CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The signs are all there.
Chips and guacamole. Check. Small group of friends. Check. Music. Check.
The one big clue that gives away this party at Katie Barnes Harding's home, is the fact the music, blaring in the background is playing on a DVD player, and the accompanying video is a man, showing little kids how to do a “potty dance.”
Welcome to preparations for a Huggies House Party.
For about 7 years, the company Houseparty.com has matched companies that are giving away products, with consumers who will host a house party to feature those free products to a group of interested invitees.
A recent batch of featured companies and items include Johnsonville Sausages, Benefit Cosmetics, Mad Men the TV show, and even Duncan Hines. The companies will not only give party guests free items, but the host gets something as well.
In Harding's case?
“It’s a package of Huggies Pull Ups training packs, in the jumbo size,” she says.
An online message board at the bargain website HeyItsFree.net, House Party hosts gush about receiving items such as $400 worth of computer software, or 30 tubes of paint -- even hummus.
The CEO of House Party says there's no better way to market to consumers.
“We put products and brands in the hands, home and conversations of consumers,” Chris Maher tells NewsChannel 36 via Skype.
Unlike traditional house parties of the past, (think Tupperware, or jewerly and candle parties) guests aren't expected, and in fact, can't buy anything. It's simply a gathering of people to experience and use a given product.
Katie showed the gifts Huggies has provided for her guests. They include an inflatable toy guitar, a book of coupons for Huggies products, a potty training DVD, coloring pages and posters.
I ask her, since she's getting ready for this party, and has hosted in the past, what's the secret to getting chosen. Maher tells us those with social networks can be chosen, but it's not necessary.
“If you’re enthusiastic enough and have an audience. It's a win-win.” smiles Katie.
If you'd like to explore the application process in becoming a House Party Host, click here.