Wednesday, June 27, 2018
My mama dreams came true again last Friday after we threw our second, official BAKE SALE with our best friends, the Gavins. Way back in October 2017 in Virginia, Chrissy and I (and two more of our best girls, Joanna and Rainy) rallied our kids around the concept of the bake sale - "It's the best thing: you work hard and have fun and earn money!" - and then we watched our excited kids push through the details of making it all happen and, finally, sell their goods. I had a handful of photos of that first bake sale in VA that I cannot find for the life of me (TEARS), but this post will cement this year's venture, at least!

This sale was another smashing success from start to finish. The kids worked really hard and their hard work really paid off (literally, since people are SO nice). I love so much that the kids wanted to give up about 30 minutes before we had planned to stop selling, but they dug deep and finished what they'd committed to do. I love that they talked with and catered to their customers' requests -- people that they didn't know. I love that they handled good ol' cash and change! These kind of creative, social, gritty, and entrepreneurial experiences with my girls really are a realized dream for me (I meant what I said and I said what I meant up there)! When I pictured myself as a mother, I pictured myself and my babies - and our friends! - doing fun and productive stuff this...

Ohh I love it all SO MUCH! The sticky toddler faces (Claire and Briggs ate our inventory!), the strained smiles on those waving big kids because they were tired but still trying, and the sense of satisfaction each kid got from, again, working for something. Chrissy and I were talking as we loaded up our cars to go home about how much we love doing these sales together and that, so far, our ventures have gone well (the kids earned $100+ in two hours)! I thought I'd share what we've done that's worked well, in case you want to take on a summer bake sale with your crew! Or in hopes you want to?? Seriously you've got to. Bake sales are gold.


-- Sell for 2 hours. We sold from 10-12 -- two hours seems to be the right amount of time for our kids' stamina. Like I said, they were done calling out, "Bake sale, bake sale! Come and get a brownie!" while waving at every passing car after 1.5 hours of working, but having them push those last 30 minutes to the finish is so good for them. Character building stuff right there!

-- Price every product at either $1 or $2. Almost everyone can dig up $2 in their car, and charging more than $2 is pushing legit bakery prices in some places, which bake sale customers don't really want -- you've gotta help the people feel like they're snagging a deal, right?? Then, keep prices at $1at least (so nothing for $0.50 or $0.25). This makes it easy for your kids to give customers change and to count their money. That said, we did sell Dum Dums at 4/$1 and the small sugar cookies at 2/$1. But no single item was sold for less than $1 and no more than $2! Oh, and print off a menu or make a sign of what you're selling and for what prices. Makes things easy for customers!

-- Diversify your inventory. Haha, I'm talking in legit business terms here, but I really do love how a simple bake sale brings some small business into my girls' lives, okay?! :)  Sell a small variety of goods. We like to sell 2 home baked goods, 1 cold good, and 1 candy good. This year we sold homemade sugar cookies and brownies, popsicles, and suckers. Appeal to the baked lover, ice cream lover, and candy lover.

-- Smile and wave, boys, smile and wave! Help your kids market their goods by standing as close to the side of the street as possible (obviously while staying safe!) and SMILING and WAVING at every passing car. At least half of our customers saw our kids' smiling faces, they realized what our kids were doing, and then they pulled over to support them "because they're so cute!" This is where the going gets tough. Maintaining the energy and interest to smile and wave is a challenge -- marketing is a challenge! -- but it's a good challenge. It's one thing to create something, it's another thing to sell it.  Help your kids stick with the smiling and the waving till they've sold their goods. This is where the tough get going!

-- Have an earning goal. Obviously! :) My girls have been eyeing two particular toys at Target since February, and when I'd remind them during the sale that they were earning money for those pricey toys that Mom was not going to buy them "just because," they'd charge back up and keep going. Set a goal and remind your kids of their goal!

-- Sell at a 4-way stop. This is a magic bake sale trick! Cars pause a little longer at a 4-way stop since they have to look two three ways (to the left, right, and ahead), and they are stopped a little longer while waiting their turn to drive. 4-way stops also allow for an easy, quick right-hand turn -- customers can turn off the road quick, park, and walk to your sale! Win-win-win.

-- Host the sale with friends! It goes without saying, but throwing a bake sale with some of your best pals makes it way more fun, as well as more manageable. You get to divide and conquer making the goods, transporting the goods, setting up, serving customers, staying energized, and cleaning up. When it comes to work, two heads (or families!) are almost always better than one.

--  HAVE FUN. My energy spills out onto my girls (as always) -- if I am excited about working hard, my girls will be more excited about working hard, too. Doing these bake sales with my friend, Chrissy, is a dream for this reason. She gets fired up when her kids are up and out doing something good, and her energy is contagious. Also, have fun by not sweating any small stuff, like when your kids start eating your inventory. Let them have their suckers and eat them, too. ;)

I may be biased since I love small business and working for something with my kids, but really, bake sales really are the best.  They are the most simple, stellar ventures that help your kids work and grow. Our kids were grateful for every single customer that came by, relieved when the hard work was over, and thrilled that they had earned their own money. See? The bessst! :) Go throw one. You'll be glad you did. ๐ŸŽ‰๐Ÿ˜Š


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