When Jeanette Arnold's oldest child, Emma, was born 11 years ago, she decided she wanted to give up her job as a school teacher so she could be a stay-at-home mom.
Still, Arnold, of Churchtown, needed something that would enable her to get out of the house occasionally and provide some income.
So when she was six months pregnant with her second child, Ella, in 2002, she became a consultant for The Pampered Chef, an Illinois-based company that produces cookware, cookbooks and related items.
ASHLEY RITTENHOUSE The Marietta Times
Churchtown resident Jeanette Arnold, an independent advanced director for The Pampered Chef, uses one of the company’s products to slice an apple. She has made a career out of being an independent consultant.
"I was trying to pick something that was useful to everyone, and everyone has to eat," said Arnold, 36. "I tried to pick something that was the most marketable to a broad range of people."
She has since worked her way up to the position of independent advanced director and now trains others to be consultants. She also does between eight and 10 parties a month at homes in Washington, Morgan, Wood, Athens and surrounding counties, toting her bag full of the company's products from place to place.
"I've been able to have a career and be a mom at the same time," said Arnold, who now has three children, ages 11, 9 and 7. "My business has grown every year since I started. My first paycheck was $400 and my highest was $5,200."
Some companies whose products are sold by independent consultants:
Thirty-One Gifts (purses)
Mary Kay (cosmetics)
The Pampered Chef (kitchen tools)
Tastefully Simple (food)
Premier Designs (jewelry)
The Pampered Chef: visit www.pamperedchef.com and click on "come join us!" to fill out an independent consultant agreement.
Thirty-One Gifts: visit www.thirtyonegifts.com and click on "become a consultant" to fill out a form which will enable you to be connected with a Thirty-One Dreambuilder, who can provide information about the company and becoming a consultant.
Mary Kay: visit www.marykay.com and click on "sell Mary Kay," then "get started" for more information. The first step is to connect with an independent beauty consultant nearby. You can do so by clicking on "find an independent beauty consultant," then entering your zip code.
How to become a great independent beauty sales consultant:
Make sure you understand the product so you can easily describe it to potential customers and answer their questions. Do research by reading over the company's website and catalogs.
Begin throwing parties with close friends. As a custom, offer prizes of free size samples to entice customers to buy different products. Have your customers try numerous products throughout the party in order to help increase orders. Offer discounts for additional purchases and open up your parties to non-attendees to increase your profits.
Give small gift baskets of your products as door prizes, silent auction items and teacher gifts in your area. Always attach your business card to the basket.
Increase people's awareness of your products and your name as a consultant by offering free classes on how to apply makeup for girls and free makeovers for cancer patients.
Offer to come apply makeup to bridal parties and large groups of women preparing for a big, formal affair for a nominal fee.
Suggest to customers at your parties that a great way to earn extra income is by becoming a consultant. In most beauty consultant companies, you will be given a commission off each sale they make.
There are many people who have made a career out of being an independent sales consultant, or have decided to do consulting in addition to holding a regular, full-time job.
From kitchen utensils to make-up to candles and purses, there really isn't anything a person can't sign up to sell independently.
Waterford resident Shaila Suprano, 33, decided a year ago to become a consultant for the Thirty-One Gifts company, whose line of purses, tote bags and related items are becoming increasingly popular.
"I signed up just to see what would happen, not anticipating it would go very far for me. I just really like the product," she said. "It freed me up financially to do some things around the house. It surpassed my expectations."
Unlike Arnold, Suprano has not taken on sales as a career.
Still, the single mother of two young boys, who works as a nurse at Marietta Memorial Hospital on the weekends, said the income she has gained from selling the products has had a "significant" impact on her life.
She does about three to four parties a month.
"I know a lot of people because of working outside the home, so that works out," she said. "You get 25 percent of the sales and you get two checks a month, depending on the sales."
Some of those who are sales consultants say they earn more than a good chunk of change by having strong sales numbers.
"I have earned 16 company cars," said Marietta resident Rhonda Feisley, a senior sales director for the Mary Kay cosmetics company. "To me, it's just like having a nursing career or doctor's career or whatever. If you work professionally at it, you'll get long-term rewards."
Feisley started as an independent beauty consultant for Mary Kay in January of 1982 and she quit her job as a nurse eight months later.
"I decided I was working for the wrong person," she said. "I loved nursing but I wanted to be that work-from-home mom."
Feisley said she holds skin care classes daily, teaching others about healthy skin and proper make-up techniques. She has also trained more than 400 people to become consultants and directors.
"I enjoy working at my own pace and it has given me lasting friendships and a remarkable sisterhood of women all over the United States," she said.