Plan your own Open House

 Last week I sat down and picked my date for this year's Open House. This will be the 4th? year I've had one. Maybe it's the 3rd year, I dunno. Anyway, I can't imagine not doing one but it's important that I plan it for a good time, with plenty of space between the show I just did, and the Winter show at the Jewish Temple. So this year I picked November 5th. Just before the real Christmas shopping gets under way.  I like having this event around the holidays because it's easy to decorate! I have had the open house in October and can decorate for Halloween/Fall which is fun. November will maintain the Fall/Harvest decor.

 These photos show last years Open house which was in December. Lots of Christmas decorations, including our tree.  I am very excited for my new displays, these displays from last year look so flat to me! That's the cool part, I am always trying to improve my display and so people never see the same set up each year they come. Always something interesting and different.

Once you have established your date, order some postcard invites. I use for mine, and usually add a nice picture of my jewelry to one side, and the details on the other.  Order them in plenty of time though- you want to hand those invites out as soon as you can as people tend to have busy schedules in the colder months.

 Who to invite?  I have a good situation because of my regular full time job, so I hand out most of my invitations to co-workers at the museum. I also send some invites with Joe to hand out to his fellow teachers, and I invite some local friends. I usually order about 40 invitations. I get about 20-30 people at my open house on average.  There have been times I have handed out invites while at the Jewish temple show, if my open house is after this event. But then you run the risk of total strangers coming to your home and that can be kind of a scary thing. I did give my open house info to 2 ladies I met at the Harvest Festival who live in my home town. Unfortunately I had to write the info on a scrap of paper because my invites haven't arrived yet.
 I think it's good to stick to people you know, and encourage people to bring a friend. In the past I have offered a small discount if they bring someone.

What to feed your guests:  I try not to go nuts with this aspect of the event because it can be stressful enough just getting the jewelry made, and set up. I offer several types of drinks, coffee, soda, and the first time last year, I offered wine. I generally always make a chocolate chip zuchini bread, some sort of savory snack like the Smoked Gouda/Artichoke baguette, chips and salsa,  or chips and dips. People do snack a little while they're there, but I generally always have food leftover. Make something you really like so that the leftovers aren't a hassle to have. :)

I plan my open house for about 4 hours, generally in the afternoon from 1-5pm.  I think you could also do one in the morning like 10-2 - some people are early birds. And an evening show like 4-8 would be a good time too, with different lighting. I have poor lighting in my house so the 1-5 works out perfectly for me.

I hope these tips were helpful for you and that you consider having an event like this too. It's really a good time, you get to chat with people and see their reactions to your designs, and provide them with a comfortable shopping experience. I know they'll keep coming back year after year!