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Orchid auction tips?

This is a discussion on Orchid auction tips? within the Orchid Shows and Society Meetings forums, part of the TalkTalk category; Our orchid club is holding its first ever orchid auction and we are flying blind. ...

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  1. #1
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    Question Orchid auction tips?

    Our orchid club is holding its first ever orchid auction and we are flying blind. We hold sales twice a year mostly because there are no greenhouses within a 4 hour drive that sell anything more than overpriced UFO phals. But we have never tried the auction format and only one of our members has ever even been to an orchid auction. I am definitely nervous about how we should do things and would love any advice you can offer.

    The good news is this is farm country so most of us have been to other kinds of auctions, so we get the general gist of bidding and record keeping. One thing I'm worried about is how to give information about the different plants. At our sales we usually spend a lot of time answering questions and helping customers make selections. But we won't be able to do that without slowing down the auction. We will be selling some things that no one has seen around here, like soft cane dendrobiums and encyclias, and our usual customers are often leary of "new" types.

    I would appreciate any tips on making things run smoothly. I would also like to hear about things that did not work well at auctions you've been to. I'm hoping to avoid as many mistakes as possible.

    Oh, and if anyone wants to come, it will be in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Saturday May 5. I seriously doubt there are any other OT members from around here, but I would love to meet you if you're in this area! PM me for details.

  2. #2
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    Well, I have worked many orchid auctions and the best way to raise money is to sell plants in bud and bloom. Plants that do not have flowers should have a color photograph printed out and attached to the pot or plant so that people can see the blooms. You should allow people to arrive early to the auction so they can 'browse' the selection. Supply them with a list of the plant names and use numbers to identify them. (Just a sticker on the pot with the number and the typed inventory list that corresponds to the numbers). When selling the plants, tell people the 'general' conditions (high light, medium light, low light) tell the fragrance type if known, and keep it simple. The more information given - the more difficult the plant sounds to grow. Offer to help people learn more about their plants after purchase and recommend OrchidTalk () as a place to get helpful information on how to grow their new orchids.

    Good luck!

    cheers,
    BD

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    Our OS does auctions, but they are members-only. I think Bruce's suggestions are spot-on. I have sold divisions at our OS sale table before, and the pictures really help.

    Good luck!

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    I agree with Bruce, too. His ideas are spot-on. If not in bloom, make them look as nice as possible. If anyone is getting rid of cute pots, bowls, containers, they can be put over the boring plant pot (garage sales and thrift stores can be good sources). Dried Spanish moss bought cheaply from a big box store can be added. The nicer they look, the more people will pay and the more likely they are to care for them. Good luck and have fun! Let us know how it goes!!!
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  5. #5
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    Thanks, everyone. I'll have to start printing some pictures. Almost all of the orchids we'll be selling are in tight bud right now, not sure if they'll be open in a week. Leaf mite, we toyed with the idea of putting some nicer ones in cache pots as ready-made Mothers Day gifts, but we will be selling almost 240 orchids and I'm now worried about just finishing in time before our venue closes.

    I'll let you know how it goes.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kassie View Post
    Thanks, everyone. I'll have to start printing some pictures. Almost all of the orchids we'll be selling are in tight bud right now, not sure if they'll be open in a week. Leaf mite, we toyed with the idea of putting some nicer ones in cache pots as ready-made Mothers Day gifts, but we will be selling almost 240 orchids and I'm now worried about just finishing in time before our venue closes.

    I'll let you know how it goes.
    With that many orchids - be sure to notify the local papers around your area and get on the local radio stations. You need to have many people or you will end up selling your orchids for very cheap. Since this is a fund raiser, you might consider grouping some of the orchids that are 'lesser' quality together and selling them as a group. This will raise the bid price and the interest. Be sure to include one fabulous orchid in the mix to increase interest. This works well. Also, another fun thing to do (if you have the time and interest) is to create a mystery box or mystery collection. Take a large box and include plants, supplies, orchid food, etc... (basically create something pretty amazing). Estimate the base cost if you don't know and set a minimum bid at just under that price. DO NOT tell anyone what is in the box exactly, but do make sure to include at least one AMAZING plant - in bloom if possible, and three or four others along with some supplies, etc... Then, label the box as a MYSTERY ORCHID COLLECTION or ORCHID MYSTERY BOX and really talk it up. Typically the bids on these type of boxes get a little crazy. Especially with us orchid fanatics. If filled with really amazing things, orchids, etc..., then the next time you have an annual auction, your crowd will really go wild with the bids. Only have one or two of these at the most at one auction. AND, remember if you have two at one auction - auction off the 'best' one first. The second one should be auctioned off several minutes later after the first mystery box was opened and the inclusions exposed. This will drive up the bids for the second box. Both should be great collections and make the winner feel great about paying 'XXXXX' for them!

    Good luck to your orchid club! I hope the auction goes very well for you. I always look forward to September at my orchid society for our annual orchid auction.

    Cheers,
    BD

  7. #7
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    I wish I could be there...let us know how it goes!

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