I had my first jewellery party recently and had a wow of a time. I’d come across the concept previously but had decided it wasn’t for me. Then my sweetheart of a daughter-in-law offered to host one for me, convinced that I would be able to sell in that sort of setting. How could I say no to such a handsome offer? And she was right – I did sell quite a few pieces, and got a booking for another party. So what did I learn from my first experience? Let me tell you….
* Give yourself plenty of time to set up. If a person’s first sight of you is of your rear end while you are fussing away at your display, it’s possibly not the best impression….unless you are Kylie Minogue or Lady Gaga.
* Be organised. ‘Nuff said.
* Group items according to price and have a few simple price points. Instead of putting a swing tag on each item, I just made a folded cardboard price tag to stand amongst each group. This makes it easy to change prices whenever necessary for any and all of your items from one party to the next. And that way, you can write a twofer deal on the card as well, as in “$20.00, or two for $35.00″.
* Keep afloat….er, I mean, keep a float. In other words, make sure you have enough small notes for change. And don’t bother with having prices like $19.95 – having to deal with coins is a pain in the place where no-one puts piercings (at least as far as I know!). Round prices to the nearest $5.00 for ease of handling, and adding up in your head.
* Take a calculator…..if you can’t add up in your head.
* Be prepared to talk about your designs. All the advice I had read told me to expect to be asked. I decided I would be exempted from being asked because, really, why would anyone care what made me do what I do? Well, that’s another thing I got wrong. So, I’ll say it again loudly: be prepared to talk about your work. Someone will ask.
* Know a bit about your materials. No, I’m not saying you should rabbit on about the history of polymer clay or list the multitudes of different weaves in chainmaille. But be able to say what materials are hypo-allergenic, (and make sure you have some pieces that are), whether it’s rose quartz or watermelon quartz in that pretty pink necklace and how to remove tarnish from copper or brass bangles (I include a care card with each sale). When I spoke a bit about my jewellery, I showed the attendees raw polymer clay and explained how authentic sea glass is produced and where I find it. Just a bit of background information that also reinforces the handmade aspects of my work.
* Enjoy yourself. Be yourself. Express delight that people are interested in what you do. Laugh. Have a glass of wine. Have two….no, strike that – you don’t want to be so relaxed you fall asleep (plus you need to add up!). Be friendly, be happy, let your customers try everything on, but don’t hover over them as they do so.