Craft Home Show or Open House
A craft home show or open house is similar to doing a stall at a craft show, only you set up in someone's home instead.
There are two ways of structuring it:
"My neighbor hosts a weekend open house every November right before Thanksgiving. She allots us all a space and manages all of the receipts. We all invite friends, neighbors and co-workers. It's a nice way to see everyone and get exposure to many folks. The crafters mingle with the guests and help out. It is like a boutique in the home."
- In an open house, people can come and go as they like within the time frame advertised. An open house usually lasts all day, though you could do it for a shorter period.
This is a great way to get as many customers as possible, but is only really practical if you are holding it in your own home. Not many hosts are willing to donate their house for a full day!
- In a craft home show or party, guests arrive when the party starts and usually stay for the duration. It's set up like an open house, and you don't need to do a presentation, but is in the time frame of a traditional home party.
Usually guests just come for an informal get together, where they can chat and have a drink while browsing.
If you already do small craft shows this is a great way to test the waters at a home party, and you'll probably find you do surprisingly well in comparison. Although there won't be as many potential customers as at a craft fair, you also won't have any competition, and anyone who comes to your craft home show has probably already decided they are interested in your wares.
In this type of set up you would generally sell your items there and then, and the customers would take them home immediately. You could also make provision to take custom orders. This type of party works well for products that are self explanatory, e.g. greeting card parties, jewelry parties, candle parties, etc.
Suits: any type of personality
A craft home show is the format I use for my jewelry home parties, and I find it both an easy and successful way of selling my jewelry.
I usually arrive about half an hour before the guests to set up my display, and the guests have about two hours to browse. As I'm not very comfortable talking in front of an audience, I just mingle and chat with the guests to explain how it works, and to tell them how to book a party or place orders for customised jewelry. My sales are usually about two thirds from stock and one third from custom orders.
Once everyone has finished buying I work out the hostess commission and she has a chance to shop for her jewelry, so the other guests can see all the free stuff she's earned! I then clear up and go home, and deliver the custom orders back to the hostess about a week later.
You don't have to do your craft home shows exactly the same way as I do - just use this a guide and develop an approach that works for you.
I recommend the The Little Black Book of Home Party Plan Business Secrets by Party Plan Pat to get your business off to a profitable start.
Click here to send me your craft home show tips or experiences.