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Eileen McClelland

Brainstorm Now for Holiday Party Success Later

Start early. Sometimes the best event planning is done floating in the pool while sipping margaritas.

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WITH SEPTEMBER here (already!), it occurred to me it’s time for party planning in your store. So I decided to revisit a story on holiday planning I wrote in 2012 and pull out some highlights to offer a bit of inspiration. Remember, a party should be fun, from planning to execution.

  • Need to brainstorm? Julia Gardner of David Gardner Jewelers in College Station, TX, says her best event planning is done floating in the pool while sipping margaritas.
  • Consider a fun theme. Daniel Diamonds of Boulder, CO, has thrown a pre-holiday event with the theme of “the 100 Carat Carrot Cake Party.” Inside the locally baked carrot cake, between its two layers, 100 carats total weight of multicolored gemstones are hidden, wrapped in foil. Customers have had a blast mingling, eating cake and finding treasure. A lot of them have returned to have the stone set into a piece of custom jewelry.
  • Prove it was fun! I know it’s the age of the iPhone. But sometimes, you’ll forget to pull it out to document the party when you get busy with being a congenial host. (Believe me, I know this one is true. I talk to jewelers more frequently than I can believe, who have no photos of their events at all!) Or maybe if you do remember to take a few shots, they just don’t turn out that great. Prove that your store is a fun place to be by hiring a professional photographer or assigning a creative staff member to the task, and use those great shots for marketing.
  • Serve frivolous refreshments. Keep the food fun, too. Party planners tell me you can never go wrong with Champagne and easy-to-eat small bites.
  • Don’t expect instant results. Every party can be a selling event to some degree, but sometimes you won’t see the sales immediately. David Gardner Jewelers sold a $50,000 item six months after an event that, nevertheless, was a result of the event. Just relax. Sell the relationship with the customer and trust that results will come.

Eileen McClelland is the Managing Editor of INSTORE. She believes that every jewelry store has the power of cool within them.

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