Ahhh, home parties….. Makes you think of Avon, Mary Kay or Pampered Chef doesn’t it? Home parties are fun. I enjoy going and I enjoy hosting a party every now and then. My favorite is probably Pampered Chef and Tupperware.
I think home parties are a great business model. I’m not talking about businesses that rely on recruiting more consultants or “downline” either. But I respect the business models that have their main emphasis on the products, such as the businesses above. Don’t even get me started on these businesses that say they are all about the product, yet during the presentation you feel like you are being pressured to sign up to the business!
Anyway, that’s not what this is about!
I can’t say that I’ve done many home parties when I was selling my candles. In fact, I only did one. But, I’ve been to many parties from Patylite to Tupperware and all of the ones I mentioned above and I tried to incorporate some of the things that those companies do. I also found that when I did my party, it was surprisingly easy! I am naturally an introvert and do not like standing up in front of people talking. But I did it that one time and I actually enjoyed it! In fact, I really didn’t have to do a whole lot of talking. And once you get past the first few minutes and start having people smell the candles, they really do sell themselves!
Why do home parties work?
First of all, I’ll tell you why I go to home parties:
- Fun to get out of the house! (I have 3 boys and I need the break! lol)
- I usually go to a friends home party to help them out, but also because I really am interested in the product.
- I am a fairly loyal party goer for certain products like Pampered Chef or Tupperware because I LOVE their products.
- It’s a relaxing and usually fun atmosphere and I enjoy visiting with the other ladies.
- Good guest discounts are another reason I might go.
- And, just between you and me….. the… food…..well, Pampered Chef and Tupperware anyway, but it’s good to have snacks at any home party really! lol
Those are the main reasons I go personally, and I imagine that goes for most other party goers as well. I also book a party once a year for Pampered Chef and Tupperware(haven’t done one in awhile but I need to!), and I even booked a jewelry party for this fall!
Speaking of booking a jewelry party, do you know why I booked the party when that was the first jewelry party I had ever been to?
Because I saw some of the jewelry, tried some on, loved it, and wanted to get some for myself at a discount or free!
That is the beauty of starting a home party business! Guests can see the products in person, touch them, smell them, try them on. And if you offer tempting rewards they may even want to book a party of their own which gets you a new set of eyes on your stuff and new potential repeat customers!
If you offer a prize or entry in a drawing for your guests if they bring friends, that is a great incentive to bring in others that may not know you until they meet you at the party, and then of course there’s that wonderful opportunity of Word of Mouth advertising!
So now the question……
How do I prepare for a home party?
Preparing for your first home party can take some time, mainly because you’ll probably want to make sure you have business cards, figure out your pricing and discount tier/rewards for your hostess, and guest specials. I would also recommend making a brochure with all your products in it, contact info, hostess rewards info etc…..
Once you’ve figured out those things, then you’ll want to decide which fragrances you want to make and how many of each and each type of candle to bring to the party. You will also want to decide how you want to set up your display.
Let’s get into each of the preparation items:
Deciding on discounts, hostess rewards and guest specials….
This is where I just took a look at Partylite, Pampered Chef and a couple others to determine the best way to go about it, and what percentage they use for free products. The nice thing is, is that you are making your own products and there is no middle man to pay, so you get to keep all the profit minus hostess rewards and other discounts.
Take a look at The Pampered Chef host rewards program here: http://www.pamperedchef.com/host-a-cooking-party.jsp You’ll see that the host/hostess gets at least 10% in free product, but once the party orders reach $200 it goes up to 20% and so on from there.
So let’s say you only sold 8oz candles (just to keep it simple for our example) for $7.50 each.
20% of $200 is $40 in free product for the host/hostess.
So that means after giving your hostess the $40 worth of free candles, you would end up basically selling the candles for around $6 per candle. Which is pretty good still! And you can also do a half price item too. You don’t have to follow the Pampered Chef hostess rewards plan exactly, but I think they know what they’re doing and it’s a pretty good place to start. Study their disclaimers and fine print too to see how they do things.
You can also take a look at PartyLite’s rewards program as well: http://www.partylite.com/regional/host-a-show?section=host .
Once you’ve decided on your rewards structure then you can figure out if you want to do any kind of specials for the guests. Some specials to consider doing are:
- 60% off a certain fragrance or size, or just off 1 item
- BOGO (Buy One Get One) half off or free
- 20% off orders of $50 or more (or whatever price you choose)
- Get a free _____ with every $50 order (or whatever price)
Those are just some examples. The sky’s the limit and YOU can decide however you want to do your party! A good thing to do is to coordinate your specials with whatever season or holiday is coming up so that people will be tempted to buy, say, a Spring fragrance or something to do with Christmas for example. You could have a sale in the month of December on Christmas fragrances and have plenty of those at your party for customers to buy on the spot!
What candles should you make, and how many??
This can be a tough one if you have a large variety of fragrances because you don’t necessarily want to bring 5 each of 20 different fragrances for each type of candle that you sell!! If you have a good variety of fragrances, then you’ll want to consider what time of year it is, what season, are there any holidays coming up? It is spring right now, so you would want to bring a few of your spring type fragrances for sure and then maybe choose a few other popular ones, and one or two more unique fragrances. Of course you can make as many candles as you want to bring and show off at your party too.
