Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Fundraising with full colour tea towels

I love tea towels - they are useful, they are not expensive, they make great souvenirs (pack small and are practical - as long as you don't keep them for "good") and I think they make a great fundraiser.

Naturally for every hole in the market there's a provider. You may have seen this sort of tea towel fundraiser from a school:

They are lovely, but they are one colour only and the middleman takes their cut, lowering your fundraising take.

In the era of online, on-demand full colour printing, povided by companies such as Spoonflower in the US and Europe (also available via Etsy and Amazon) and Next State in Australia it's now easy to create your own. With a bit of effort in uploading a design, cutting, ironing and sewing, we made almost $10 per tea towel - selling 80 tea towels, that's almost $800 raised.

It was my son's school's 95th Anniversary. We had a number of colours and design elements from the school we could work with, and this design was arrived at: (I love tea towel designs that have elements that read right-way-up when folded over.)
As I'm in Australia, I used Next State Print to print 4 tea towels per metre of fabric. This is printed on Next State's "Soho" fabric - a cotton linen mix, price at the time of writing at $34 a metre, so each tea towel was 8.50, raw (the cost of postage also has to be factored in). Next State Print staff will assist in layout if necessary. I designed the tea towel with a border to assist with cutting and sewing, and cleared the dining room table for a workspace:

The border assisted in hemming - after cutting, each tea towel had to have the hem allowance turned under, then sewn. I made lengths of tape with the offcuts of the selvedge to create hanging strips, sewn into the corners.

In this case I did the majority of the cutting, ironing and sewing, but this part of the process could be shared out amongst your fundraising committee. I also employed a local sew-er to sew the hems of some when I ran out of time - that worked out at about $1.30 per tea towel.

The best part of this fundraiser is that you can do it with little risk of left over stock - often a major issue with producing merchandise. We made a sample batch and sold them at a fete - then took orders for more, and only had printed the number that we required.

All up, the cost of printing, postage and hemming amounted to about $10 per tea towel. We sold them for $20 - not an unreasonable price for a fundraising tea towel, so made almost $10 profit per tea towel.