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Topic: IN HOME TRUNK SHOWS....what do you think?  (Read 1345 times)
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« on: August 16, 2007 08:30:25 AM »


I will be starting a business, selling vintage and limited run clothing, housewares and art.  I will be focusing my selling primarily online, but I wanted to run something by you guys since you are my target market.

I don't want to take out a loan, which means that I am going to need to start small in order to make any money initially so that I can grow.

What do you think about offering Trunk Show parties, I could either have people call and make an appointment to have a party, or send invitation-only style invites.  We'd get together in my home, and I would have the latest vintage and limited run pieces for them to personally try on and purchase.  It is a more intimate setting where they get more personalized attention not to mention a sneak peek at all of the merchandise.

I also cater in my free time so I think it'd be awesome to serve mini cakes and champagne, or if the party is being planned-whatever is on their mind.

But, I wanted to ask what you guys thought of it.  Would you be comfortable doing this?  Is it something you could see yourself doing with your friends?  And....if any of you girls live in Ohio and want to participate in the first one...let me know!

Thanks so much, and I appreciate your feedback!

The soon to be "Frangipani & Co."
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2007 04:00:51 PM »

Hi Mandy,

My first thought was a picture of us as co-workers, you coming down the hall towards me, and me quickly running the other way, "Oh, no, here she comes wanting me to come to her brand of Tupperware party." I always felt uncomfortable at those home parties because there is that assumption that friends help friends and will always buy something.

I think it could work, but, you will have to tread lightly so that your friends don't see themselves as being used.

Hopefully, some of the others can give you some good suggestions.

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« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2007 06:51:34 AM »

Depending on where you live you could run into zoning issues. If you're in a populated area and you're having regular parties and people are taking up parking spots all it takes is one miffed neighbor to complain about it to shut you down.

All it takes is a postcard mailed to the wrong person to shut you down.

Point is, you run risks when doing business out of your home. You can either decide that ignorance is bliss, or contact your zoning department to make things right up front so you don't run into problems later. Optionally you could have interested folks throw a party at their home instead of yours.

Don't say anything more about the catering...if you're cooking for money out of your home it's probably illegal, and I prefer to remain ignorant on that one.

« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2007 11:21:52 PM »

I'm not sure if there's anything like it in Ohio, but around Detroit there's a few bars where people can set up a table with their goods once a week.  They call it Bar Bazaar or something like that.  Try to check out local college 'welcome week' type events, Wayne State (also in Detroit...) has a fun little shindig called Dally in The Alley where folks set up booths around the freebie concert stages.  Guess who's homesick...
Or, load up a car full and drive it into the rich part of town, walk into any overpriced boutique and be both charming and pretentious while asking 'Would I be able to meet the buyer for this lovely collection?  I've got some things that may be a good addition." or whatever line seems appropriate.  Depending on the crowd, in-house trunk shows might be fabulous.  It could become the hip new way to impress ones cohorts, finding the best indie designers to invite over for drinks, snacks and shopping. 

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« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2007 07:09:00 PM »

i've seen this done, it's usually pretty low-impact on the neighborhood and on the house (although look out for the notorious wine spills).  i have a friend who does spa parties for people kind of like you are describing, spadeedah.com i think.  She had trouble getting people to understand the concept but once she did they were into it.  i think your hurdle will be marketing the idea to people, getting them to understand and try it.  think about how you will talk about it, the language is very important.  please use the word 'party'.

« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2007 10:51:59 AM »

You should consider having a couple of parties at your house and then asking people who attend the party to host a party at their house.  You need to consider that you do have costs such as postage and air conditioning or heating, also it takes time to clean and set up your house everytime.  I also agree with previous posts that if you have too many parties out of your house it may be disburting to your neighbors.

Finally, unless you are trying to cross-promote your catering business you may not want to spend too much money on the food costs.

I have a show at my house once a year in November.  I get together with 2 - 3 other crafters and we invite approximately 100 people - out of which about 30 attend.  We serve minimal refreshments.  I has been very successful for me.

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« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2007 01:53:25 PM »

A friend of mine and I are thinking about this, too.  It sounds easy and there's very low overhead.

And I think esp. around the holidays people will appreciate a place to go that isn't the mall to shop for one of a kind items.

I think we should go for it!  Love to hear from anyone else who's had one.

« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2007 04:54:01 AM »

I know someone who does this in other people's homes with purses.  It really amazes me just how many people are really into it and it goes great.  By going to other people's houses you are spending just a little in a gift for the hostess but also expanding your market considerably and letting someone else worry about refreshments and clean up.
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