Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Open House Tips

Hope your holiday weekend was wonderful!  I was finishing up my paperwork from the Open House I did early last week and wanted to share with you a few tips that really helped me.  I could write a novel, but that would be WAYYYYYY to long to read today.  But here's a few important points that I used to get ready.

1. Display in Levels - It's really nice for some things to be displayed on a higher level so everything is not on one flat surface.  I used a few priority mail boxes with a secondary table cloth to create height and dimension.  I also practiced setting up my display the day before.  This gave me a chance to see how things look on my easel stands and my jewelry trees.  It also gives you a good idea how long it will take you to set up.

2.  Promo Materials - Make sure you have plenty of business cards or fliers that have your contact information on so people can get in touch with you after the open house is over. 

3.  Payment - decide what forms of payment you will accept.  Create a tent card that says: "Payment Accepted:  Cash, Check, Charge" or whichever you decide.  If you're at a house party where you know the hostess well like I was this time, I chose to accept personal checks.  But if I was at a craft show or art fair where I received a large amount of unknown traffic I would not have accepted personal checks.  Whichever you choose is a personal choice.

4.  Receipts - have some form of receipt to give your paying customers.  It makes you look more professional and helps you later with your inventory updating.  I purchased a simple carbon copy receipt book at our local office supply store and it worked perfect!

5.  Custom Orders & Referrals - One of the areas I specialize in is jewelry for bridesmaids and other custom orders.  Obviously, if someone is ordering something custom, it's probably been shipped.  I happened to have a few custom orders that were waiting to be shipped (I had asked the buyers permission if I could hang onto them to display at my open house) and I displayed them with a SOLD sign.  It also said custom orders welcome and I listed several points where custom orders would be perfect: weddings, prom, Mother's Day, Christmas, etc.

6.  Partner with a Complimentary Distributor - the open house I was at was hosted by a very good friend that is a distributor for the Miche Bag purse system.  She was displaying her new styles for fall and the holidays.  Purses & jewelry are complimentary products for women so it worked out really well.  Plus when you're partnering with someone, introductions are easier, and your turn out will be bigger because you both will promote the event and your guest list will be larger.

Sold Display & Custom Orders
Like I said, this is just a few points and I have oh, so many more.  I'll be sharing those soon.  The message I want to leave you with is this:  If you have an opportunity to have a live show or open house, EMBRACE it!  Pictures can only show so much.  When people can touch and feel your designs in person, or try it on to see how a piece looks on them, they feel much more confident in the decision to purchase.  And just by having conversation with your guests and customers, you never know the referrals you will get!



Wonderful tips. I loved your displays.
And thanks for connecting to Discover a New Blog Friday.

Just 5 days til Blogmania!!!!!!

For My Sweet Daughter said...

thanks for the tips I have been asked to do some open house parties and was really nervous about stock, displays etc. One question I have is do you have to take credit cards? I don't have a machine and I wouldn't even know where to start to get one I can afford.

Designs by Dawn Marie said...

Thank you both for stopping by!

@Lynda, I Can't wait for blogmania! My team has been very generous with the pieces they've designed and for one lucky winner it's going to be like Christmas in September! :)

@Shannon, Thanks so much for your question. I did not take credit cards at the open house. I was prepared that if they wanted to pay with credit card, I'd list it as reserved in my Artfire store for them and they could pay me with Paypal.

But honestly, no one even asked. On the invitation I sent out, at the bottom I put a note that said "Cash & Checks will be accepted." And again on the table I had a little tent sign that said Cash & Checks accepted. Please make checks payable to... and that worked out perfect. I took more checks than cash, but I also took a lot of custom orders just from talking with people and sharing some photos of work I had done for other people as custom orders.

And just by "chatting" about the types of jewelry I create as custom orders i.e. wedding jewelry - I've gotten multiple calls saying So&So referred me to you and I'm getting married in...

So I'd definitely recommend it. This is the first "In Person" event I've done and I was worried about the same things as you mention. But one thing I took away from the experience that can only be learned by doing is that my talent for creating jewelry is a gift. And after talking with all the ladies that attended, I'm standing with my head held higher and am very proud to share my jewelry designs.

You are welcome to send me an e-mail with any other questions. I am more than happy to help you in any way I can!

Have a wonderful weekend!


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