Held my first Jewelry Open House last night at my daughter’s house. It was fun, relatively easy, very laid back, and terrifically successful. The most stressful part was pre-open house…when I feverishly worked to replenish my stock due to an influx of sales the week before.
Here’s a rough timeline of how I got ready:
• Arranged for daughter to host the party at her house – 6 weeks in advance
• Sent out evites to family, friends, neighbors, customers in the area; posted invite on FB – 3-4 weeks in advance (My daughters also sent the evite to some of their friends and neighbors)
• Start thinking about HOW to display bracelets, earrings, pendants. Order/purchase any display items 2-3 weeks
• Plan food, drink, etc. Make a list! Ask a few close friends to make some things – 1- 2 weeks
• Clean and tag all jewelry for the sale – week of sale (NOTE #1: this was a very, very long process removing tarnish from all my sterling silver items. My fingers were black each night from the polishing cloths. And tagging the items can also be a painful thing if you have a lot of items to sell. )
(NOTE #2: Even though I thought I had tagged everything, I had NO tags on about 6 or 7 items. I had to hop online quickly to look up prices.)
• Do Something Special. I’m not big on playing games at parties. I’d rather just share a glass of wine or two with friends and chat a bit. But what I did to, is allow each buyer to pull a folded up piece of paper from a bag before they paid. On each paper was written a different discount. Some were for $3, $4 or $5 off. (my prices run from about $15-$35 for ss earrings…$22-$48 for pendants…$40 to $70+ for ss bracelets) Some discounts were for 5%, 10% or even 20% off. And I even had one or two that were “Buy one item – get the second 1/2 off”. It didn’t matter what they got, everyone was pleasantly surprised to get some kind of discount they weren’t counting on.
• Day of Sale – go to BJ’s and liquor store to get wine, small bottles of water, snacks and something sweet. (Note #3: skip cut up cheese. In warm weather, not an attractive hors d’oeuvre. Should have had chocolate. Dips did well. Everyone loved mini-soft pretzel tray that Emily brought.)
• An hour before sale – arrive at Open House and set up all displays. Make sure everything is within reach and approachable. Items I placed on top of boxes and directly on table were picked up and tried on. Not so much the bracelets I had on a wooden display. People were less likely to move things around – as if they didn’t want to mess things up.
• During sale – be available for questions. But mix and mingle too. I was going for a very laid back, soft sell approach. And it worked. I also took cash (many paid in cash!), checks and credit cards (thank you SQUARE!). I had some cute gift bags I had bought in Target…and boxed all gifts. Make people feel like they are getting something special – because they are!
The results: fewer people showed up than expected. (But I guess that IS to be expected). But just about EVERYONE bought something, some bought 2 or 3 items. All in all, I sold 18 bracelets, pendants and pairs of earrings.
I thought it was a great success. And I recommend it to anyone who sells handmade. Remember – when you’re throwing an OPEN HOUSE, people are coming to buy your things. My profits far outweighed any expenses for the night. If you sell on etsy or artfire, I’d definitely recommend you give it a try.
Keep it simple. Make it fun. Have a blast.