Janet Piper still feels like a newbie when it comes to trunk shows – that’s what San Francisco-based company Stella & Dot calls the home parties where its reps sell boutique-style jewellery.
So on a rainy Sunday afternoon, Ms. Piper, a 43-year-old who works full-time at a publishing company, invited her team leader Claudia Li-Gordon to the two-hour party she booked in an east Toronto home.
While Ms. Piper offers help and advice to the dozen women who have come to check out the jewellery, Ms. Li-Gordon demonstrates some of the more intricate pieces, such as how the $54 silver Bardot Spiral Bangle winds around the wrist, assuring everyone it gets faster with practice.
Over rosé wine and mini-cupcakes – courtesy of the homeowner – and the typical chatter of work problems, man problems and the definition of a cocktail ring, the party-goers try on the many necklaces, bracelets and knuckle dusters.
While the atmosphere is casual, there’s nothing lax about this business. When it’s all over, Ms. Piper will pocket 25 to 30 per cent of the sales, which average $1,000 a show. Ms. Li-Gordon, who also runs her own trunk shows, will get a cut of Ms. Piper’s sales as she does with the 42 other women under her. As for the person who hosts the show? She gets free jewellery, typically $250 worth.
Logo from Stella & Dot