Monday, July 23, 2012

Lindt R.S.V.P. Party Report

Way back in May, Saturday, May 12th to be exact, your Chocolate Priestess hosted a Lindt R.S.V.P. Party for eleven people in my home.  You might recall if you have been with us for a while that early in 2011 we had a DOVE Discoveries party at our headquarters as well.  Thus having had two professional chocolate parties now, we will be making comparisons.  Our Consultant was Melanie McCool (how awesome of a name is that?) who had been doing these parties for about eight months at that time.  Her you can see her getting ready for the party that was primarily held in our living room  that flows into our dinning room.  See how happy she looks and wouldn't you be happy too if you had this sort of job.

The party primarily centered around trying different ready made products from Lindt.  In this photo you can see the range we tried as well as other items you could order from their catalogs.  We sampled several different bars and some of the European chocolates you can only get from the catalogs here in the USA.  Melanie did a good job of telling us what was in the bars when we asked so that people with allergies could avoid what they needed to.  Always so sad when allergies prevent you from having chocolate I think.  Part of the Lindt R.S.V.P. program involves trying to educate the guests about chocolate.  One of the downsides of coming to a Chocolate Cult event is that many of the people there will all ready know a good deal about chocolate.  Melanie had no problem getting our guests to talk about their five senses as they sampled.  I felt this threw her a bit because just like any home sells program the vendor has a script she/he should be following but after a few samples and questions from the group she recovered well.

Part of the party is an activity and there Melanie worked with me to choose something more unique.  She sent me dark chocolate and a recipe earlier and I made very dark, low-flour brownies.  Then I set out sprinkles and other decorations along with a chocolate frosting Melanie brought and we had a brownie decorating pseudo-contest.  Only a few of us decorated, most just ate a brownie with or without frosting.  I cut huge brownies so guests had a lot of surface to work with.  This was the only homemade part of the party a stark contrast to the DOVE event where the majority of samples were baked goods and candies the chocolatier made for us.




Here is the winning brownie made by my hubby, our Chocolate Tea Acolyte.  He cut out a little stensil and went for a stained glasses pattern.





One of the most popular items from the catalog turned out to not be available so Melanie had to track down all the guests who ordered this variety.  This was unfair to not just the guests but also to Melanie and LINDT needs to work much harder to keep their consultants in the loop about what is and is not available.  When the shipment came to us I had only the guest copies of the order forms and not the changes.  Contacting the guests and Melanie allowed me to count out the products with one of our other Acolytes -- we were missing bars for several orders.  That required Melanie to go back to the company and we had to wait for another shipment.  Luckily the missing bars arrived in about a week and we weren't charged extra shipping.

One of the later comments I heard from guests as they came to pick up their chocolate was that they felt too much of the catalog were products they could just go to the stores near us to find but looking through the catalog again I think they just focused more on the bars or truffles and not the European only chocolates and other items that were available.  As you see above, I ordered a gift basket (as hostess I earned some money off so I could afford it) as well as a European product so I felt there was a better selection than many guests did. I haven't heard anything negative about the chocolate itself from my guests but I hope each of them will leave a comment and give you their impressions of the party.

In the final evaluation I think that LINDT R.S.V.P. program needs some work to be on par with the DOVE Chocolatiers program.  Their catalogs need to focus almost exclusively on items you cannot find in many stores and the parties should focus on sampling those products and handmade treats to generate sales. Consultants can only do so much with the materials they have and I believe they could so far more if given better tools.  I do want to thank Melanie McCool again and if you order through the LINDT R.S.V.P. program on your own, consider using her site.

10 comments:

The Amazing Barry said...

I may have found a new calling in life. In home chocolate sales?! Awesome. Thanks for the review and expanding my mind.

TammyJo Eckhart said...

You could also check out the DOVE chocolatiers program, Barry. As a man, you'd be almost unique and I think that could give you a new slice of the market because any logically knows that men and boys love chocolate too.

Joshua Alan Burgin said...

A friend of mine just started the Lindt program, I am very interested in attending one of these parties in the future. I hope they get all their kinks worked out soon! I have also thought of doing the Dove program as I could bathe myself in their chocolate... I may have a problem. Now, if Valrhona had a program, which may be a bit beneath them, I would hop on it immediately!

TammyJo Eckhart said...

Hi, Joshua, nice to meet you on The Chocolate Cult. As I said to Barry above, as a man you've be a rare consultant in any chocolate house party even though men tend to be the leaders as professional chocolatiers worldwide. I'm sure any of the consultants and chocolatiers from either of the programs would be thrilled to hear from you and help you sign up.

melmccool said...

TammyJo - Thank you again for letting me introduce you and The Chocolate Cult to the Lindt Chocolate RSVP party experience. I had a great time sharing our products with you. I regret the issues with the bars availability, but have to also take some of that blame on myself for not following through beforehand and checking the "out of stock" report.

This has been such a fun side-job for me and I encourage anyone who is interested to contact me (you can go to my website through the link TammyJo provided in the review - click on my name). As with any new business, there are growing pains, but I can definitely vouch for the fact that our corporate leaders listen to our feedback and there are continual improvements (such as introducing online ordering next month!!!).

You really can't beat a job that lets you sample chocolate and have fun sharing it with others!!!

TammyJo Eckhart said...

Melanie, thanks for reading this and leaving your own thoughts. I hope you've had a lot more parties since then though with this heat transporting chocolate is difficult at best.

kat8eyes said...

Hi all, I couldn't not respond to some of these posts! I am lucky enoughto be a Chocolatier with Dove Chocolate Discoveries and we have a new program starting Aug 1 for those who want to join us..... you can email me at lhkhogan@hotmail.com or check out my website at www.mydcdsite.com/libbyhogan

TammyJo Eckhart said...

While I appreciate you reading, kat8eyes, I really don't like people putting ads in their comments. Please do read and contribute but make it more than just an ad.

If you'd like to be featured on The Chocolate Cult, contact us and we'll let you know how that works.

Becki said...

Just found your site while searching about chocolate home shows. It's my 'job' as well, so I like to see what else is out there :) Sounds like your Chocolate Cult has a lot of fun - love the stained glass brownie!

TammyJo Eckhart said...

Hi, Becki! It was a fun party. We don't do them often, only when offered the opportunity. But the volunteers who help me sometimes come over, perhaps once a month or so, to help test products out in smaller groups.