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Are you ready to toss your hat into the TNNA teaching ring?

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Penny FranzBy Penny Franz, TNNA Retail Council Chair and owner, Ewe Count

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 meeting:

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 you?

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 customers.

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 technique.

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

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!

Tags:  business  classes  teachers  teaching  technique  TNNA 

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