By Penny Franz, TNNA Retail Council Chair and owner, Ewe
At the Summer Market that just wrapped up June 25, I was
involved in a lively discussion at our Needlepoint Group’s section meeting. The
conversation brought out points that could be on a "wish list” of what the
ideal teacher would bring to a class taken at a TNNA event. In fact, I believe
that many of these points could be helpful for teachers across the needlearts
disciplines — and I know we’re just scratching the surface with the slew of
ideas that came about as a result.
We’re always looking for outstanding teachers, and if you
believe you are ready, we invite you to submit a teaching proposal next month
for the 2013 Winter Market in Long Beach, CA. Think about your staff, too — if
you have someone who is really doing a great job with your classes at the shop
or studio, think of the difference he or she could make among your peers.
If you do decide to take the plunge and submit a class
proposal, here are some points to consider... courtesy of the feedback from our
1. Do a hot item, not
a cold item. Tempting as it may be to get rid of a dead-in-the-water kit
via a class, don’t try to fool your students. They know the trends, and would
much rather get their hands on your biggest seller. Build upon that momentum
and give them what they are asking for.
2. Go beyond the technique of the project. The
majority of your students are already established stitchers. What they’re
looking for as business owners is how to appropriately market and price your
project so that it flies off their shelves. What advice would you have for them
to get their return on investment — and in turn, become return customers for
3. Give some
background on the inspiration. No one is expecting a dissertation here, but
a candid story about how the project came into being is one that can get your
students’ buy-in as to why it’s an important piece. In so doing, they can pass
along that information — and make it that much more appealing — to their
4. Include a stitch
guide in your kit. Your students likely will have little use for it. Their students, on the other hand, will
need it a lot — and it’s very appreciated when it’s all in one place, instead
of the stitcher having to browse through books or online to find a certain
5. Work with the TNNA
staff for the description and photo. Life happens, deadlines pass, these
are the facts. But if you want your class to be a can’t-miss event, make sure
you submit a lively description and a good photo of your project to include in
the course brochure. Without a photo, especially, potential students will be
less inclined to sign up for the course.
6. Last but not
least, be prepared to put in some sweat equity. TNNA holds its teachers to
high standards, and relies on students taking these courses to choose classes that
would be a good fit for their shops, based on their course description (see No.
5). Feedback on each class is also important to us. The class surveys really do
factor into our choices of which teachers we use each year. As one experienced
designer said at the meeting, "If the teacher is not good, don’t complain to
the person next to you. Fill out the survey.”
Likewise, if you have additional points to make to this
"ideal teacher wish list,” comment below or send me an email directly at email@example.com.
Don’t let this list intimidate you if you’re thinking about
submitting your proposal. Rather, think of it as a recipe for your success in
the classroom next year!