This month is how to sell jewelry at home parties, mala beads, & July's birthstone ruby. Scroll down, or click a link on the html version.
To go to the HTML version with color photos click http://www.mrbead.com/june09.htm
Easy Jewelry Selling
Ruby - July's Birthstone
Mala Prayer Beads
Party guests will feel comfortable buying from you because your presence in the hostess’ home implies that you do wonderful work and that they can TRUST you. Trust is the most important factor in making sales and developing repeat customers. Customers enjoy shopping in a relaxed, personalized environment, away from busy malls.
Usually only about half of the people invited actually attend, therefore encourage your hostess to invite 20+ people. Guests should receive their invitations two weeks in advance. Have the hostess give you the guest list with names, addresses, and phone numbers, and then you prepare and mail the invitations. Give her several invitations filled out with all the party information so she can give them out in person at work, school, church, any clubs etc.
The best invitations are postcards with an enticing photo of your jewelry on the front. It’s vital to include photos to excite and encourage them to attend the party. Also, to prevent guests from assuming all the jewelry will be too expensive for them, your invitations should say, “Prices start at $3” (or whatever your least expensive item is). Print YOUR name and contact on the invitation postcard, in addition to the hostess’s name, phone number, and address. So people can contact you after the party, to make a purchase or book a party of their own. Invitations should also state, “Receive free jewelry for each guest you bring!” Give them something that has a high perceived value, but costs you little. Like a free pair of bead earrings, a toe ring, or $5 off their total.
Set up your display before the party starts. Know how long it takes you, and add an extra 15-minutes to that figure to tell the hostess when you’ll arrive at her house. Streamline your display setup by loading jewelry cases, earring displays, necklace displays, etc. at home. Decide whether to bring your own table(s) for display, or use the hostess’s dining table. Her home might not have room for your tables, so be sure to make arrangements beforehand.
Have lots of mirrors everywhere for customers to see how they look when they try on your jewelry. Trying things on and getting friends' opinions is what makes the party fun for your customers. Bright lighting is crucial for good jewelry sales. Tell your hostess you need a well-lit room - and for backup, bring your own small lamps with good natural-light bulbs, plus an extension cord.
How to Sell
Most guests came intending to buy jewelry, so keep them focused on that, you don’t need a fancy presentation. Keep it simple without any pressure, and let guests come and go as they please. The hostess doesn’t need to serve a lot of food, because the guests go to shop and socialize, not to eat. They can’t examine and try on jewelry with food in their hands. Simple refreshments, like coffee and dessert or wine and cheese are all you need. For help on pricing see our May newsletter here.
Try selling as much jewelry as possible at the party, instead of displaying samples and taking orders. Guests like to bring jewelry home immediately, while they’re still excited - especially on impulse purchases. It also reinforces in the customers’ minds that each piece is unique and not possible to duplicate - which is one of your benefits. And it gives them a sense of urgency that if they don’t buy that piece RIGHT NOW, they’ll lose the chance to own it when someone else buys it. “Fear of loss” is one of the most successful marketing motivators.
Have a small, attractive photo album of your work on a table at every party. This can trigger custom orders and make it easier for you to give suggestions. Expect questions about how you became a jewelry artist, for how long, places you sell, materials used, how it’s made, and how you got to know the hostess. Interesting things said about your art, makes it more appealing. When you talk about one of your pieces, emphasize the benefits of owning the jewelry. Say something like “If you can take only one pair of earrings on a week’s vacation, these pearls would be my choice! They go with everything and can be dressed up or down. And they’ll never go out of style!”.
For custom orders, be sure both you and the customer have a written and signed copy of what you’ve agreed to. Specify delivery date with their phone number and e-mail address. Always request payment in full at the party, otherwise some will cancel later. Make payments easy; accept Paypal, credit cards, or a few post-dated checks for larger amounts. People spend more with credit cards. Give a delivery date beyond when you expect to finish the order. That way you’re covered if the order’s late, and if it’s early, they’ll be impressed.
Special Party Tips
1. Have the hostess choose pieces of your jewelry to wear (model) during a party.
2. Have an area of under-$20 gift selections next to a sign that reminds customers of people they need to shop for—daughters, mothers, grandmothers, babysitters, teachers, coworkers, bosses, employees, godmothers, goddaughters, clients, nieces, etc.
3. Give bonuses for individual sales at certain dollar levels. For example, a guest who purchases $150 or more, receives a coupon for $10 of free jewelry purchased within 1 month (or free earrings or additional $10 of jewelry, etc.). That way, customers who have chosen $149 or less of jewelry will be motivated to buy one more item. And award a special prize for customer with largest dollar-amount order! You might have bonuses at price points of $50, $100, $150, and $200 for individual guest sales.
4. Each piece of jewelry should be part of a possible set. If you don’t have ready-made matching pieces, offer to make custom items to match (they buy amber earrings, you offer to make a custom amber pendant or bracelet).
5. Have a good supply of impulse add-on items, such as chains and neck wires, inexpensive earrings, jewelry polishing cloths, etc. Adding one such item onto each customer’s total can really add up.
6. Everything should come with free elegant gift wrapping; it doesn’t need to be expensive. But elegant wrapping adds great value to jewelry in your customer’s mind. It also makes it easy for them to but the jewelry to give as a gift.
