Last Minute Collection Development Tips for Maximum Holiday Sales

When I had my wholesale business, July was always a stressful month for a few reasons. We had a dip in cash flow because July is typically the slowest month of the year AND we were always scrambling to finish our Fall/Holiday Collections at the last minute.

Following traditional wholesale markets and media calendars, right NOW is the time to have your collections complete! Why? Because if you want to capitalize on maximum exposure in all forms of media, wholesale and online retail, you need to be promoting your Fall and Holiday Collections starting now.

We’ve heard inside our community and during our RUYHS Q&A’s that a few designers were a bit stressed out because they didn’t have their collections developed yet.

The good news is you don’t have to panic if you’ve fallen behind schedule (or haven’t even started yet). Jewelry can often be seasonless, therefore there are ways to make your collection look NEW and Relevant without reinventing the wheel.

Here are some of my favorite Last Minute Collection Development Tips for Holiday Success.

1. Take a look at your best selling pieces and revamp

Best-sellers can often determine the direction of our new collections. Take a look at the best sellers in your collection and figure out new tweaks or design elements that you can add to prevent having to reinvent the wheel.

For example: if you had a best selling earring that was a layered hoop, consider changing the shape a bit and using the same layering concept just in a different shape.

2. Add new colorways or metal types

Building on the idea that what is old is new again, add new color stories or metal types to your best selling collections. Often revamping or changing the look with a new finish, patina or gemstone can make an old collection look brand new (I did this EVERY season).

Also, reinventing an entirely new collection just by tweaking the colorways can look nothing like what you did in the past, so it’s FRESH and new to buyers and raving fans.

3. Build on existing collections

Take a look at what is working in your collection and note the similarities between styles. Is it a specific texture or theme? A specific category of jewelry or design aesthetic? What can be added that is brand new to your existing collections to freshen them up?

Sometimes its as simple as adding a few new ring, earrings, necklaces and bracelets that build on what you already have.

4. Bring Back Past Best-Sellers

If you’ve been designing for awhile, look at your previous inventory of work. Did something work well in the past, but you pulled it for one reason or another? Maybe it’s time for that design to come out and play again.

Editing your collection regularly is good. But shelving great designs for life may be wasting your creative energy. Recycle them when they make sense with your current collection.

5. Edit out Duds

I am totally an “over-designer.” In the past I've been guilty of having too MUCH in my collections. Less is more. Remember, take a look at what you have and edit out things that aren’t quite working with the collection or are collecting dust and sell them at your next sample sale.

Cohesive collections are well-rounded, have at least 12-24 pieces in them and generally have a theme tying the collection together. Remember, you want to make sure you are staying in alignment with your jewelry niche. Well-rounded collections include a statement, gateway and upsell piece, as well.

In the comments below, tell us the following:

1. Which of tips are you going to use to develop your collection quickly?

2. What is your favorite tip from those listed above?

As you may have heard, the holiday season (or Christmas season as it’s called in certain parts of the world) usually produces up to 50% of a designers annual revenue. If that is not the case for you or you are needing a little kick in the pants to get more exposure and raving fans, check out Ramp Up Your Holiday Sales.

Enrollment closes for 2014 on July 30th. Class starts on August 5th.



  1. Catherine Marion on July 29, 2014 at 11:02 am

    The “building on current collection” is the strategy I will follow. I has made my daughters necklaces for the holiday last year using existing design elements. I wasn’t sure, however, about their marketability since I was afraid they looked “too sweet”. I wore one last night to the WJA Gala and had do many women come up to me to tell me how much they loved my necklace! So with that validation, I will do up these necklaces. With a little tweaking of the model I can develop earrings and bracelets

    • Tracy Matthews on July 29, 2014 at 2:16 pm

      Great to hear Catherine. Sounds like a great plan to develop some more categories for your line.

      xo, Tracy

  2. Megan on July 29, 2014 at 11:22 am

    Currently working on expanding current collections. The problem is I have so many “mini” collections of 3-6 designs that it’s challenging to decide which ones to expand and which to purge.

    • Tracy Matthews on July 29, 2014 at 2:16 pm

      Megan, Have you evaluated which are selling better than others?


  3. carolyn on July 29, 2014 at 11:31 am

    I too will be expanding on what I have. I have a lot of single pieces that could be expanded to include different types of jewelry with the same look eg. earrings in a style that could be made into a matching pendant, necklace, ring and bracelet.

    • Tracy Matthews on July 29, 2014 at 2:17 pm

      Carolyn: that’s it…yes turn existing styles into something that can be expanded on a design in your collection!


  4. Morgan on July 29, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    My collection is some what new (because I was soooo late to the game last year!) so I don’t need to add too much to it this season. So I have revamped some of my best sellers, edited out the duds and I am now creating one new design. It is really great to see this laid out so simply! This article has really taken the stress out of designing this “new” collection. Thanks!

  5. Peggy Li Creations Handmade Jewelry on July 29, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Tracy/Robin, I love these tips, they are a great reminder of why it’s important to have a second set of eyes, data, and to step back and look at your collection regularly. I’m guilty of never retiring designs and I know I should really edit.


  6. Melanie Rayner on March 28, 2016 at 10:33 am

    Revamp my best sellers great advice

  7. Sharon Daniel on August 17, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    I’m going to try and add pieces to past OOAK items to expand them into a collection. Some of the main items are gone, but, I will use the theme, idea/design for new items.

    • Tracy Matthews on November 18, 2016 at 10:18 am

      Good thinking – use what you’ve got to your best advantage!

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