By Dana Overstreet, You’re So Crafty, Seguine, TX
Every thought of branching out, trying something new? Events in your studio can draw in a new customer that never thought of your store as a place of entertainment. And while it is easy to stick to what you do best, sometimes trying something new shakes up the week and dusts off your creativity. Have you ever had a new customer come to your studio and look around in awe, exclaiming…”I didn’t realize how much you have to offer here?”
Diverse offerings in our studios is one way to keep your studio fresh, and a way to attract new customers who didn’t know they wanted to try out a creative activity. Dana at You’re So Crafty in Seguine, TX tried out a wine tasting event and has some great success with this event. Here Is how she did it:
You’re So Crafty is a Paint Your Own Pottery Studio, but it’s a lot of other things, too. Originally a scrapbook store, we are a retail storefront selling yarns, beads and paper, as well as gifts. The PYOP half of the store includes mosaics, mixed media, clay, canvas and boards.
My staff and I were searching for ideas to bring a more diverse group of customers to You’re So Crafty., I brainstormed with an old friend who works part-time at an area winery. Our first attempt at a Wine Tasting Event included a class on using your five senses to evaluate wine. Customer painted a bisque wine glass before the wine dude started his presentation. There was little to no actual ‘tasting’ involved (aka Drinking). The bisque was discounted a bit and I think there were 6 people at the first event.
The next class was in our new, larger space and was very well attended. It was titled “The Cheapskate’s Guide to the Wine Galaxy™” and all wines tasted were from convenience stores or discount stores. The wine guy did his presentation (he’s very Southern and has a dry wit), the gals were juiced up pretty well, and then we offered a Wine GLASS painting option at the end – for an additional $10. The results were mixed. Not sure if it was a product of the wine, or the talents, but the finished product was not as nice as we anticipated.
We’ve since just ditched any tie in to crafting at all. I think it was a good concept and I welcome them and do the ‘pitch’ about walk-in crafting (including painting on glass) before the class starts. But his presentations are very full and I believe the crafting was competing for attention.
For a 90-minute class, I charge $30 per person. I pay the wine dude $10 per person and I pay for the wine and snacks (grapes, crackers, cheeses). We offer wine and food pairings, wine and cheese pairings, how to read the label, Cheapskate’s Guide™ and whatever else we can think of. We use wine glasses I bought at the dollar store. The events are late Saturday afternoons – usually at 3 p.m. We average 6 to 18 people. Sometimes couples. All age ranges.
I make sure the tables are set up near my road block – with current samples, etc. - and at the front of the store so passers-by can see the inside activity. I haven’t handed out coupons in the past, but I may add that the next go-round.
The wine dude travels about 20 minutes from his house to my downtown. He receives many kudos and has an enjoyable time sharing his love of wine and talking. He says his benefit from the arrangement is getting to drink wine on someone else’s tab! He also teaches classes at the winery where he works part-time. His wife is my BFF and we’ve known each other for 30 years. Texas has a large winery area to choose from, but I’d suggest looking around at local wineries or even your local liquor store to find a knowledgeable person. Having a good presenter is key, in my opinion.
I’d suggest testing the waters to see if any crafting in addition to the tasting is an option for you. It wouldn’t hurt to try!
There are a variety of wine experts to be found. Check with a local winery, a local wine specialty store or even ask your customers if they know a wine expert who is willing to give classes. A person who is studying to be a Wine Sommelier has to practice with different wines and may enjoy the opportunity to try out some new wines on “new wine tasters”
As always, when adding alcoholic beverages to an event in your studio, always be familiar with your local regulations, because even if you are just “tasting” wines, you may need a special permit or license to host an event like this in your studio.
Do you have a unique event or activity that brings new customers to your studio? Would you like to share your experience and expertise? We are still looking for blog submissions. We have a variety of topic ideas to be researched and discussed. Check in on our CCSA Blog group, or on CCSA Chatter, or contact Charlene Ridlon @ Artasyoulikeit@gmail.com for more information on how to submit articles or topic ideas!