Loyal, long term readers might recognise this one! Brand new and updated for 2014
It’s not long until the big day…
In cities and towns across the land Z-list celebrities are getting ready to switch on lights…. mince pie recipes are being shared on Twitter… Jamie Oliver will soon be appearing on our television sets every 4.3 seconds.
But it’s not just celebrities that get to cash in on the Christmas rush – the festive season offers a great opportunity for the canny home entrepreneur.
Let’s start with why this is an ideal time to trade:
Christmas is a captive market of hungry buyers
One of the hardest things about selling online – or offline – is identifying the right market. With seasonal selling (Christmas, Easter and so on…) half the job is already done for you. You have a ready-made market right in front of you.
There’s a built in deadline
People want to buy right now. When shoppers are buying Christmas gifts or decorations they’re obviously going to want them before the 25th December. This means they’ve got a lot less time to ponder over their shopping decisions and are more likely to buy on impulse – particularly busy people with lots of presents to buy.
You can often make 200%, 300% even 400% profit (by doing nothing other than prepare in advance)
This particularly applies to the toy market. Whenever there’s a big craze – Beanie Babies, Tamagotchi, Furbies you name it (there’s always a half a dozen each year), there’s big money to be made. Look at Google Trends, the Amazon Bestsellers list and even Twitter to find out which products are selling out and then buy in bulk. Wait a couple of weeks until the shops run out of stock and then start listing them on eBay. Again that Christmas deadline works wonders as everyone panics that they’re running out of time. You’ll often find people are willing to go into huge bidding wars and pay over the odds.
5 ways to profit from the Christmas rush
1) Pick up Christmas jumpers, ties and hats and other novelty items cheaply NOW and flip them online for profit later
Love ‘em or hate ‘em Christmas jumpers are big business. Some companies insist their staff wear Christmas jumpers or hats at the office party… and of course they’ve always been a popular at friend and family gatherings around Christmas time. A lot of people will scramble to get hold of one online, about 2 weeks before the event. That’s where you come in with your stock of Christmas jumpers that you bought cheaply in advance. You should be able to flip them online for a 50% or 100% markup – possibly more if you were super savvy and bought excess stock in January. The best time to list these items on eBay or Amazon is late November right through to Christmas.
2) Get creative – tap into the growing market for ‘one off’ Christmas tree decorations
Christmas decorations can be picked up relatively inexpensively from pound shops or online, but there’s now a rapidly growing market for quirky ‘one off’ decorations. I’ve seen custom, one-off Christmas tree baubles with swear words written on the front selling for £4 – £7 each in the high street. They can’t have cost more than 50p or a £1 to make. That’s 700% profit for a swearing bauble. Bulk buy plain, good quality baubles in advance then customise each one individually. You could write personalised messages, stick on funky trimmings… get creative! People are often happy to pay more for something original.
3) It’s a great opportunity to sell a range of homemade and craft products
It’s not just swearing baubles, people will often pay more for all sorts of Christmas items if they’re branded ‘luxury’ or limited edition. If you want to go the online route, eBay is a great place to start as is Folsky which specialises in hand-crafted goods for the UK market. Think about the kinds of items people could put in Christmas stocking or hampers. If you’re a whizz in the kitchen you could even go down the culinary route and make Christmas jams and treats which you could sell at a local market.
4) Get up at 4am to buy up wholesale stock – then sell the same day for profit
One example of a product with huge mark-up potential is the Christmas Wreath. They can sell for £10, £15, £25, £50 or more. In London the place to go is the Covent Garden Market (which confusingly is in Vauxhall). There’s also holly, mistletoe and a range of other ‘bits and bobs’ that people like to decorate their houses with. You could customise these decorations and sell on for profit elsewhere. Check out your local weekend street markets – not all venues require a trading license to set up a stall.
5) Stock up during seasonal ‘loss leader’ sales
Amazon in particular is your friend here. Sales like ‘Black Friday’ and other Christmas offers can be a great opportunity to pick up a bargain. And not just in the UK. Amazon US has some great deals too. Last week they were offering the Panasonic LX7 camera for $277. The cheapest you can get it in the UK is £280 – £290. With the currency conversion that’s a huge markup (even after shipping and costs).
What’s great about this is that these tips could be applied to almost any events of a time sensitive nature. Take the Olympics in 2012. This was another fantastic profit opportunity – a ready made market of sports and athletics enthusiasts, as well as London tourists, who were looking for a memorable keepsake of the big event.
Think about what you could do to tap into other seasonal and sporting events.
This article first appeared on Insider's Edge. Read more and comment here