Making holiday décor profitable

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Kelco Industries had just a fraction of their holiday decor options on display at this year’s Cultivate. Photo by Courtney Llewellyn

by Courtney Llewellyn

Why sell holiday décor? “Joy!” was the simple response from Caroline Puller, the vice president of visual design at Seasonscapes. “It’s about the ‘wow factor,’” she added.

Puller was the presenter of “Providing Holiday Décor and Making it Profitable” at this year’s Cultivate’21 expo, and she said she’s been working on Christmas in one form or another for 33 years.

Growers grow food, flowers and trees. So beyond providing joy, why should a growing operation (outside of a Christmas tree farm) consider expanding its offerings to include all the shiny baubles and festive frills for the holiday season?

Puller explained that first and foremost, doing so creates an additional revenue line. It also allows some seasonal businesses to keep their staff working year-round. “You can be a one-stop-shop for your clients,” she said. “And 2021 is going to be a big holiday post-COVID – some manufacturers are already seeing panic buying. Sales for holiday items are already up three times over what they were in 2020.”

If you’re considering adding holiday décor to your offerings, you first need to purchase inventory. Puller said if you’re just starting in the holiday arena, ordering through online outlets and catalogues is okay, but they are generally sold out by October. If you’re a little more serious and want to go bigger, she recommended going to the Dallas Market Center (dallasmarketcenter.com/christmashq) or the Atlanta Market at AmericasMart (atlantamarket.com). “You can also consider purchasing pre-decorated holiday décor,” she added. “You sell it, then you buy it.” Customers will let you know what they want; you get the deal.

What do you purchase? Puller recommended keeping it simple. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with all the options out there. She provided basic tips: Have set themes and colors. Stock common items (things for trees and wreaths, ornaments and fillers). “Don’t buy props,” she warned. “That giant snowman may look cute, but it’s something you can’t sell and they take up a lot of valuable floor space.”

Some options for those looking to buy from well-stocked sources are BTF Wholesale (btf-wholesale.com), Kelco Industries (kelcomaine.com), OESCO Inc. (oescoinc.com) or Peak Seasons (peakseasons.com).

If you end up ordering things that need to be put together, Puller said to start production as soon as you can so you don’t fall behind – and label everything.

When it comes to what to charge for your goods, it really depends on what kind of profit you want to make and what your market is comfortable with. “Everyone’s situation is different, but take into consideration material costs, shipping costs, production and labor costs, storage and general overhead,” Puller said. (When it comes to labor, she also suggested pre-training your staff for decorating skills so they look like experts when it comes time to tie a thousand bows.)

Above all else, though, determine your expectations for the holiday season. What goals do you want to accomplish by expanding your business in this way? Financially, at what point would a décor option be successful? Puller’s final piece of advice was “Sell early – it’s the best way to grow your sales.”

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