History of Home Jewelry Sales
Registered and documented home jewelry sales companies are over fifty years
old. Most likely women were selling their own handmade creations before formal
companies started the practice but for companies like Sarah Coventry and Jewels
by Park Lane, the two oldest in the business and currently still growing, they
were founded in 1949 and 1955 respectively.
Home party plan sales really started with the legendary Tupperware Company. They introduced food saving dishes and plastics to women for their kitchens. In the beginning, they stocked retail stores with the products but very little sold. The company found that if women did not know what to do with the product or did not know how it benefited them directly, they would not buy it. The products sat on the shelves gaining dust until Tupperware realized that by demonstrating the products, sales would come. Thus, the advent of home party sales in 1948.
Home party sales were really demonstrations of the product. Emmons, the first jewelry company from the same man who created Sarah Coventry, sold both companies' collections at home parties starting in 1949. Any older pieces of jewelry regardless of collection or company brand will be highly sought after for the sake of age alone. But the Emmons' pieces are now very rare because so few pieces were distributed after the Sarah Coventry name was introduced.
A few years later, the wife of the founding couple for Jewels by Park Lane had been at a household gadget party (most likely Tupperware) and told her husband they should start a direct sales business. They agreed upon jewelry and the business came into existence in 1955.
Through the years, one of the common goals of home party sales companies is to empower women. This sole expression is seen in almost every company brochure. While men are permitted to join and some successfully advance in the business, home party plans are generally the domain of women.
It is amazing that with all the direct sales jewelry companies on the market, new ones are creeping into the landscape every day. And what is even more astounding is the fact that the original companies who started so long ago are to this day growing and not at all becoming saturated.
Indeed, many companies have come and gone. To be successful in jewelry sales, the head office must continually produce new and refreshing items, find new ways to motivate the individual consultants and update training programs customizing them to "fit with the times". Those companies that endure care about people as evidenced in their customer service procedures, their product warranties, their consultant commission plans and their endeavors to give back to the community.
In the early days of party plans, women who had parties were typically called Hostesses. The person showing the products was the Demonstrator. People earned free product, commissions on sales and bonuses for both volume and helping others.
Today, the terminology still includes Hostesses but now Demonstrators have fancier titles such as Style Consultant, Jeweler (Jeweller), Party Plan Accessory Consultant, Representative and Stylist. Parties are called Showcases, Trunk Shows, Soirees and Presentations.
Early commission plans were simple and now most long-standing companies have several levels of achievements with profits earned in the way of sales commissions, overrides, team bonuses, volume bonuses and gifts such as furs, trips and cars. Some senior members of the teams are offered car gas allowances and other incentives to keep building and growing.
Party plan is sometimes referred to as home parties, network marketing, direct sales and multi-level marketing. People are sponsored into the business by individuals who show them the opportunity. All those on a person's team, including those they personally sponsored and those that their team members sponsored are called the top person's downline.
When party plan companies came into existence, because they were serious and honest companies, there was little need for them to earn from the representatives other than selling the products themselves. The most important goal was to distribute product to the end users not profit off the hard work of their demonstrators and hostesses. As the years, passed, however, and as all things happen, the opportunists came forward to mar new programs. Today, when looking at a home party plan business, one should keep a few things in mind before deciding to join and participate.
- The company's focus should be on their products and not on the money the representatives will earn them.
- The company should not make money from the supplies such as sales kits, order forms and shipping, It is fine for the company to charge for items but it should be at wholesale prices and not so ridiculously priced that the company earns from the supplies required to conduct business. Companies that force people to continually buy new supplies every month should raise a red flag to the representative.
- Companies that force representatives to buy inventory that is not required is a huge problem. If reps are required to buy high monthly quotas just to remain active, this is not ethical. The company is not trying to distribute to the end user but rather push their useless products on the representatives.
- Companies that have so little regard for representatives that they offer the products to anyone over the internet are a problem. There will be continual turnover of the representatives as everyone is scrambling to compete with the company. Some legitimate companies show the products online but have proper procedures in place to credit their representatives. The problem lies with companies who compete with their representatives.
- Good companies will provide training books, seminars, conference calls and videos to help everyone succeed in the business.
- Lastly, are the products legitimate products that you can honestly say you would use yourself and feel good about recommending to others? Do the products have merit and are they good quality?
Indeed, party plan programs have survived through many decades. And while companies have had to change with the times, update products and pay plans, the original underlying foundations are still the same:
- distribute good products to end users,
- take care of customers with good customer service and warranties,
- care about the representatives by offering fair and equitable pay plans coupled with incentives,
- and help others where possible.