How to Host a Fabulous Jewelry Party: Natha Perkins’s Expert Advice

Have your friends ever mentioned you should start selling your jewelry? Have you wanted to sell your jewelry, but haven’t known how to start? Natha Perkins, owner of Luscious Metals, has some advice on hosting your own Jewelry Party as a way to break into the business side of jewelry making.

How to Host a Fabulous Jewelry Party: Natha Perkins's Expert Advice

Natha’s Jewelry Party Background

I’m a metalsmith. I currently sell the majority of my designs through small boutiques across the country and my website; however, when I first began, jewelry parties or trunk shows were my primary avenue for selling, and I had great success with them.

Locations for Jewelry Parties

The beauty of selling in this fashion is that you can host the party yourself or someone can host it for you. When you host your own trunk show, you invite your friends, family, and coworkers, etc. If someone else hosts the party, they invite their friends, introducing you to a whole new customer base.

The Benefits of Selling Jewelry at Parties

First, you have a target market at your fingertips. The women who come to these parties know what kind of product you’re selling, and many come with the intent to purchase. Women tend to buy a “feeling” as opposed to simply a product, and when they get to meet the artist, they have an instant story to go with the piece, which makes it more meaningful and desirable.

Couple this with a sparkly atmosphere, cocktails, and good friends (who are also purchasing), and you have the perfect chemistry for buying and selling. Also, you don’t have the competition that you would have at a typical art-fair venue, and you don’t have to pay a commission for sales the way you do at a boutique. In terms of volume of sales, there really isn’t a standard because the energy and buying power of any party always depend on the guests.

The Typical Jewelry Party Structure

Typically, the host makes the guest list and sends out the invites. The host should also provide food and drinks. Spend some time devising a framework in regard to how you’d like to compensate your host. I offer the host a certain amount of “store credit” just for having the party, and the credit has the potential to go up depending on the sales I make during that evening.

For example, you could offer the host $50 in credit and then offer another $50 for every $500 you sell. This gives the host incentive to invite friends she knows might buy and gives her the chance to get some really nice pieces from you for “free.”

Jewelry Party Preparation

You want to display your work in a way that makes your customers gravitate toward it. Well-stocked displays tend to be more visually appealing than sparsely stocked ones, so bring lots of pieces to sell, including a pretty wide selection of jewelry styles in a wide price range. Too many things, however, can make your display space look cluttered, and you’ll lose your customers’ eyes.

At parties like this, some women come without necessarily having the intention of buying anything. Once there, they get swept up in the excitement of their friends buying things, and they end up making a purchase. If you have a few lower-priced items, you’re able to better facilitate that impulse buying. Also, always bring plenty of marketing materials, such as business cards (with all your pertinent contact information and—mandatory!—an excellent picture of your work to remind people who you are and where they met you), coupons for deals on future purchases, and flyers that outline incentives for guests to host a party of their own (current party guests are great future party hosts!).

The idea is to continue to keep your name and jewelry in your customers’ minds after they’ve left the party. Finally, arrive at the party ready to be social and talk about yourself. The more dynamic you can be and the more excited about your work, the better. Of course, you’ve got to have fun with it, too. It is a party after all!
How to Host a Fabulous Jewelry Party: Natha Perkins's Expert Advice

Trunk-Show Tip

Set out a bowl, strips of paper, and a pen to capture email addresses. I usually offer a prize (free earrings, for example) to be drawn from the bowl of emails at the end of the evening. This is a great way to build your email marketing list.

This content originally appeared in Jewelry Stringing Fall 2011 issue in the Sell & Tell column; learn more about Natha Perkins and her business, Luscious Metals, visit her website.

Photos courtesy of Natha Perkins.

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