Need Advice From Wilton Instructors Please!

Decorating By EverlastingSweets Updated 2 Jul 2009 , 4:45am by mommyto4

EverlastingSweets Posted 27 Jun 2009 , 10:15pm
post #1 of 26

hi all! It's been awhile, but I'm glad to be back. My passion for cake decorating has been renewed and I just got a job as a WMI.
I have a question for you!
I'm starting at a HL that hasn't had any classes in over a year. I just got all my stuff today and wanted to start my classes in July, the week of the 6th, but is that just pushing it? But I hate to start in August....
I'm the only instructor there so I'm very excited, but I just have no idea about a reasonable start up time frame.
Also, I'd like to know how you started if you were the starter upper? the wilton rep seemed pretty peeved about the last instructor and they want a real go getter, which is right up my alley. How do you personally advertise? Facebook? a webpage?
Any advice would be appreciated!

25 replies
candice1988 Posted 27 Jun 2009 , 10:26pm
post #2 of 26

In my opinion, you might want to wait until August to start. That way you will have time to watch the training videos, practice, and get your advertising up for the classes. I teach at Michaels and for my advertising, I put signs throughout the store, make displays, and I send out a monthly newsletter to all my former students telling them what classes Im offering that month. I want to start a webpage but havent gotten around to it yet. Hope that helps.

TexasSugar Posted 28 Jun 2009 , 1:06am
post #3 of 26

First, congrats!

Go talk to the store manager and ask them what advertising you are allowed to do in store. Some places will let you have displays at the front of the store, and don't for get about flyers!

I don't advertise online myself, but you can. I do most if it in store, but that is because I don't really want my myspace page associated with my job.

If you feel you are ready to do it, then go ahead and set up a Course 1 for July. Most people don't sign up until the week before the classes start anyway. If you don't get enough people signed up, then that is fine, but it will show people there are classes up there. It may take a couple of months to get some classes going, especially if they haven't had any in a while, so don't give up.

If you decide not to start until August start promoting that class now with information in the store. Again ask the manager what is allowed and what isn't. Also ask about doing a demo to get some attention for the classes. icon_smile.gif

kakeladi Posted 28 Jun 2009 , 1:09am
post #4 of 26

Have you asked this on hte Wilton Instructor's board?.......or at least read it?
I'm sure there is lots of help there.
I don't think you will have time to get enough signed up to have a class starting the quickly. The store should do most of the advertising. You can try getting a free ad in the newspaper byt that usually takes 2-4 weeks advance notice.
You can always put up flyers in places like laundries; on store bulletin boards - any public board; maybe in your hairdressers place - etc. HTH

aliciag829 Posted 28 Jun 2009 , 1:21am
post #5 of 26

It usually takes a couple months to get the sign ups rolling, so I would be surprised if you tried to start in July, if you even had a class that month. Watch the videos, review the books and make sure you have everything you need. You should have met with an instructor in your area to go over things with you (all the paperwork) and sit in on a class of theirs. At least, that's what I did. I wasn't the starter upper at my store, but I know she got hired in Oct and didn't have enough people for a class until Jan. Make sure you have everything you need in the sign up book by the registers...the proper dividers, forms, etc and post a schedule somewhere. There's so much set up to be done, I would say start in August unless you have a couple days to devote to getting things set up correctly before the July class starts. Make sure the store has enough books and Wilton items that your students will need. Also, check to make sure they have some diplomas handy. My store used to throw them away, so when classes started, they didn't have any and had to ask another store for some. (they come in the shipping box to the store with the course books) Make sure you understand the tracking forms and all that, too. I was soooo lost on all that at first. If you need anymore info about being an HL WMI, just pm me.

HTH

EverlastingSweets Posted 28 Jun 2009 , 2:50am
post #6 of 26

thanks friends for the advice. I'm leaning more towards starting in August, just because after putting all my stuff together, I don't think I'll be ready to go that soon. Plus it's only 2 weeks away, and for a store that has not offered the classes before, it maybe a slow start.
I've already picked my days Wednesday and Friday from 6-8. Did you start out teaching just 2 of Course 1's for that first month? I'm thinking about doing that, then my next month offer Course 1 and Course 2 so that my course 2 class will be pretty large.
I'm so excited and scared, but am really looking forward to it.
Plus the store does not have a display case set aside to show our products. So I'm thinking about going back over there and see if he can just find a nice table that we can use to set up some flyers and some cake displays.
thank you so much for your input!

