by Rena Klingenberg.
Several years ago I got together with my good friend (who was a “Mary Kay” cosmetics rep), and organized a holiday shopping and fundraiser show.
It was hosted at a local assisted living home for elderly people.
The show was open for the general public to come and shop, and it ran from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on a Thursday evening.
We had a total of 13 vendors – a variety of artisans, plus my Mary Kay friend, a Pampered Chef gal, and a Home Interiors gal.
Many wonderful things
came out of this event
Instead of donating a dollar percentage of our sales for the fundraiser, the assisted living home had us each donate an item or two for their fundraising silent auction.
Financially that’s a better deal for vendors, plus it gets our products seen by more people.
We were all generous with our items donated, and the administrators at the Home were thrilled with the beautiful and varied things they received for their auction!
The Home was so pleased with the way the whole event turned out that they invited us back to do shows whenever we wanted to (which we did, and very successfully for all).
The residents of the Home were proud and thrilled to have us do a show there.
For many of them, just going around and seeing all the things in our show was their highlight of their week.
We had sent in a small article to the local newspaper to publicize our event, and several customers told us that evening, “I stopped in because I saw the article in the paper.”
A lot of our customers had never been to the assisted living home before, and they were very impressed with what a neat place it was.
So it was a great public relations / marketing event for the Home.
One of the vendors in our show, who decorated all kinds of beautiful containers with beads, wire, and paint, launched her business that night and made several sales.
She had been so nervous about doing her first show that she called me twice on the day of the show with panic attacks.
But after she quickly sold several items, her nerves turned into excitement.
The Pampered Chef gal, who I met while organizing this show, hosted one of my jewelry parties at her house a few months later.
She gave me some helpful new ideas from her own vast home party experience.
There was so much good energy flowing in this show, and lovely things happening for everyone involved.
But the true blessing of this show
was totally unexpected
One of my friends was scheduled to take care of my son (who was then age 7) during this show.
But something came up for my friend so that she had to bring my son to be with me for the last hour of the show.
So I geared myself up for leaving the show early if, by the last hour of a long day, my son was too tired to hang out at my booth.
However, as soon as my son arrived, the Spirit of Christmas Present stepped in.
One lovely resident of the Home, Miss Olive – a precious elderly lady with bright blue eyes, who was hardly bigger than my son – decided to become his “grandma” for the evening.
So he visited Miss Olive in her room, which was right next to my booth.
They watched TV together, and I could hear the two of them laughing and chatting and enjoying each other’s company, in the warm coziness of her room.
When our craft show ended and it was time for us to leave, Miss Olive came to the front door of the Home and waved goodbye, and my son waved back till she was out of sight.
What a wonderful friendship for both of them!
That’s why it was meant to be that my friend wasn’t able to keep my son at her house for the whole evening!
And to think I had worried about having him at the show with me.
This show was really neat in so many ways, with all kinds of wonderful things happening besides just making money.
If you’re interested in doing an event like this – or even a solo jewelry show – in your community, you’ll find the blueprint for how we organized this show (including our small newspaper article) in Fundraiser Jewelry Shows.
And if you’d like more opportunities to sell your jewelry to folks who would love to purchase it for holiday gifts, see my guide, Sell More Jewelry This Holiday Season.
Laura Castano says:
In addition to my jewelry endeavors I manage the dining room in a long term care/hospice facility. We do a fundraising event with local artists each year and it is one of the highlights of the season for the residents.
In addition to this I donate a piece each year to be raffled off to help raise money for the annual holiday gift fund. I also donate an inexpensive piece to the general gift kitty, for when a resident without family has a birthday or special occasion.
I still make small yearly donations to the last two facilities I worked for. The average nursing facility staff is more than 90% female. I not only garner good will and help provide holiday cheer, I have developed steady customer relationships as well. I call ahead before dropping off my goods and the office is full of women when I walk in!
If you have a loved one in a facility speak to the activities director you may benefit as well as the residents.
What a beautiful story! I was just looking for a link to follow your jewelry making blog after seeing the post linked from another site. I feel so blessed to have ended up finding this Christmas story!
I appreciate all of the great information on your site, and I plan on spending some time reading so I can absorb it all – I’m so happy that this is one of the first things I read 🙂
Rena Klingenberg says:
Laura, thank you so much for sharing your experiences and fantastic tips for this kind of jewelry show. Brilliant idea for calling ahead when you’re going to drop off your jewelry, so more folks can gather to see it! Also, I love the idea of having a gift-kitty so residents without family won’t be without a gift.
Andi, thank you for your lovely comment! I’m so glad you enjoyed this Christmas story. That little craft show really felt like it was sprinkled with holiday magic.
This was such a beautiful story! My Mom was in an assisted living home for about three years and then had to go into a full care facility, where she passed. Both places were great! The one thing that bothered me the most was how many of the residents didn’t have anyone visiting them. While visiting Mom it was hard NOT to become friends with most of them. The residents love being around youngsters and new people. The smile on their faces just lights up the room. With that being said, PLEASE visit a loved one in a home or just go visit a stranger. I know it’s scary at first, but they are amazing people and you will walk out a different person knowing you brought cheer to someone.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful story and allowing your son to brighten Miss Olive’s day. ❤️