First the idea....
Hand Felted Jewelry and Beads this past July and found myself wishing that I could take a workshop with Carol Cypher. I have been a fan for years as her work was the first that I had seen that combined felting with beads. I checked around but she wasn't teaching anywhere close by...Sigh. Maybe another time.
WAIT! I have a studio with plenty of space. I really, really want to take a workshop with Carol Cypher. Tampa has a large crafting community and a number of fiber and bead hobbiests. Maybe Carol could teach from MY studio. Hmmmm.....
Most National Instructors charge between $375 and $575 per diem, plus all expenses relative to travel and accommodations. A quick call to Carol confirmed that her fee structure fell well within these parameters. She had one open week-end before the end of the year and I snagged it!
[Yup---that's me. Leap first, consider the consequences later.]
[Gulp. Carol Cypher is coming to Urban Stitch Studio November 11-13!]
The biggest challenge: My customer email list is composed of Brick and Mortar Shopkeepers throughout the country, not crafters in the Tampa Bay area. Clearly, my existing email list is NOT going to fill Carol's classes. What to do? What to do?
[What if no one signs up? What if I am the only one in the class? What if there is a hurricane? First inklings of self doubt start to plague me. ]
NO! Failure is not an option. Carol is amazing. There is a dearth of amazing instructors in Tampa Bay. I just need to figure out how to make this work.
Ruminate. Ruminate. Ruminate some more.
BRIGHT IDEA! Clearly, I need to keep costs to a minimum. After some mental hemming and hawing, I got up the nerve to call Carol and asked if she would be willing to stay in my home rather than a hotel. We are almost pals, after all. I offered a comfortable bed, wonderful home cooked meals and even promised that my dogs were well behaved. [well...they are. Kinda sorta.] She graciously agreed. [Whew. OK, this might just work out]
Although I was able to save on hotel/car rental expenses, I still need to cover Carol's teaching fees as well as airfare, so it is critical to get the word out to area crafters. What is the best way to let them know that a Beading Rock Star will be in their midst? [Hmmmmm....While the store owners didn't want to take on financial risk, I wondered if they might be willing to jump on board in a different capacity......]
Ruminate. Ruminate. Ruminate some more.
BRIGHT IDEA. I sent an email to several local craft stores, choosing those who had some miles between them in an effort to avoid sending emails to direct "competitors" to the extent possible. My email was entitled "Cross Promotion Opportunity" and detailed my decision to host Carol Cypher at Urban Stitch Studio for a series of felting and beading workshops that might be of interest to their customer base.
I included a coupon code offering their customers 5% off any Carol Cypher workshop fee, as well as a 5% referral fee for each shopkeeper. Participating stores would agree to post a coupon on my site offering 10% off supplies purchased for the workshops. Finally, I offered each retail store owner who participated one free workshop with Carol.
I wanted to make participation easy, so I included a PDF flyer touting the event for electronic dissemination by the store owner. I figure that it is a win-win. I am not selling supplies that compete with any of the businesses that I approached, but we all have a similar customer base. The stores get to avoid the financial risk, have something fun to talk about with their customers, and get the AWESOME OPPORTUNITY to take a free workshop with Carol. I get to build my customer email list while fulfilling my need to work with Carol Cypher. Happy Sigh.
HOW COOL IS THAT?
Reaction has been very positive and the classes are starting to fill up. We still have some availability, so I figure that I will send out a press release as well as email all of the local bead and fiber guilds in the next week or so. I am totally stoked about this event, but am taking it one step further. I invited Felty Diva Marlene Gruetter of Marlene's Felting Madness to join us for the week-end, and to my delight, she will make the trek from Ohio. Carol and Marlene know and like one another, so I figure that it might as well be a slumber party! My husband agreed to head out of town to visit his mom for the week-end, which means we have the house to ourselves. In fact, I still have two extra bedrooms so if any Crafty Retailer needs a creative week-end getaway, let me know! The energy is sure to be INCREDIBLE and I am counting the days to the big event. I know it will be fun...but with a little luck and elbow grease, maybe it will be profitable as well!