Tampa Bay Online:

Sheryl Chelena never sat down. For three hours the tiny blond whirlwind sold her purses, talked with each of her guests and walked away with future business contacts.

Chelena was giving a party at her Trinity-area home to promote Purse Party, a home-based, direct-sales business selling purses and jewelry.

Women arrived throughout the event, chatting about families and other aspects of their lives while examining Chelena’s purses.

“We’re women” said Chelena, describing the party’s tone. “We love to talk. We love to wear pretty things.”

Purse Party is one of more than 200 companies that are members of the Direct Selling Association. The DSA is a national trade association of direct-sales firms that are committed to ethical business practices.

Chelena works around 3-year-old Chase’s schedule. During his naps, she makes phone calls and contacts the women she has recruited to sell. Part of her job is to support and encourage them.

As for sales, that’s easy for the outgoing Chelena. In addition to giving parties, she makes contacts while doing errands around the growing Trinity area — always with a Purse Party bag on her shoulder. Women often comment on her purses, giving Chelena the perfect opening for a sales pitch.

“It’s the ideal opportunity to sell your product and make new connections wherever you go,” she observed.