7. Sell gift certificates for your jewelry.
8. Have the hostess call each guest the day before the party to remind them to come, and to bring a friend with them. Making guests who hadn’t decided whether to attend, commit to the hostess that they’re coming. This is a great way to boost attendance from the party. Nearly everyone attending will make a purchase.
9. As soon an incentive to attract more bookings, enter each person who books their own home party that night in a draw for an additional free jewelry gift certificate to use at her own party.
10. Give out brochures detailing the benefits of hosting a jewelry home party. Make sure all party guests get one when they arrive, and give them out when you do any kind of shows or other events. Keep some handy in your car to give out on the spur of the moment.
Jewelry Party Hostess Incentives
The main reason people host a jewelry party is because they want free or discounted jewelry. However, they are often hesitant because they think it will be a lot of work, especially the catering. Therefore, tell your potential hostesses it’s not necessary to do much housecleaning or food. You, the jewelry artist, will do nearly all the work - the party should be fun for the hostess, who should socialize and enjoy shopping with her friends for her free jewelry. If someone feels she couldn’t host a party, she can double up with another hostess or have a group party where each person invites her own guest and gets credit for their purchases. As well as the discount or gift, you can entice potential hostesses with a special item only they can purchase - like a one-off design that everyone wants, but only a hostess can buy. When someone books a party, send a nice thank-you note as quickly as possible. This shows your appreciation and commits them to going through with the party.
You’ll need to determine your own scale for the free and discounted jewelry your hostesses earn, but these are some suggestions. To protect yourself, at least two people besides the hostess must purchase jewelry for it to be considered a party, and the combined guest total must be at least $100 for her to earn free/discounted jewelry. If these conditions are met, then the hostess receives a $25 gift certificate to spend at her party or use toward a custom order. Plus she gets discounted/free jewelry equaling 10% of her guests’ pre-tax total of $100 to $799, or 15% of her guests’ total of $800+. These totals do not include the hostess’s purchases. Also give her another $10 for each party booked from her jewelry party, and an additional $10 if she has 20 or more guests. A printed discount voucher is the professional way to go.
Incentives for Repeat Jewelry Home Party Hostesses
Hostesses will often host again, especially if you make their first party a good one, and if you give them an even better deal for future parties. Send a handwritten thank you to your hostess, and mail it the day after her party. Include an extra jewelry coupon that’s good for only one month.
Anytime you let people know you will donate part of their purchase price to a worthy cause, you will sell more—while you help others. Consider letting your jewelry home party hostess know that you will donate a percentage (10% is usually a win-win situation) of the party total to her favorite charity. That’s incentive for her to get as many shoppers to her party as possible, and those shoppers will be more generous in their purchasing. And your donation is tax-deductible.
Also see our Selling Beads to Fight the Recession here from last month's newsletter
The word Ruby comes from the Latin "ruber," meaning red. Ruby is the hardest mineral after diamond, a variety of the mineral Corundum, and is found as crystals within metamorphic rock. It comes in a variety of colors, and is called a sapphire in any color except red. Rubies range in hue from an orangey red to a purplish red, but the most prized gems are a true red. Large rubies are very rare and valuable. The most beautiful crystals are thought to be from Burma, but they are also found in many other countries.
Rubies were thought to represent heat and power. Ancient tribes used the gem as bullets for blowguns, and it was said that a ruby would boil water instantly. Ground to powder, this crystal was used as a cure for indigestion - and it has been said that the ruby's red glow comes from an internal flame that cannot be extinguished, making a gift of this stone symbolic of everlasting love. And if worn on the left hand, ancient lore has it that the ruby will bring good fortune to its wearer.
The origin of mala beads is the Hindu religion. Individuals who converted from the Hindu faith to Buddhism during its birth, transferred this devotional practice with them and it soon became a part of the Buddhism. The story of the beads' origin is "Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism. He taught king Vaidunya to thread 108 seeds of the Bodhi tree on a string, and while passing them between his fingers to repeat... 'Hail to the Buddha, the law, and the congregation'... 2,000 times a day. Another interpretation of this prayer is 'om mani padme hum', repeated over and over according to how many beads are on a person's mala.
There are 108 beads on a strand of mala prayer beads, because it represents the number of sinful desires that one must overcome to reach enlightenment or nirvana. Monks usually have mala beads with 108 beads, where as a lay person may have a strand numbering in 30 or 40 beads. This difference in length may possibly be explained by understanding each person's distance traveled on the path to enlightenment.
Just as variety exists for the number of beads, color and material can be different. Typically, monks' mala beads are made of wood from the Bodhi tree. In Tibet, mala strands often contain parts of semi-precious stones. In this culture, the most valued strands are made of bones of holy men or lamas with 108 beads divided by 3 large beads. The end pieces on these strands are "djore" (a thunderbolt) and "drilbu" (the bell). Representing the Three Jewels, or Buddha, the doctrine, and the community. In China, mala beads was never really popular - mainly used by the ruling hierarchy as a status symbol.
The overall purpose of all mala beads is to create a sense of tranquility and inner-peace for not only the individual, but for the community as a whole. In reciting the prayer, 'toxins' will leave and a sense of peace will enter making an individual that much closer to reaching nirvana.
To see all our Buddhist Mala Necklaces click MrBead.com or MrBead.co.uk
Offer valid until Sunday 5th July 09 only - so act now! Only for use in our store at the checkout and not valid with any other offers.
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