One of the top 5 trends in retail this year is hosting workshops or providing customers with experiences. If you’re a maker, this is a great opportunity to not only earn additional income, but it’s also an opportunity to get your business out in front of a new market and potential customers. Before you reach out to a retail store owner, I want to help you be prepared for what you need to know before you teach a workshop.
Whether you’re a hand lettering, felt flower, painted sign, sewing, knitting or any other artist in between, you might have already thought about how to get into brick and mortar spaces. So, you can use your expertise and teach people how to make something.
Here are 10 things to think about before you teach a workshop:
First, what are you going to teach and what is the finished product a workshop attendee will take home with them? It’s important to know exactly what you will offer, including dimensions, quantity, weight, etc. Workshop descriptions should be detailed so the registrant knows exactly what they are making.
Determine how long it would take for a newbie to make your product. You’ll find a variety of skill sets among workshop registrants. Some are craftier than others, so you want to allow for some extra time for those who may not catch on as quickly.
#3: Supplies & Tools
Not only will you need the supplies for each person to make their own item, but you might have to supply all of the tools too. Some retailers are prepared to host a variety of workshops and may already have multiple glue guns, scissors, pencils, rulers, etc. to provide those attending the class, but some retailers may expect you to provide the tools. Be sure ahead of time.
At first, you’ll have to make and show the retailer a sample of your work or the prototype for the class. If you then book a workshop with the retailer, you’ll have to figure out how much prep work you need to do for each person attending the workshop. For example, Maureen of All Spelled Out teaches felt flower workshops at our store, The Salvaged Boutique. She arrives to teach a workshop with all of the petals precut for each person attending the workshop. Amanda of The Sister Project Co. teaches cookie decorating workshops. She arrives with a laminated guide, premade cookies, colored icing in bottles with tips and she has this all prepped for each person attending the workshop. Don’t underestimate the amount of time it might take you to prep for a class of 9 or more!
This is sometimes a decision made between both the retailer and the maker/teacher, but be prepared to know how much you’ll need to reimburse yourself for not only the supplies and tools, but you will want to get paid for your TIME. Here are some things to consider:
- Supplies- How much time will it take you to purchase and gather all the supplies and tools needed for your workshop?
- Prep- How much time will it take you to prep items for each person attending the workshop?
- Travel- How much travel is involved?
- Teaching- How long will it take you to teach the workshop?
Depending on the size of your project, will you need a van or larger vehicle to transport supplies and tools for your workshop or will a few plastic totes suffice?
Boundaries are important when you run a business. You should have an idea of what your availability is for workshops. If the retailer offers workshops on weekday evenings and weekend days, have an idea of what works best for you and your schedule.
#8: Buy Wholesale
One way to help you save on expenses is to purchase items at wholesale prices. Darice is a great resource for this! Whether you’re buying tools or craft supplies, do your best to purchase them at wholesale prices. This will save you money AND as a result put more money in YOUR pocket!
#9: Personal Touch
This isn’t a requirement but making a great first impression counts! Leaving a gift and business card at each person’s station is a nice touch that people will remember.
No one likes to deal with the “legal” stuff, but it’s good to protect yourself, the money you invest and your time. Learn about the retail store owner’s policy regarding refunds, exchanges, payment, etc. Find out if they have a contract or agreement they want you to complete. If they don’t have one, but you do, ask them if they would be willing to review and sign yours.
It’s a good idea in business to have multiple income streams. I never recommend having all your eggs in one basket.
If you have a special skill to share, do some research and find local retail businesses offering creative workshops, reach out to the owner and see if collaborating is an option. It’s not only good for your business, but it could be good for the retailer too.
Do you already teach workshops? Share a tip in the comments for anyone just getting started!
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Since founding The Salvaged Boutique with her sister in 2013, Kathy watched her passion grow from a fun blog and hobby with her sister on the side of her full-time job, to a thriving brick and mortar home decor store. After running the store for years, she saw the need for an online community where small business owners could find resources. So she took it upon herself to create Savvy Shopkeeper, a blog and online business dedicated to educating, motivating and building a community of shop owners. From a full-time job to full-time entrepreneur, Kathy helps hundreds of store owners and makers navigate store ownership while running a store herself.