Yesterday my client and friend Maya told me she wants to spend more time making things and wants to spend time with women her age doing something other than talking about their kids. Because she recently left her job, she also needs to bring in some cash in the next couple of months. My job was to come up with a way for her to accomplish all three without her having to get another job.
I suggested she gather her girlfriends and between now and Christmas have several “make and take” parties. Here’s the attraction: Most people have to come up with some holiday gift ideas. Even if their own families don’t celebrate with gift giving, they give tokens of appreciation to their child’s teacher, mailman, hairdresser or petsitter. Everyone appreciates a handcrafted gift more than a mass produced store-bought item. This is an opportunity to cross a few items off their shopping list while having a good time with friends.
Maya has a lot of simple craft project ideas that don’t require artistic skill. Not everyone knits or sews but who can’t handle sequins and a glue gun? She was concerned about the idea of making money from friends. This is a common concern for many newbie entrepreneurs and a topic for a whole other article but I reminded her that none of us think of it that way when we’re invited to a friend’s Pampered Chef party. I recommended she purchase the materials wholesale, add enough markup to price the supplies at retail and add an instructor fee. So for example, if the materials cost her $10., she would charge $25 for the class. To keep with the party atmosphere, she could either supply refreshments or ask everyone to bring either an appetizer or a bottle of wine.
She could also offer pre-made kits so that attendees could purchase supplies to make more of these same crafts at home.
When we got down to the nitty-gritty of how to structure the events, I suggested she think of the Mary Kay model.
If you’re a Tupperware representative, you invite your friends to a party where you introduce them to products. Ideally they purchase and you then ask those attending to host their own party with a whole different group of friends. For example, in Maya’s case, she has friends from her previous job and women in her neighborhood. Those would make up her initial guest list.
So how do make this sustainable after the initial few parties? It’s all based on friends of friends continuing to invite friends to have fun. What if you’re new in town and don’t have a network of girlfriends? You can offer your “craft party” service to women’s organizations. Women’s groups are always looking for new speakers and actives. Google and make a list of women’s groups and there you go. New business and lots of new girlfriends.
At the first party, Maya will invite the attendees to host their own parties. Some of those women will have a whole different group of friends from their church or other women’s organizations. As an incentive for guests at each party to host their own, Maya will offer the hostess a percentage of the total “take” off the price of her own items. When I did this with handcrafted jewelry, it worked beautifully. If the revenue from a party was $1000., I’d offer the hostess $100. credit for product.
How do you keep the business going after Christmas? Aside from all the holidays (Valentines Day, Mother’s Day) there are plenty of occassions where girls just want to have fun. It’s the reason women get together and play Bunco or go to Paint Your Own Pottery or the newer Wine and Paint parties.
The idea can be extended to Bachelorette parties-making crafty reception centerpieces. For someone who wants to have a profit center based on crafting and fun, Make and Take Parties are a viable, sustainable business. It’s also a great way to turn those unused craft supplies into cash. For more tips on turning your craft into cash, go to the right of this page and get gobs of free goodies.Lets Connect