How to avoid the fireworks of expensive mishaps this winter

Posted 03/11/2022 in Tips for Crafters

In generations past, autumn was a season when everyone, from farmers and housewives to business and land owners would be preparing for winter. Depending on the geographical location and time period, this would have involved gathering in the harvest, storing, bottling, and preserving it, salting meat and smoking fish, making candles and foraging.  Wood had to be collected and stacked, not only to keep homes warm, but to fuel the ovens and fires of businesses. Grain would have been bought and stored for bakers’ use throughout the winter, dried goods bought in and enough fleeces stacked up to supply spinning wheels and looms over the long cold months.

This has been a way of life for centuries, it’s even reflected in the animal kingdom where we watch squirrels forage and store nuts, water mammals fortify their river homes and birds fluff up their extra feathers. And although there are communities who still live off the land and prepare for harsh winters using the skills passed down from previous generations, industrialisation has meant that we have largely lost not only the need for this preparation but the skills to go with it.

It’s funny how these past two years have revealed many things to us, not least how vulnerable our supply chains are and how unpredictable life can be. So, as we look towards this coming winter, why not return to this mindset of preparation and plan for our businesses over the next few months?

So, what are some common sense preparations we can make to avoid mishaps which might lead to expensive insurance claims this winter?

1. First and foremost, ensure you have the correct insurance for creative businesses in place. Pick up the phone and we will help you work out the best deal for your business. This will give you the safety net you need, and peace of mind that if the unexpected does happen, you will be covered.

2. If you employ staff, it might be worth running thorough your workplace risk assessments again, updating anything which has changed and looking at it with an eye to colder, wetter weather. You will also need to have employer’s liability in place, whether you employ paid staff, self employed contractors or even have volunteers on your premises. As specialists in insurance for creative businesses, we can ensure you have the correct and most cost effective package in place so that you are not spending money unnecessarily.

3. This coming winter especially could bring financial squeezes for most people, small businesses included. Take a look at your overheads; is there anything you could cut down on, or any ways you could work differently to keep overheads down?

4. Do a thorough stock take of your raw materials, the packaging you will require for both craft fair and online sales and any other supplies you will need. With prices on the rise, and the possibility of supply chain disruption, it’s a good idea to ensure you have all you need to enable your own product flow to continue smoothly.

5. If you’ve not done so already, book yourself into some craft fairs. There are a plethora of markets to choose from leading up to Christmas, from school bazaars to Christmas Markets in your city centre. To avoid an expensive fee and takings which don’t match this, do some research beforehand as to previous footfall and wet weather contingencies.

6. To make the most of your stall, and maximise on sales, check out reviews of the market, either online or by local word of mouth. If you can find out what other crafters will be there, then you can adapt your own products to complement theirs and thus increase customer choice and your takings. Although not a legal requirement, most craft fair organisers will require you have the correct insurance for creative businesses in place; in this instance, public and products liability.

7. Take a look at your display boards, storage boxes and any other equipment you need for a craft fair. Repair any damage, and think through your risk assessment. Are you or an employee hefting heavy boxes from your vehicle to the building? If so, could you invest in a pair of wheels to protect your backs? If you cover the table you’re given with a table cloth, check the length and ensure it is secured well to prevent a trip or slip hazard. Do you display craft around the stall? Is this done safely or could it be a trip of fall hazard? If you use drawing pins for a display board, make sure you’re meticulous about storing them in a pot so as to avoid anyone treading on one of them.

8. Assess your target customers for each market and ensure you have products to suit them; an abundant array of lower cost products for a local or a school stall, and some show stopping higher end products for the big regional or vintage fairs.

9. Plan ahead for online Christmas sales. We have already had postal strikes and there could be more. To ensure your customers receive their orders on time, are there other postal services you could use? If not, try to ensure as quick a turnaround as possible between orders being placed and sent out. It is especially important you have the correct insurance for creative businesses in place this year, given the unpredictability of factors beyond your control.

10. Finally, remember to take care of yourself. We all know that we’re more likely to make mistakes or have an accident if we are stressed or in a hurry. The lead up to Christmas is a particularly busy time, and it’s virtually impossible not to succumb to the strain of it all. So, in the midst of the whirl, make sure you carve out moments to self regulate, whether that be a rhythm of breathing slowly and deeply throughout the day, regular exercise, taking a relaxing bath in the evening or even carving out a quieter day once a week when you can restore and replenish your body, mind and spirit.

With preparations made, correct insurance for your creative business in place and a winter plan in mind, you can go forward into this season with a sense of purpose, not completely vulnerable to the fireworks which might come our way and able to celebrate all the good things the season brings.