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Jewellery is on display during an in-home jewellery party of Stella and Dot merchandise. (Della Rollins For The Globe and Mail/Della Rollins For The Globe and Mail)
Jewellery is on display during an in-home jewellery party of Stella and Dot merchandise. (Della Rollins For The Globe and Mail/Della Rollins For The Globe and Mail)

SMART COOKIES

At-home parties can help you earn extra cash Add to ...

Odds are that you’ve attended or hosted a Pampered Chef, Arbonne, or more recently, a Stella & Dot party. Selling make-up and merchandise through at-home parties is a billion-dollar business. At an event in New York City last year, financial guru Suze Orman even shared that her mom was an Avon representative in the early 1960s, and the additional income she earned helped support their family in tough times.

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Some people sign-up for this kind of part-time work to support a family. Others, like Amy Lazar Kleiman, are looking for a creative outlet and an opportunity to earn some fun money. Ms. Lazar Kleiman is an independent stylist for Stella & Dot. To get going, she paid $199.99 for a starter kit, which came with a credit for $450 worth of product to showcase at her events. She then invested $600 of her own money to buy additional pieces. She made her initial out-of-pocket investment back after her first two events. She says it was low-risk for her because she had a circle of girlfriends she knew who would love the products and attend her first two events.

With a full-time job in Toronto, she says her goal is to host two to four trunk shows a month, which would bring in on average $300 to $600. Hosting an event takes three to four hours of her time, but she loves her side gig. “Having a glass of wine, hanging out with girlfriends, and trying on jewellery, is the best way to make money on the side,” she laughs.

Julie Grier, a professional make-up artist, also found a natural fit when she became an independent consultant for Arbonne. After testing all of the products, and using them herself, she says she feels confident in recommending them, plus it makes sense to redirect the spending back to her instead of sending clients everywhere else.

She advises everyone to carefully research the company they are thinking about joining: review the start-up fees, the support that is offered to new salespeople, and the realistic high and low-end earnings. Ms. Grier says she averages $500 to $600 a month, and puts in an average of 10 to 15 hours a week. As a single mom, she says most of her work is done after she puts her son to bed. She’s busy, but she says the busier you are, the better suited you are to this kind of part-time work. The more you’re doing, the more opportunities you have to talk about your business and promote your product.

At-home parties have been around for decades and their popularity spikes and dips.

Not all multi-level marketing companies operate the same way though, and there are a number of legitimate companies that do offer an opportunity to make additional income.

If it’s fun money, it adds up quickly. An additional $3,000 or more to spend through the course of the year sounds like fun to me. If it’s to pay down debts, then it adds up even quicker. Applying monthly part-time earnings to outstanding debts can shave years off your debt-free timeline and save thousands in interest fees. Like Ms. Grier says though, you have to do the legwork to ensure the legitimacy of the company. Talk to consultants, attend the parties, try the products, and be realistic about how much time you can devote to your side-work and how much money your efforts will make.

If you’re on the receiving end, and find that unsolicited advice about the benefits of certain products and regular invites to at-home parties are a bit much for you, then say so and opt out of attending. Otherwise, be supportive of the people in your life who are trying to earn extra dough.

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