How to Cohost a Home Trunk Show

Cultivating relationships with the kind of people who can help put your jewelry in the spotlight is something that evolves gradually and doesn't necessarily provide an immediate payoff. But those who are successful at it will tell you: when the payoff comes, it can really put you and your jewelry on the map – especially on a local level.

"It's a slower process than social media, but I still believe in one-on-one contact with humans," says Dallas-based jewelry artist Patricia Tschetter. "People need to see the jewelry, talk to the artist, and get a feel for what it is they're buying."

You don't necessarily need to pay craft show fees and sit in a booth all day to do this. You can do it for free in the comfort of someone else's own home, with a glass of wine at hand. It's called a home trunk show and the perfect host may be lurking in your own circle of friends and acquaintances.

Who can you tap for this? Anyone who deals constantly with a well-heeled crowd, especially one who appreciates design – someone who works on museum events, a boutique or gallery owner, an architect or arts administrator, a publicist, the spouse of an ad exec called upon to wine and dine colleagues. (Betty Draper of Mad Men would've been a great friend to have!) Really, anyone who has to dress well and deal with lots of people will do the trick.

Just having someone like this wearing your jewelry and willing to mention your name – and even hand out your card – when asked is worth the gold they're wearing. But if you can get them to hold a home trunk show for you – all the better. You supply the eats, the booze, and the story behind your jewelry.

Patricia Tschetter has done this at an interior designer friend's Dallas home and garnered quite a few new customers, who had never seen anything like her granulated art jewelry at their favorite jewelers.

"It's not like buying something they can find in a store," Tschetter says. "Talking to me and seeing my jewelry firsthand helps them appreciate it more – when I tell them why I used the materials I used, why I make it at all. They can get mass-produced jewelry somewhere else, but talking to them firsthand gives me an opportunity to tell them my story. Most artists, when they start talking about how they got into making their jewelry, have an interesting story to tell."

NET PROFITS is a regular feature about using the Internet for jewelry selling of special interest to those with a home-based jewelry business that appears in Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. Learn more about loaning jewels in "A Little Help from Your Friends" in the March, 2014 issue.

CATHLEEN MCCARTHY is a freelance writer whose stories appear in Town & Country, AmericanStyle, Art & Antiques, and her own site, The Jewelry Loupe. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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