Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Why Do Parties?

When Karen and I first started talking about the best way to bring the Vessel concept to market, we considered many avenues of distribution: retail, online, etc.  The more we talked about it, the more it became apparent to us that the best model for Vessel would be home parties. 

Vessel is an experience.  It's more than just how the individual pieces look, or even how different chains and lockets look together - all of which can be shown through photos.  It's about how the 11 different chains (offered in two different lengths and six total finishes) and the 11 different lockets (again in six total finishes), and the 32 different ScentSpheres colors, designs and shapes, and the 28 different charms (some in two different finishes) can be combined in hundreds of different ways, unique to each person.  Not to mention the Earrings, the Ribbon and Cord Necklaces and the Flowers.  Whew!   And - most importantly - the Vessel fragrances.  It's about a group of friends getting together and sharing ideas of how to put together the perfect Vessel set.  It's seeing the quality and feeling the heft of the jewelry in person.  It's about actually smelling the fragrances, rather than just relying upon a description of them.  It's the excitement of sharing the unique concept among a group of friends.

All of these attributes led us to believe that the home party is an ideal setting in which to showcase the beautiful and versatile Vessel jewelry.  We also knew that this business model has existed for many years and has produced many extremely successful companies. 

Many Stylists want to do Vessel parties online.  There's no policy against it.  In fact, in some situations it could even be a preferred method.  For example, say that among a Hostess' circle of friends and family there are a good number who live outside her area - in a distant city or even another state.  Realistically speaking, they are not going to attend the Vessel party.  It would be great to organize a Vessel party online for those people, perhaps in conjunction with a traditional party.  Or an online party could be great for those acquaintances who won't or just can't commit to attending a party.  And it doesn't have to be either/or.  Successful Stylists can conduct parties both in person and online. 

But here are some compelling reasons to concentrate on doing actual parties:
  • Vessel is a product that is best sold in a setting where customers can see, feel, smell and experience the product.
  • There is a group dynamic in a home party that cannot translate to an online party.  I have yet to hear a squeal of delight on an online party, or see anyone get carried away trying different looks on an online party.
  • For those who attended the Anniversary Event and saw Tracy's mock party, you know that you must have the people in front of you to capitalize on the sales, bookings and recruiting opportunities that the party scripts offer.  It's a system with proven success!  It is much more difficult to get bookings and recruits from an online party. 
  • Research shows that most party plan companies report lower average sales from online parties vs. traditional home parties.  Home parties usually have better sales due to impulse purchases and peer influence.
  • Online guests are more likely to choose not to order, or even to look at the information (especially if there are literally hundreds of people invited to the party).  They don't feel that their non-participation will even be noticed, much less missed.
In the end, the most successful Stylists will adapt to what each situation requires. You are building a business, and there are different ways of doing that.  You can do online parties, Facebook outreach, catalog parties, individual sales and vendor or trade shows.  All have positive points as well as challenges. 

But you should start with a strong foundation of home parties.

To your success!


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