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Monday, September 21, 2015

How to host a day crop, retreat or hotel retreat

How to host a day crop, retreat or hotel retreat

First you need to figure out which event fits your schedule and you would feel comfortable doing.

If you can share your event on calendars, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. I'd highly recommend adding as much details to that event like times/dates, where, what to bring, carpools, etc.  Make sure the area you choose is well lite and space for scrapbookers because we have LOTS of stuff.

Day Crops
For my day crops I find Saturday's work best. You need to pick a time?
I normally host these in my home and hold them from 10AM to 10PM, others do 10AM to 5PM. I don't charge a fee but that's because I've been holding free crops for FREE for several years and ladies are use to that.

I'd highly recommend if you are starting out new that you charge $5 to cover basic things like power bill, toilet paper, water bills or I've done "Crop is free if you purchase $10 or more in product" normally this generates more than $10 in sales as it's hard to find product equaling that amount.
My home crop space
I sometimes do a 2 day crop having ladies come on Friday to crop starting at 6PM to 10PM and tell them they can leave their stuff and return again Saturday at 10AM- 10PM

If you can't host in your home look for places locally that you can host a monthly crop.  Places like church, American Legion, VA or Elk lodge, YMCA, local parks and rec.  Any building that can hold your group of ladies.  Some of these locations charge fees and others you'll need to bring tables. Include that fee into what you charge for your crop.  I like making my events fun and everyone NEEDS chocolate so I make  sure to have some M&M's.  On special events I purchase product to have to give to attendees or giveaways, make sure you include that in cost too.

Food for these events
I'm not a cook so I try and stay away from that area but if you are this might be a fun area for you. I can't emphasize how important it is to make sure you create a budget for meals and figure that cost into your guest crop fee. Even figure in the cost of plates, napkins, utensils and cups. I've found that if your crowd doesn't like to "buy" food maybe do a potluck? Though potlucks can be a lot of your part in coordinating.  Lately, I have been telling my ladies that for lunch we are ordering Jimmy Johns and dinner we are ordering pizza and bring $10 cash for each meal.  This has been working the best for my group and we all pitch in bringing a snack.  I tell girls to bring their own drink as I don't drink soda but I have filtered water.

3-4 Day Retreats
I look for rentals in the surrounding area, a hour or two from my home location. Check into camps, personal home rentals or some areas provide areas that cater to these events. Find out a date that fits you and your customers schedule.  Be sure to check calendar and local school schedules for breaks (Holidays, Fall, Winter and Spring break) You don't want to schedule events during these times because many go out of town unless your attendees this wouldn't matter.   I've found place that cater to all of your needs for your event including food.  These type of venues I figure the cost the place is charging me and divide that with number of attendees that facility can hold and then add $10 to $15 for gifts and prizes. 

If I rental a facility that doesn't include food but has a kitchen or area to prepare food I've found it best to assign each attendee a meal and they are responsible for all that they are serving.  For example my last retreat we had 13 attendees and we served 6 meals.  I had two ladies assigned to each meal and Saturday dinner I had 3 ladies and stated the extra person was to help provide a dessert to go with meal. The two ladies decide on what they want to serve and need to bring items needed to prepare meals included reminders like butter, foil, ziplock bags, saran wrap, paper plates (Not needed unless you don’t want to wash dishes).  Once again I say bring your own drink as we have people who drink a lot of a product and you might bring less. If you want to do drinks you could include in meal schedule that you need like XYZ amount of soda for several to bring and assign a couple to bring bottled water.


I've been to crops where you the host would plan, prepare and clean up meals for attendees and added this to cost of retreat.  Doing this way most host charge around $50 per person but this amount would be determined by your menu and cost per person to make.

Hotel Retreat 3 or 4 days
Research local hotels where you can host an event.  Hotels details can get a bit tricky.  Some hotels let you use ballrooms or conference centers with a certain amount of rooms booked. While others charge you for ballrooms or conference centers.  Some hotels book ballrooms or conference centers based on numbers of meals and cost. Which ever way you have it arranged I again take that amount divide it among the number needed attendees and add on cost for goodies, giveaways and raffle items.  When inquiring I ask hotels for a discount break for rooms. Depending on time of year, if it's a slow time you can get a great rate for whole event as hotel wants to fill rooms. If hotel package does not include food I let customers know to bring their own (hotel have refrigerators) or suggest things in the area that they can go to like hotel restaurants, take out, etc.

Things to watch for:
Some hotels charge fees for non-booked rooms

Charges for WIFI (Digital & Cricut customers will need this, if charge add it to registration form)
Charges for bellhops
Linen rentals (If no linens I suggest getting plastic table clothes)
Table rentals (many places include but check)

Parking Fees
Maid service/house keeping fees

Ask as many questions to reservation about an extra fees not discussed.


Always encourage pre-ordering of your customers, especially if you don't carry a large inventory.  This increase your sales and reassures customers have what they need.  I always carry basic supplies like pages, protectors, tape runners and refills.


Themes or Not to have themes?
Up All Night Theme
Cropstock - Hippie Theme
I think themes make your events more fun.  I always do themes with my 3/4 day retreats. I try and think of themes based on the time of year you have your event.  I've done themes like Beach/pool, "Up all Night" Sleep over themed, Cropstock - hippy themed and did in Fall, Jungle/Safari and recently Tacky Tourist.  You can make it whatever you want and you can do little decorations or a lot.  I've found many of my ideas on  Pinterest click here to see some of my pins
Tacky Tourist Theme
Other events I've been to have done themes like Rock n Roll - 50's, Pirates, Paris, Casino, the possibility are endless.  In past experiences I've found that the ladies love practical goodies and you don't want to spend money on items they are just going to throw away? I include some teaser of current product to get them to want more and little things like Post it notes, pencil/pen, tissues, hand sanitizer, gum, alcohol wipes, and a band aide.

I always send emails with where they are going, what time/dates the event is, what attendees need to bring. I wrote up a  article "What to bring to a Crop or Retreat" Click HERE to read.
 

Remember to have FUN and if things don't turn out like you envisioned, no one there will know!

2 comments:

Mary Full said...

I enjoyed reading your posts on the retreats/crops and themes.

Lorraine Gallardo said...

Great article. You have lots of information here. Thank you.