It’s worked for Tupperware since the Sixties, it made millions for Ann Summers in the Nineties, and last year Richard Branson gave it a go with his company Virgin Vie. Now, Jamie Oliver is having a bash at throwing private shopping parties to flog his new collection of kitchenware and garden kit – and he’s timed it perfectly. After all, staying in is the new going out…
The new Jme range (geddit? Jamie, Jme, genius) is sold online and through a nationwide network of self-employed hostesses who pay £100 for a starter kit and then make extra money in their spare time selling the collection to members of their social circle and at special Jme parties. According to Jamie’s public relations team, there have already been over 800 Jme parties around the UK since the party concept launched just four weeks ago, and more ‘reps’ sign up each day.
There’s a huge ‘back to basics’ shift at the moment. With so much economic uncertainty, we crave a simple, more fulfilling home life. We dream of ‘the good life’ – gathering organic vegetables, plucking fresh eggs from a rustic hen coop and skipping joyfully around a sunny orchard holding hands, eating healthy meals and living a wholesome, idyllic existence. Basically, we crave Jamie’s seemingly perfect lifestyle – (as seen on the old Sainsbury‘s adverts and on the drool-inducing Jamie At Home TV series, where Jamie waxes lyrical about Mother Nature’s bounty and cooks up treats in his stunning wood fired oven to feed his beautiful wife and three gorgeous but strangely-named children) – and the Jme products allow us to bring a slice of that lifestyle into our own homes. Rustic, simple cookware, packets of seeds and chic-but-useful kitchen tools let us buy into the Jamie dream. The products are chunky and utilitarian and have a reassuring ‘built-to-last’ quality that appeals to us when money is tight.
My personal favourites in the range are Jamie’s cheeky tea towels with amusing pro-allotment slogans on them such as: ‘Digging potatoes is always an adventure’. I’ve ordered one already! – Ellie