Every few months I am invited to an at home Jewelry Party (or candles, Tupperware, purses, cooking gear, etc) and most of the time I fake an illness to get out of them. Seriously, do I need any more candles, exotic pans, nesting containers? But, I do love the purses and costume jewelry parties – I just need to approach them with caution, and a plan.
What is a Jewelry Party?
A jewelry party is an at home shopping event. These are usually hosted by a friend, family member, or co-worker. The jewelry brand is typically a Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) company.
The MLM sales person will bring a line of products to the home of the host. There are (usually) no retail locations to buy (or return) the product. Often marketed to stay at home Moms (SAHM).
Basically, the “retail” price listed for any item is usually double what you would pay for a similar item that you can purchase in a retail store. Often, the retail store will have a sale or coupon, so it can be an even lower price in the traditional store.
But, the at home party often is hosted by a friend, usually serving wine. Often there is even a “peer pressure” to attend and “support” your friend. So I go, ready to shop, and have some wine with friends.
Here are 3 ways to survive these parties (if you think of others, please let me know).
First, is the minimalist approach. A friend of mine would attend these parties with $20, no checkbook or credit cards. Then she would select 1 item that she could purchase with her cash. She bought a lot of small, overpriced items at these parties. And she never spent more than her $20 cash allowance.
This is easier for candles and cooking gear, but an updated $40 budget may be easier for jewelry parties. And, they usually do not have the product for “cash & carry”, so there is a shipping fee for each purchase, which can ruin the $20 budget because you need an extra $3 to pay for shipping (often shipped to your friend hosting the party, not always directly to you).
Maximize Shopping Discounts
Another approach is to find out the special deals for maximum shopping. The latest jewelry party that I attended was offering a deal of buy 2 full price items, and get up to 4 items half price, where the full price items could be your LOWEST price items. With this deal, you spend far more than the $20 or 40 budget in option 1, but you get way more bang for your buck (close to or less than retail anywhere else). I bought 2 full priced earrings (both over $20 each), and 3 half price necklaces. I could have bought another item at half price (up to 4).
If you can combine your order with a friend, then you could really get a good deal (the party sales people hate it when you do this, and some do not allow it).
Sign Up as Host for Next Time
The third option is to sign-up to host your own party. You may get an immediate discount for a purchase that night, then you get “Hostess Credit”, free gifts, hostess-only items, and other discounts (some in the 50-60% off range, making purchases less than average retail price) for having people over to you house. The immediate hostess incentive to book a party was any item valued at $100 or less could be purchased for $15. But, hosting a party involves cleaning the house, serving food & drinks, and pressure on your friends to come over & buy stuff. Most of the incentives are based on how much stuff your friends purchase, total attendance, booked parties from your party,and anyone who signs up to be a sales person.
If you can co-host a party with someone, then this really takes pressure off of you and it may be easier to get people to show up. The party sales people usually HATE this.
WARNING – DO NOT SIGN UP AS A DISTRIBUTOR
During the party, the host or distributor (sales person) will try to recruit more sales people for her “downline”. This is basically where you pay to join the team and sell the products in other home parties.
MLM’s are pyramid schemes where are the first level distributors even have a chance of making any money (off of the new distributors that sign up). There is almost always an upfront cost to join with minimum purchase requirements to remain as a sales person.
Even if you absolutely LOVE the product, do not sign up as a distributor until you at least do a simple Goggle search on the company plus Anti-MLM, that will give you a ton of blog articles and YouTube videos explaining what it is really like, and costs, to join that MLM.
If you are invited, plan your strategy, have a snack and some wine, and have fun. Or, tell everyone that you have a highly contagious illness.