Events: The Fairy Garden Experience

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Slideshow: The Fairy Garden Experience

We had such a great time planning and hosting our Fairy Garden Festival last spring. It lasted nine days in May – two weekends and the week in between.

We sent a postcard mailing to about 10,000 of our closest friends, advertised in local papers and on several gardening blogs and handed out flyers to customers making a purchase during the month of May. We also put up large banners out by the street.

The Inspiration

The Fairy Festival featured several fairy gardens. We created three large ones in landscape settings (in different styles and with different kinds of fairies) and several small container fairy gardens.

We held a contest among our staff to design and enter a container fairy garden. Customers voted on their favorite during the festival. The winning staff member won gift certificates and a customer won his or her choice of the contest entries. Hundreds of customers voted! (Of course, we asked for their e-mails and signed them up for our e-newsletter.)

We had a fairy garden set up in a large, but low urn with fairies and fairy garden furniture for kids to play with. They could rearrange the furniture and move the fairies around.

Hands-On Activities

We held several classes during the festival for children and adults. Almost 50 people attended “Decorating a Fairy Garden.” Sandi Schmidt, our gift shop merchandiser, showed them how to decorate fairy gardens according to themes and in different styles. She is so gifted and creative – we are lucky to have her.

We offered two dates for people to come and make hypertufa troughs, perfect for housing fairy gardens. We have done lots of these workshops over the last few years and they are always well attended. We typically charge between $35 and $40 for the workshops.

We also held a Fairy Garden Furniture Making Workshop where natural materials were used to create a fairy-sized bed, table and lamp. This workshop was attended by such a wide range of people. A grandpa brought his granddaughter; we had mother/daughter teams; and several groups of women attended for a fun day out together (and the women ranged in age from their 30s to 70s).

Even More Activities

We also held two Mother-Daughter Fairy Garden tea parties. We started doing these last year and they remain very popular. Mothers and daughters (or aunts or grandmas, etc.) come and enjoy fairy-sized treats while listening to fairy lore from our resident Fairy Gardenmother. Then, they make a container fairy garden together that they get to take home.

Plans for Next Year

We pulled this together in less than two months and can’t wait to try out all the new ideas we have for next year! We are planning a customer fairy garden contest (Our customers love to bring in their photos to share with us), a “fairy parade” with prizes for kids, and lots more – I can’t give away all the surprises, now can I?

We are also going to put some emphasis on miniature gardening for those people who don’t believe in fairies, and for boys who like the idea of miniatures, but not fairies.

It’s hard to track sales figures, since some of the components are part of other categories (containers, moss, mushrooms, etc.), but my best guess would be $42,000 so far in 2010, which is four times what we did last year.

It doesn’t hurt that many of our staff (myself included) have been bitten by the fairy bug, so we are also having a lot of fun.

Diana Stoll is the the Retail Manager at The Planter's Palette in Winfield, Ill.

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One comment on “Events: The Fairy Garden Experience

  1. margaret abraham

    please add me to the list of advertisements on fairy gardens. i am very interested in a hobby i can do with my grandchildren. thank you.