What I learned about hosting the 2014 “Handmade with Love” Holiday Gift Guide?

What I learned about hosting the 2014 “Handmade with Love” Holiday Gift Guide?



  1. First and foremost the most crucial component of prepping a Gift Guide is TIME.  Make sure to give yourself enough time on the Front End and on the Back End, FOR LIFE.  Because, it is definitely going to go on regardless of what you have to do.
  2. Be Clear.  Decide up front who your target audience will be. Research and Reach Out to those who you feel will meet your criteria.  Pick Your Categories and Advertise in Places that you think you will find participants best suited for each category.
  3. Create a Detailed Marketing/Advertising Plan.  Decide on the front end what is expected from each participant, and what you as the host have to offer your participants. (Provide information on how many people you reached in previous years, if applicable.  And, what avenues you utilized to advertise)
  4. Create Realistic Deadlines.  Stop accepting Applications After that Time.  Provide Participants with Hard Deadlines that you can stick to.
  5. Work your Plan.  Use All Available Social Media Outlets to get the word out for your Gift Guide.  Create a HashTag (#stagepresentshandmadewithlove) and Encourage All Participants and Sponsors to Share Info Across the Board Using the Same Hashtag.

Things I would probably do differently.

  • I would probably charge a nominal fee for those wishing to be showcased in the Gift Guide.  For no other reason than, time is money. I would also hope that if you put money out for advertising, you would be more likely to do your best to promote the Gift Guide.
  • I would probably start the Entry Process out at the end of September, beginning of October.  I feel this would give applicants, more time to get their entries in.
  • I would publish the completed Guide Mid-November.  I feel this would allow the items and shops that are showcased a greater lead time to get their items noticed.
  • Now, that I have Year One, under my belt.  I have a template within which to work and I will request all necessary information up front, as to avoid the constant need to reach out to applicants, and wait for their responses. **I know everyone is busy during the Holiday Season.**

Things I would not change.

  • The completed project.
  • The amazing artist/shops that were showcased.
  • The opportunity to help share their talent with consumers.
  • The opportunity to promote Hand Made.

Again, I want to take the opportunity to thank all the participants and the Sponsors that contributed and participated in the Gift Guide, the corresponding Giveaway and its promotion.  I could not have done it without you!!

“I feel like every project I work on is a dream project, so long as I am learning.”
Simeon Kondev