Business owner attributes success to ‘lipstick theory’
By Susan Shinn
Local women involved in direct-sales business agree with Jennifer Carracio, who says that these niche businesses are untouched by the economy.
Jennifer is a director with Thirty-One, a business which sells purses and other accessories through home shows.
Lori Tatarka of China Grove thinks she knows why direct-sales businesses are doing so well right now.
“I think it’s the lipstick theory,” says Lori, who sells lia sophia jewelry. “When women are down, they’re still gonna buy their lipstick. They want to feel good about themselves. That’s why my business is hopping.”
Lori has been selling the high-quality costume jewelry for about a year.
“I had been a stay-at-home mom for about 10 years and I just wanted to do something different for myself,” she says. “I had been to several shows, and something about it just spoke to me. It’s been very well worth it. I am so busy.”
Lori typically does four shows a month, but, she says, “This month alone, I have nine shows. My sales are up.”
Lori thinks hostess benefits ó in which hostesses receive free merchandise based on show sales, are an especially good incentive right now.
“When you have companies willing to put items out there to entice women to have shows, it’s great,” she says. “People think it’s too good to be true, but it’s not.”
Suzanne Everett of China Grove is a star recruiter and an independent beauty consultant with Mary Kay.
“It definitely is a recession-proof industry,” she says of direct sales. “There’s a lot more women coming on right now because their husbands are losing their secure jobs.”
Even in tough times, Suzanne says, you buy essentials ó and for women, that includes make-up.
“You can’t control the market, but you can control your appearance and your attitude,” she says.
Loyal customers, she says, evolve because of customer service ó getting orders delivered as soon as possible, and remembering special days such as birthdays.
“You become familiar with your customers and what’s going on in their lives,” she says. “it’s just a great opportunity to be around positive women and feel good about yourself and look good.”
Right now, Suzanne says, there are special incentives for new recruits.
“It’s a good ‘Plan B’ for families,” she says. “It’s steady.”
“I’m sure there are direct-sales businesses that are taking a hit,” she says. “But I’m telling you what, I am not one of them.”