apparently I am not the only person who likes tiny furniture.
March 28, 2013 2:17 PM   Subscribe

So, I'm running a fairy garden craft workshop in the store I work at in April. I've done this activity before when I worked at an after-school program, so I pretty much know what I'm doing with the actual crafting. However, interest in the workshop has been high enough that I would like to try running private workshops for people, and already have two people interested in hiring me for this. How do I figure out what to charge them, what do I offer to provide, and how do I find more clients if I want to make any actual money?

Basically, the workshop consists of me teaching participants to build dollhouse-sized furniture and houses out of natural, vintage, and recycled items. For materials, I collect a ton of twigs and seed pods and leaves and bits of bark, and I raid the thrift store for marbles and popsicle sticks and little flower pots and basically anything else that can be used for crafting.

I'm not actually expecting to make much money from the workshop at the store-- we mostly decided to do it to get some exposure. I'm only charging a $15 materials fee, and much of that will actually go to cover materials, especially since I'm going to have to buy some extra hot glue guns and twig clippers. But once I have those, I can reuse them for future workshops without any further outlay.

If I'm going to do private workshops, should I up my fee? I can do longer and more involved activities if I'm not using the store's space-- I could even offer the chance to put together a finished mini garden in a planter. But big planters are hella expensive, and I don't know if charging that much more per person is feasible.

For that matter, how do I find people who want to do this activity? I feel like it'd be good for kids' birthday parties, but that basically means hanging out a shingle as a party planner and I have no idea where to begin there. (I have planned a child's birthday party once before, and it went fine, but that was for someone I knew and I wasn't really in it to turn a profit.)

Honestly, this is something I do for fun that has turned out to interest a surprising number of people. It would be cool if I could make a little bit of extra money doing it, but I'm a bit intimidated by the logistics. If anyone has any resources or ideas, I'd much appreciate them, especially if they're local to me-- I'm the in the Washington, DC area.
posted by nonasuch to Work & Money (2 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't think you have to become the planner of the entire party. I would bill myself as more of an entertainer that comes in and sets up a workshop with the kids but isn't involved in planning anything else. You can just establish what you need them to provide, which is probably just a big table, and make it clear that you'll bring everything else.

Depending on what city you're in, you might try as a way to promote your classes to adults. I would also look at how places that host children's birthday parties promote themselves. You wouldn't be hosting, but you'd be trying to reach the same target audience of parents trying to plan a party. You could also maybe try to partner with a children's party venue.

Maybe also reach out to women's clubs and crafting meetups on Your local public library might be looking for people to teach crafts. You wouldn't have as much freedom to set the price probably, but it could get you exposure. Hobby Lobby and Michael's would probably pay you to teach this kind of thing.

I would definitely charge more than $15. I would say you could go as high as $20 or $30 for a class plus a $15 materials fee.
posted by Colonel_Chappy at 2:32 PM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you are going to people's homes, you should charge a hell of a lot more, especially if you are providing materials. For the planter idea, I think it would be reasonable to ask people to supply their own planter, or offer it as an add-on. E.g. "$40 per person + $20 for a planter (optional - you can supply your own if you prefer)."

Don't forget about travel time, and fuel costs, and also that you might need some sort of extra insurance. (Presumably for classes at the shop you are covered by the shop's insurance).
posted by lollusc at 6:39 PM on March 28, 2013

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