Hosting Special Crop Events at Your Scrapbook Store

For someone who loves to scrapbook with friends, any time of year is a good excuse for a “crop.” Most stores host night crops once a week, twice a month or on some other regular schedule. Additionally, consider holding more elaborate all-day crops, or even crops that stretch throughout a weekend and let attendees come and go as they please while leaving their supplies and projects spread out. You can set crops based on the season (Christmas crop, beginning of spring crop) or tied to an event (such as National Scrapbooking Day, which in 2008 falls on Saturday, May 3. These crops are labor-intensive (and a “big spend” for your customers) and you probably won’t want to have them much more often than quarterly.

For all-day crops, charge enough to cover staff time, refreshments (decide if you will serve meals or let croppers “fend for themselves”) and a modest, themed packet of papers and embellishments. Perhaps you can offer a bonus prize to those who pay well ahead of time. If the crop fills up, start a waiting list, and if someone cancels let them “off the hook” for the fee if their space can be filled. Announce the crop at least a couple of months ahead of time (via newsletter, Web site and store signs) to generate maximum interest.

Make nametags for the day of the event, and think about having a seating chart that lets friends sit together but also doesn’t exclude newcomers. (See our article on building a community at your scrapbook store.) Have a few games (more on this topic coming soon!)Maybe ask attendees to make a page for a store mini album to commemorate the day. You could have a page layout contest, or just lay out pages at the end of the day or night for everyone to enjoy. You can even ask product manufacturers to donate paper or other supplies for crop giveaways or prizes.

Consider offering refreshments, such as sodas. You can charge 50 cents or so, or you can make fridge access (within reason) free to paying croppers. Set out some candy or other “treats.” On scheduled crop nights, ask attendees to think about bringing some snacks for all to share. All-day crops can also serve as potlucks, or everyone can bring a favorite dessert. It’s a good idea to remind croppers to be careful when eating and drinking around scrapbook pages; a spill can be disastrous!

Additionally, much good will and exposure can be gained by making your scrapbook store the site of a charity event. Some manufacturers organize fund-raisers for various causes, and one of the most popular events is the annual October “Crop for the Cure” fund-raiser for breast cancer research.