Back & Buzzing

It has been a long two years, but the Beeline Bazaar finally returned to the Hutchison campus this spring. The Beeline Bazaar was created fifteen years ago as a way to help the junior class raise money for the traditional Junior-Senior Celebration and the student-directed Community Service Endowment Fund at Hutchison.

Junior Class President Mary Abbott Elliott says the return of the bazaar focused on both students and alumni alike. “We decided that since the Bazaar hadn’t happened in two years, this was the year that we could really change whatever we wanted to. Our biggest initiative was including student and alumnae vendors. It also helped that the bazaar took place over alumnae weekend, which was special for alums to come see what students had been working on.”

Elliott says her favorite part of the whole event was seeing and helping the vendors set up and bring in their products, “After months of advertising and going through every vendor’s social media, it was neat to see everything come to life.”

Junior class organizers say the event gave them a chance to bond as they made sacrifices to plan every detail. “At the end of the event after we had taken everything down, Sarah, Avery, Desaix, and I had a ‘full-circle’ moment where we sat in the middle of the gym floor and soaked it all in. We had used nearly every study hall and Y block to plan the event and seeing it all turn out as well as it did was incredible,” explained Elliott. She says the event reinforced important life skills, “STAY ORGANIZED. Our best resource throughout the process was our timeline and schedule.”

Junior Vice President Sarah Bartusch says one of the most important lessons to come out of organizing the Beeline Bazaar is to surround yourself with the right people, “Pick committee heads you know will be reliable and are excited about the event. I think the most important thing is working together and making sure you delegate tasks because it can definitely get stressful, but don’t forget the whole grade is there for you and supports you.”

This year’s bazaar did not disappoint, “We had many returning vendors, even after a 2 year hiatus. Advertising online early in the process helped us gather more vendors,” said Elliott.

The junior class faced many of the same challenges we see in today’s economy, “Figuring out everything post-covid was difficult. Mrs. Rangarajan, our saving grace and Beeline Bazaar rockstar, was our biggest help throughout the whole process of dealing with supply chain issues, labor shortages, etc. We also had a few vendors who had to drop out for various reasons along the way, but all in all, it worked out,” Elliott added.

Networking was key to the success of this year’s Beeline Bazaar, ”We also reached out to vendors who we thought would be a good fit, which proved to be successful. Our Hutchison alumnae, student, and parent vendor initiative was imperative in our process of gathering vendors as well.”

The team took a direct approach in recruiting the best shops in Memphis, but they also used the bazaar to showcase student-owned businesses. According to Bartusch, ”We first invited our former vendors to participate, and we also reached out to other popular shops in Memphis. We started inviting students to be vendors this year, and they were super successful which was very fulfilling for us as well as for them.”

Even after the two year hiatus, this year’s Beeline Bazaar was able to raise almost as much as 2019 totals, and with fewer vendors. This year’s profit was just under the $18,000 raised in 2019 and a new record was set in the Junior Closet when they sold $2,500 in clothing.

In addition to the Junior-Senior Celebration, that money will be added to the Hutchison Community Service Endowment Fund, which was established at Hutchison in 2004 with the help of the Community Foundation of Memphis to underwrite grants to area nonprofits. Each year, senior girls serve on Hutchison’s Philanthropic Literacy Board and research a major issue affecting our community. They then issue grants to nonprofits tackling that particular issue with the interest earned on the fund. This year, the Philanthropic Literacy Board will give grants to nonprofits that work to treat and prevent substance abuse.

This year’s successful return of the Beeline Bazaar is building excitement about years to come according to Elliott, “I cannot wait to see what the class of 2024 puts together for next year’s bazaar!”