aliciag829 Posted 28 Jun 2009 , 6:52am
post #7 of 26

There were 3 course 1's the first month at my store. Keep in mind, students can take the other courses in any order once they have completed course 1 in case anyone wants to move on to the fondant right away. At my store, the cutoff is 10 per class because it's harder to help people when you have such big classes. We are required to offer 3 course nights per month. We have to have a Course 1, a course 2, and then do a course 3 or the fondant gumpaste course (so we switch that one every other month). I don't know if it's the same way at your HL or not though. At our store, we have a sign that's on a stand out in the "lobby" area, then we have a sign with pamphlets at the end of the Wilton aisle. There is also a sign at the registers. We are afraid to advertise on Craigslist because we've heard of some people having strange experiences after doing that. If there is a grocery store or other store in your area with a bulletin board for businesses to advertise, that is a good place to put up some info.

HTH

cylstrial Posted 29 Jun 2009 , 8:54pm
post #8 of 26

Can anyone tell me how the process works? I found a store (where we are moving) that has an open WMI position. And I filled out the "screener" information sheet. I know that the Wilton rep will contact me if they are interested. What happens after that? Do you interview with the store manager? How long did the process take for you all?

Thanks!

Oh and how many years of cake decorating experience did you all have when you signed up? I've been doing it for a few years pretty seriously - just not sure if that's enough. icon_biggrin.gif

EverlastingSweets Posted 29 Jun 2009 , 9:11pm
post #9 of 26

Well, you've done a lot of the work already! I've been waiting 2 years, but alot of that was wasted time as I didn't really know that you need to kinda keep up with it.
So since December, I kept going on there and checking positions near me, when you see one, then email them about it. Only after I did that did the calls start coming in.
Then they call you, ask for some photos and you're pretty much in if there is a spot.
For me, it was hard too since the stores near me already had settled teachers so I had to look a little bit out of my area. And the reps who call sometimes dont' live in your state so they don't know how far or close anything is for you. For instance, the store I'm going to be at is really 10 minutes from my house, they thought it was about 30-40 minutes.
Then you go in and meet with the store manager and see about when the room in available. And the rep will send you your stuff.
I am actually thinking about teaching in August. My rep said I could start mid-July and let let it go mid month to mid month, but I think it's just easier going from beginning of the month to the end of it.
Any thoughts on doing that from anyone?

cylstrial Posted 29 Jun 2009 , 9:39pm
post #10 of 26

Thanks for the info EverlastingSweets! I guess I'll just wait and see what happens!

TexasSugar Posted 29 Jun 2009 , 9:57pm
post #11 of 26

At Michaels you go through the application process as any other of their store employees do, after you have been accepted as a WMI. You fill out an app and paper work and they run what they need to and get back with you.

I filled out the app with Wilton and was teaching a month later. But I had the previous WMI at the store vouching for me, and she was leaving so the store was in need of someone. It took about a week before I got the finally say so from Micheals that I was officially a employee. I pretty much went off her schedule and just kept it going. So I wasn't starting from a lapse of instructors at the store.

I offer one of every course a month. I haven't offered two course ones in the same month because I haven't had too many large classes lately and don't want to deal with which course one to cancel and trying to get people to move to another day/time if I didn't have 4 people for each course.

If you are going to offer two course ones a month I'd offer them at different times. Such as one during the day and one at night. That way you are targeting different people.

cylstrial Posted 29 Jun 2009 , 10:00pm
post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSugar

At Michaels you go through the application process as any other of their store employees do, after you have been accepted as a WMI. You fill out an app and paper work and they run what they need to and get back with you.

I filled out the app with Wilton and was teaching a month later. But I had the previous WMI at the store vouching for me, and she was leaving so the store was in need of someone. It took about a week before I got the finally say so from Micheals that I was officially a employee. I pretty much went off her schedule and just kept it going. So I wasn't starting from a lapse of instructors at the store.




Thanks for explaining the process! That worked out well as it is a Michael's store! thumbs_up.gif

TexasSugar Posted 29 Jun 2009 , 10:05pm
post #13 of 26

icon_smile.gif Welcome.

dorie67 Posted 29 Jun 2009 , 10:11pm
post #14 of 26

I am a former WMI, I taught at Michael's for 2 years and I was the starter upper. I waited until the following month after I was hired to begin classes because I wanted to advertise the classes and get myself together with the paper work and the whole process in general. I eventually worked myself up to holding 3 classes per week, and rotating my classes every month. HTH princess.gif

EverlastingSweets Posted 29 Jun 2009 , 10:35pm
post #15 of 26

I think I'm just going to start in August and just teach 2 Course 1's and go from there. I hate to miss out on the great July deal of getting a free goodie bag and half off tuition, but at least there's still 1/2 off in August.
Good luck cylstrial!

