2. We participated in every holiday business activity — streetside ice carving, Christmas strolls, Black Friday, etc. — without fully understanding the staffing concerns and greater-than-normal exhaustion that it would put on all of us. We hired up quickly.
3. Rather than package “just in time,” which we did for the first few years, we moved to a large packaging push in late September to satisfy the demands of OND from all of our distribution partners. In that first few years, we were picking up the phone and saying, “OK, another two pallets on the way,” and we’d rush around getting the batching processed, bottled, palleted and sent on the way, only to start over immediately when the phone rang again. In the past few years, we’ve had the benefit of being able to look back at sales trends of our brands and package for OND accordingly in September.
4. Moving the company holiday party to January is something we did the first year. There was just no way that any of us could walk away during the last weeks of December without worrying about not being there for our customers. So, we find a day in January, shut down everything, grab a few
buses and get everyone off to somewhere special where we can celebrate together.
5. We’ve taken to bringing in a traveling massage therapist for our tasting room staff during that last week leading up to Christmas, buying all of our staff coats and other warm fuzzies (onesies were a real big hit one year) and gifting everything to them before the season was over. We have food brought in to the tasting room the night before Thanksgiving (Friendsgiving) because we know they’ll be slammed. We also hire someone to shovel the sidewalk for a few weeks allowing us to concentrate on getting things done, overall just lightening the load a bit.
6. We don’t yet do special packaging for the holidays, other than a nice bag for bottles sold from the tasting room. We stick with what we do, day-to-day, in all of the non-OND months and try to avoid adding additional chaos of new labels, special boxes, colorful neck tags, or whatever else. Moving from fuel and IT to hooch took some getting used to and we had to cock up a lot before finding the general path to make things work smoothly for us during OND, but we got there. You will too. Cheers and be merry.
John and Courtney McKee are the owners/founders of Headframe Spirits and Headframe Spirits Manufacturing in Butte, MT. John thinks there is a special place in hell for companies that start playing Xmas music in their stores before Thanksgiving.
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