I know a lot of you love hosting parties, hanging out with friends, and crafting as much as I do. So, if you are interested in hosting your own crafting workshop, here are a few ideas and tips. I think anyone can replicate this. And I also think that anyone can raise a little money for a local cause while doing it. (That’s just my little plug. If you are getting together anyhow, it is nice to make it make a small impact on the community.)
For a sign-making workshop, it’s kind of important to have everything you need to make signs. I wanted to make sure that everyone had everything they needed and didn’t have to bring anything with them.
Jen helped me come up with a list:
- Barn boards (18 inches long, with variable widths based on the size of the boards)
- Paints (We used paints we already had and then I added a few different colors from Home Depot. The sample sizes would have been plenty, even for 40 people.)
- Designs (Jen put together four different designs for guests. Some were simpler and some were a little more complex. They were all 6×18 inches. I printed them on ledger paper, which is super cheap to print at Kinkos.)
- Brushes (I bought small brushes in bulk at Michael’s. They were all different sizes, but small enough for detail work. I also picked up 1-inch and 2-inch brushes for the background.)
- Paper towels, jars of water, pencils, pens
Jen put together four designs for guests to choose from and I printed them on ledger-sized paper. These became the templates. Some were more difficult and some were quite simple.
Once I knew I had plenty of space, I invited nearly every woman who I knew and had an email address. And if I didn’t have email addresses, I invited them via Facebook. And I also pushed it a lot on my Facebook page, fan page and blog. By reaching out to other women and sharing the importance of Dress for Success, I also had some wonderful promotion from other women I respect and admire. (Thanks, Jen and Miss Effie.)
For something like this, e-vites are key. Invite people early and remind them often. I set up a simple spreadsheet to track RSVPs and reminded non-responders twice in three weeks. At that point, I assumed they weren’t going to make it, as I didn’t want to bug them.
But the real key is the responders. I always, always, always send a reminder email to those who have RSVPed to attend a day or two ahead of the event. This is important whether it’s a family dinner, a home party or a formal dinner. For this event, I reminded them about the cause again and asked them to share the cause with their friends or family members. From that email, I not only received more RSVPs, but also more donations.
In my opinion, if you are asking people to donate to a cause, you must make it worth their money. What’s in it for them?
In this case, I think that anyone who came felt like they really got a lot. Jen provided instruction and expertise. I provided the boards (Ryan cut them from barn board so it was free to us), paint brushes, paint and other miscellaneous supplies (sandpaper, paper towels, templates, etc.).
Over the course of a few hours, guests went home with a custom sign for their homes. And they looked really good.
(I also provided food and drinks, which can be important. I probably could have done less for this, but I like to have plenty of food.)
*Tip: Provide something really special.
I also decided early that I’d like guests to go home with something else. This does not have to be major, but I think showing people that you thought of them is important.
Also, swag can be useful. I purchased canvas aprons for every guest. (I bought every single white and off-white craft apron in the bi-state area.) They served a purpose – keeping people from getting paint on them. They were fun and interactive – I provided fabric pens and ribbon to decorate them. And they were cute – they looked seriously adorable in pictures.
This type of thing can get expensive. If I were doing it again, I’d probably attempt to find a sponsor for this. Or, I’d make a simple half-apron from an IKEA dish towel and two ribbons. But, I really wanted the aprons so I went for it. And I’m glad I did because people LOVED.THE.APRONS.
(I also thought that people would take the paint brushes home with them, but most left them. Which is awesome because I won’t have to purchase them when I do this again. Oh yes. I’m doing this again.)
*Tip: Embrace the swag.
I’m a big proponent of structure.