Janet Piper still feels like a newbie when it comes to trunk shows â€“ thatâ€™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 rosÃ© wine and mini-cupcakes â€“ courtesy of the homeowner â€“ 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, thereâ€™s nothing lax about this business. When itâ€™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. Piperâ€™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