In case the FBI came back with bad news, I told Jenius to plan on maximizing any and all holiday merchandising opportunities. Fourteen thousand dollars was a lot of dough to replace. We decided that even if the money was recovered, we would either sponsor more students and chaperones or donate money to the Children’s Rainforest Fund.
“Mighty good idea,” Grandma Earlene chimed in. “Dream big, girls. Why not plan on doing both? Save the Rainforest and give some curious young’uns the chance to see a part of the world they’d probably never see otherwise.”
She was right, of course. Things were coming together. As it turns out, working alongside Mrs. Claytor was mostly enjoyable. Barbs is not only a superior baker of goodies, she is also very good at publicity. When she has something going on, the whole town finds out about it. Her energy appears to be infinite. Better to be in business with her than to compete with her baked goods.
Our fundraising efforts wouldn’t have been nearly as successful if it weren’t for Mrs. Claytor’s inspired suggestion of taking orders. Without this solid piece of advice, we would have been caught off guard and underprepared. When people saw the expertly made samples of clay Dewbabie creations, they started calling the school asking if we were taking orders. Apparently, people didn’t want miss out. After all, this was the year of the Dewbabie. FIMO FOMO, it’s a real thing.
When Barbs found out that people were calling the school wanting to buy Dewbabie creations, she recruited a volunteer to sit in the school office to take phone orders. She has a real talent for up-selling, which was the reason she created a temporary website for even more order taking.
Thank goodness for Mrs. Claytor’s spreadsheets. There were customers before there was product. I will say there’s nothing like having other people’s money in your pocket to keep you motivated. Word got out about our growing enterprise, which attracted a flock of student helpers, which we desperately needed for the production of our highly desirable, handmade Dewbabie products. Handmade is a given at any community festival, but it’s also the sizzle that sells stuff.
HELP WANTED: If you like working with clay and can follow directions, come to Ms. Bergreen’s room after school. Snacks will be provided.
That was all it took. Feed ‘em and they will come. We had an assembly line of worker bees. One group stamped A, K, and T into polymer clay circles. Another group took those creations and formed pendants, bracelets, and ornaments. Students with genuine artistic abilities were given the prestigious task of creating the more complex, alphabet Dewbabies. Naturally, these took more time and a lot of focused attention. But for our capable crew of students, it was pure bliss—nothing like solving equations or completing fifty push-ups.
Jenius and I put ourselves in charge of packaging, making sure the final product presentation had some fine finishing touches. We worked for hours for two straight weeks and loved every minute of it. The results were stunning. We amazed ourselves, actually.
If it weren’t for the hard-working students and the leadership of Energizer Bun Bun, Mrs. Claytor, our fundraiser would have never gotten off the ground. Ms. Bergreen kept us in good spirits and in the right attitude with homemade snacks. Students coming together to work on a common goal—man, oh man, that was special. It was cool to see new friendships forming. The best surprise of all was that nobody knew Buddy Bruneau was good with clay, including Buddy Bruneau. He was a real asset to our after school coalition of Dewbabie makers.
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