2Hearts Jewelry: Notes from a Newbie - Debrief on a Trunk Show - Mixed Results

This column is about the logistics and results of holding a trunk show at a retail place of business. I invite others that have done this to share their experiences, both in terms of “what works” and “wasn’t worth it.” Last month I shared my very rewarding experience, both personally and financially, having a friend host a jewelry party at her home. Just as a post script to that, I have had several additional sales from those who attended that event. This blog is about a retail business trunk show that was hosted by my daughter and son-in-law’s wine bar, The Wandering Dog, located in the California Central Coast village made famous in the movie “Sideways.” Although this particular event was not very successful, the trunk show concept has great potential. Here’s the debrief:

Location, location, location: My assumption was that having a trunk show in a wine bar would be a plus because drinkers are in a good mood and they would still be looking for last minute gifts. The reality was that they come to drink wine and socialize with their friends, not to buy jewelry, plus my potential customers were limited to those over the age of 21. In hindsight, since by jewelry was an impulse buy, I should have had more items at the $20-40 price point, and less at the higher end. I was thinking Christmas/New Year’s parties, and had too many items that were big on bling and short on fling. In contrast, those who came to the home party knew that it was all about the jewelry and were there to buy.

The Serendipity Factor: There is an element of serendipity to any one day event – one buyer can make a huge difference. For my home jewelry party I did have a major buyer; whereas for this event only random, smaller purchases. One potential buyer of a high end Pennino necklace ended up buying a case of high end wine instead (my daughter was thrilled). Another factor out of my control was the weather. Faced with one of the most extended periods of rain in the past ten years, Californians hunkered down indoors resulting in far fewer than normal patrons that day. I was glad I brought reading material, Sudoku and my computer to fill the quiet times.

Similarities and Differences: The logistics were essentially the same as for the home party, with a few exceptions. At the home party, I could spread out. For this, I was limited to an eight foot table in a corner. I did a mock set up at home first to play with ideas. For the trunk show, the wine bar advertised this “Sparkle and Shine” event featuring a special tasting of sparkling wines and cheeses - my jewelry fit with that theme - with a newspaper ad and flyers to their mailing list. In terms of refreshments, a candy dish of Hershey’s kisses was all that was needed. I appreciated the access to the bar’s credit card billing. The home party had an open house window of three hours, whereas the trunk show lasted from 11 am to 6 pm. Since the evenings get busy at a wine bar, the 2-8 pm time slot would have been better.

Better Next Time: What I would like to do “next time,” is be part of the wine bar’s sidewalk sale, which the town sponsors once or twice per year. By setting up outside, I would be visible to all who passed by and not limited to those (over 21) who come inside the bar. If the weather had been clear, I would have displayed a poster outside advertising the jewelry sale and inviting passers-by to come in and check it out. I may approach another business more closely associated with fashion about hosting a trunk show in expectation of attracting those who are already are interested in jewelry. Let’s hear from others who have had trunk shows or have been part of a special sale affiliated with a host store – what kind of store, what time of the year, what were the results??? What is the usual profit sharing agreement with the host store? Spill the details!!

By D’Anne Brownell,

2Hearts Jewelry


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