Home Parties Making A Comeback


BusinessWeek:

A Pickle Party is in full swing.

Thirteen women are gathered in the family room of Denise Dailey, where they look over an assortment of brightly colored cloth handbags and purses.

The women flip through binders of sample fabrics. By evening’s end, all of them have combined different shapes, fabrics, and liners to design their own bags.

And Susan Murphy, the 41-year-old founder of handbag maker Viv Pickle will have collected $862 for 16 bags that will be delivered in seven weeks.

Selling through home parties — or party planning — may seem as cutting-edge as your mother’s Tupperware. But it’s on a roll, as all kinds of entrepreneurs are attracted to its simple business model and comparatively low overhead.

For startups, direct selling’s straightforward model makes it an especially hot ticket. Customers pay before a product is shipped, preventing collection headaches.

Sales reps are commission-only, generally getting a 25% cut.

And direct sales can certainly be less intimidating than trying to win shelf space in a retail market dominated increasingly by giants such as Wal-Mart Stores.


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