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kaitlyn3837

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So, I started the Greenville Pipe Club with my friend Joe in August 2014. When Joe suggested it, I had a very vague idea what "pipe club" meant. Joe had the hopes that it would grow and one day my store would be able to host a pipe show by using the pipe club as a jumping point. BTW, Joe is not affiliated with my shop other than coming in to purchase tobacco every now and then. He had big hopes but I was thinking that it might help increase our pipe clientele. So I was into it and of course I was excited to have more people to discuss pipe stuff with.

Joe made the suggestion, we set a date, and together we made a plan for how we wanted the first meeting to go. We ended up using the first gathering as a "Pipe 101" of sorts. It went great! I don't know what the average is for this sort of thing but we had 14 at the first gathering. We also did a raffle for a free pipe. Lately, we average 4-6 people.

The way the gatherings go: I prepare free tobacco sample bags in advance, everyone is welcome and the gathering is free to attend. Sometimes we will have a theme if you want to bring pipes to show off. Themes have included: Non-briar pipes, churchwardens, detachable bowl pipes, hand-crafted accessories, and things like that. Of course, you don't have to bring a pipe that matches the theme, bring whatever you want and share a bowl!

Once everyone arrives, we go around and introduce ourselves (if anyone new is there) and talk about what we brought for the theme. Or if you just got a brand new pipe you want to show off, we pass it around and take a look. Sometimes we each have brought pipe tobacco to share with each other too.

Joe has been off and on about attending and isn't really into helping on the social media front, so now I'm carrying the pipe club by myself. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I just feel a little out of my depth because I don't know where to go from here. I have been going by the seat of my pants for most of it.

So the point of me telling you all of this is that I would like help with suggestions, ideas, or things you have experienced in pipe clubs that you think would help grow my pipe club. I really would like to see the pipe community thrive in Greenville, I am just not sure how to make the pipe club better. Part of this is probably because I have never experienced a pipe club other than mine LOL.

I have heard of "longest bowl" contests and I am curious about how these are facilitated and if they are profitable or just for marketing (no return but more exposure). Are there other events I should host? Is the monthly theme for pipe club a good idea or bad idea? What do you look forward to when you go to pipe club?

I want to provide a good experience for my customers. Beyond the shop I want to help foster the pipe community in Greenville! It's not just about selling pipes or tobacco to me but it's about sharing my passion with other people who enjoy it too. Any help is appreciated fellas, thanks for making it through the long ramblings of my brain!
 

joshoowah

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I have no suggestions, but I'd like to say that your pipe club has far more things than my own did when I was in seminary. I started a pipe club that started with 2 folks but was up to 14 by the time I graduated. We would get together once a week, smoke, and talk about theology, politics, or anything at all really. That was about it.
 

kaitlyn3837

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joshoowah":793pg43p said:
I have no suggestions, but I'd like to say that your pipe club has far more things than my own did when I was in seminary. I started a pipe club that started with 2 folks but was up to 14 by the time I graduated. We would get together once a week, smoke, and talk about theology, politics, or anything at all really. That was about it.
We talk about a vast array of topics too! And thank you for the input :)
 

Stick

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Good evening K.

Top marks for getting a pipe club off the ground. I only wish there was something similar nearby that I could benefit from.

I've not been part of a club before but I thought this might work...

You could ask your regulars to select a sample that they give to another member to review before your next meet whereupon they report back their findings. This might broaden horizons a little with members trying 'baccys that they wouldn't ordinarily go for. Sure, you'll get some stinkers but you'll also gains some wins. But it's about the journey, right?
 

kaitlyn3837

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Stick":9u3jbbbv said:
Good evening K.

Top marks for getting a pipe club off the ground.  I only wish there was something similar nearby that I could benefit from.

I've not been part of a club before but I thought this might work...

You could ask your regulars to select a sample that they give to another member to review before your next meet whereupon they report back their findings.  This might broaden horizons a little with members trying 'baccys that they wouldn't ordinarily go for.  Sure, you'll get some stinkers but you'll also gains some wins.  But it's about the journey, right?
That's a cool idea! I will have to run that by the fellas. I think that would also be useful in bringing new tobaccos into the store. If the club members like a new tobacco then it might be worth adding!
 

kaitlyn3837

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Terry292":fx54o2t5 said:
You might try contacting these people.  They used to have a "how to organize a local club" tab, but I couldn't find it.

http://www.unitedpipeclubs.org/content.aspx?page_id=0&club_id=90797
I have explored that site before. I didn't see any info on how to start a pipe club either. I do follow that organization on Facebook too. I think I didn't pursue it more or seek membership because it was a little overwhelming. They seemed to take it all VERY seriously. Don't get me wrong, I take it seriously too about getting the word out and having fun but I didn't want to come off snobby. That make sense?

But for all I know, they would be the best source of information and I misread them. Does any else have experience with them?
 

Brewdude

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K-

Having a featured speaker like a pipe carver or tobacco blender come and share some insights would surely attract a lot of interested  folks. You might also consider the possibility of a silent auction, where members would donate unwanted/surplus pipes and accessories which would then help fund the club.

These are several things my SPC does and they have a thriving membership.

HTH


Cheers,

RR
 

Ozark Wizard

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Brewdude":ou2l34kd said:
K-

Having a featured speaker like a pipe carver or tobacco blender come and share some insights would surely attract a lot of interested  folks. You might also consider the possibility of a silent auction, where members would donate unwanted/surplus pipes and accessories which would then help fund the club.

These are several things my SPC does and they have a thriving membership.

HTH


Cheers,

RR
This would be a great start. Folks are always curious about the makings of their hobby, and crafters/blenders as speakers would definitely get interests piqued. Since you make tampers, perhaps if you made up some dowel stock, got caps and sandpaper, (enough for the whole class), that could be your first seminar! I'll bet if you pick some brains during that you might find there are others that could offer something to the group next time. And off you go!
 

Terry292

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Steve Fallon, aka Pipestud on e-bay, was instrumental in starting a pipe club in his community. Here's a link to an article he did on it in a past The Pipe Collector, the newsletter of the North American Society of Pipe Collectors. There might be some ideas you'd like to consider, or you could contact Steve directly [email protected].

http://www.naspc.org/Archives/pipeclub.html
 

kaitlyn3837

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Great info and suggestions! I will definitely be reading up on the article!

The pipe club gathering for this month is tomorrow night, so I think I will run the guest speaker and silent auction ideas by the group and see if they would be interested. I'm so glad I asked you guys for input because I would have never thought of silent auctions as a possibility.

One of the gents from the club is also heading up a local community workshop effort called synergy mill. Essentially, it will have a monthly fee like a gym membership and you get to go in and use all of the tools to work on your hobby. That way you don't have to own all the tools yourself but you can still pursue crafting hobbies! He and I have discussed having a workshop or two there for the pipe club. I thought that would be pretty neat too!
 

ontariopiper

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I'm eavesdropping heavily on this conversation - our first Pipe Club meeting is this Sunday in Kitchener, ON. :)
 

kaitlyn3837

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ontariopiper":o72frn45 said:
I'm eavesdropping heavily on this conversation - our first Pipe Club meeting is this Sunday in Kitchener, ON. :)
Good! I hope this info helps you too!
 
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