Wmi's, Advice Please?

Decorating By Tarabell Updated 27 Feb 2009 , 6:17pm by Carolynlovescake

Tarabell Posted 26 Feb 2009 , 5:44am
post #1 of 13

Hi all, I started at Michaels as a WMI in December. My first course went very well and I had 7 students. January fell flat and no one signed up. There was another WMI hired that month and for Feb, she ended up with 13 in her class and I ran a class with 2, which is a no-no now, but there was a mess up at the front end and I didn't find out till that day, so the store told me to run it anyways.

Now my EC told me I had seniority and that I would get to choose my days, classes etc, yet for March when we spoke, I was told what classes the other WMI was doing and what they wanted me to do. So, I spoke with my EC and told her that I didn't think it was overly equal and that I wanted to add a course in there, as I was just doing a Course 2 and a project class and every month I've tried to run a project class, no one has even signed up. So now, the other WMI's classes are filling up and mine are not. How do I deal with this? I've spoken with the EC and I've just emailed my Wilton contact and I am just feeling so frustrated with it all. I really love being a WMI and the classes I've been able to teach so far I have throughly enjoyed I just feel like I am getting the short end of the stick. I am new-ish to my town, and I don't know very many people just yet and the other WMI has replaced a WMI who now owns her own cake shop in town. Not to sound paranoid, but it's hard to not think that she's getting so many people signed up as she is getting them 'passed' on to her by the old WMI.

What do I do?? I don't want to quit, I can't have my own shop or business and this is the next best thing for me. I love it and really want to make it work, I am just so frustrated. Thanks for any insight!!

Tara

12 replies
lovelytee Posted 26 Feb 2009 , 6:20am
post #2 of 13

Sorry Tarabell for the way you feel, but don't get discouraged. Maybe you could offer to do a free demonstration on a Saturday for a couple of hours. When customers come up to you, introduce yourself since you are new in town. Smile and let them see your wonderful talent (maybe do a couple of simple flowers and borders). Just have a little patience and market yourself as much as you can. HTH icon_wink.gif

CeeTee Posted 26 Feb 2009 , 6:23am
post #3 of 13

I'm one of two WMI's at my store as well. I've been there one year, he's been there over 5 years. Over the course of the year there have been times when my classes were full and his didn't run and vice versa. Sometimes people have requested being put in his class, some have requested me. Other times it's just a matter of what day the class happens to be on. We've had times were Thursdays were packed one month, then the next there'd be no one and we'd be swamped with requests for classes on Tuedays, ect. ect.

Just relax and don't fret over it. All WMI's go through this sort of thing at one time or another. If you don't get any sign ups, just let it go, make a bunch of flyers for your next month's class, do a demo to help get the word out, and hope for the best icon_smile.gif

If it makes you feel any better, I've only had one project class ever go out of all the times I've offered them. I just keep at it. So far I've had a lot of people asking about the Brownie Fun class, so I'm hoping one of those will go in March.

...now, if only I can remember to turn in my tracking on time. That still trips me up! >_<

LeckieAnne Posted 26 Feb 2009 , 6:38am
post #4 of 13

I don't teach any more (just didn't have the time) - but try to do a course 1 as often as possible. Folks like to take the rest of the courses with the instructor they started with. Stick with it - it'll pick up!

Lorendabug Posted 26 Feb 2009 , 6:48am
post #5 of 13

It's true one month I can be swamped with students the next I am lucky to have a class at all. Demos and flyers are good ways to get information out there. You could even put together a web site, there are some free sites out there to help. Tell everyone about your classes, word of mouth is free publicity. I always have flyers and Bounce In/Back coupons on me at all times to give to people. I am the only WMI at my store now, the other instructor is at another Michaels a town over from me. My classes are packed and she has had to cancel a few this month since she didn't get enough students. She does demos monthly, I only do them when I have too. I can't tell you why I have full classes really, this time last year I was cancelling them constantly because of no students. I only teach three night a week and people are getting turned away becuase I have no more room. I am at an older Michaels store with a very tiny classroom, it sucks! Just keep at it and don't give up! you will have plenty of students in time.

zubia Posted 26 Feb 2009 , 7:30am
post #6 of 13

Lorendabug ,I was just wondering who decides when we can give out Bounce back or bounce in coupons? Iam also a new WMi at Michaels.
Zubia

loriana Posted 26 Feb 2009 , 3:56pm
post #7 of 13

I have been a WMI for almost 2 years and work with two other teachers at our store. One has been teaching 5 years and the other is trying to retire after teaching over 35 years!! icon_eek.gif

The teacher who has been there forever has taught me a few important things too. Here are a few things that might help

Scheduling
As for the scheduling issue, all three of us sit down together every 6 months or so and "hash" out a tenative schedule. That way we can coordinate with everyone. One teacher says "Mondays are bad for me" and the other says "I can take Mondays". We also talk about potential days where we need to sub for one another when we are on vacation or have something conflicting. I think this is the best way to do it if you can.

