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How are brands getting ready for the holiday season?

Brands have spent months thinking about the giftable products they want to sell over the holiday season.

Alcohol-free drinks brand Kally is selling tasting kits as part of its range of seasonal products this year. (Photo: Kally)
SEASONAL SHOPPING

This summer, Katie Mitic was busy thinking about Christmas.

She is the co-founder of SomethingElse, a company that creates non-alcoholic drink brands, and which was getting ready for its first ever holiday season. What could it offer shoppers looking for gifts?

“In July, we started thinking about what we could offer that’s interesting — and in August we had to make a decision because we would have to bottle the verjus,” Mitic explains, referring to the young chardonnay grapes used to create the tart, wine-like drink that Kally, SomethingElse’s first brand, sells.

Christmas can feel like it’s coming around earlier every year — and with just under six weeks left until the big day, brand announcements revealing seasonal products are now coming in thick and fast.

Plenty have already revealed what they have in store. Hydration brand Waterdrop is selling a variety of advent calendars, with each window revealing a different flavored tablet to add to water. Beauty brand Eadem has announced that it will sell a bundle containing its three hero products, in full size, at a discount of 18%, while Glossier has launched a festive-flavored lip balm. Olive oil brand Brightland has put together a giftable four pack that contains mini versions of its top selling oils.

While once upon a time, the immediate run-up to Christmas would have seen the busiest shopping days of the season, today the timeline has inched forwards by a number of weeks. Last year, retail tech firm Sensormatic said that its data shows that Black Friday — the Friday after Thanksgiving — is the busiest shopping day of the winter months, with the Saturday before Christmas day and Christmas eve taking the second and third spots.

Amazon announcing that it would run a Prime sale in October has also convinced some brands to push their seasonal schedule even earlier — puzzle brand Jiggy, for example, used the sale to test appetite for seasonal goods before going bigger on pushing holiday products.

There are a few tricky things for brands to navigate this year. The timelines for getting hold of materials and packaging are still a bit up in the air following ongoing lockdowns in China, while it’s also not entirely certain whether shoppers may cut back on spending this year, given rising inflation. Many brands have opted to bundle products together — reducing the risk of being left with product that can’t be sold once the holiday period has passed.

As for SomethingElse, which launched its first alcohol-free drinks brand Kally in January of this year, it has decided to launch two products for Christmas. One is the ‘flight night’ bundle containing six cans of Kally’s non-alcoholic spritzers, plus some tasting materials. The other is a cocktail kit, containing a bottle of verjus plus a guide for making cocktails with it.

“We were thinking about how evergreen are these SKUs we’re creating, and could they also be useful for dry January, which is like our second holiday season,” says Mitic, adding that because the two kits are comprised of products Kally sells year round, it will also be able to accommodate higher than anticipated levels of sales. “The risk is always being over or under — but we feel comfortable that we’ve created cushion in either place,” Mitic says. She says that if Kally were to run out of kits, it could get the new bundles made up and ready to start selling again within a week at most.