Home party businesses offer flexibility to consultants who want time with their families, a first or second income, and the ability to have a fun while making a profit -- 25 percent or more of sales.
They showcase kitchenware, jewelry, romance enhancers, skin care products and more. Consultants agree the first step toward a successful home party business is choosing to market a product you believe in.
"Being able to help other people really makes a difference," said Mary Kay consultant Susan Henderson.
"Having someone say, ‘Thank you, Susan, I've never looked this pretty before,' or the memory of getting a note saying, ‘Thank you, I got that job opportunity because you helped me create that career look.'"
Henderson has been a consultant for 15 years.
Preparing, handling sales, then placing the orders and delivering the items takes the consultant anywhere from one to three hours.
The average product demonstration party lasts an hour-and-a-half.
"When a bunch of women get together -- you know how women can get -- crazy," said Cookie Lee consultant, Darlene Younes. "Everybody is trying jewelry on. It is almost like playtime, little girls dressing up."
"The most fun thing about my job -- that's easy," said Passion Party consultant Vickie Rackley. "The ladies at my shows."
Attendees at home party shows often smile and laugh while looking at a particular product or a perhaps play a game designed to break the ice. Sometimes listening to each other's comments derails the presentation.
"Keeping the group at the party under control is the challenge," said Rackley with a grin.
Party hostesses are responsible for the guest list and for serving light refreshments.
In the case of a Pampered Chef party, the refreshments are made with the kitchen utensils, cookware and spices promoted by kitchen consultant Tracy McCain.
Beth Smith owned a restaurant and lounge before she retired. She was visiting her daughter in Colorado when she attended her first DoJan pearl diving party.
Hostesses don't need a pool of salt water. Smith brings a big shell full of real Chinese or Akoya oysters, and attendees choose their oysters by hand.
Pearls range in size from 5 to 10 millimeters. Anticipating what color they will be and then finding the perfect jewelry keeps the party interesting, according to Smith. If attendees are squeamish, she opens the oyster for them.
"I use more of a teaching-oriented approach," said Henderson of her cosmetics parties. Sometimes it will be a group of two learning new makeup and skin care techniques from her. Like all home parties, it just depends on what the hostess wants.
Catalog parties are another option for busy women on the go.
New hostesses come from the parties themselves or from outside referrals. Self-motivation is key to success.
Moral support from family is also helpful for novice hostesses while trying to get the business off the ground and keep it going. Support from the person who got them involved in the business can also have a positive impact.
"My husband even encourages me to stay positive when I have a slow month," McCain said. "Sometimes he politely suggests I get in the office and make some more phone calls."
Rackley said her husband loves her second job. She is having such a great time, she sees her sales getting stronger in the next two years, and hopes to be a director. If that happens, she would consider quitting her day job as a baker.
Younes is also a nail technician, a complementary career she has no plans to give up. She wears her merchandise to work and carries more in a tote bag with pockets that keep it constantly on display.
"The fashion-forward, designer-inspired affordable jewelry sells itself," she said.
Conventions are another way companies boost the self confidence of their sales force. Younes, who started her business eight months ago, described the convention she recently attended as "awesome. Cookie Lee is inspiring ... she started selling jewelry out of a shoebox."
The Internet has changed the face of Henderson's business. Return customers can log on, order their products and have them shipped directly. She still makes money.
A person interested in having a party can log on to the company home page, find a consultant and look at merchandise. Those interested in home-based business opportunities can log on and research what the company has to offer.
Consultants often recruit others and form a group similar to a personal sales team. A consultant may earn extra money by bringing others into the business.
All of the women agreed, they get back what they put into their businesses and then some -- like the ability to meet new people and uplift others.
Rackley had three words: "Fun, money and excitement."
"Go for it!" is Younes' recommendation for women who want to be self-employed in a home party or any other business.
"Try it and just keep trying," she said. "I would never tell anyone to hold back on anything they wanted to do."
Home party consultants abound in the Rim Country. The women featured in this article welcome inquiries from others who are interested in the home party business.
Darlene Younes: (480) 626-1613 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Henderson: (928) 472-2189 or www.marykay.com/shenderson2
Vickie Rackley: (928) 978-0566 or www.vrackley.yourpassionconsultant.com
Beth Smith: (928) 468-8850
Tracy McCain (928) 472-7166 or email@example.com