It sounds to me that if you are planning on a "by invitation only"
and you are worried about someone stealing from you that security may
be a problem. If this is the case I would not have a show at my
house. In fact I would never have a show at my house anyway. First of
all if they might steal from you right under your nose they may not
be deterred from breaking into your house either.
A store I used to work at had in house events in the evenings after
normal hours. Sometimes it was during Christmas, other times just
for a special occasion. At times it was open to the public. At
other times, especially at Christmas it was by invitation only. It
was up to the managers and the artist how this was handled. If the
designer was really upscale or just wanted an exclusive feel to the
show it was by invitation. The designs were generally not put in the
front window, you had to go through the store to get to the new
stuff. This was important for the store owner to get the customer to
perhaps see other things and it may solve the problem of rip offs.
If you want to make sure you catch attention, make sure people know
wether it is a limited time event or if the items will be on display
after the event is over. You may get better sales if they think they
can only get the item for a limited time. This works best for
exclusive type shows.
As far as advertising went when it was needed, it was well advertised
and individualized for each different artist. The artists were not
just the run of the mill people, though. They had to have at least
some kind of track record of sales in order to get the store owner to
feel comfortable about spending so much money and time. Perhaps if
you developed a relationship with a jewelry store owner then over
time they would help you out or you could halve the expenses.
If this is not a viable option I would suggest renting space in an
exclusive hotel or at some kind of country club organization that
your customers are familiar with. You would need to have some sort
of security though. At least one security guard, especially you are
the only other professional there.
I am afraid that a lot of this is going to be a trail and error
experience though. That is how the store owner I worked with handled
it. If something worked they did it again. Even if it didn’t work
they might schedule another similar event with a different artist or
theme just to make sure it wasn’t some sort of fluke. But they never
gave up and now they are known for this type of thing and it is
actually expected and well attended. It is rather like advertising,
you have to do it a lot or else it just doens’t work. It can be a
very large commitment.
If your event is by invitation only you will probably want to invite
at least twice as many people as you think you can handle because
many won’t show up. The food you serve depends on the atmosphere you
want. I remember one by invitation show that had pieces that were in
the $40,000 range and they served pizza. It worked well because the
guy was there to sell to already known collectors who spent money but
didn’t like pretension. Other shows that had a high dollar inventory
served haute cuisine with champagne. Again it depends on the buyers
and how you are marketing your designs. But unless this is a very
small show or expent low turnout, do yourself a favor and have
someone else be responsible for the food and anything else you can
delegate as well. It is hard to concentrate on the jewelry and
marketing without having to worry if the food is going to burn!.
Lastly, if you invite someone to come to a showing of jewelry and
they don’t have enough money I would wonder why they were there. I
wouldn’t extend credit to anyone I didn’t know and if the store owner
wanted to do that, it would be his own responsibility. The
management would still owe you for the money if the customer didn’t