We might be in September, some of you might be looking forward to fall starting or already enjoying a slight nip in the air while sipping a pumpkin spice late and Halloween is more than a month away. BUT!!!!! If you are a surface designer, none of this matter, the time to get ready to launch new Christmas designs is NOW and if you haven't already, you need to start getting your portfolio and print on demand shop Holidays ready. If you are anything like me, chances are that the voices of your ancestors are screeching "But it's still 3 months away, stop rushing everything". But what your great - grand parents, grand parents and parents don't know is that when you are in business of creating patterns and artwork, you need to get in the mood and get ready to churn out those design a lot lot earlier than November and most professionals have been working quietly on designs for a few weeks nows (myself included).
the way people buy changed a lot
20 years ago, online shopping was just really starting to catch on and people usually started buying things for the Holidays in October or November, and in fact, until the pandemic there still wasn't much variation on that theme, people seldom shopped Christmas stuff before Halloween was even in the picture. Fast forward to 2022 and I kid you not I already sold 4 Christmas themed cushions, and quite a few Christmas stickers...in September, no less. The same kind of shopping pattern happened in 2020 and 2021 so it's not a fluke, it's really starting to be a trend. The reason for all this early shopping probably lies in how disrupted the supply chain got since 2020 and people no longer want to gamble and risk getting their order late for the festive season. With the world going upside down, people also got a LOT more attached to the end of year festive season as a way to get a solid dose of comfort and familiarity in a world that has quite frankly gone mad. Heck I went all out in 2020 with Christmas, and last year after an even crazier year, I found myself sipping hot chocolate watching an insane amount of Christmas themed romantic movies just to feel better and more relaxed. Like a lot of people, I usually start decorating for Christmas on the 1st Advent Sunday, which is 4 Sundays before Christmas and will fall on November 27 this year. The cutout date to order things so that they get delivered on December 24th in the US usually falls around December 10th, this means that after this date, Holidays themed sales will be on the decline and adding new Christmas themed designs to your shop will not be the best idea.
as a designer you need to think ahead
With Christmas themed items starting to sell in September, you should be ready to publish new work by the last week of September or early October, and really ramp up the uploads and marketing for these by October end, until the end of November. By the time everyone is getting stuffed with Christmas cookies and Mariah Carey's Christmas song makes you want to run away, is the time you need to start planning your New Year and Winter content, including Valentines Day!
Retailers plan their Christmas collection even earlier
When Deny Designs first contacted me to add me to their wholesale catalogue, I think we were still in June and the shop went live in July, with you guessed it, Holidays themed designs. The reason being that big retailers start shopping around for the holidays months in advance to allow for not only the manufacturer to produce a bulk order, but have it in store long enough in advance of the festive season so people get to buy what they need without rushing everything at the last minute.
our grand parents might argue we are rushing things, but really, who isn't completely swamped with events, gathering and fairs of all kind comes November? Kids recital, office Christmas party, the gym's end of year party, trying to squeeze in a few crafts sessions with family and friends, attend a few Christmas concerts. Comes November and the entire world wants a piece of us, and celebrate something with us, if you wait that long to start planning your Christmas shopping, you are going to find yourself burnt out before December 25th and resenting the actual day that is supposed to be all about family when it comes. Which is another reason why people shop a lot earlier now and why as a designer, you really need to key in on that shopping pattern trend right away, or else, you'll be a burnt out neurotic designer that not only went to too many weekends event like everybody else, you'll be overworked and stressed too.
create when in the mood and then shelve those designs until it's time.
If drawing Santas, Christmas trees and candy cane in July doesn't come easy to you, especially if you are living in a tropical area like I do, don't force it, instead take advantage of the fact that nobody will expect you to release anything new in December and draw those without the pressure to have them up for sale right away. I have a number of Christmas designs ready to go right now, and I created most of them in December last year. While following trends is paramount the rest of the year, for Christmas, it matters a lot less, people don't necessarily want trendy Christmas designs, they want comforting ones. It doesn't mean sticking to red, green and gold designs, but it takes the pressure off trying to figure out what is going to be the IT thing of the festive season. I have a number of Christmas designs in my portfolio and without a fail, every year, the ones I sell the most are my pink Christmas ones. Pink Christmas is not a new trend at all, it's been there a while, and people still buy it because it's fun, it's comforting and that's exactly what people want out of a holiday.