You met Alix Mikesell, metalsmith, in the previous post. Last holiday season she hosted a really successful home show. I asked Alix why she decided to have a home show. My questions below are in bold.

I chose this avenue because I get all the profits (!) I also feel that it is
important for me to be there to explain the work, see what people’s
reactions are, and I can take special orders easily.

Once you decided to have a home show, what else needed to be done? What tips can you offer others who might want to try a home show?

Increase inventory. Have a lot of choices. If someone wants the last piece
of a particular style I sell it to them but hold onto to it until the end of
the sale so others can see it and I can take orders. Then after the sale I
deliver it to the person who bought it.

Take photographs and have postcards or invitations printed with images of
some of the work on them.

Buy wine and cheese and other refreshments to make it a festive affair.

Create interesting displays. Good lighting is important to show off the work
to its best advantage!

Get childcare – have kids out of the house! Also ask some friends or family
to help with the sale. Reward them with a free piece of jewelry.

How did you decide who to invite?

I wanted as many people as possible – preferably those with some spending
power. I handed out postcards to friends, acquaintances and gave people
extras to give to their friends. I sent out an email and asked people to
pass it along. I had a guest book for people to sign so if I didn’t know
them personally I can mail them a postcard for the next show.

How did you promote your show? If you did more than one method, do you know which worked the best?

The postcard and email both worked well.

Was it a success? Would you do it again?

Yes, great success. I only handed out 200 postcards and made more than $4000
in two days. Next time I will have 500 postcards printed and hope to do
twice the business.

For you, what’s the best — will you do this annually for the
holidays? Is once a year good? Do you ever expect to expand?

I expect to always have a show before the holidays and then also one in the
late spring – before Mother’s Day. I will also put a website together so
people can see what I have and purchase year round.

Some people do these shows where they invite other artists as
well. You chose to go it alone. What are the advantages of doing it
that way?

Again, I get all the money. However, I also see the advantage in bringing
two artists’ mailing lists together and getting further exposure to a whole
new group of people – so I would consider teaming up with another artist.
BUT it’s important that the artists work in different mediums so they don’t
compete for the same customer base too much.

Any other advice you have for others who would like to try this
way of selling? Does it take a lot of confidence? Did you need
extra helpers?

It was fairly simple to put together – it just takes time. You have to have
a lot of work for sale, you have to be ready to take pictures of some of the
work for the postcard/flyer 6 weeks out so you can have the postcard printed
and distributed well ahead of time. The payout was well worth the effort.

You can reach Alix at AlixMikesell (at) yahoo.com (replace that with the correct symbol when you type it in, of course.)

Here’s another image of Alix’s work, this is Parasol Bracelet. Image is (c) Alix Mikesell All Rights Reserved.

Parasol Bracelet

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