What to fill a charity basket with?!

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KSL

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i hope this is the most appropriate catagory to post!
I have been asked to supply a basket for a silent auction for a school fundraiser. i am happy to do it! They said they will publish my name/website in the brochure, and allow me to have some sort of presence, like brochures/business cards at the auction.

Now, I'm wondering what to put in the basket and how much of everything to put in? what's too much or too little of these goodies? i don't want to "cheap out" and make a sad looking basket - but I don't want to put so much in that it looks like I'm desperate for advertising?!

Ideas?!
 

SoapMedic

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I have donated tons of baskets for raffles, auctions etc. Here's some tips that have worked for me.

1. Did they give you an expected 'value' range? if so, the expected value is for retail cost, not your wholesale cost. Include the actual cost to you of your basket and packaging materials as well. So if I'm asked to donate a basket, and the range is $15-$25, I pick a container size that will showcase the products and make it seem very full. Rather than a big basket, I go for a smaller basket so that all the products snuggle together, but are also all visible. Be careful stacking things up, or use glue dots to hold them in place, because they shift around and your beautiful basket looks stupid with stuff scattered all over. 'bread baskets' where nearly everything is on one level can work just fine!! I try to be sure that all products are visible. I use inexpensive filler items, like bath poufs, foot brushes, pumice stones, etc, but not too many of them. You can try a local dollar store for some inexpensive beauty supplies AND for unique containers, remember, gift 'basket" doesn't have to mean 'basket". People love re-usable stuff these days!! I don't want people to think that they will get a huge amount of product for only $25, so it needs to be realistically packed. When I first started out I was overly generous with the stuff I put in. But remember, you are not a big company that spends lots of $$ on fancy packaging and advertising, as a result, retail $25 worth of your product will be more than what people would get at Body Shop of Bath & Bodyworks and it's LOCAL.

2. Themes are nice, so that everything is somewhat coordinated. For example, around Valentine's day our local hospital employee group had a silent auction. I donated a $30 basket with a 'champagne and roses' theme: tea rose cp soap, champagne-scented foaming bath salts, small sizes of passionfruit-rose edible massage oil, champagne-scented body wash, chocolate-rose sugar scrub and a bath pouf. It was a big hit and the winner ended up paying $40 for it. You could do a summer theme, a scent theme, beach theme, whatever strikes your fancy. I've even done baskets that are only multiple bars of his & hers cp soap "Six Months of Soap" themed.

3. Label every product and be sure your contact info is on each label. Be sure the labels are consistent in color, font, etc. I used to do different types of cigar-band wrapping on my soaps, which was really pretty but in a gift basket it looked a bit jangly. So gift basket soaps have the same wrapping/label,and anything else has matching font/label type. Ditto for caps. That may seem like a small thing, but I use only white caps now, because previously I had a mix of black and white sprayers, pumps and caps. Didn't look quite pulled together in a basket situation. I also stick a little note into each basket, under some product so they find it when unpacking. the note reminds them the products are handcrafted and thanks them for using. Also, be sure you are putting only products in that you know well. Sometimes this stuff sits for weeks before people get around to using it. An untested product can be a disaster by then. So go with your strong stuff.

4. Definitely have plenty of business cards, brochures available next to your basket. Also, see if you can put an email sign-up list near your basket for people to receive special offers or to enter a raffle for a free whatever. Some folks like that and it's a way to maintain contact.

One thing I've found is that you will get SOME business from the gift basket donation, but usually people need a gentle prod/reminder that you are there (hence the email or mailing list---I do one craft fair at that same local hospital I mentioned previously. I originally got into it by donating a gift basket and being invited back, and I have some very steady customers that work there. So when I am going to be there, I email them a discount loyalty coupon with their name on it. 93% of the coupons I sent got used at the last craft fair, and I picked up some additional loyal customers who will get coupons this year.)

Good luck!

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KSL

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THANK YOU THANK YOU! for your detailed response!

They didn't give a price range, but since its an elementary school fundraiser, I am guessing that the $30 range is reasonable. Since its summer, maybe I'll do a "fruit basket" theme.

Man, I have to get logo, business cards, website and full line of products up by May now?! LOL Luckily I do my best work under pressure =P

thanks again, I will put your advice to good use!
 

SoapMedic

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:p no worries. Don't make any major decisions. You can print your own business cards with Avery on line templates or using the templates in your computer software, just keep it simple. If you don't have a business name yet, don't worry, just put your own name on--that's better than picking a name and 6 months from now realizing that it doesn't fit the situation. What I did was use my software template to make a simple business card and I inserted a small picture of one of my soaps into a corner. Worked fine.

Ditto logo--I've been selling soap for 3 years and still don't have a logo because I can't decide. I do just fine, although I know that eventually I will need that 'branding'. And product line, do what you know!! certainly experiment, but not for the gift basket. Research you do now is really for the fall/winter and beyond. One thing I have found is that making products is addictive. I've experimented with making all sorts of stuff, but it really boils down to just doing a few things and doing them well in my case, since I work full time and this is a side business. And you've got to have fun, if it becomes too stressful then you won't like it anymore.

Put your ideas on paper and think/re-think them. Line up a few folks to be 'testers' of your new stuff, but only if they agree to give you honest feedback. And be prepared to hear things that you may not want to hear!!!

Start simple, end strong!
 

KSL

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words to live by!

Its just a matter of getting everything finalized. I have some logos in mind, and I've already picked a name and registered the business. I just have to make product, order the packaging, print the lablels etc. And decide on the logo for once and for all. once I make the products then I can photograph them and put them on the website (that i have yet to create) lol.

Try this site, www.logomaker.com. Its fun to play around with some ideas.. you might like it, you might end up hating it... but its free to play around so I'd say try it.

I agree.. when its not fun anymore, its work! LOL
 
G

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Thanks for posting the logo link . I have been looking for something like that..

Kitn
 

KSL

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I've found quite a few, but that one seems to be easy to use, and have an okay selection of images. You can manipulate them too, like shrink, enlarge, change the colors, rotate a little, or alot.. etc.

Oh, and my fave feature so far is that you can email your logos (up to 6) to your friends and they can vote on them! Just dont' change anything mid-way, or you'll lose thier data... (like if you're trying to add a new email address).

HTH :lol:
 

KSL

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Here it is!

Delivering the basket today!

I posted a pic on the photogallery thread - here's the link!
http://soapmakingforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=10412

OH, and I think its ended up being worth more than $30 - dontcha think? LOL
There's 2 lotions (8oz each), 2 bath salts (16oz each), 2 bath fizzies, a foot scrub bar, a soap, and a matching washcloth.

i got the washcloth from the dollar store but will be replacing these with ones I crochet/knit myself one day.... ONE DAY... lol
 
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