This blog is meant to be a record of my adventures as a new home-based business owner. Starting my jewellery business was one of the most daunting things I've ever done, next to giving birth. Especially since I was (am?) pretty technically stunted. In this blog I will describe the trials, tribulations and, hopefully, eventual successes I experience while navigating the world of (really, really, really small) business. I also plan to use this blog to talk about all the aspects of jewellery design that fascinate me, keep me addicted, and cause me to spend thousands of dollars (What, honey? No, I didn't say thousands...) on gemstones, beads, findings, etc. I welcome your input, ideas, and stories of similar experiences in beading, jewellery design, or running a handcrafts business.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Girls' Night Out Beading Party

Just got back from my first beading party booking. It was a Girls' Night Out party, hosted by my friend Rita. There were 5 guests, which was a good, manageable number for my first party. Before the party, we set up a long table and chairs in her basement, and put out a beading board, tools, and a laminated picture reference card at each place. The findings and some of the available beads were in the middle of the table. There were too many beads to fit on the table, so there was another area where the rest of the beads, organized by colour or type, were set up. My inventory of finished pieces was set up at one end of the room for people to browse, or to get inspiration.

Rita served drinks to the guests when they arrived, and I walked them through the beginning of the process. Each guest could choose to make either a necklace, or a bracelet and earrings. I had premade some bracelet wires with one end of the toggle clasp on them, to save time. I showed them how to use beads with different shapes or textures for interest, and how to put on the wire guardian, the clasp and the crimp beads. Given how most people claimed to lack creativity, I was pleasantly surprised at how beautiful their choices were. I flitted around, chatting, giving advice, and helping where necessary.  Some people wanted to do everything on their own, and some people wanted me to finish the ends for them. One thing that I learned from today's party was that I need to limit the choices somewhat.  One lady chose to make a necklace with units of three stones, interspersed with sections of chain links.  This design required a lot of wrapped loops, and this skill is too advanced for the beginner.  I ended up doing many time-consuming wrapped loops for her, and the other guests had to wait.  I think next time, I'll steer people away from that type of design.  The organza bags I packed their creations in went over really well, and I put one of my business cards in each bag. 

After about two hours, we stopped for munchies. Rita had made finger sandwiches, (sandwiches taste better when someone else makes them, don't you think?) tea biscuits and different jams, cupcakes, cherry cheesecake tarts, chips, coffee, and tea.  Everything was delicious, and the conversation was good. 

One lady bought a bracelet, and one lady bought a necklace and earring set.  I ended up making about $200 altogether, and three people took flyers for my little girls' birthday parties.  Everyone seemed to have fun, and said they'd come again if we had another party. 

I was pretty nervous about this party.  I'm kind of shy, really, and even though I'm a teacher, I don't really like being the "sage on the stage," as they say.  It turned out to be fun, though.  It would be really great if I got some more bookings from those flyers.  I need to figure out how to streamline my system of organizing and transporting everything if I'm going to do more parties, though.  Waaaaay too much stuff to lug around, especially since I live in a three-floor walk-up.  All in all, a positive experience!  Thanks again, Rita, for hosting the party and making all the food and drinks. You're a real friend!

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