Another great idea, if you have lots of fragrances but don’t want to bring them all, is to make a sample of each. I did that using little plastic storage containers that came in a plastic case. I bought mine from Joannes and I’m sure you can find them at other craft stores such as Michael’s or Hobby Lobby, but here is one that is very similar (and lower price that what I paid for mine) from Amazon.com (the picture below is linked with my affiliate link, so if you buy from Amazon, I do make a small commission):
These little containers work very, very well, but I would suggest using a votive soy wax, or one that is supposed to resist frosting to pour into these so that they will last a lot longer without frosting like regular soy wax will do over time. And of course, make sure to label each of them 🙂
For the party, make several of each fragrance so you have enough for people to buy on the spot and they don’t have to place a special order. So for example, I have these fragrances: Vanilla, Cookie Dough, Strawberry Rhubarb, Lilac, Melon, Grape and Clean Cotton
I might do something like this:
- 8oz jars: 6 of each fragrance (depending on how many people I think might be there)
- 16oz jars: 6 of each fragrance
- 6 pack tealights: 8 packs of each fragrance
- Votives: 24 of each fragrance
- Tarts/melts: 24 of each fragrance
It really is going to depend on how many people you think might be there. And there’s nothing wrong with taking orders too if you run out of something there, or if you don’t want to bring all of your fragrances, but make sure to let your customers know, if you don’t have the fragrance they want, they can place an order with you. And make sure you have order forms for them. You can easily make an order form, or probably even buy some from Staples or Office Depot or someplace like that.
The point of bringing lots of product with you is so you can sell as many as you can on the spot. People are more likely to buy if they can buy it right then and take it home with them. Instant gratification! Many people don’t want to have to order and then wait a week to get their order, so having it right there for them to buy is going to give you more sales than only bringing samples of your candles and them having to place orders. And if there are people there that don’t know you, they will be more comfortable paying and getting their product right away than giving you money and not knowing if they can really trust you to get them their order.
This also saves you from having to get orders made on a tight deadline after the party! It’s a lot more fun if you can get the candles made first, then set up the party and not have to deal with a bunch of orders afterwards!
You’ve got your candles ready, now what?
Now it’s time to figure out how you are going to go about setting up your first home party! What I did, is I asked a friend if I could use her home for my party, since my home was too small and cramped, and hers is always spotless and has more room 🙂 So you can start by just having a party in your home, hosting it yourself and inviting friends and family and neighbors, or you can ask a friend or family member if they would host a party with you and they will get host rewards.
You can do it as a party set at a specific time where you give a presentation, or you can do an open house style where guests can come anytime within maybe a 3 hour period. It’s really up to you. I like open house parties too, but I am more prone to make it to a party where you need to be there at a certain time. I guess to me, it just seems easier to me to forget about the open house ones since there’s not so much urgency to be there at a certain time? If that makes sense? But some people like open houses better since they don’t feel like they’re being sold to as much, or they don’t like sitting through a presentation/games etc…., and they can come and go as they please.
I think you should have some kind of brochure. Keep it simple, it doesn’t have to be complicated, but just so you can give people something that has your products and pricing on it and some info about hosting a show. A few nice pictures will do and then they can have something to take home with them that has your info on it. For my brochure, I just made a single fold one. You can use your word processing program and whip one up pretty quickly.
If you really want to do something special with your pictures and the cover of it, and you don’t have Photoshop, you can use a free program the I use called GIMP. It is very, very similar to Photoshop, but without the hefty pricetag. It works wonderfully and I’ve gotten it to do pretty much whatever I need it to do for me!
Here is an example of a single fold brochure I made awhile ago. You can also make a separate insert with more info to fold and slip inside:
What to Bring to the Party?
Here are some things you should have ready to go with you to the party:
- Folding table (unless your hostess has a good spot for setting candles on)
- Nice table cloth. You can use two different table cloths to create some color and depth.
- Boxes to put on the table and under the table cloths to create some height and make your candle display look more appealing. Probably don’t want to go too high since people will be wanting to pick up and smell the candles, so make sure everything is still sturdy.
- Bags and tissue paper to package customer candles safely.
- Bring any candle accessories you might want to sell too if you have them, such as wick trimmers, jar shades, etc….
- Candle burning instructions that you might fold and put inside the brochures.
- Business cards
- Receipt book
- Order forms.
- Tickets for doing drawings or other game type accessories you might think of.
- A few candles you might want to have burning during the party (have a nice tealight holder to burn a tealight in, votive holder for burning a votive and any other nice decor that shows off your candles!)
Games and drawings are a good way to get participation and break the ice with the party guests. It’s also a great incentive for people to come if they might have a chance to win something. Here are a few ideas for games and drawings you could do, but don’t limit yourself to these. I’m sure you can think of some creative ideas too!
Give out play money to each person that asks you a question about your candle making business, maybe $100 for each question asked. You can also give out play money to those that show up on time, rsvp’d , each friend they brought, or even wearing a certain color shirt (be sure to mention these things on the invitations). Then, toward the end of the party, the person who got the most money wins a prize, like a free candle or 1/2 off their order or give them some options that they can choose from.
