Direct Sales And Product Fairs

The following story is taken from The Star Press out of Muncie, Indiana. I’m reprinting it in its entirety with full credit and the appropriate link to the story. I say this because since it is from an online edition of the newspaper, it’s possible that the link will be invalid in a few months, and the article unsearchable.

Now, on to the story.

Christmas is coming. Time to start making those wish lists. Time to begin shopping.

And…

Time to make some sales.

Many Direct Sellers and MLMers find great opportunities to make sales by participating in Product Fairs, Bazaars, and Trade Shows. Read about these Direct Sellers and their upcoming experience with a Christmas Open House.

CHRISTMAS OPEN HOUSE TO FEATURE REPRESENTATIVES OF DIRECT SALES FIRMS

By KEITH ROYSDON
kroysdon@muncie.gannett.com

MUNCIE — Nikki Hautala looks a lot like what she is: A full-time Ivy Tech Community College student who works as a bartender at her father’s bar.

But at 21, Hautala is ambitious and businesslike beyond her years. She balances school and job with another career, as marketing director for an aviation company at the Anderson Municipal Airport.

She also sells Silpada Designs Jewelry, and its that last job that prompted her to organize — in cooperation with other direct sales people from the area — an open house of direct sales companies.

The Christmas Open House will be held 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 19, at the Horizon Convention Center.

In addition to Hautala’s Silpada Designs Jewelry, the open house will offer purses, cosmetics, candles, children’s clothing, baskets, cookware and more.

“It’s sort of like a bazaar,” Hautala said. “We have nine booths and each booth has two tables. We’ve gone from nine vendors to 11 vendors. I’ve had people call from Indianapolis about booth space. I wish I had a bigger room.”

Hautala and other organizers of the open house — many of whom know each other from the home party sales circuit — decided they could expand their customer base by reaching out to each other’s customers.

“We decided to get everybody together, bring in everybody’s clientele,” Hautala said. “If you find a girl that likes candles, she probably likes jewelry and makeup too.”

Leaving time for family

Direct sales is a multi-billion dollar industry most familiar for product lines including Avon cosmetics and Amway household products. Amway — now owned by Michigan-based Alticor — was founded in 1959 and reported $6.4 billion in sales in 2005.

While men and women try their hand at direct sales, the new breed of direct sales companies appeal to women, particularly stay-at-home moms like Trina Knight, who will represent the Kelly’s Kids clothing line at the Christmas Open House.

“I’ve been with Kelly’s Kids for about three months now,” Knight said. “Before that, I sold Home Interiors, and I still do, but Kelly’s Kids was intriguing in that I only had to do parties for two weeks at two times of the year.”

Pamela Rheaume — who will represent the Pampered Chef line of kitchen products at the open house — said direct sales worked well for her life and family.

“It lets me work but still spend time with my kids,” said Rheaume, who has four children, two of whom are medically fragile.

Knight said the trick in finding a direct sales product to market was finding one that didn’t already have many area representatives.

“Kelly’s Kids is not really known in Indiana,” Knight said. “The company’s been in business for 20 years and there are about 900 sales reps nationwide, but many of them are in the south.”

Much of the direct sales business builds on word of mouth, and so did the organization of the open house.

“I met Nikki a few weeks ago,” Knight said. “She stopped by a kids consignment sale I coordinate twice a year. She had met Pam, of Pampered Chef, and Pam had told Nikki about me.”

Knight laughed after recounting the connection.

“I like the networking,” Knight said. “I’m a people person. I like being able to talk with a larger variety of people.”

Selling product, booking parties

Just like the variations among direct sales representatives, their plans for the open house vary.

Some, like Holly Hautala — Nikki Hautala’s stepmother, who sells Gold Canyon Candles — will be selling product as well as booking upcoming in-home parties. Rheaume will take orders for products and make connections for future demonstrations.

Knight will be concentrating on scheduling upcoming in-home parties.

“I’m hoping that we’ll have lots of people,” Knight said. “My goal is to book shows for my spring and summer season.”

Holly Hautala praised her stepdaughter’s efforts in organizing the open house.

“Nikki had the idea and she and I set it up together,” she said. “She got hold of the other people and it’s gone from there. It’s quite a bit larger than we expected. She’s got vendors calling her and there’s no room.

“Nikki does a really good job,” she added. “When it comes to marketing, that girl is good.”

Nikki Hautala smiled when asked about how she juggled school, two jobs, her direct sales work and organizing the Nov. 19 open house.

“I work best under pressure,” she said.

Contact news reporter Keith Roysdon at 213-5828.

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