Sunday, 5 May 2013

My Boden Party Experience

You may have Boden Party overload but lots of people have asked me about hosting a party themselves so I thought it might be useful to blog about how I found the experience. And if after reading this (or before reading this) you're interested in having one (and you're not my neighbour), let me know and I'll pass on your details to my contact in Boden.
So....the party. After a phone discussion with the Boden representative, I was given a date for my party about two months in advance. That gave me plenty of time to promote it via Facebook, the blog and text/email with closer friends. Additionally, Boden emailed all their customers in Northern Ireland to tell them where and when the parties were being held so I had quite a few enquiries from Boden fans I didn't actually know.
I reminded everyone again via text & email a couple of days before the party, crossed my fingers and waited for my delivery.

First things first, you need LOTS of room. I cleared out my family room leaving just the 2-seater sofa in it. By the end of the day, that 2-seater was taken out too. There just wasn't room for it. The second photo shows the 5 rails when they arrived. My neighbour Natalie was there to help me unpack and initially I thought we'd be ok for space.
We extended the rails and merchandised the accessories, which took up some more space. The sofa departed shortly after this next photo, which shows another amazing friend, Claire, sorting through the reduced items.
I was really keen to put the reduced items on a rail of their own so I borrowed a rail from a friend and put the Mini Boden on it, removed the mens range and laid it out in my Dining Room and that freed up a full rail, which I brought out into my kitchen space so it was clear that this was a 30% off, sold as seen, bargain rail, as opposed to the remainder of the stock which was being sold to order with 20% off.
If you're doing a charity party, ask the charity for a pull up to put in your house to remind customers of the charity aspect. I also had a couple of collection boxes in the house, along with branded leaflets/pens on the kitchen table and in the hallway.
And we were ready to go! The first few customers came on the night before my party. I invited just 8 girls up that night to give myself a chance to get to grips with the ordering system and get some feedback on layout/room etc.
The fun kicked off just before 10am on Thursday as the first of about 70 customers came through the door. From then on, there are only a couple of photos as I literally did not stop all day - talking (ha!), processing orders, making coffee and serving (and eating) traybakes (my diet for the ENTIRE day).
I remembered to take a photo however when a blogging friend Rosanna from silverbrogues called. Luckily she arrived when it was quiet so we got a proper chance to talk. Lovely, super stylish girl who hasn't been blogging for long so would appreciate some blog-love from you if you've got a minute :)
My Boden Party Outfit:
Short Sleeved Wrap Top - Boden
Crop Skinny Jeans - Boden
White Vest - Primark
Gladiator Sandals - River Island (old - SS11)
After 6pm, things really picked up. I had constant customers until 8pm and then it got crazy. People were streaming into the house and I must apologise to anyone who was there for the lack of chat and refreshments. Even with Natalie helping me and many girls putting through their own orders, it was breathtakingly busy. Fantastic for the charity but utterly exhausting!
And the next few photos come to me courtesy of a new friend I made on the night, Joanne, and our mutual friend who introduced us, Gemma-Louise. Eternally grateful Joanne & GL. It gives some sense of how busy the evening was.


The fun and madness all ended at about 11pm. It took myself and my darling, patient husband another 90 minutes to get everything sorted, packed up and tidied and I literally FELL into bed at 12.30am. Phew!
Would I do it again? Yes - definitely. I hope to do one with the winter stock towards the end of the year. But what would I do differently and what are my Boden Party hosting tips for others interested in having a party? 
Here you go...(some of these tips came to me from Thea - thank you lovely lady for your help!)

  1. Advertise as much as possible. Lots of people will have circumstances come up on the day that will mean they can't come. You really do need to invite at least twice the number of people you want to be there. Ask friends to text their friends, set up a Facebook event, tweet, text, email, hand leaflets in everywhere. If anyone can't come, make a point of phoning them with your discount code so they have the option of ordering at home.
  2. Have a dry run with some close friends before your party officially starts. It's great to get the hang of the ordering process and to become more familiar with the stock on the rails.
  3. Get LOTS and LOTS of help. I had two helpers in the morning but just one in the evening. I needed three in the evening - two to do orders and one to make sure people were ok in terms of refreshments.
  4. If people offer to bake, bring flowers or mind your kids, say YES! I was blessed to have offers of all three and it made such a difference.
  5. Make sure you have plenty of computers to process your orders. Beg, borrow or steal (well, maybe not) but it's essential to have two on the go with helpers and one that people can work away on themselves - I had a few super helpful customers who wanted to put through their own orders, which was fantastic when it was busy.
  6. Set up a food/drinks station so people can help themselves. I moved my kettle, cups, coffee/tea, biscuits/cakes, glasses/wine/water etc up close to where people were mingling and I made sure everyone coming in knew it was ok to go help themselves (and they had to when it got crazy busy)
  7. Have at least two communal changing areas and make a third area available for customers who would prefer to change in private. 
  8. LOTS of mirrors and good lighting are essential. I brought all my lamps and mirrors down to the rooms I was using. Borrow full length mirrors if you don't have enough. At least 3 but the more the merrier.
  9. Have pens (LOADS)/calculators/scrap paper/catalogues all ready to hand. That one pen will go missing and 30% off is harder than you think to work out when you're exhausted and having a conversation with someone at the same time!
  10. Put balloons on your door so it's obvious where the party's at!
  11. Rest when you can. I was guilty of not sitting down when I had a couple of gaps in the middle of the day. My feet paid the price!
  12. Enjoy! If you love Boden, it's an absolute privilege to have 600 items of stock in your home. I took some time out on the first day to check out everything and I was blown away by the quality and the detail...and some items really stood out for me that I wouldn't have looked at twice in the catalogue (more on that tomorrow - this post is long enough already!)
I'll leave you with a picture of the yummy tray-bakes. 
If you weren't there, you missed peanut butter brownies and mint chocolate refrigerator cake - lush! 
xx

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36 comments

  1. Looks like an amazing event!! Well done Avril x

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    1. Thank you Ruth - it really was a great day. Can't wait to do it again x

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  2. I actually sent an email to Boden yesterday to see if they do these parties in the U.S. I would love it. My entire life up until my kids was spent in retail. I miss it!

