The Independent Designer's Holiday Checklist

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In fashion, the holiday season is famous for serving an unrivaled amount of stress—and that’s just for the shoppers. As a designer (especially an independent one) November-December’s overwhelming wave of sales can almost feel like more trouble than they're worth. Not only are the mechanics of tracking/shipping orders a lot to manage, but the stress of constantly staying creative can put you on a fast track towards burnout. We’ve created an easy, five-item checklist to ensure that your business—and mental health—stay above water this holiday season. 

Organize, organize, organize

Google Sheets should be your best friend year-round, but it becomes a literal guardian angel over the holidays. Make spreadsheets to keep track of orders, design progress, shipping, and invoicing—as well as checklists for any random admin tasks that come up. This not only keeps you from going insane, but prevents any customer service hiccups. 

Do as much as you can in advance

Get your repetitive tasks out of the way before holiday orders start flooding in. Write thank you notes while watching Netflix, set up a packaging station, or create a blank spreadsheet to organize invoices. The more boring to-dos you complete now, the more creativity (and free time) you’ll have when purchases start piling up.

Invest in helping hands 

Hiring a social media intern, packaging assistant, or freelance accountant is something to seriously consider if you’re preparing for a stressful holiday season—especially if this is your first as a brand. While it requires a small financial sacrifice, the peace of mind and/or guidance you receive is worth calling an investment. 

Set boundaries—and honor them

It’s hard to keep burnout at bay when you’re a one-person-show, but it’s not impossible. Set (manageable) goals for admin hours, creative hours, and rest hours—and stick to them. Working in blocks of time—and shutting down when you need to—is way more productive than working for 30 hours straight with no sleep, two brain cells, and countless cups of coffee. 

Be transparent

Right before holiday shopping really kicks off (so, like, right now), make sure your customers know your design progress. If your items are made-to-order with a longer wait time, that should be clear from the jump. If you’re the only person handling designing, packaging, and shipping, set realistic expectations. Most importantly, emphasize the fact that you’re a small business—and thank customers for shopping small during the most hectic sale season of the year.


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