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Aquamarine - March's Stone
Beads Mean Something
Jewelry Home Parties
Organizing the Party
How to sell at Parties
Special 15% Offer
Aquamarine - March's Stone
Aquamarine is March's stone & a blue-green gemstone from South America, meaning Water of the Sea. The stone of sailors, believing it protects them. Folklore also says that aquamarine protects against gossip, but will pick up spirits. It is an excellent stone for meditation, bringing great peace and serenity.
Aquamarine is the treasure of mermaids, and those legends have it that for aquamarine to be truly powerful, it must be immersed in sea water and bathed in sunlight. The gemstone is also supposed to have powers that reach to land too, helping married couples solve their problems and drive off evil. Aquamarine is associated with the thymus gland and is very soothing worn as a necklace. It will also help coughs, reduce fluid retention and calm the nerves. The Romans used aquamarine for stomach troubles and believed it could cure liver and throat problems. Aquamarine brings courage, aids quick intellectual response, and gives peace while protecting the aura.
Color ranges from a very light turquoise blue to a bluish green. Darker blue colors are the best with greener being less valuable. Check the clarity of the stone. Because aquamarine has a light pastel color, it is important that it be free of flaws or inclusions. Examine the cut and check light reflects evenly off the surface of the gem and that there are no scratches. Look at the stone from several different angles to be sure.
Aquamarine is usually heat treated and sometimes irradiated. However, it will become paler if left out in the sun. Clean aquamarine in with warm soapy water and a soft bristle brush. As with all gemstones, protect from scratches and sharp blows.
Beads Mean Something
For thousands of years beads have represented something to their owner. Beads mean different things to different people. Each bead on a necklace can stand for something different. One might signify love or a marriage, another, the birth of a son. The only limitation is your imagination. Giving meanings to beads greatly increases the please you derive from them. They can bring contentment, security, and memory. Many beads represent events:
A spiral for the birth of galaxies. A miniature turtle for the birth of the North American continent (Turtle Island).
A shell for the origin of shells in the Cambrian.
A miniature conifer tree for the origin of conifers in the Jurassic.
A thin cylindrical green bead for the spread of modern grasses in the Miocene.
A clear bead dappled with yellow dots for the emergence of pollen.
A tiny butterfly and flower pair for the co-evolution of flowers and insects in the Cretaceous.
A golden acorn for the co-evolution of nut trees and squirrels in the Oligocene.
A blue sphere for Earth looking at itself in the mirror for the first time thanks to the Apollo Space Mission in the late 1960s.
Other beads are suggestive in color:
Red for the increase in predation in the Cretaceous.
Blue-green for the invention of photosynthesis by blue-green cyanobacteria.
Green for the greenhouse climates of the Cretaceous and the Eocene.
Orange and brown striped for the birth of the Grand Canyon in the Pliocene.
Orange and black spotted for the origin of cheetahs in North America.
Carved bone for the arrival of mastodons in North America.
Ocean blue with a tan band through the center for the formation of the Isthmus of Panama three million years ago.
Gold and black beads for extinctions.
For some beads, it is size, texture, or glitter that is suggestive of the event:
Huge, rough beads for Jurassic sauropod dinosaurs.
A multi-colored sparkly bead for the creation of elements inside exploding supernova stars.
Lluscious "pearls" or crystals or "diamonds" for those teachers and mentors most important to us.
Don't just wear beads for decoration & make them work for you!
Jewelry Home Parties
Best way to sell Jewelry
A jewelry home party can be one of the most profitable ways to sell your bead projects. You won't be competing against other sellers, but will have targeted buyers who love to encourage each other to shop. They require the shortest time investment selling jewelry, with the largest financial return. In just three hours, you can make hundreds of dollars in sales. And you don't have to pay any fees or commission - just give your hostess some free jewelry and discounts that are based on the financial success of the party.
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.
Organizing the Party
It's easy to organize a jewelry home party every week while holding down your day job. You only need a couple of hours of preparation and a few hours at the party. You choose the dates and times, and it's easier than you think to attract bookings. Parties in an open house format for around 3-hours work best. Set up your display before the party starts, and work the party just like a craft show - greeting customers browsing and trying on jewelry. Answer questions, encourage people to try on jewelry, make suggestions, advice on custom orders. Create a fun atmosphere of a girls' night out shopping together. You have the advantage over companies like Tupperware because you are the designer personally selling your jewelry - buyers love that!
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.
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.
Top Ten 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.
Next Month: Traveling Jewelry Parties & How to organize an E-Party online!
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