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    1. Oh I hope you get a positive answer...you'd be great at hosting a party by the sounds of it x

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  3. Thanks for my mention - it was a great event and lovely to meet you! As you know, I was a first timer to the Boden scene but have been browsing the catalogue for more options since! Would definitely be up for the opportunity to have a shop in my living room!! You were very well organised and it paid off:)

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    1. So glad you enjoyed it Rosanna and it was lovely to meet you too. I'm at yours if you host one...just set the date! x

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  4. Wow - not sure I could handle the intensity:) You, your cakes and your house look amazing - and of course the Boden clothes:) xx

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    1. Thanks Joanna - it was worth the hard work and the buns helped too :) x

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  5. Congrats Avril. That looks like an amazing event. I'm sure you must have raised loads for charity. Will definitely try to come to the next one. Do you think the Boden parties will ever come south of the border??

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    1. It would be great if they did but I'm guessing it's another logistical step for them. It's taken years for them to get to NI and the costs are higher for transport but I guess if they work this side of the Irish Sea, there's no reason why they can't make the trip across the border! x

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  6. Everything looked amazing, again disappointed I couldn't make it but it seems you had plenty of customers regardless. Looking forward to the winter one now. Good on you for doing it all for charity too Avril!!

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    1. It was a shame you couldn't come along but next time...and come early then...otherwise I won't get a chance to talk to you! x

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  7. Hi Avril-congratulations on such a successful party and it sounds like you were a perfect and stylish host which is why it obviously went so well! Not only do the clothes look great and your outfit is of course fabulous, but those tray bakes look so so delicious!! xxx

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    1. Thank you Sharon - you're so kind...and yes, the traybakes were awesome! x

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  8. WOW fantastic blog post, I think Boden should hire you as the NI Boden house party co-ordinator!

    I loved have a sneaky peak at your house!

    You worked very hard and it paid off for the charity (plus happy customers!)

    Thank you for mentioning your friend Thea, I just followed her blog :-)!

    Fiona

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    1. Oh - dream job! Hope Boden read that comment :) x

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  9. I bet you were shattered too - well done for all your hard work. I will definitely look into doing one when our building is finished as we will have the room then! Just spied that gorgeous yellow bag in your picture too - tempted again! X

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    1. Yes - you're new space would be great for a party. And the commission would help pay for some of the work you've had to do on it. Great idea...shame I'm not closer to you to come along x

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  10. Looks like great fun, exciting and tiring all rolled into one :)I bet it was great!

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    1. It was - thanks Claire. Shame you're so far away - you'd have enjoyed it so much x

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  11. NOM! Was a great evening - and a great opportunity to actually see what Boden clothes are like in real life. I've been lusting over their catalogues for a while but hadn't made a purchase, til your party!
    Can't wait for my jacket to come (I can see it waving at me from one of your pics!)
    Thanks for being a lovely host

    S xx

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    1. So glad you enjoyed it Sara, thanks for coming. It was lovely to meet you and Ruth x

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  12. Congratulations on the fundraising but it seems like too much hard work for me.

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    1. I can't deny - it was tough. Knowing it was for charity helped me keep going! x

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  13. Well done on such as successful event. It sounds like you put a huge amount of effort and planning into it! Very useful tips too. Thanks. xx

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    1. Thank you - it was alot of hard work but it was a great way to meet new people and catch up with friends. And a lovely excuse for a glass of vino! x

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  14. Oh Avril you had everything looking so immaculate - a huge hats off to you as I'd probably (definitely!) lose the plot doing something like this! Am so sorry I wasn't able to make it & (to my shame) realised I'd even rsvp'd on the wrong flippin day. Plot=lost.

    Well done you!

    Nic x

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    1. Oh don't worry Nic - it was a bit of a trip for you too. Next time - I'll remind you of the date lots beforehand! x

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  15. Gosh I felt exhausted for you when I read this although it does sound amazing! Thank goodness it looks like you have a big house, I'm not sure that would all fit in mine, I'd have to take all the furniture out! I think I would prefer to go to one than have one! Good that you did this for charity also, well done, I would have loved to have been there! xx

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    1. Thanks Sharron - would have loved you to have been there too. And yes - you need good space. I had furniture, lamps, rugs all in the spare room and the poor kids had all their toys moved too. Lots of upheaval! x

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  16. Wow that really is an amazing day huh?! Its quite full on but I'd love to play shop like that for a day! Plus you get to try it all on too! Your house is gorgeous! I love your kitchen! Ax

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    1. Ah thanks Alison - it *was* like having my own shop...and as exhausting too! Great fun x

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  17. Fab post!

    I had a Boden party a few months ago and loved doing it but agree it is SUCH a full on day, and I didn't have nearly as many people as you as we got some very unexpected snow on the evening/ day of the event!

    Agree that the main thing is making sure you have help, and LOTS of space!

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    1. Hi Emily Jayne, thanks for dropping by. Shame about your snow - there have been quite a few people caught out there in March with the late snow. I was really lucky with the weather...but it was a baptism of fire for a first party! x

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I love reading your comments and will reply as soon as I can if you have a specific question. If for any reason, you are unable to leave a comment, just drop me an email at avril@alifetostyle.com or leave a comment on the A Life to Style Facebook Page! Thank you xx

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