You can also give tickets for the same things as above and then do a few drawings at the end for certain prizes. That way, when someone does each of the things above (bring a friend, be on time, rsvp etc…) then they get more tickets which = more chances to win in the drawings. This is what I’ve seen done at Pampered Chef parties and it’s kinda fun. Usually at the end there are 3 or 4 drawings. One for 1/2 price item, another for free shipping (wouldn’t apply to you), another for $20 free product etc. etc. etc.
There are so many ways you could do it, those are just a few!
Another idea for breaking the ice is going around and having each guest introduce themselves and say something they love about the host/hostess, or just how they know the host/hostess and maybe their favorite fragrance.
Well, you’ve got all your supplies, your candles are made, you’ve got your home ready (or you’ve set a date with a host/hostess). Now to get ready to invite guests! If you are working with a host/hostess, then you will want to make him/her (we’ll say her, for the sake of ease) some invitations. Have her write down as many names and addresses that she can think of to invite. Also try and get phone numbers. You’ll have her email you or give you the list so you can fill out and send the invitations. You’ll also want to probably give her some open invitations in case she runs across people that she could hand them out to. Send the invites a week and a half in advance to make sure everyone gets one. Be sure to ask for an RSVP on the invite and, like I talked about earlier, it would be good to give an incentive for those that RSVP (maybe even a free tealight or votive to each person that does. If they show up of course!).
If your hostess has a Facebook account, you can also suggest she create an event and invite everyone on her Facebook list. If she doesn’t know how to do that, you can ask if she would like you to show her. I would say that you should mail the invites first and then one week in advance create the event and invite everyone.
The last thing you’ll want to do then is call everyone on her invite list, except those that already rsvp’d saying they won’t be there. Make the phone calls the day before the party. Usually the hostess would do this, but if she is very uncomfortable doing it, then you could offer to do it instead or offer to do part of the list and she can do the other part. You could skip this part if you want to , but I highly recommend making those reminder calls. It can make a huge difference in your turnout because sometimes people might not have got the invite, or missed it in the mail, or they just plain forgot, but they really did want to come!
When you make the phone calls, this is what I would say “Hi, my name is _________ and ________(hostess name) is hosting a soy candle party through me. I am just calling to remind everyone of the party tomorrow at her house at ___ oclock. We are going to have a lot of fun with drawings and prizes and anyone that RSVP’s will be getting a free votive candle. I hope to see you there! (if you get their voicemail)
If you do get a real person on the other end, instead of ending with “I hope to see you there” I would just ask if they are planning on coming or not “Do you know if you’ll be able to be there?” Something like that.
If the hostess is making the calls, you can have her say something similar to the above.
So that’s it! You’ve got everything ready and you’ve invited the guests and made your reminder calls. Now it’s time for the big day and you’ll just want to be at the party location probably 30min. or more before the party starts so you can set up your display. You might want to set it up at home a few times just to practice so you know how you want to do it at the party.
Now don’t overthink how to present your candles in front of the guests. It doesn’t have to be hard. Just be yourself and pretend you are just talking to a friend about them. Here are some things to talk about:
- What are your candles made of?
- What’s the reason for using soy candles? Why are they different?
- Optional: Give a little history about soy wax
- Talk about the environmental benefits
- How did you get into making the candles?
- How long do they burn?
- And last, give a little information about the benefits of booking a candle party with you tonight(or today)
After you go through your presentation, you can ask if anyone has any questions. And as I pointed out earlier, you can give rewards to those that ask a question, like maybe an extra ticket for the drawing for each question asked.
Try and make the presentation fairly short. You don’t want people to get bored. I know I am not fond of long presentations at parties. I just want to hear a little about the product and then be able to get up and check out the goods!
After the presentation and questions, let everyone know that they can check out the candles, open them up and smell them and that they can purchase them right there and take them home with them. You could also pass one of each fragrance around if you like too. You’ll be surprised at how well the candles can sell themselves!
If you have samples of each fragrance with you, like in the little plastic jars I mentioned above, go ahead and pass those around as well.
When purchases are made, just have your receipt book handy and write up a receipt. It’s up to you if you want to take checks or not. You can even take credit/debit cards too if you have an iPhone that you can hook up with Squareup card reader. My brother uses this for his espresso business and it works great! (disclaimer: I do not make any money from Squareup if you do decide to sign up. I do have some affiliate links on this site, but this is not one of them)
At the end of the party, you’ll want to tally up the total orders and figure up your hostesses free product amount and any other rewards you might have for her if you are closing the party the same day. Be sure to ask your hostess if she wants to wait a few days for any other possible outside orders or if she would like to just close the party that day.
Well, I think that’s about it! I hope that helps you get prepared and gives you some ideas for your first party or your next party if you’ve already started doing them. Remember, this is YOUR business so you can feel free to do the party in a way that is unique to you! If this is what you want to do, start a home party business today and don’t put it off any longer.
Just relax, have fun and watch your candles sell themselves!
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