Shopping Parties, Revisited

Just like my mother knows better than to ask me when I’m having babies, friends and co-workers seem to know better than to invite me to an in-home shopping party. I must not be the type, and those who are the type must have radar for this sort of thing. Anyway, with the exception of the Pampered Chef (whose stoneware pans I can’t live without) I’ve managed to escape these awkward shopping scenarios. Frankly, I don’t need another vanilla candle, I can’t find space for more Tupperware, and I don’t even want to know what Pure Romance can do for my love life.

I am, however, a huge fan the shopping party concept that many local boutiques are embracing. I know that at Unmentionables, a couple can schedule a private visit to shop for lingerie. Designer swimwear store Nani Nalu will host a group of girlfriends preparing for their spring break. The list goes on, so just ask your favorite shop nicely and chances are they’ll welcome the idea.

I recently enjoyed a girls’ night out at Hot Mama on Grand Avenue – in that great, glassy space Lagos Hill once occupied. My friend Christine, who personifies both the hot and the mama, “hosted” about a dozen of us – she sent out Evites and provided the beer and wine. Hot Mama provided apps, mini manis and massages, a 15% discount on all merchandise (which, BTW, is largely non-maternity wear), and the service of their incredibly savvy and warm sales staff. The real deal, however, was that we had the store to ourselves. Which meant we were free to model the goods, leave the dressing room doors open, and (loudly) express how fabulous we looked in our Seven jeans and T-Bags tunics. Everybody wins.