Friday, March 12, 2010

Fight Your Fears: Host a Party!!!

I love the synchronicity that my daily Tarot card often offers. Today, for example, I was already all set to write about the need for people to connect, to get over their many fears about getting together, about entertaining, because of the crucial importance of overcoming those seemingly insurmountable hurdles of what to wear, what to serve, how exactly to do it. And then, strangely enough, the Tarot turned up The Hermit Reversed card, calling for the need to "seek out others and be social...find the light inside and share it with others."

I am always looking for ways to do just that, I am always throwing parties. Give me any excuse. I now have a constant stream of young French people in my home always happy to share good food and wine. I love it. And I have over the last few years alone thrown jewelry parties, cooking classes, a book party, MANY kids' birthday parties and, even, last year around this time, simply a Winter Wake-Up. Now, as synchronicity would have it, I am putting together a pilot for a web-based show that will attempt people to do just what I have done and do, to get up the gumption and gather the resources to help people connect. I would argue, like excercise after a certain age, it is no longer an option, it is imperative: We have to connect.

We have to get out from in front of screens (after you finish reading my blog, of course) and make time to meet up with real people face to face. Maybe not all the time, but most of the time, these events offer solace, soothing to whatever is plaguing you. You can talk about the things you think are unique to you alone and find that others feel them to, or you can just bond over something simple, like how good the pan-fried kale tastes with just a hint of lemon and garlic, yum. Or, over how good a necklace looks on a friend...

The other night, I attended a party for a home-jewelry brand, Lia Sophia, that has grown exponentially over the last few years on the basis of helping women find both an income and a social outlet. The company was started by Tory Kiam, son of legendary Remington pitchman Victor Kiam, who was looking for a new way to reach women in a way that would really resonate. He named it after his two daughters, Lia and Sophia, who he imagines will take over someday as the third generation of entrepreneurs. Look, I see it all around me: it is hard to be a hostess. One friend in the neighborhood who has a blog, The Undomesticated Me, just recently threw her first dinner party at, I don't know her age exactly but I would put her at roughly 40?

Mr. Kiam has made a killing offering women an opportunity to become a Hostess for a one-time $149 fee, engaging 29,000 women in the U.S. to sell his line of jewelry to a whopping 6 million customers. That is a lot of socializing. That is awesome. I was too wrapped up in conversation to remember to give him a big gold star, but I'll give him one, even if it has to be digitally. It's great when you can marry commerce with your convictions. It is the best thing, what I hope to do with my new show.

Standing in a beautiful room overlooking the Hudson River and all the lights of New Jersey, I was so excited. "I love it!" I said about his company, and not just because I was going to get a piece of free jewelry. "I actually wrote a story when still at Advertising Age, years ago, about the important rise of the home party for young mothers who want to shop with their friends but don't have the time! I actually throw those kinds of parties a lot, like a jewelry party I've done for a friend two years running...It's great, so necessary for people to connect."

He smiled and nodded. "In urban environments, often, people don't have the room, but in suburban and rural environments especially, young moms want excuses to get together with friends," he said. Of course, as I found with my own less-well-attended jewelry party this past holiday, average sales at individual parties have declined a bit from their former high at $700 as the economy has faltered and, Mr. Kiam acknowledged honestly, "people don't want to put friends in an awkward position..."

That said, though, sales are still going strong and hostesses sign up newly all the time, getting up the nerve to push friends to come out and gather face to face, to maybe buy a piece of pretty jewelry that, especially under $100, is a great way to spruce up the old outfits you are stuck with 'cause you can't afford new ones.

I give a lot of credit to these ladies, to Trish, one of Mr. Kiam's advisors, who brings a lot of people together and has built a great business, selling $250,000 a year. It might just be that the lure of making money might help a lot of ladies get over their fear of becoming a hostess. And that, as my Tarot suggests, is a very, very, VERY good thing!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for shaving off that extra year. For the record, I'm 41. I'm so glad I got over my fear of being a hostess. It's fun to entertain! I hope to do it again soon.