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A Festive Focus

Turn your passion for a specific holiday into a thriving seasonal business by getting your timing right.

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This story appears in the April 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Perhaps you want to sell Christmas knickknacks or Hanukkah gifts, or you specialize in Valentine's Day chocolates or Halloween wigs. No matter what particular seasonal specialty business you want to start, you'll need a bit of guidance to really have a happy holiday.

You've heard the adage that real estate is all about location--well, as trite as it may sound, seasonal businesses are all about timing. If you're planning to reap your windfall during the Christmas season, like all other major retailers, you need to get your proverbial sugarplums in a row at least six to nine months in advance, says Tom Dowdy, founder and CEO of National In-Store, a retailing consulting company and solutions provider in Sarasota, Florida. "Most major retailers have locked and loaded their [holiday season] buying programs before April or May of that year," he says. "So at that point, they've made their selections, estimated their inventory needs and placed those orders [to be shipped] in August, maybe before then." Thinking about Valentine's Day, Easter or any other major retailing holiday? The lead times are the same.

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