Recently, I was asked to put together a gift basket for an auction at church. While I was super happy to oblige, I cringed at the prospect of the actual task. Last year, I donated two baskets, one filled with craft supplies for grown ups and one filled with crafts for kids. They looked beautiful, were easy to put together and they generated a lot of raffle sales. A hit!
Doing it again. Ugh.
I don't mind the donating or the wrapping of the items. I've got that part down. What I find daunting is shopping for a spectacular theme idea, because let's face it, if your basket doesn't have great items in it, no matter how pretty you wrap, who's going to want it...and when the objective is to get people drooling so they open their wallets to bid on it, you want people to really want it.
Last year's idea was easy, but I needed something different for this raffle. I tried to brainstorm at home, but I came up empty. So I went to the store for some inspiration. It was a great idea, I was actually able to come up with a fabulous theme just from browsing the aisles.
NUMBER ONE: SET A BUDGET before you leave the house
This is probably the most important consideration. If you don't have a firm number set in mind, it's very easy to overspend. With a firm budget in mind, I was able chose items, fill my cart and then prioritize, keeping only what packed the most punch for my dollar.
NUMBER TWO: KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
My basket was going to a fashion show, featuring clothing for women. There would be a few patient men in attendance, but generally speaking, the audience would be women, adult women, most of whom owned homes. I tailored my basket accordingly.
Spring merchandise was everywhere, I was drooling over all the pretty outdoor accessories. It was a long winter; the fresh colors grabbed my attention and the thought of entertaining alfresco was very appealing. I guessed that if I were smitten, others would be, too.
NUMBER THREE: CHOOSE A USEFUL CONTAINER
A lot of people take the basket in gift basket very literally. Don't. Shake it up and wrap everything up in something that ties in with the theme and is a treasure in and of itself. A dog bed for a pet basket base, a metal tin to use as a cooler for a party basket or in my case, a hanging basket for plants to decorate your patio when dining outside.
NUMBER FOUR: PICK A FEW BIG TICKET ITEMS
Big ticket does not necessarily mean pricey. I just choose two or three larger pieces that really stand out to peak interest. In this case, an outdoor pillow ($9.99) in classic blue and white, pretty patterned outdoor plates ($3.99 each) and bright green placemats ($9.99 for four) make my collection pop.
NUMBER FIVE: TUCK IN A FEW SURPRISES, WITHIN THE WRAPPING
I make full use of all the space in my basket, stuffing it with the rest of the items I have chosen. When a bidder sees a really full basket, it is very tempting. If they can only catch of glimpse of things, curiosity brews. That is always a good thing!
I stack everything inside, use shrink wrap to seal it, throw on a bow and include a list of items for bidders to see what they will get if they win and hopefully make them dig deep!
Of course, the same principles apply if you are giving the basket as a gift. Excitement is the name of the game.
The hairdryer shrink wrap really gives the finished product a professional look.
I am very pleased with the way this basket turned out. I actually received a text from a girlfriend who bid heavily on it and did not win. She wanted to know where I got my goodies, so she could go grab a few of the items herself!
Now that's a basket that really stands out!
Are you a basket maker? What are your best tips?
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