Thursday, June 14, 2012

House Parties

Photo taken by Kimberly Piccott
Since I entered what (I guess) you could call my 'late 20's' (I turned 27 in December), there has been a noticeable shift in the lifestyles of my friends, namely more and more people I know are buying homes.

One of the great benefits of this is the greater opportunity for entertaining at home - tiny walk-ups that can barely hold 10 people are replaced with spacious living rooms and rec rooms; actual dining rooms that hold tables and chairs provide somewhere to sit and place your food other than your own lap.

One of my best friends just moved into such a house in January with her fiance, and practically every weekend since they've moved in she has hosted SOME kind of get-together. One of the trends in her entertaining has been what I like to call "At-Home Sales Parties", where you invite a group of friends over and a consultant/independent sales rep of some kind talks to you about the products they offer, and shows you examples, samples and tries to convince you to buy something.

Remember Avon and Mary Kay? Yup, just like those. However, these are no longer your grandmother's parties - my friend's many entertaining forays have opened my eyes to an entire "home-selling" world out there that I never knew existed. I can certainly see the appeal - shopping in your own home can be a much more laid-back, comfortable experience and you can actually try the products out or see how they are used (can't do that in most stores!). Plus, if you host, you usually get free products and/or discounts on what is offered.

And I can also see the appeal for the consultants - you get the chance to run your own little business, but with the support of the bigger business to provide you with all the supplies and training you need, and you can work as much or as little as you want. I'm telling you, if selling Mark (the 'young women's' line from Avon) were open to Canadians, I would be on that in about two seconds!

I do find that some of the products for these lines can be a bit pricey, depending on the company, and sometimes I feel an awkward pressure to spend money (I am not going to lie, I have skipped out on such parties before because I was broke and didn't want to be pressured into buying), but for the most part I think they can be a great way to entertain and shop if done the right way and you end up with a good salesperson.

One of the recent parties my friend hosted was for Lia Sophia - I have to say, I was impressed with this jewelry and ended up buying two pieces (a necklace and a pair of silver hoops). Their stuff is good quality and the prices are a bit high, but still reasonably affordable for most budgets (although, for the higher prices are are getting good quality, so it makes it less painful). I really liked the consultant that my friend had also - she was really nice, but not pushy, and knew a lot about the pieces. My pick: The "Parade" Necklace.

Pampered Chef and Epicure are two parties that friends of mine have hosted but I haven't attended. I have looked through the catalogs though and many of the things look and sound super-yummy. A lot of their items are cater toward convenience, which is nice when you are someone who is busy and doesn't like to cook (like me). The prices are also pretty reasonable here, which is another added bonus. My picks: Pampered Chef - "Round-Up From the Heart" 2008 Trivet (they donate $2 to Food Banks Canada for every one purchased!)/ Epicure - Smoky Bacon Salad Topper

I have been to a couple of these parties - in case you couldn't tell from the company name, these are all about sexy toys and bedroom accessories (meow!). These parties are always a lot of fun, and they offer a bunch of different packages depending on your preferences. One package they offer is the "Unleashed" party, where the consultant demos the products (in a PG way of course - clothes stay on, people) and you and your friends can try them on and take funny photos. It's a little crazy but also a comforting and discrete way of buying some sexy products for yourself (and your partner, if applicable).

What is really neat about the Halifax branch is they have a "Party Pad" downtown here (within blocks of all the great nightlife) that groups can rent out and it has a full kitchen where you can bring whatever food and drinks you want and you get VIP cover into a nearby bar with your fee. Definitely a unique idea for 'girl's night out' or bachelorette. My picks: Hah - yeah right! I don't kiss and tell ;)

Have you ever been to or hosted an "At-Home Sales Party"? What did you like/not like about the experience? What is your favourite home-party company?


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