Fall has many admirers. Among them: young women, who clamor for themed-events to celebrate the crisp weather and seasonal bounty with family and friends. Tanya Anderson, creative director at Wascana Flower Shoppe in Regina, Saskatchewan, can attest to popularity of fall fêtes. She’s figured out a way to capitalize on their popularity with events that lead to bonding and sales.
When she announced a recent workshop, “An Evening of Pumpkin Proportions,” for example, the event sold out in a matter of hours. To accommodate the high demand, she held it twice (on Sept. 3 and Oct. 2).
“Workshops are an amazing way to develop new relationships with our clients and their friends/families who may not be our clients at the time,” Anderson said. “We have a lot of fun, build community relationships, and have a chance to talk about the shop and all that we do.”
Priced at $65 (plus tax), the workshop included instruction, materials (large pumpkins, plastic to-go containers to line the gourds and seasonal flowers) and refreshments. Each workshop had 13 participants. While they created keepsake arrangements, attendees indulged in pumpkin-filled pies, cupcakes and cake pops from local bakeries.
“We wanted to take the workshops to a new level and present them as an experience that would come packaged as an evening out,” Anderson said. “The attendees left saying they wanted more workshops and more time at Wascana.”
Later this month, Wascana Flower Shoppe will host a “Monster Bash” workshop for kids and a “Fright Night” workshop with costumes and cocktails for adults.
Want to host workshop of your own? Here are some of Anderson’s tips:
- Tap into your Expertise. According to Anderson, Wascana designers are “very enthusiastic, funny and have a natural talent for teaching.” She and her team decided that using pumpkins as containers for their fall workshop arrangements would show their creativity and demonstrate their design skills. When devising fun nights out for your customers, talk with your team members and brainstorm fun, “out-of-the-box” themes for your workshops.
- Encourage Individuality. Workshops give you the opportunity to teach attendees standard techniques and new tricks while also inspiring them to tap into their own creativity. When delivering instructions, make your attendees feel included and comfortable by inspiring them to take your tutorial and make it their own. Additionally, be prepared for individual design questions, as participants often consider workshops “their private consultation on everything they want to know,” Anderson said.
- Partner with Local Businesses. In order to make her “Evening of Pumpkin Proportions” more of a night-out experience, Anderson partnered with four local bakeries, whose treats she served at the event. Working with local businesses helps develop mutually-beneficial relationships in your community.
Mackenzie Nichols is a contributing writer for the Society of American Florists.