In The Family Circle series, The Early Show finds out from home-party hostess Susan Hongo and The Pampered Chef consultant Marcie Bow what this business is all about. Plus, Family Circle magazine's editor-in-chief, Linda Fears, talks about the best ways to get the business started.
Today's direct selling business is not just limited to Tupperware, Avon or Mary Kay cosmetics. The list is growing to include Longaberger Company (baskets), Creative Memories (scrapbooking), Southern Living At Home (home decor) and The Pampered Chef (kitchen cookware).
"The biggest benefit is that as a host you never pay full price for any product," says Bow. "As a consultant, I am basically a direct sales person. I make a certain percentage in dollars for items sold at a party. It's a sliding scale from 20 to 27 percent depending on where you are in the company."
Depending on the company, the salespeople may be called distributors, representatives, consultants or various other titles.
"You get what you put into it," Fears says. "The median sales revenues in 2003 were $2,400 per person, but women who are serious about the venture can earn enough to contribute significantly to the family income. A few women we spoke with said they earn about $7,500 per year and one said she frequently made $1,800 a month. But remember, home parties are really about flexibility and supplemental income."
For most people, the goal is to make a couple of hundred a month because they want to make a little extra money. It is a perfect fit for many stay-at-home moms who want to make money and increase their social network.
Hongo hosts three to six home-parties a year.
"I don't work for the Pampered Chef Company," she says. "I get to throw parties and have my friends and family over to experience the product."
If you are interested in hosting a party, Fears says you should have good people skills.
"Home parties are all about gathering with friends and neighbors in order to talk about and test new products," Fears says. "They also need to be self-starters. In order to really be successful in the home party business, women need to take initiative to host parties at home, plan the parties, and recruit new consultants. Finally, they need to be persuasive. Women need to show that they believe in the products they're selling, and know how to communicate the benefits of the products to their captive audience."
Fears says there are many companies to choose from, all dealing with many different kinds of products, including kitchen appliances, cosmetics and home décor.
"Consumable goods like candles and food are great because they get used up and people will, hopefully, need and want more," she says. "Discovery Toys for educational tools, and Creative Memories for scrapbooks, and other organizers, are also very popular."
Stay tuned for more.