On Saturday, November 24th, we had yet another successful $2 Clothing Sale to raise money for the Paprika Festival! In the weeks leading up to the event, participants and staff of the festival, Youth Advisory Board members, and anyone else who wanted to help out ran around the city collecting clothing and piling it all up at the Clothing Sale Headquarters. Helpful friends of friends left garbage bags full of goodies on the porch and bit by bit, a mountain of goodwill in garbage bags grew.
The night before the sale, more volunteers gathered at the Headquarters to sort through the madness and prepare all the merchandise for the next day. I was one of these volunteers and man oh man, did I ever come prepared… I brought the most important and helpful thing you can bring to a group of people who are giving up their Friday night to unpack / go through / sort into piles / try on / be amazed by / be terrified by / and fold old clothes… candy. I picked up a serious amount of candy, and trust me, it was necessary. I walked up the stairs and into Clothing Sale Headquarters, A.K.A. the apartment of Kate Hanford (a Youth Advisory Board member, who graciously donated her entire apartment to the sale), to find piles upon piles of stuff. I swear there was a volunteer trapped under the men’s jeans for at least half an hour, like a skier trapped in the snow after an avalanche. People donated not only clothes, but shoes, and books, and a questionable amount of lingerie… all for the love of theatre! I scored a sweet unopened Travel Scrabble set that night, and lord knows I did not need those five new sweaters… but hey, that’s what happens when you volunteer – you end up with nifty things like Travel Scrabble, for only $2!
We sorted and folded into the wee hours of the morning and then I headed home, only to realize that earlier that week, I had volunteered myself to bake some sweet things for the sale the next day. Classic Raven move. But that didn’t discourage me! Late night baking is totally my thing and by 3:30am, I had 42 cupcakes, a batch of brownies and a chocolate cake. I slept for a few hours and was up again at 7:30 to head over to Videofag (a great art space that was kindly donated to us for the sale). I met Rob and a couple other volunteers and we decided a coffee run was necessary to get the ball rolling. After a quadruple americano I was READY FOR ANYTHING – and so the day began!
The style team (Rob and Kate) dressed up the mannequins in the most hip outfits we could find and we started working the floor. The beauty of a sale like this is that unlike a regular store, both the nice designer leather jacket and the silly 90s “My first Mustache Ride” (????) tshirt are both $2! With everything at such a low price, a person’s ability to rationally weigh their options and make the sensible decision goes out the window and they just end up buying both.
We offered cupcakes and other baked goodies to those who donated $2 or more to the festival. It was a crisp, sunny day and lots of people happily stumbled upon the sale by accident (I think it also had something to do with Rosamund’s undeniable charm as she ushered people in off the street, out of the cold and into a lovely community event). I did the cash for most of the day and I got a chance to talk to some lovely people about the festival they were supporting with their purchases. It isn’t hard to sell a cause like this one. The Paprika Festival is unique because of the way it supports its young artists. It provides fantastic resources, intelligent and constructive feedback, and a professional environment. It also expects a very high caliber of work from its participants. It is unique because it recognizes that just because a person is young, does not mean their work should be taken less seriously than the work of an adult. Not once that day did I feel like I was just reciting a speech. Each time I explained the festival to a customer I only got more excited about the whole thing! And that kind of excitement was positively received time and time again throughout the day as I talked to more and more people.
By 4pm, we had sold almost all of the clothing. A tired but satisfied bunch of volunteers gathered at the end of the day to take stock of our hard work. We ate the last brownies and we packed the remaining clothing into bags. The bags were driven to the nearest Value Village and thus concluded the latest Paprika Festival $2 Clothing Sale. In just one day, we had raised a record-high amount of money for Paprika (we beat the last clothing sale by hundreds of dollars)! It was a pleasure to work with such lovely people, all working to support such a lovely festival.