“Trust me, this is the best way.”
The swim team of a small rural town in outback Queensland had decided to enter several interstate swim meets. Their team had done reasonably well against other nearby clubs. Some of their swimmers had pretty decent times for their age groups. Their coach, Jon, was lobbying hard to get the funds to take the kids away. “The experience of swimming at these meets,” he said, “would be invaluable.” Plus everyone just needed a break from the same incessant, punishing training.
The usual ways of raising funds were not working. Sausage sizzles and lamington drives sent the wrong sort of message (neither sausages nor lamingtons being healthy foods for swimmers). And so Jon put the question to the swimmers, “How can we raise the money to attend these meets?”
It was a good idea. One of the swimmer’s parents was Michelle, a photographer. She suggested the idea of selling calendars; each month containing a photograph of several of the swim team. The kids loved the idea! Modelling for a photo’ shoot, raising money to attend a sporting event they’d dreamed of, it was their idea of heaven.
‘Well we have the models,’ Michelle said, looking with pride at her son as he laughed and joked with his team mates. ‘Now we need the props.’ And this was where she stunned everyone.
Michelle had previously worked as an artistic director for an advertising firm. She’d learned through her career that having the prettiest models in the world didn’t amount to a hill of beans if you accoutred them incorrectly. So having the swim team standing around in ratty swimmers bathrobes, with towels that were frayed to ribbons, just wouldn’t do.
And so Michelle went online. Her advertising firm had done work for Canningvale. They sold luxury beach towels and sumptuous bathrobes online. And this was what surprised everyone. Looking for beach towels online, in Queensland, the sunshine state, was almost heretical. But Michelle wouldn’t hear otherwise.
“I’m not taking a dozen excited teenagers into a department store to see how they look in different colored bathrobes and beach towels. That’s assuming the department store has what we need.”
Jon could only agree.
With her practiced eye Michelle could pick which colors worked best with each swimmer. She got all their sizes and imagined how best to frame each of them, nestled in the rich colors and soft textures of the robes and towels.
Within a few days Canningvale delivered everything exactly as she had ordered. Rich reds and deep browns (the swim team’s colors) predominated. But Michelle had ensured everyone had robes and towels the color and style that would suit them best.
The photo shoot went off without a hitch, all the kids loved being under the hot lights, striking poses and staring haughtily at the lenses.
The parents’ and local community were stunned with the results. “Is this my little girl?” “Aren’t you getting strong son?” “Watch out Hollywood!” Were the least of the comments on the Facebook page Michelle created for the fundraising.
The idea of a calendar was a raging success. The swim team raised enough money to attend the meets. They even had enough money left over for a small holiday when they’d finished.