One more question, what days do you find work best? They told me I can have Wednesday through Friday, I was thinking Weds and Friday (nights)? I wish they had a Saturday...but it's taken by those quilters....

mommyto4 Posted 30 Jun 2009 , 4:13am
post #16 of 26

Welcome! I too am a brand new WMI. The gal before me had a good reputation going and the store actually got an award for the first quarter of 2009 for most students. Talk about big shoes to fill! Unfortunately the previous WMI flaked out on the June classes and I lost 7 students that way, but I teach my first course 1 in July and have 11 students already! I capped the room at 12 because of space.

I agree with the starting in August. It takes time to get everything read and viewed. Luckily I took all the classes in 2007 so I still remember how they were conducted. I have learned a lot in the last 2 years - A LOT of it from here on CC!!!! - and I feel confident that I have enough knowledge and experience to be a good WMI. My only fear is that I won't be a good teacher. I guess we'll find out soon enough.

And now a question for all the seasoned WMI's: I have course 1 and 2 scheduled for August, but no signups for course 2 yet. I know that at least 3 of my course 1 students want to take all 4 classes. If no one signs up for course 2 do you think it's a bad thing to change my August schedule from course 1 and course 3 to course 1 and course 2? I mean, if I don't have anyone that took course 2 then there will be no one to take course 3, right? Thanks in advance!

TexasSugar Posted 30 Jun 2009 , 5:26am
post #17 of 26

I have taught on Mon thru Thurs and Sat night. I have never taught on Fridays, during the fall there is alot of football games on Fridays, which mean band moms, drill team moms and football moms aren't gonna be interested on Fridays.

I liked the Saturday night one cause it gets people that can't take it during the week. If the Quilters have the class room on Saturday nights, what about Saturday morning or afternoon?

How many classes are you willing to teach a month after you get things up and going? If you have time for 3 or 4 courses a month, then I'd go ahead and tell them you want Wed-Friday and ask about a Saturday morning/afternoon one. That way you can work up to having classes on all those nights.

This is one reason why I like teaching at Michaels, since they don't offer any other classes any more I get choice of when ever I want to teach and can change it around month to month depending my my schedule and what works best for my students. icon_smile.gif

TexasSugar Posted 30 Jun 2009 , 5:27am
post #18 of 26

I have taught on Mon thru Thurs and Sat night. I have never taught on Fridays, during the fall there is alot of football games on Fridays, which mean band moms, drill team moms and football moms aren't gonna be interested on Fridays.

I liked the Saturday night one cause it gets people that can't take it during the week. If the Quilters have the class room on Saturday nights, what about Saturday morning or afternoon?

How many classes are you willing to teach a month after you get things up and going? If you have time for 3 or 4 courses a month, then I'd go ahead and tell them you want Wed-Friday and ask about a Saturday morning/afternoon one. That way you can work up to having classes on all those nights.

This is one reason why I like teaching at Michaels, since they don't offer any other classes any more I get choice of when ever I want to teach and can change it around month to month depending my my schedule and what works best for my students. icon_smile.gif

TexasSugar Posted 30 Jun 2009 , 5:28am
post #19 of 26

I have taught on Mon thru Thurs and Sat night. I have never taught on Fridays, during the fall there is alot of football games on Fridays, which mean band moms, drill team moms and football moms aren't gonna be interested on Fridays.

I liked the Saturday night one cause it gets people that can't take it during the week. If the Quilters have the class room on Saturday nights, what about Saturday morning or afternoon?

How many classes are you willing to teach a month after you get things up and going? If you have time for 3 or 4 courses a month, then I'd go ahead and tell them you want Wed-Friday and ask about a Saturday morning/afternoon one. That way you can work up to having classes on all those nights.

This is one reason why I like teaching at Michaels, since they don't offer any other classes any more I get choice of when ever I want to teach and can change it around month to month depending my my schedule and what works best for my students. icon_smile.gif

EverlastingSweets Posted 30 Jun 2009 , 12:33pm
post #20 of 26

Welcome Mommyto4!
Well, the Saturday afternoon spot is taken and I need to ask about Saturday night. And thank you so much Texas for reminding me about football season!!! My daughter made the drill team as a manager and I completely forgot about the Fridays!
I work full time and I'm not sure if I can pull off more than 2 classes a week, I think in August, I'm going to start with the one class a week,just to get the feel of things.
Wow 4 classes a week! I'd fall over... icon_lol.gif

lillee65 Posted 30 Jun 2009 , 12:49pm
post #21 of 26

hey hope all is well....

