2/20/2011

Free jewelry is a real thing-jewelry Home Show hostess Success Tips

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The jewelry sales representative will make it sound easy to do, and hosting a jewelry home show can be simple, but if you want to maximize sales, and therefore, the amount of free jewelry you can earn from the show, then you will find the following checklist helpful.

SELECTING A DATE AND TIME

The date and time of your jewelry party can help increase sales. A month or even two months before graduation, Christmas, or any gift-giving holiday can catch your guests already in the mood to shop. Booking a show well-timed for winter holidays can be tricky, however. I attended a jewelry show in early October, and all available booking times for holiday delivery were already taken, so plan early if you want the extra boost of Christmas and Holiday jewelry sales. If you are lucky enough to be at a poolside party in July, don't delay, book your November or December show then!

The day of week and time are to be considered also. During football season, a Sunday afternoon party may be very good timing, with many women wanting to escape their armchair athlete men-folk for a couple of hours. Super Bowl Sunday might be an exception to this example. Saturday is often "errand day" for working women, so late in the afternoon, around cocktail hour could be auspicious timing. A 3:00 or 4:00 p.m. party can be the last stop before going home to prepare for the evening. Saturday evening can also be an enjoyable time to host a party, depending upon the mix of guests you plan to invite. If your invitees are available during the weekday, morning jewelry home shows can be a welcome break from routine.

Generally the duration of a party is two hours. Your friends may want to stay until late hours; however, the sales associate will want to pack up and go home after a couple of hours, and generally speaking, two hours is plenty of time for everyone to browse, try on the jewelry samples, and place their orders.

DEFINE YOUR ROLE AS HOSTESS

Once you have booked your home show jewelry party, take a few minutes for yourself and define your role. Some sales representatives will supply you with invitations, postcards, and a guideline on how you can prepare for your show. When invitations are supplied, the hostess is expected to address and mail her invitations. At a recent Silpada jewelry party, the sales representative stated that she only needed the guest list and addresses, and she would address and mail the invitations. This is less work and much more convenient for the hostess, and the representative can build her mailing list at the same time.

You will be encouraged to promote your upcoming party. Do what you are comfortable doing. Not everyone is P.T. Barnum.

BUILD AN INVITATION LIST

The invitation list needs careful thought, especially with something like jewelry, which for most people is a luxury, not a necessity. Even though there is no obligation to buy, once a guest arrives and starts to look, the expectation of an order will grow, and not all jewelry shows offer the token item, affordable to all.

If you know of someone who is looking for a source of income, and they seem suitable for sales, then they might want to attend to learn more about joining the company as a sales associate. This can benefit the hostess because many companies will reward the hostess with extra products or credits if someone signs on as a result of their show.

Draw names from many places in your social network, including co-workers, church friends, fellow teaches, book group associates, neighbors, family members, quilting circle friends, PTA or day care parents, and the like. A mix of people adds interest for everyone. Expect about 30 percent of your guest list to attend your party, so encourage your invitees to bring a friend. It is also a good idea to offer catalogs for outside orders. The sales associate should supply you with as many jewelry catalogs and order forms as you need.

PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR THE SHOW AND FOOD TIPS

Generally the RSVP date on a jewelry home show is 2-3 days before the event. This will give the hostess some time to clean house, shop, and prepare food and beverages. In planning what to serve, the following guidelines may be helpful. Keep the food easy to eat in one or two bites. Don't serve food that requires a fork and plate. If both hands are busy, the guests cannot be trying on jewelry and actively

looking at the display. Let your guests pop a bitesize brownie, cookie or carrot stick with dip and keep shopping!

Don't offer gooey foods, people will also be handling the jewelry, and you won't want them to gum it up with buffalo sauce or sticky glazes.

Try a new recipe - if it's a hit, then you will get to hear the praise and it will help with conversation. If the recipe is a flop, you will have leftovers to feed to the dog.

If it is appropriate for you to do so, offer wine, a spiked punch, or cocktails such as Mimosas, Cosmopolitans, or Peach Bellinis. Mulled cider with rum would be a welcome beverage on a winter's evening. Offering these as well as coffee, tea and soft drinks will help your guests relax in what could be a stressful situation. It also adds a festival atmosphere. It is a good idea to limit availability of alcoholic beverages.

DISPLAY LOCATION

When you are deciding where to have the jewelry displayed in your home, consider that food, as usual, will draw your guests. If you have an open kitchen/family room area, having the food in proximity to the jewelry display is simple. If you living room is the most suitable for the jewelry presentation, then set out your food in that room, using end tables and your coffee table for food and drinks, and set up a folding table for the jewelry. You could work it the other way, and centralize the food, while spreading the jewelry around the room, but that could invite theft and presents a logistics challenge for the sales associate. The main thing is to keep the traffic flow moving to and from the food and jewelry to keep your guests on their feet and active, and less inclined to find a corner for a long catch-up chat.

