I met her at the La Guardia airport, a pretty bella with locks and a broad, inviting smile. The seat beside hers was the only empty space in the waiting lounge. She had a rambunctious five-year-old with her, and we exchanged pleasantries as we waited for our flight to start boarding. We chit chatted about life in Miami as she playfully disciplined her kid. “You can take him home with you if you like,” she declared. “I’ll give you his little suitcase and everything.” “Wow, this lady is so friendly!” I thought. I don’t even recall how the conversation steered towards beauty or fragrance or candles… but all of sudden she asked me — “have you ever heard of Partylite?” Why no, I hadn’t. My new friend pulled out a catalog from her purse right then and there and started introducing me to the direct selling candle emporium that she hosts home parties for. She told me how much she loves candles, loves what she does, and how perfect of a fit Partylite was for her. I browsed through the catalog — I am obsessed with reed diffusers nowadays, so we talked about those for a while while she raved over every product in the catalog. All the while, I was smiling on the inside and thinking to myself — I love a side hustler. Also, I just might have to buy me one of those reed diffusers.
A side hustle is whatever job you do in addition to your 9 to 5 gig, to help you make ends meet, stack your paper, or just find a lucrative release from the drudgery of your day-to-day biz. Some ladies are creative enough to make products at home, and they can sell their items online (or through Etsy or Ebay). If you aren’t a crafty-enough chick to produce sell-able products, maybe you’re considering the vast world of direct sales. You know, the bellas who come to your house and throw product parties?
According to the Direct Selling Women’s Alliance, more than 73% of direct sellers world-wide are women. And the options for direct sales have moved far beyond Tupperware and Amway. Even the old stand-bys have reinvented their images — Avon now has surprising celebrity endorsers, like Jennifer Hudson, Salma Hayek, and Reese Witherspoon.
Mary Kay apparently has been a celebrity hit backstage at the Emmys, and has gotten into the mineral trend in a big way. Both product lines are continually coming out with new items to keep their brand fresh and relevant. I’ve never personally sold products from either Avon or Mary Kay, but I have known many women who do, and it seems that it can be a lucrative business if you’ve got real sales ability. I’ve even reviewed products by two newer beauty direct sales companies — Urban Botanic (click here for my review), and Warm Spirit (click here for that one).
The thing about the traditional direct home sales companies is, you’re typically expected to recruit your friends into the biz. For bellas who are looking for a different approach to direct sales, there’s a new beauty biz on the block — L’Bel Paris. I originally discovered them when I wrote about them, for my Miami New Times beauty blog, Pretty in the City.
L’Bel’s in-house beauty expert John Krites was quick to explain that Lâ€™Bel isnâ€™t a multilevel sales operation. No recruiting, no expanding sales teams. They offer between 25% and 50% commission on sales, there are no minimum quotas. And I’m pleased to report that their products work and work well. Last week my car air conditioning died — bellas, in Miami that is NO JOKE. Turns out my compressor was leaking. Don’t even get me started on that bill. Anyhoo, L’Bel’s Matt and Controle oily skin care regime came to the rescue. The lotion toner and moisturizer kept me as oil-free as possible, given the sweltering and unbearable circumstances. For right now I think they’re focusing their direct sales on the Miami market, but check out their website for direct sales possibilities.
Maybe beauty isn’t your direct sales bag. For braver bellas, there’s Passion Parties, which come straight to your home, with a suitcase of adult toys.Maybe you’re health conscious, or into weight loss techniques. If so, perhaps Herbalife is right for you.
If none of the aforementioned companies float your boat, browse the list at InternetBasedMoms.com. There are so many different companies, and so many sound kind of cool and worth checking out. There’s something for everyone. For example — what’s I Celebrate Diversity about? Or does Wonderful LLC sound intriguing? How’s about Tatouage Designs? There’s all kinds of stuff out there in the direct sales market.
If you can’t find a direct sales company that appeals to you, you might want to consider Zlio.com, a cool new e-commerce site where you can set up your own online store, for free, and stock it with more than three million products from 135 big brand merchants. We’re talking everything from Apple to Zappos. And the best part is, Zlio takes care of the shipping, handling, and billing — ideally, all you need to do is sort out your store, sit back, and collect cash.
I actually created my own online store, Boutique de Afrobella, but I’ll be real with you — I had visions of creating an awesome natural hair/plus size clothing sales portal… and it isn’t going so well. I think Zlio offers more in terms of electronics and home items, rather than the things I want to sell. But I’m gonna keep working at it, and I’ll let you all know if this thing starts working for me.
If you’re looking for motivation and advice on making your side hustle more lucrative, check out Simone Kelly Brown’s online radio show, Own Your Power. She gives practical advice on how to make your side hustle your real hustle, and her input is far more experienced and knowledgeable than anything I can offer here.
Do you have a side hustle? Is it working out for you? Let me know what you’re working on, bella — maybe your financial solution could be the answer another bella’s been looking for!