Once the domain of Tupperware-lovers everywhere, home selling parties have really taken off in recent years and party planners now sell everything from lingerie, jewellery and cosmetics to wine, cookware and children's books.
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If you are looking for a fun way to make a little extra cash, here are a few tips on how to get started and how to make a success of your selling parties.
Choosing the product
It is essential to pick the right product if you are to make money with party plans. Since most sellers start with parties for friends or relatives, choosing the right product for your target market should get you off to a good start. Consider the age group, life stage and interests of your circle of friends - young mums, for instance, might be more interested in children's clothes, toys or books than young 20-somethings. Also, remember that passion sells - believe in the product you are selling and you're more likely to pass your enthusiasm on and make sales.
Of course, you will need to be sure that the company you plan to sign up to is a reputable organisation so take the time to explore their website fully so that you understand what and how much is required of you, and visit a few forums if you have queries for others who have already taken the plunge.
It is also advisable to find out whether the company will buy back your unsold stock. If you find sales just aren't for you or you are unable to book enough parties to cover the cost, it's essential to have a get-out clause.
Once you've chosen your product (and there is a wide variety available), you may find there is a start-up cost. For a small fee, most companies will provide you with a basic starter kit of products, marketing materials, samples and, in some cases, online training or a DVD to help you get started. Others, such as Ann Summers, allow you to pay a small amount each week to help you get started. When you start hosting your own parties, you'll earn commission on each product you sell to the group, enabling you to re-stock and continue selling.
When you sign up as a party planner, you will likely be assigned a local area manager or consultant who will answer any queries and give you helpful tips. Before you begin hosting your own parties, it's worth asking your mentor if you can come along and observe a few parties as this will enable you to see how a successful party planner does things, as well as give you the chance to ask questions afterwards.
Thereafter, as we mentioned above, try and arrange a few parties for friends and family. Not only will you feel less self-conscious as you get your bearings, it'll enable you to hone your selling technique and ultimately decide whether party planning is for you. As your confidence grows, you may want to start advertising too but another great way to book parties is to use the products that you are selling wherever you go (depending on the product, of course!). Should anyone comment, whether it's make-up or cookwear, take the opportunity to explain about the company and the products. It's worth mentioning too that in many cases those who book the party and then invite their friends, will get freebies.
If you are simply looking to supplement your existing income, then you may well find that one or two parties a week will do the job but if you find you're a hit at the party planning business, becoming an area manager will really help to boost your earnings. By recruiting and mentoring others, you can earn a percentage of their sales as well as your own.
Have you tried home party planning? Tell us about your experiences below...