As you may already know, I make it a priority to support local sustainability. Part of that is supporting agencies that help our local people lead healthy and happy lives. One of the agencies that I believe does the most for Maui county is Maui United Way. To sum it up pretty nicely:
“Maui United Way brings people together from all over the community—government, business, faith based groups, other non-profits and citizens—to identify and tackle our most serious problems. We build partnerships with donors, government, and community organizations, as well, because it takes the whole community to make this work.”
So it was a nice surprise when Mom signed me up to volunteer for the silent auction at their 1st Annual Gala this year (she tends to sign me up for things and then let me know the week before an event). At the last minute, they asked if I would donate a few Ho`omaika`i pieces for the event! Since I hadn’t actually sold anything yet, the idea made me really nervous. What if people don’t like my stuff? I’d be there to see whether they liked it or not, which made me even more nervous. But because I believe in doing something everyday that scares me, I agreed. I figured it would be a good test to see what people liked and didn’t like, and to test out my prices. It would benefit an incredible agency so I figured, whatever happened would be wonderful. Plus, what better way to get myself out there and start selling jewelry than to start by donating to a local agency?
I settled on the following four pieces:
We got to the event bright and early to set everything up, then took a little break to watch our #1 ranked Ducks beat Cal, and came back before the event started. I’ve been running silent auctions for a few years now (mainly for the non-profit my mom works for), and this one was much smaller than I was used to.
The event was beautiful. Held at the Grand Wailea, every detail was perfect.
[One of the two silent auction tents]
As the evening progressed, I steered clear of the tent with my jewelry displayed. For one, nothing was really getting high bids (or even bids to value). And I honestly didn’t want to know if my stuff had been bid on yet or if people were looking at it. I felt like my babies were being judged by others and it made me nervous. My husband, on the other hand, got to the event about an hour after it began and went straight to the table with my pieces on it. He came over and said, “good job!”, so I had to ask how they were doing. He said that everyone who passed by was talking about how great they were and that all four of them had multiple bids already – one of them was already at 150% of its valued price!
After that, I relaxed a bit and found the nerve to actually go look at my jewelry and hear what people were saying. They were genuinely impressed! It was such an incredible feeling! People actually stood next to my items as the auction closed to ensure they’d get their piece!
The rest of the evening flew by. From sunset to late night, we listened to great musicians and ate gourmet food 🙂
I know, it’s kind of ridiculous that I didn’t take photos of the main course, but it was everything else that was extra special that night 😉 Volunteering definitely has its perks!
All in all, the event raised some great money for an incredible organization (although many of the silent auction items didn’t sell for their valued price – it may be the economy). I had a huge personal gain that night: not only did I get to volunteer (with some of my favorite people – Mom, Ben & Zak!), I was reminded that my art is worthy! As I embark on this new journey of creativity fueling my path, I am extraordinarily grateful.
So how’d everything do?
- The first thing to sell (within an hour – at 150% of the $25 value I put on it) was the double-dutch in fresh water pearl, which told us something: it is worth more. Plus, those are the most difficult to make, so I considered changing the value.
[Value is listed at the top; Buy It Now price (150% of value) is listed at the bottom.]
- The second-most popular item was the Mardi Gras earrings, which also exceeded their value. I loved watching the reaction these got from people – picking them up and watching them dance.
- The item with the most bids was actually coral. They went for exactly their value! Upon check-out I got to meet the woman who bought the piece (in total she won 3 of my 4 pieces!) and she said she really enjoyed the unique style. I was so glad to hear that they are appreciated 🙂
- And finally, the piece that people were much more excited about than I could have imagined was the Peace & Love set. They went for slightly under value, but still had quite a few bids.
Have you ever donated to a silent auction? Do you have experience selling a piece of your creativity (paintings, poetry, writing, pottery, etc.)?