By starting Boomerang Bags, will I be out of pocket personally?
Not necessarily. There may be a few small costs involved in starting up a community (see below), but there are tips and ideas under ‘fundraising’ to help cover the costs without burning a hole in your own pocket. Keep receipts and talk to your local Council or business owners. Often, they will readily reimburse you.
What are the costs involved in starting a community?
Through using donated materials, volunteer time, in-kind support and community venues the costs involved in starting a community are minimal. Below is a list of potential costs that may be incurred, depending on how you plan to implement the project:
- Screenprinting supplies (estimated $120AUD)
- Pre-printed labels ($10-12.50 per 50 pack)
- Venue hire ( homes are the most popular venues and are free)
- Cotton thread
- Tea, coffee, snacks for volunteers
Are we allowed to sell the bags?
Absolutely! It’s up to you and your community how you choose to implement Boomerang Bags. In our experience we have found that often community members or businesses like to purchase the bags to keep and reuse, gift to friends, and to contribute to the project. It’s one way to enable servicing of machines, purchase of equipment or any other volunteer expenses you may have (tea and coffee, travel, venue hire, etc) to be covered.
If we sell bags, what do we do with the donations?
We recommend putting the funds back into the project – for example purchasing thread and other equipment, sewing machine maintenance, or shouting your volunteers to lunch! Some community groups that have excess funds donate them to another local cause or activity in need. In this case, we’d suggest a discussion/meeting with your group to decide on a cause that everyone is happy to support.
What financial record keeping processes do I need to implement?
For cash sales we recommend delegating one or two volunteers to be the ‘treasurers’ and keep a simple log-book of income and expenses. This helps to keep track and ensure transparency amongst all volunteers. See ‘Financial responsibilities’ under the FUNDRAISING tab for more detail.
What is a reasonable price to sell bags?
This is up to your community to decide, but as a ball-park figure, bags have been sold for anywhere from $2 to $10.
Do we have to use the boomerang bag bag design/template provided?
The bag designs provided in the toolkit are just a guide. Feel free to get creative with the dimensions and designs of your bags (which may often depend on the size of the fabric you are repurposing). The only thing that needs to remain consistent is the Boomerang Bags logo and the use of post-consumer material.
How often should we hold sewing bees?
There’s no magic number. It depends on the capacity of the coordinator to organise it and the availability of volunteers able to attend. Communities most often have a combination of home sewers and sewing workshops – the most important thing is to keep it sustainable for those involved, and fun! We’d suggest first discussing with your group when and how often you’d like to hold sewing bees, then trial this to see if it works for you. If you find it is too much or too little, adjust the timing and frequency to suit.
What CAN we do with scraps and small pieces of fabric that are too small to make bags?
* for big enough pieces, these could be use to make bunting or sewn-together to make patch-work style bags
* for small pieces and threads, they could be used to stuff pillow cases that make great dog beds or ottomans, or you could send them off to an organisation such as https://upparel.com.au which will recycle them into useable textiles.
Can I use my personal contact details on flyers/media etc?
This comes down to personal choice. If you’re worried about spammers, or being contacted by the wider community, we’d suggest setting up a separate email address for your Boomerang Bags group (e.g email@example.com). This is also beneficial as it can be accessed by multiple members of the group to share the load.
Do We need insurance to RUN SEWING BEES And market stalls?
This depends on your activities. If you are sewing from a public venue, insurance would normally be covered by the venue itself. For market stalls or other public events outside of a venue, you may require Public Liability insurance. For this, we recommend asking another local organisation (Country Women’s Association, Neighbourhood House, Surfrider Foundation, Landcare group, or similar) to auspice your Boomerang Bags activity under their insurance.
Can we make items other than Boomerang Bags?
Definitely! Feel free to get creative in repurposing pre-loved fabrics into something useable. Many groups make reusable produce bags, cutlery pouches, cushion covers, bunting and so on. If your group is making bunting, get in touch with us for the ‘Boomerang Bunting’ logo!
What do funds made by BBHQ go towards?
From humble beginnings back in 2013, Boomerang Bags has grown quite rapidly to become a global movement over 1000 communities strong! In 2015, we made the decision to step back from our jobs, in order to dive head-first into establishing Boomerang Bags as an organisation, so that the initiative could be adapted easily and effectively by anyone in the world. Though the movement is predominately volunteer based and non-profit, there are many costs involved in keeping the cogs turning, and supporting the growing number of active groups. Funds raised at HQ help to support ongoing operational costs such as graphic design (customising community logos, creating flyers and other resources), website maintenance (fixing errors, revising this Toolkit, etc), database management (keeping track of everything), administration (i.e responding to emails, phone calls and social media enquiries), running workshops and events, packing and posting online orders, collecting and redistributing materials, accounting, and so forth.
We are a small team (Tania and Jordyn, with the support of Gwen (graphic design), and Helen (queen bag-maker), so please bare with us if we take a few days to respond to your enquiries.