Project Classes
We offer one monthly. This is what is asked of us. We *rarely* fill them. I just made a call to my WMI supervisor last month and vented my frustration and worry about this. She basically said, "Lisa... noone fills them. Keep offering them, that's what we have to do, but don't expect to fill them... its just seasonal". She recommended trying a chocolate class in March, keeping up the occasional Kids Klass which I LOVE to teach, and offering another brownie class come summer. Here's our last rundown:

Offered Brownie Class in Feb 09- no signups
Offered a Kids Klass in Jan 09- no signups
Offered a gingerbread class in Dec 08- no signups. One last-minute person was dying to learn gingerbread so I had her sit with me through my paid gingerbread demo and worked with her. It was a win-win for the store, the student and just a tiny bit more trouble on my end.
Offered a Kids Klass in Nov 08- no signups
Offered a Halloween Class in Oct 09 - 4 signups. A fun class
Offered a Kids Klass in Sept - no signups
Offered something-or-other in August - no signups
Offered a Kids Klass in July - 8 kids, a news reporter from 2 local papers and tons of publicity. I got to be in our papers and the kids had a BALL!
...so you just don't know. My sup says keep offering them, but don't be dissapointed if they don't sign up in this economy.

loriana Posted 26 Feb 2009 , 3:59pm
post #8 of 13

Oh I forgot:

Bounce Back/In Coupons
You can give them out at the end of all your classes and at every demo (according to our supervisor).

One more piece of advice: Value those email addresses & phone numbers! Especially in Course 1. Call or email those students and keep them in the know. Let them havea voice as to your Class 2 scheduling. Especially now with the 4 student minimum it will be important to keep in touch with those students. Our 35 year teacher said that over her career teaching, that has been the key... plugging those Class 1 students into the loop.

Hope this helps!

Tarabell Posted 26 Feb 2009 , 4:18pm
post #9 of 13

Thanks ladies! It is hard to be patient, but I am trying, lol. I got a great reponse from my Wilton rep, and will be trying some of her suggestions as well. I think that it will just take time. We're both new WMI's and we're replacing some very talented ladies, it will take time for me to build my reputation. The one thing really bugging me is that everytime I ask about flyers, or posters, I am told no, as it's not Michael's 5 Star Standard. I feel like they are not telling Wilton and I the same things. Will hang in there though, thanks again!!

Tara

loriana Posted 26 Feb 2009 , 5:38pm
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarabell

Thanks ladies! It is hard to be patient, but I am trying, lol. I got a great reponse from my Wilton rep, and will be trying some of her suggestions as well. I think that it will just take time. We're both new WMI's and we're replacing some very talented ladies, it will take time for me to build my reputation. The one thing really bugging me is that everytime I ask about flyers, or posters, I am told no, as it's not Michael's 5 Star Standard. I feel like they are not telling Wilton and I the same things. Will hang in there though, thanks again!!

Tara




Hi Tara! Are you using the flyer templates from the Wilton instructor site/your WMI Supervisor site? Our store lets us print these and we distrribute bag-stuffer size flyers (quarter sheets) as well as post our class flyers near the entrance of the store.

sweetcakes Posted 27 Feb 2009 , 3:34pm
post #11 of 13

the best place to ask this question is on the wmi only message board. send me a pm with your email and i will get you an invitation to join.

kakeladi Posted 27 Feb 2009 , 6:04pm
post #12 of 13

One thing no one has suggested is can you offer classes at a different time of day? When I was teaching I often had 2 classes per day....10 a.m. and 6:30 pm........
Maybe day classes would help you get started.

Carolynlovescake Posted 27 Feb 2009 , 6:17pm
post #13 of 13

One thing you might not know is that Wilton does not have a seniority system. All WMI's are equal regardless of who was there first.

I had someone try to pull a seniority claim on me when I first started and it fell flat with my CMS. She made it clear to them they were not above me, and I wasn't below them we were equal.

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