I've been teaching for 6 years in NYC with Michaels taught over 600 students... My advice to you is to change to course 3 or the New Fondant gumpaste course would even be better... instead of having 2 course II classes @ the same time...

Enjoy and good luck...

Lisa

ps dont worry once ur feet get wet n it sounds like you have the confidence within 3 months all your classes will be booked....
icon_cool.gif

TexasSugar Posted 30 Jun 2009 , 3:44pm
post #22 of 26

Mommyto4, Are you only teaching two classes a month? I do have 4 scheduled a month and I have only taught all 4 a couple or times, but have had two or three make quite often.

After they take Course 1 they can take the classes in any order. So those that teach only twice a week will often do Course 1 and Course 2 one month, Course 1 and Course 3 the next month and Course 1 and F/GP the following month. That means you have a Course 1 every month bring people in, and then the people that have already had Course 1 have a class they can take as well.

Someone can always take Course 1, Course 3, Course 2 and then F/GP. They will still get all the classes in.

Everlasting, Do they have an open spot on Sat morning and Sat evening? Since you work all week, you could always double on up Saturdays and do two classes. I'd talk it over with the manager and who is in charge of the class room schedule (if there is someone in that position) and tell him you would like to try out different days to see what works best. That way you aren't locked into the exact same days every month if you are only teaching two and can change it around a little.

TexasSugar Posted 30 Jun 2009 , 3:45pm
post #23 of 26

Mommyto4, Are you only teaching two classes a month? I do have 4 scheduled a month and I have only taught all 4 a couple or times, but have had two or three make quite often.

After they take Course 1 they can take the classes in any order. So those that teach only twice a week will often do Course 1 and Course 2 one month, Course 1 and Course 3 the next month and Course 1 and F/GP the following month. That means you have a Course 1 every month bring people in, and then the people that have already had Course 1 have a class they can take as well.

Someone can always take Course 1, Course 3, Course 2 and then F/GP. They will still get all the classes in.

Everlasting, Do they have an open spot on Sat morning and Sat evening? Since you work all week, you could always double on up Saturdays and do two classes. I'd talk it over with the manager and who is in charge of the class room schedule (if there is someone in that position) and tell him you would like to try out different days to see what works best. That way you aren't locked into the exact same days every month if you are only teaching two and can change it around a little.

TexasSugar Posted 30 Jun 2009 , 3:46pm
post #24 of 26

Mommyto4, Are you only teaching two classes a month? I do have 4 scheduled a month and I have only taught all 4 a couple or times, but have had two or three make quite often.

After they take Course 1 they can take the classes in any order. So those that teach only twice a week will often do Course 1 and Course 2 one month, Course 1 and Course 3 the next month and Course 1 and F/GP the following month. That means you have a Course 1 every month bring people in, and then the people that have already had Course 1 have a class they can take as well.

Someone can always take Course 1, Course 3, Course 2 and then F/GP. They will still get all the classes in.

Everlasting, Do they have an open spot on Sat morning and Sat evening? Since you work all week, you could always double on up Saturdays and do two classes. I'd talk it over with the manager and who is in charge of the class room schedule (if there is someone in that position) and tell him you would like to try out different days to see what works best. That way you aren't locked into the exact same days every month if you are only teaching two and can change it around a little.

EverlastingSweets Posted 1 Jul 2009 , 2:06am
post #25 of 26

okay, first of all, I apologize if this comes out more than one time, not sure what is going on with the duplicate posts?
Thank you Texas for your advice, I'm going to call the manager tomorrow and see about what other days I can get from him and I want to start signing up people mid-July for the August classes.
this was just a great set of answers from everyone! Thank you!

mommyto4 Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 4:45am
post #26 of 26

Yes, I am only teaching two classes a month. I have a part-time day job and my husband works second-third shift. If I work more than 2 nights a week then I have to find a babysitter for my 5 kids and that's not easy.

I have decided to teach one course 1 class and one course 2 class next month provided no one has signed up for course 3 by the 9th. I already have 3 signed up for August on course 1.

I will ALWAYS do course 1 each and every month and then switch the others around.

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