businesses and makers available to keep us going!
Holding ourselves accountable also helps. Posts photos on your account. Share your progress on your stories. Tell people what your goal is and what you are working on. Exposing yourself publicly is a great way to hold yourself accountable to achieving your goal and pushes you in a intrinsically motivating way. This also gets you encouragement from the maker community and extrinsic motivation. Keep pushing!
Got anymore advice in prepping and working a handmade production line? Let me know in the comments below! Happy making makers!