Christmas Customer Showcase

Christmas Customer Showcase

Read Time: 7 Minutes


06 Dec 2018


Christmas lights are being switched on, the smell of mulled wine is drifting through the air and you’re brushing off your festive jumpers. But we know that being a small business this time of year also comes with long working hours and last minute order pressure – all whilst trying to keep up with your personal commitments (we’ve been there!). We caught up with three of our customers to get their top tips for surviving Christmas as a small business.

Dash Design

First up, we caught up with Carla (and her canine assistant Dashy!), Founder of Dash Design, a wee, arty business based in the Scottish Borders. 



Tell us a little about Dash Design

Currently working from my kitchen table but with big dreams to grow, we provide utterly bespoke stationary, cards and gifts. Starting off with a few watercolour cards, over the last year Dash Design has really caught on in the local area and beyond. 

We now run calligraphy workshops, sell limited edition prints and create beautiful wedding stationary and signage. One thing that makes us unique right now is the personable element to each order. As we grow, I hope we never lose that! 

We’re not at website level yet (not enough time!) so every order is dealt with through social media and LOTS of messaging! We are also one of the few Borders bespoke stationary businesses and I hope there are a few things that make us stand out from the rest.



What inspired you to create Dash Design?

I was inspired to start up my own business as I’m afraid the office 9-5 just wasn’t for me – and I wasn’t for it! I love the outdoors and wanted the flexibility of my own work schedule to get out and about, invest in a few adventures, and enjoy my life! 

It’s good to know that I can work my hardest and earn a long weekend now and then but don’t get me wrong – I’m still learning and am no expert in time management yet! 



What’s your busiest period and how do you manage your workload?

Christmas is definitely the busiest time of year for me and it’s very much trial and error on best ways to handle the demand. This year I’ve been prepared and have set deadlines for orders and final calls while also managing my days well – pre-planning my diary so I can fit the work in and still enjoy the festivities! 



What’s your go-to print for Christmas?

Around Christmas I host calligraphy workshops and have been using the beautiful silk sticker option from instantprint. I also love velvet lamination on my business cards for a luxurious and professional feel and have been launching my first limited edition prints on A4 silk paper posters



What’s your top tip for businesses to survive the Christmas rush? 

My best tip for businesses around Christmas is to fully embrace the season and the fun that can go with it! Trying not to let the increased workload become a stress but an enjoyment means you’re doing well and potentially covering yourself for quieter Januaries when everyone goes into hiding with their pennies.


How would you recommend best maximising downtime over Christmas?

My best tip for managing your downtime around Christmas is to manage your time well and know your limits if you’re working with orders! For me, the option of printed products has been great as I’ve been able to prepare these earlier in the year to then minimise the workload in December. 

It’s so important to enjoy Christmas time with family and friends so the better prepared you are to sell, sell, sell early on in December, the more time you’ll have to relax and enjoy the Christmas pudding!



Next, meet Laura, Founder of Asikara, a vibrant, colourful, African-inspired fashion brand that specialises the in the production of contemporary textiles. 



What inspired you to start up?

I was inspired to start my own business following my university degree: I found job hunting, trying to find a place in the fashion industry, difficult. So, with the encouragement of my family and friends, I started my brand.



What’s your busiest period and how do you manage your workload? 

My busiest periods are summer and Christmas, when people have holidays, because that is when they want to spend a little extra on fashion pieces. Being organised and ready for anything is key because you never know what is around the corner.


What’s your go-to print product for Christmas marketing?

I’m currently trying to increase brand awareness, so flyers – which need good visuals – are a great, easy way to tell people about the brand. I can hand them out at events and even send them to repeat customers in packages.


What is your top tip for businesses around Christmas?

Make sure you have lots of stock and a good shipping system. Not all shoppers are savvy; some prefer last minute shopping, so make sure you have options that suit everyone.

And how do you maximise your downtime as a small business over Christmas?

Make sure you have a cut-off point, even if just for one day. Shut up shop and relax – you've earned it as much as anyone else. The more efficient you are before the holidays, the easier it is to continue that efficiency after your short break.



Diana Celine Photography

Next up, meet Diana – Founder of Diana Celine Photography, a family-run photography business. As well as new-born, family and pet portraits, they also offer specialised photography including fairy and Alice in Wonderland themes. 


What inspired you to start up?

I worked for a photography company and was expecting my first child. Just before going on maternity leave, the company had to move location quite a distance away. I decided that, after having my son, I wanted to work for myself and work my own hours – and I never looked back!


What’s your busiest period and how to you manage workload?

We are pretty busy all year round due to marketing and planning in advance. Christmas time, of course, is the busiest and we just have to be super organised. You end up working extra hours, however it’s worth it because we take 2 weeks off over Christmas and New Year to recover! We plan months in advance for all the seasons and always ensure we have all the leaflets we need for up-and-coming promotions. 



What’s your must-have print for festive marketing?

My favourite print, which we use for most, are our A6 leaflets with a heavy gsm to show we offer a quality product. This is the perfect for us; we can pop it in a bag or on other shop counters without being too imposing. 

I always print double sided leaflets as people love as much information as possible. I find it annoying when I turn over a leaflet and its blank... so much potential lost! I’ve also added Spot UV to our fairy leaflets, which added a touch of magic too.


What’s your top tip for businesses to survive the Christmas rush? 

Go the extra mile... it’s never crowded! Offer a gift voucher for them to give to a friend; give customers a little extra that they weren’t expecting and they will always recommend you.


And finally, what’s your top tip for enjoying your time off over Christmas? 

Remember that Christmas is a time for family and try to spend the time you do have doing things that make you smile. Switch off your computer, put automated replies on and don’t think about work!

But remember – although Christmas is important for your business and customers, it’s also a time that you should enjoy with your friends, family and loved ones too.



About the Author

Hey, I’m Brooke, a Client Service Advisor at instantprint. I’m trained as an expert in all things print and aim to answer all your most asked questions here on the blog.