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Saturday, September 17, 2005

Stamping parties 

Had a weird experience last weekend, which I have been asked to write about. Wired Cola is reader-responsive!

The Lovely One was laid low by illness last weekend, perfectly coinciding with a fairly large social affair her mother was putting on. I was sent in as emergency assistance, and helped my mother-in-law with several hours of preparations for an all-female (it just works out that way) stamping party. If that makes no sense to you, this is a Tupperware party format, only selling rubber stamps, primarily used for scrapbooking and handmade greeting cards.

During the party, I continued to be engaged, just doing stuff like selling pottery (my mother-in-law is also an accomplished potter), helping with the food (and helping myself...my mother-in-law is also a brilliant cook), and other random errands.

This is where I'm supposed to have some interesting insight to share about female social interactions which would really help out the men in the audience. Sorry, I'm afraid I don't have much there, except to say that I found the dynamics of this party (which was both a social engagement and an opportunity for commerce) quite interesting. The sellers are (benevolently) leveraging social contacts and structures to get motivated buyers into a buying mood. Typically, you're selling high-end stuff at these sort of parties, because while price seems to be not too important, a product you can "believe in" is. (The Lovely One tells me that the products of this company, Stampin' Up, are first-rate compared to other stamps she has used).

Without wishing to elaborate, and realizing this is all rather obvious in some circles, I think there's some interesting ways this model could be moved online. That sort of stuff is occupying more and more of my thoughts these days.

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