Entrepreneur puts organizing skills to work for a cause
Boutique-hosting parties have long been a popular way to shop and socialize. They also generate a profit for the vendors and organizers, and in the late ’90s, Carmel Valley resident Karen Gliner found success in another benefit to come from the phenomenon – fundraising for schools and charity or religious organizations.
When Gliner first moved from Los Angeles to San Diego, the Solana Beach School District suffered from budget cuts. Her oldest son was a student at Solana Highlands Elementary School, and she saw that the wrapping paper, cookie dough and other fundraisers that were being attempted were having little success.
“I took the boutique/luncheon idea to the Solana Beach Foundation for Learning and for the next three years ended up putting on very successful holiday luncheon/ boutique/
auction events for Solana Highlands Elementary, which made over $20,000 each year for the school’s arts, science, music and P.E. programs,” Gliner wrote in an e-mail.
After years of volunteering, earlier this year Gliner teamed up with her best friend of 40 years, Wendy Einbund, in Los Angeles to launch a fundraising service called Boutiques for a Cause.
The company organizes boutiques, luncheons, auctions and tea parties. They recruit vendors, publicize the cause and event, and sometimes mobilize volunteers to work the event. Their services are available to schools, nonprofits and even racing teams.
Gliner does not charge the school or organization any money, but collects a fee from vendors. The vendors then donate a portion of their profits to the school or organization. “I am kind of like a booking agent for vendors,” she said.
Gliner learned how to organize successful fundraising events in the 1980s, when she helped her mother work for the Leukemia Society’s fundraising auxiliary in Los Angeles.
“Boutiques for a Cause was born out of us wanting to achieve our ultimate dream of running a business that could help others in our communities as well as allow us to make a living and spend time with our families,” Gliner said.
She worked in L.A. as an advertising and marketing specialist for 10 years before moving to San Diego in 1993.
At that time, she began designing jewelry and participating in craft fairs and fundraising boutiques.
For the next 10 years, she sold her jewelry line to retail stores across the country.
Solana Pacific Elementary Principal Brian McBride praised Boutiques for a Cause, saying, “Karen is unique in the boutique fundraising because she understands the business from both sides – as a vendor and a charitable fundraiser.”
Currently, she is organizing the company’s premier boutique in L.A. for Fran Drescher’s Cancer Schmancer Foundation, a beneficiary of the L.A. Entertainment Industry Foundation REVLON Run/ Walk. She is booking events for the fall holiday season.
For more information, visit www.boutiquesforacause.com.
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