Home parties have been used successfully to sell everything from cookware to naughty nighties; most of these small businesses are part of a large, organized national franchise, but the home party concept is also a perfect way for local crafters to market their wares.
If you'd like to try home parties, you need a plan. First, take a look at your inventory of jewelry; do you have enough pieces, in a large enough variety, to hold a party? Think about having coordinating pieces - necklace or pendant, earrings, rings, and bracelets, in five or six different designs. Have enough pieces of each so that you can sell the items individually or in sets.
Once you've decided what you want to sell and how many items you to need to have for sale, set a timeline for yourself, based on how long it will take you to craft the items, and then schedule your first party. If you have a friend, family member, or coworker willing to host a party for you, that's great. Otherwise, put up flyers, along with copies of your business card, and send a press release to your local paper.
Fill your hostess in on how you plan to run the party, and make sure she lets her guests know that you plan to have the items for sale at the party. You may want to discuss her responsibilities; most home parties have light refreshments, and she'll need enough seating for all her guests, plus a clear tabletop for you to use as a display area.
During the party, make sure your jewelry is displayed attractively, and have inexpensive but attractive door prizes so that guests have an opportunity to win a small handcrafted item. It might be enough for you to display your work, but think about working up a presentation for each collection, and show it around to guests. Another good idea is to display a portfolio of high quality, color photos of more complex, expensive gifts for special ordering. And don't forget to collect the names of guests who are interested in hosting a jewelry party of their own!
You'll want to reward your hostess for having the party, so be sure you have a thank-you gift. You may want to allow the hostess to choose her favorite piece from your jewelry collection, or you may design a graduated gift selection, with the hostess gift based on the amount of money you make at the party.
If you know other crafters, consider offering to sell their craft items at the party for a commission. You may even want to create a small home party cooperative with several crafters, so you can each sell your own crafts and collect a commission on everyone else's work.
Certainly more traditional selling venues - flea markets and craft fairs, gift shops, even eBay - should also be pursued, but giving a series of home jewelry parties is a great way to connect with enthusiastic customers and possibly develop a real following for your jewelry.
Aldene Fredenburg is a freelance writer living in southwestern New Hampshire and frequently contributes to Tips and Topics. She has published numerous articles in local and regional publications on a wide range of topics, including business, education, the arts, and local events. Her feature articles include an interview with independent documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and a feature on prisoners at the New Hampshire State Prison in Concord. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.