Online shopping is convenient, but it doesn’t offer the personal touches of in-store experiences, and brick and mortar retail stores are far from dead. According to Adobe, more than 80% of holiday shopping in 2018 was done in brick and mortar stores. –Independent Retailer. As an independent retail store owner myself, my sister and I know the value we provide when we’re face to face with our customers. We started our business, The Salvaged Boutique, as a DIY blog in 2013, so when we opened our brick and mortar space it made sense for us to teach our customers how to DIY, too. This led us to hosting our first DIY workshop in 2015.
If creating isn’t your strong suit, don’t worry – you can still run a DIY workshop for customers by using creatives in your area who can. You can bring in subcontractors to run the workshops that you think your customers would be interested in.
Workshop Project/Idea That Will Sell: The first thing you need is a project idea your customers would actually be interested in. Ask yourself these questions: What would your customers enjoy? What are they asking for? What’s trending?
Instructor: Whether it’s you or a subcontractor, this person needs to be prepared to teach. They need to be knowledgeable about how long the workshop will take. Students will need step-by-step and specific instructions. (Note: if you are bringing in outside instructors, you might want to have a written agreement for them and a W9 if you plan on paying instructors $600 or more in the year.)
Project Prototype: Make a prototype of the project. You’ll need to photograph it for your listing and social media marketing. You may also want to have it in your store or the location you’ll be teaching the workshop, so customers can see it.
Project Supplies and Tools: In order to make your workshop the most profitable, source supplies at wholesale or discounted pricing. The most appealing workshops provide each student with the tools they need to work on a project. You don’t necessarily have to include the tools in what participants take home, but they should be provided for use. Workshops can lose appeal if the attendees are required to bring supplies with them.
Space: You’ll need room to seat a certain number of students while allowing plenty of space for each of them to work and move around.
Equipment: Once you have the room or space, you will also need tables and chairs. If you’re providing beverages or snacks, you’ll also need space and equipment for that, too.
Registration Process: Online registration is ideal, but if you don’t have an online shop you can use a platform like Eventbrite. Fees are a little higher, but the platform is easy to use and has everything you need to get started. Keep in mind that some customers may not be comfortable paying online. You might want to also offer the option of in-store registration.
Ideal Day/Time for Customers: Do your research. Which times and days of the week will work best for your customers and target market? Evenings, Saturday mornings?
Pricing: You’ll want to add up all of the materials, supplies, tools, time, effort, subcontractor fees and profit to calculate the price of each workshop. Don’t forget the cost of beverages and snacks if you choose to supply this, too. On average I see creative DIY workshops ranging from $45-$85+ but prices can vary nationwide and worldwide.
Pay Yourself: If you follow my blog, you know I preach this often – not only should your workshop fee pay for supplies and materials, but you want to pay yourself AND profit all at the same time.
Minimum & Maximum Seating: This is important because you’ll find yourself spending a lot of time planning and preparing for workshops. Setting a minimum number of seats sold will ensure that you’re able to pay yourself and the instructor. Setting a maximum will ensure you have enough space for everyone and their projects.
Registration Deadline: People love to wait until the last second. It’s human nature to procrastinate, so be sure to include a deadline to register. This will allow you to prepare for the workshop. You might have to buy materials or other items in advance. Giving yourself a week, or even a few days, will help with this.
Terms/Disclaimer: Workshop planning involves way more administrative work than most people realize. It’s easy for someone to cancel a commitment if they can get a refund or exchange. If you don’t want to end up with multiple empty seats, and want to avoid last minute refunds, you can add a disclaimer to each of your workshop listings explaining your refund/exchange policy.
One last bit of valuable advice – be unique and watch for saturation in your area. If three other businesses in your area are hosting hand lettering classes – be different. Change things up by bringing a new DIY workshop idea to your area.
Looking to celebrate National Craft Month this March? Not only are in-store workshops a creative way to celebrate, but they’re also great for driving customers into your store. Whether you’re running specials, or offering a National Craft Month discount, hosting a DIY workshop is the perfect opportunity for retailers to increase foot traffic and sales all month long.
Now, you’ve got everything you need to host a successful in-store DIY workshop! Drop your workshop questions and ideas in the comments below.
Thanks to our business blogger, Kathy Cruz from the Savvy Shopkeeper for today’s post.
You may also like -
Darice was founded in 1954, by Pat Catan, an entrepreneur from humble beginnings who valued hard work and dedication. Today, Darice Inc. is a premier manufacturer and wholesale distributor in the craft industry.