Thursday, May 5, 2011

Have a Successful Jewellery Party

Who doesn't love a party?

That was my thought when I decided to pursue jewellery parties as a supplement to my online sales. You know when you think something will be really easy and then it's actually not?

Well, these are that easy.

Not that they don't take any work. They do. Jewellery parties take planning, hard work, creativity and some investment. But once you have your jewellery displayed and the guests start to arrive, you will have some fun.

My First Open House

I held my first open house in late Fall. I wanted to catch shoppers before they had completed too much of their Christmas shopping. I invited all of my friends and neighbours and told them that their friends were welcome as well. I printed invitations (Wal-Mart, 50 cents each) and handed them out. I purchased necklace busts, bracelet bars, a gorgeous iron earring tree, and velvet-lined trays. I made earring cards from DIY business cards that I bought from Staples. I made sure I had enough boxes, gift bags, business cards, ribbon, and cash on hand to make change.

My open house was small, but profitable. Because every guest was a friend, I felt comfortable and relaxed that night, and it was a dry run for future parties. It also gave me an excuse to test my display layout and see what worked (earrings attached to bright white earring cards) and what didn't (one overhead lighting fixture=not nearly enough light for an evening party).

I had a draw for a free pair of earrings, and on the draw sheets I asked guests to check off whether or not they would like to host a party. Once I had those slips, I knew who to approach and who was not interested.

I quickly learned that food was not the draw. Even though I had made some goodies, the focus of the party was the jewellery and no one even sampled the food. The wine disappeared though!

When everyone left, I was tired and happy. I had sold about ten pieces of jewellery, and it hadn't felt like work at all. It was like a girls' night in!

Party Girl

Since that first open house, I have held four more parties. Some have been at friends' homes, others at my Mom's (thanks Mom!) and another at my own home. Each time has been successful, and so much fun. I am so grateful to my friends and family for hosting, and for showing me such support.

My Mom's dining room a.k.a. "Nancy's jewellery shop"

My favourite earring tree, all decked out

One thing that I have learned is that each party is very different. At my first open house I sold almost all earrings. I thought, "okay, earrings will be my big seller". At my very next party at a friend's house, I sold all bracelets and necklaces and only one pair of earrings. At my first open house, no one went near the food. At my Mom's party, every plate of food my Mom set out was devoured. (Maybe that says something about my cooking?)

Also, just because you have perfected your jewellery display once doesn't mean that your work is done. Every time I threw a party, my combination of product had changed. My most expensive bracelet used to be $110, so I had made a little tent card that said, "Bracelets $65 - $110". Then I went and made a $195 bracelet and all of a sudden that card was useless. I also started making bangles and anklets, and didn't have any displays, so I just improvised (I've got a bangle display and a great foot on order now!)

For those who sell jewellery, I recommend trying an open house in your own home first. You can set up your display the night before, and perfect it at your leisure. There's less pressure because you will know most, if not all of your guests. There's no driving and no booth fee to speak of.

The only drawback? You'll have to clean your house.

Happy Selling!

My Recipes (they're good - really!)

Dump Cake
1 yellow cake mix
1 19oz. tin crushed pineapple, unsweetened
1 tin cherry (or any fruit) pie filling
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup chopped almonds

Spread pineapple in oiled 9x13 pan. Cover with pie filling. Sprinkle dry cake mix over top. Drizzle melted butter and nuts on top. Do not stir. Bake 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Top with whipped cream.

I got this classic recipe from my Grandma. She had written to my Mom on the recipe card: "Don't know if you have this. It's BIG and GOOD!" She wasn't kidding.

Herbal Iced Tea
4 teabags lemon zinger tea
4 teabags raspberry zinger tea
apple juice

Fill a pitcher halfway with boiling water and steep all 8 teabags for ten minutes. Remove teabags. Fill rest of pitcher with apple juice and stir.

This recipe is from Ina Garten - LOVE her recipes!