LIGHTING

Adequate lighting is very important to jewelry sales. Make sure there is plenty of light to show the details, colors and gems of the jewelry on display, and allow the guests to clearly see themselves when they try on the jewelry samples. The next time you are shopping in a department store, boutique, gallery, or museum store, take note of the lighting, as it can provide a good model for your party.

MIRRORS

Mirrors are a welcome tool at a jewelry show. Chances are the sales associate knows this and will have a stand mirror on the display table; however it is smart to have another one nearby or make sure you welcome your guests to use your bathroom or hall mirror. Mirrors help sell jewelry, so be sure to let the shoppers see how pretty they are wearing a necklace or pair of earrings.

PLACING ORDERS

When it comes to placing orders, your guests and the sales associate will need privacy, so set up a space in a separate room or in a far corner where there is a table or counter top and a couple of places to sit. This will allow for a discrete transaction.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

The job as hostess goes a bit beyond opening your home and offering good cheer. Try to keep people focused on the jewelry, even though side conversations are taking place. Staying near the jewelry and keeping the conversation around that area will help people stay nearby. It is not necessary to actively sell the product, but do what you can to prevent setting the sales associate afloat on a social iceberg. Some not-too-loud upbeat music can help with the mood, just as with any party.

DOOR PRIZE SUGGESTION

Often during the stand-up presentation of the company and the jewelry, the sales associate will offer a door prize as an ice breaker. As a good hostess, having a small non-perishable item in hand in case of a mishap will be gratefully appreciated by the sales rep as well as the guest. I attended a party where the chocolate door prize had melted on an unseasonably warm day. The sales rep did recover quickly with a polishing cloth to give instead, however, the hostess might want to consider having a back up item on hand, such as a small packet of tea or coffee, or a small bottle of hand lotion.

All in all, a little planning and logistics considerations will earn sparkling rewards from robust jewelry sales.

TIPS FOR THE SALES ASSOCIATE

Trust - make sure the line you are carrying offers a no-hassle guarantee.

Show up on time. Do not overstay your visit.

Have more than one mirror.

Have a flexible display plan to fit into the many different scenarios you will be encountering. Keep it simple so you can set up and dismantle in a short period of time.

Tastefully wear some of the jewelry from your product line.

Dress neatly. Do not wear perfume; many people have allergies, and perfume can aggravate them.

Keep your presentation short and to the point.

Try to offer a few items on cash & carry basis for those who don't want to wait for an order to arrive. This may mean having to stock a small amount of inventory, but if they are moderately priced, best-selling items, then you won't be holding it for long.

Bring a folding table of your own to insure you will have adequate display space.

Bring a lamp so you can be sure to have enough lighting in just the right spot. Perhaps a lampshade can be used to hang jewelry as well as add light to the room.

Offering ideas for matching sets can multiply sales. Not everyone has a knack for mixing complementary jewelry. If you can make it easy, increased sales will most likely be yours.

Offer an incentive to book a show while at the party. Be sure to reward the hostess for bookings placed at the show.

Confirm the party a day ahead to insure the readiness of your venue.

Are you limited to home shows, or are corporate/workplace venues something you are willing to consider? Working people appreciate the opportunity to shop during their lunch hour. This is especially true for those who are unable to leave their building during breaks. The medical community and schools are two examples of this.

TIPS FOR THE JEWELRY MAKER

Construct your jewelry well enough so you can confidently offer a no-hassle guarantee.

If your jewelry is not one-of-a-kind, consider offering some limited edition pieces. Your customers want to buy something special, even it costs a dollar or two more.

Be sure to offer the token easily affordable jewelry item. Ideally you would design one piece in each category you make.

Buy your components from reliable vendors. You want to sell as many of your popular items as you can. A reliable source of supply can provide components when you need them.

Get to know your sales associates. You want to be sure of who is representing your company, and they will appreciate knowing their principal.

Keep your packaging simple and attractive. Stock boxes with a customized hot-stamped logo or name label is adequate.

If you have a catalog, show the images actual size and easy to see.

Make sure your pricing formula insures that hostesses are well-compensated for their time.

Consider offering fundraising program options. Non-profit organizations everywhere need time-saving opportunities to raise capital for their programs.

Be sure to thank your hostess after their home show. Through your sales associate you have been a guest in their home.








Andrea Guyot Twombly is Vice-President of Guyot Bros. Co., Inc., a century old manufacturer of brass jewelry findings for the costume jewelry and related arts trades. Andrea is a member of the Vintage and Fashion Costume Jewelry Asssociation and the American Society of Jewelry Historians. She has also attended and hosted a number of jewelry home shows. The Guyot Brothers website can be found at http://www.guyotbrothers.com


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