When Tupperware parties first became popular decades ago, not many people could have predicted the longevity of the plastic containers–or the company itself, for that matter.
Nor could anyone have predicted the groundswell of interest in today’s breed of home parties, in virtually every industry imaginable–from power tools to beauty products to apparel. Home parties now account for about 29 percent of the more than $30 billion in U.S. direct sales, and there are 14.1 million direct-sellers in the U.S.
Even big companies like The Body Shop and Crayola are getting in on the action and adding direct-selling arms to their existing operations.
Home parties are hotter than ever, and although the majority of independent reps and their clients are still women, many of today’s offerings appeal to men and women alike–particularly modern women, i.e., the ones who like a good handbag but aren’t afraid to use power tools.
Home parties also appeal to men like 58-year-old Steve Weronski, a senior independent garden consultant with organic gardening company The Happy Gardener Inc. Weronski was the first rep to join the Ashland, Virginia-based company in 2004, and he couldn’t be happier disseminating his gardening knowledge.
“My business runs very informally on going to home demonstrations and showing how to do a container garden, for instance,” says the Glen Allen, Virginia, entrepreneur, who initially invested all his income back into the business until profits doubled in the second year as he shared the opportunity with more people. “It’s working. What can I say? I’m finding people who are also interested in sharing organics with everybody else.”
Loving what you do and believing in your product–those are probably the two most crucial elements of success in any home party business. Those two elements fell right into place for John and Melissa Lynch, both 42, when they founded WineShop at Home in San Ramon, California, in 2003.
“Success comes from something you’re passionate about,” says John. “This is not the first company for Melissa and me. We said, ‘Next time, we’ll do something fun.’”
Photo by Tupperware.