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Monday, November 1, 2010

The prettiest bake sale ever...

The next thing I decided to try was a bake sale at my church.  So I wrote an email to my pastor, asking if I could do a bake sale in front of the church to benefit the Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the Cure, and put an announcement in the bulletin a week ahead of time to let people know about it.  He told me I could hold it in another church building, after each of the masses one Sunday.  I was also informed that I would need a bake sale permit.  A permit?  For a bake sale?  I had no idea!  Well my teammates and I asked nearly everyone we knew to bake something for that weekend, so we had alot of people that were going to bake things for us!  I was nervous because I read in the church bulletin that we had approx. 3,000 people attend church over the course of 5 masses per Sunday.  That's alot of people that could potentially attend my bake sale!  It was hard to wrap my brain around that number!  One of my sister-in-laws had suggested that presentation was a powerful ally for bake sales, and let me borrow beautiful dishes and cake tiers.  So I ordered tablecloths online with pink ribbons on them, and we bought pretty cellophane and ribbon to make the baked goods packaging attractive.  I also printed out a ton of "business cards" from the 3 day site on hot pink paper to tie and staple to the packages, in hopes that people might take these home and make a donation as well.  We had a beautiful banner made by a local company, Instasigns, to hang up.  We went as far as planning to bring a laptop computer and accessing the church buildings wi-fi for anyone who might want to make a donation with their credit card!  We couldn't have been more prepared!  

So now the night before the bake sale we had a million baked goods to decorate and package.  It took us hours, but we got it all done.  So early the next morning we set up our table in the building across from the church, and set up a sign my daughter made advertising our bake sale on an easel out in front of the building.  It truly was the prettiest bake sale ever.  And my wonderful but shy 11 year old daughter actually went out in front of the church doors each time a mass let out with a container for donations, and told people about the bake sale.  It's a shame more people didn't come to see it, but those who did bought quite a bit.  Our team of 3 raised a little over $30 each that morning.  Not as much as we had hoped for, but at least it was something.  We immediately froze any leftover items that could be frozen, so that we could use them for the next event we had planned a month later.

We learned a valueable lesson from that first beautiful bake sale, about what worked and what didn't. We learned that we didn't really have to take the incredible amount of time we took to package each item so nicely, it didn't seem to increase our sales enough to make it worth the effort.  We also learned that whole and half cakes and pies sold the best, I guess because people took them home to have for dessert after a nice Sunday dinner.  What didn't sell as well as we thought were the smaller packages.  I wish we had packaged some whole pans of brownies or some packs of cookies by the dozen, I believe they would have sold better. But lesson learned for the next time!

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