The trend in which women continue to sell an assortment of top quality clothing and other items from their homes is stronger than ever! In fact, the US direct selling sales force increased 5.7% to a record 16.8 million in 2013, with estimated sales of $32.67 billion for the channel, up 3.3% from 2012.* While direct sales networks headquartered from the home are actually an old concept with big name, consumer products companies like Avon (1886), Tupperware (1946) and Mary Kay (1963) forging the way, today’s women are doing more business than ever.
Three such individuals, Julia Gilbert, Lisa Ham and Faith DeJean, all based in my hometown of Princeton, NJ, represent the growing segment of home-based, fashion-oriented businesses nationwide. They have a range of significant work experience and are all mothers, whose combined broods range from elementary school age to college graduates.
Julia Gilbert, an independent stylist for WORTH New York, sells very high-end, luxurious clothing that includes casual, work and evening wear. She sees about 35 clients a week who are able to visit her very inviting and professional showroom space she maintains adjacent to her home. Previously, Gilbert was a VP with Pottery Barn Catalog for over a decade. In recent years, she started and still operates a home staging business. She was invited into the Worth network through a friend and depends on her very satisfied customers to help spread the word. While her space for Worth clients is separate from her home, it is just yards away, so when her two young children are home from school and activities, she can easily switch gears.
Lisa Ham, founder of Lisa Ham Accessories, puts a few new twists on the home-based clothing business concept. First of all, she makes all of her accessories herself, which include reversible belts, scarves, headbands and bags. In addition to her beautiful craftsmanship, she uses vibrant, sophisticated and very high-quality fabrics from Europe. In fact, Ham’s career started at Condé Nast, where she covered the fabric market. However, she was always creating outside of work. During that period, one project was painting a pair of sneakers — a friend saw these and immediately asked for a pair. Ham’s business grew organically from there. She continued creating during her 10 years living with her husband and daughters in London. Now that the family is back in New Jersey, her products are sold mainly through craft fairs and trunk shows.
A third, home-based selling expert is Faith DeJean, who is a stylist and top producer for PEACH, a new clothing line offering pieces that are comfortable, casual, elegant and versatile. Like Gilbert, DeJean was recruited into the business through a friend. Perhaps due to her 20 years of teaching elementary school, DeJean has the leadership, organization and communications skills needed for this position. Similar to Ham’s business, PEACH sells out of the home as well as through other venues including boutiques, vendor events and fundraisers. In business less than a year, PEACH has 40 stylists thus far nationwide.
DeJean, Ham and Gilbert are finding that operating their businesses from home makes for better time management and offers a personal setting conducive to selling and networking.
If you are looking for holiday shopping ideas, visit their sites and make your appointments!
*http://www.dsa.org/research/industry-statistics/ http://womensissues.about.com/od/intheworkplace/a/directsellingstats.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_selling
For inquiries about these companies contact:
Julia Gilbert: email@example.com https://www.worthnewyork.com/
Lisa Ham: firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.facebook.com/Lisahamaccessories
Faith DeJean: Faithdejean@hotmail.com https://www.peach.company/