Updated June 2019
Smencils and Smens are smelly (in a good way) pens, graphite and coloured pencils which can be sold individually or in cases. Made from recycled newspapers they are environmentally friendly and calorie free.
In a nutshell
Fundraising Ideas: graphite pencils, coloured pencils and pens (biros) made from recycled newspaper and plastic and infused with gourmet scents
Suitable for: schools, groups, individuals
Profit: up to 55% depending on product
There are three products available for fundraising and different ways of selling them.
Smencils are traditional #2 graphite pencils with erasers, made with recycled newspaper which is soaked in a range of gourmet scents such as jelly donut, bubble gum, root beer, strawberry cupcake and lemon-lime fizz. The scents are supplied from an award winning fragrance company, and guaranteed to last. They have cute little end caps with stickers showing which flavour they are.
Coloured smencils are similar, except they are different colours and different flavours including cinnamon, black cherry, sarsaparilla and cinnamon. Each coloured smencil comes in its own corn-based, biodegradable freshness tube.
Smens 2.0 are black ink ball point pens, also made with recycled newspaper and come in flavours such as mocha, creamsicle and passionfruit.
The Fundraising Process
There are two main ways to fundraise with Smencils.
In-hand fundraiser – where the products are bought in advance and students sell them to friends/family and collect the cash immediately.
Order taken fundraiser – where each student is given a form to take orders for products, the money is collected at the time of the order, and once all the orders have been collated, the product is sent to the individual sellers to be distributed.
Payment is required by credit card at the time the order is taken, which can be done via fax, phone or online. Products are generally received within seven business days.
There is no minimum order.
Prices and Profits
The profit margin is considerably different between the two methods, with a larger profit for in-hand fundraisers.
Smencils are available by the bucket (containing 50 individual smencils) or by the case (which contains 10 buckets).
Please note buckets are either lead or coloured smencils – you cannot get both in the same bucket, however you can order a mix of lead and coloured smencils within each case.
Smens are available in a display case containing 24 pens.
Purchase in advance (in-hand fundraiser)
To purchase one bucket (with 50 lead or coloured smencils) costs $50.
To purchase one case (10 buckets) costs $450.
You sell the individual smencils for $2 each (profit $50-$55 per bucket*).
Alternatively you can buy pre-packed coloured smencils (flat-packs of 10). These cost $12 each to purchase and you sell for $20 (profit $8 each).
A display case of 24 Smens costs $67.20, and you sell the individual pens for $3.50 each (profit $16.80 or 70c each).
*This does not take into account the $19.95 per case shipping charge or $15.95 for up to four buckets.
It is recommended that one person sells one bucket of 50 x smencils or five flat-packs of pre-packed smencils or 1 case of 24x Smens.
For example if a school of 100 children each sold one bucket of coloured or graphite smencils, the cost would be $4,699.50 including shipping, the sale price would be $10,000 with a profit of $5,300.50 (or $53 per child).
Profits on Smens seem to be much lower – if each child sold a case of Smens (24 pens) the total profit for the whole school would be $1,680 minus shipping costs.
Order taken fundraiser
This method removes the need for fundraising groups to make a large upfront payment, as you collect the payment from customers at the time they order. You pay for the items out of the money you have collected. However, the profits on this method are considerably lower. Students are given a form to collect orders and payment from neighbours and friends.
There are only three options:
A bucket of 50 lead smencils (sale price $60), a bucket of 50 coloured smencils (sale price $60) and a 10-pack of coloured smencils (sale price $15.95).
Because they are sold in bulk, this reduces the potential profit for each bucket of smencils from $50 to $15 (and this doesn’t take into account shipping costs). Therefore you pay for reduced risk and the need to pay upfront with considerably reduced profits.
Smens are not available as an option on the Order-taken fundraiser.
Since originally publishing this article in 2015 when Smencils were totally unique and not available elsewhere, there have been a number of copy-cat products which are now readily available in stores. While it is unlikely these new products are of the same quality, they are readily available and cheaper, making Smencils not as unique as they once were.
However, smelly pencils are a product that kids will love because they are fun (and smelly) and parents should love because they are inherently practical and useful and they are sugar free. Despite the individual packaging to maintain freshness, they are also relatively environmentally friendly because everything is either made from recycled products and/or is biodegradable.
This would be suitable to run as a stall at a school or community fete/market.
Because you can now purchase Smencils by the bucket (ie 50 smencils) this means it is an accessible fundraising option for individuals and smaller groups.
No returns are accepted but since smencils and smens are non-perishable and the scent is guaranteed to last two years, any products not sold during the initial fundraiser could be kept for a later event or fundraiser.
You cannot order a specific scent, as everything is pre-packed.
The pencils are lead-free, latex-free, non-toxic and hypoallergenic.
Although twice as expensive as normal graphite and coloured pencils, they are unique and appealing. The fact that they come in different flavours encourage people to buy ‘one of each’, making it easier to sell. However, when selling individually, it is easy to imagine that more popular scents will go first, leaving behind the less popular flavours that might be difficult to sell.
For more information
Visit the website https://smencils.com.au/