How to Run Your Own Scrapbooking Retreat
By Patti Londre
Considering the number of excellent and diverse types of scrapbooking retreats, many croppers ponder if they could produce
a profitable weekend themselves. Patti Londre offers these tips:
1. Money Makes The World Go 'Round -- Be prepared to spend money before you ever make money - there are numerous elements that require payment in advance, so you need to have capital to start the process. Venue, supplies, food costs, marketing, souvenirs and more are investments in your wonderful weekend. Once you pencil out the costs, your per-cropper price will be the next thing you calculate. Charge too little and you end up spending your own money. Charge too much and croppers will go elsewhere. It's a balancing act to create just the right price.
2. Follow the Laws - some people conduct scrapbooking retreats in their vacation
homes or their own houses. This can be a risky proposition considering the laws of running businesses. You will need a business
license and maintain accurate financial records to report on your income taxes. How would authorities learn if you're doing something
unlawful? Sadly, in practically every business environment there are snoops and snitches (are you as friendly with your neighbors
as you think?). Fines and fees are business-killers.
3. Location is Critical - again, using your family cabin may seem like a smart way to make money but if you've ever wondered why similar scrapbooking businesses disappear, often it is the result of the legal pinch once authorities got wind of the enterprise! Once you check with your business license office to confirm how and where you can run a retreat, also think about parking. If your cabin gets the permit and your croppers are jamming the neighborhood with cars, neighbors again can cause a stink. Camp GetAway conducts all its camps at leased facilities to ensure our event will take place.
4. Sales vs. Satisfaction - it may frighten you to see how much stuff your participants bring with them. Hey, these are scrapbookers! The goal of your retreat shouldn't be product sales; it should be an overall great experience for your participants. Many will realize they need something on-site, but none will show up ready to start from scratch.
5. Marketing is Priority - you need to get the word out way in advance in order to sell your spots. Advertising, publicity, info fairs, flyers and more are just the few ways to reach out to potential participants. Read books on how to land publicity. Sent out press releases to media. Talk with scrapbooking friends to generate word-of-mouth. You can create the most wonderful event in the world, but if no one has heard about it, you will have empty spaces.
6. No, You Cannot Scrap, Too - think you'll finally get to finish your vacation book, too? Rethink! Your hands should stay full keeping your guests satisfied. Someone who has spent her hard-earned money to attend your event may feel miffed to see the person she paid to be sitting doing her own books. If you want to crop, don't do it at your own retreat. Take care of your customers.
7.The Devil Is In The Details - OK, you've got your license, and croppers are heading your way, are you ready? Will meals be delicious and hearty? Sleeping quarters fresh and comfortable? Supplies ample? Cropping spaces ready and well lit? Your job isn't done until every scrapbooker has packed up at the end of the weekend and given you a big hug. Some retreats, the profit will be worth the effort. Some won't (cancellations eat into your costs). Go into this for the long run. Camp GetAway opened in 1996; 2008 was the first year we decided to give scrapbookers their own retreat, due to space restrictions at our traditional camp. It was a large risk, and we worried we would have unhappy campers who preferred our old ways.[top of page] [more scrapbooking articles]