Excerpted from Homemade For Sale by Lisa Kivirist and John Ivanko
Hosting Private Product Parties
If your state permits it, another option may be to host a private “product party” along the lines of a Pampered Chef or Tupperware gathering. Invite over your friends, neighbors and other community members in your target market for a private party to taste your products and learn more about how you make them. If you make the event an invitation-only private party, you may sidestep legal regulations; the health department, for instance, should only concern themselves with public events where food is sold or served. Private is the key word.
This unique format could welcome people into your home kitchen to see where and how you make your products. Besides sampling, you might offer suggestions on hosting a brunch based around your products or pairing them with others. You could do a blind tasting to get people talking about how your product is better. Such parties can be ripe for testimonials, provide new product ideas and create a buzz in social media. Everyone likes being invited to a party, especially if the food is homemade and delicious — and free.
You may want to generate press clippings, gather endorsements, collect testimonials or grow your customer base. If you cast the net wide enough to include invitations to some local newspaper reporters, it’s possible they will create a news story about you and your new products (covered in the PR section of this chapter). To make your private product party more newsworthy, tie it to national event, like Bake Cookies Day in December (if you’re a baker) or “Canvolution,” organized by Canning Across America (if you’re a canner or have your own line of pickles).
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This excerpt has been reprinted with permission from Homemade For Sale by Lisa Kivirist and John Ivanko and published by New Society, 2015.