Category Archives: food

Direct Sales

Happy New Year!!  New Year is traditionally a time when we think about making a new start.  Many Mums start doing some Direct Sales as a way of earning a bit of extra money in a sociable role that they really love.  Direct Sales means getting a group of people together and showing and selling them your products.  It’s a way for a group of friends to have a nice evening in and do a bit of shopping from the comfort of their own home, but with the opportunity to try before they buy.  It’s perfect for Mums as it’s so flexible, you set your own hours and targets.  It’s also great for Mums as becoming a Mum has likely introduced them to a whole new social circle who are likely to be in their target market.

There are so many companies now offering these positions (Pampered Chef, Neal’s Yard Organics, Craft Superstore, Avon, Kleeneze, Usborne Books, Body Shop to name a few), you are bound to find one that sells products that you are passionate about and can enjoy selling.  You can choose to sell at evening parties at a host’s home, daytime groups (playgroups etc), a party in your own home, at events like school fetes, or door-to-door.  With most of these companies you now also get a personal website so you can do some online sales as well, and customers can buy your products again and again without coming to more parties.

….

Anita started working as an Usborne organiser in Exeter in 2012. She is a mum of two and already worked part time, but needed to find a way to boost her income. Direct Sales was a good option for her, as it had such flexible hours to fit around her part time work and children. You can even take your kids along with you when you are hosting book parties so this saves on childcare.

“I love their children’s books and also meeting other people so the work is enjoyable. It doesn’t always feel like work because parties can take the form of coffee mornings, playdates or even an evening with wine and nibbles! I think it’s a fantastic opportunity for people trying to get back into employment, especially parents with young children.”

….

Caroline is Mum to Jack, 4, and works part time in Customer Services. She became a Pampered Chef consultant in October 2011. Pampered Chef sell high quality kitchenware, and during their parties consultants use the products to cook some goodies for all the guests!

“I was recruited at a Pampered Chef party hosted by a friend. It’s not something I would ever have dreamed of doing but I love it. I love the flexibility, meeting new people, my new cooking skills and newly acquired confidence.”

As well as the social aspect of hosting parties, most of these companies bring their consultants together on a monthly basis, so there are additional networking opportunities. Caroline has met many other Mums at these meetings who have also used Direct Sales as a stepping stone into work after having children:

“Having children seems to lower women’s confidence and it can take a while to build this back up. I can honestly say that the women I meet now are so confident and love what they do.”

….

Nicole has two young daughters and works as a Supply Teacher.  She attended a Neal’s Yard Organics Party at a friend’s house and was so impressed with the products that she decided to become a consultant herself.

“I’d thought about different ways of supplementing my income and maybe trying out running my own business, and after investigating yoga for children franchises I decided that the cost of these was completely out of my league and the risk was too great. A friend mentioned that Neal’s Yard did something and it wasn’t expensive so I had a look. There was a special offer on for that month and signing up was half price … only £50, so a bit of a no-brainer! I knew that the company upheld what I believed in and were ethically sound. So I had nothing to lose! And I hadn’t even been to a party! It has been a great way of adding to my income … you get out what you put in. And I have a house full of products for myself and family! I consider myself to be the local ‘tester’ so when people ask me about certain products I can speak with confidence! The training is great; loads of opportunities for face to face and phone training, as well as two conferences per year and endless incentives. It can be hard work but I know that I can boost my income at certain times of year if I need to save for something.”

….

Direct Sales could give you the skills and experience you need to improve your employment potential too.

Naomi trained as a Beauty Therapist at college.  She became pregnant when she was 18 so did not have the chance to gain much work experience.  After having her son, she started doing Direct Sales for The Body Shop At Home.  Through this experience she gained lots of new skills and confidence, and when a job opportunity came up with Benefit – one of her favourite cosmetics brands, she leapt at the chance.

“I love my job.  I’d never have had the confidence or experience needed to do it if I hadn’t worked for The Body Shop At Home first.”

….

Have you considered Direct Sales? Have you been to any parties like those described above? If you’d like to discuss some of the options for getting started, give us a call on 0800 043 2440.

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Filed under childcare, food, hair and beauty, Inspirational Women, lone parent, retail, self employment, work-life balance

Summer holidays!

The summer holidays are here!  A while ago a friend asked me to suggest some activities she could do with the children she was childminding.  The activities needed to be low cost and with minimal resources needed.  I hope that these give you some new ideas to do with the kids over the next few weeks!
origami/paper aeroplanes
consequences (with a picture of a monster or a story – we do this at baby showers and it’s brilliant)
den building
acting out a book (we do we’re going on a bear hunt a lot)
paper mache
painting – potato prints
write a story
write a letter
write and put on a play
make sock puppets
make monsters out of egg cartons, toilet rolls etc
cooking (pizza, biscuits, cupcakes)
home made playdough
face painting
make a road map by drawing on a big piece of paper or fabric paints on an old sheet
make tissue paper pom poms
make cushions out of old tshirts
kite making
make bunting
make door signs (their names, “keep out”, “no girls allowed” etc)
make candles in teacups
make a robot from cardboard boxes
tie dye
grow plants – beansprouts in a jam jar
make smoothies
decorate pebbles
make superhero capes and masks – write/draw/act out a comic
make a bird feeder

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When to take a break

I like keeping busy, and definitely find that the more I do, the more I want to do.  As regular readers will know, I have two young (and very energetic) boys, a part time job, my own business, and have been planning my wedding over the last few months.  Last year I trained as a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter and was really enjoying volunteering at local Sure Start groups, but things were so hectic over the last few months that I decided to take a break from Peer Supporting to give myself some more time.  (Though I have met so many breastfeeding Mums through the Flexi-Mum project I’ve probably ended up doing just as much peer supporting!)

I am someone who wants to grab every opportunity I can, and I find it very difficult to say no, so making the choice to take a break was difficult for me, but it was so worth it.  I’d much rather do what I do well, than spread myself too thin and not manage anything as well as I’d like to.  Now that the wedding is over, and I’ve enjoyed a few quieter weeks, I’m looking forward to getting back into some more peer supporting, and spending some more time on my own business.

It can be difficult to make the decision to take a break, and sometimes it’s not possible.  But I think it’s really important to assess everything you are doing and cut back on things when and if you need to.  I’m lucky to have a very hands-on husband and we are surrounded by family members who can help us out with childcare when we need it – not everyone has so much help (hats off to anyone who manages to be a Mum living away from their own Mum!) and we do really appreciate it.  If you don’t have family close by, then try making arrangements with friends for childcare – even if it’s just so you can take a bath or get your hair cut, or catch up on housework.  It’s often easier to look after an extra child as they entertain each other.  Try setting up something like my “Team Tea” idea on a regular basis too.

It’s important to assess your life balance every now and then to see if you need to cut back on anything, or if you need to make more time to do something (it could be time with the kids, housework, reading, relaxing, seeing your friends that don’t have kids, having a date night with your partner) and then really make an effort to rearrange things so that you can fit everything in as best you can.  For me, one of the big things is seeing friends.  During maternity leave it was lovely catching up with friends most days, but now that we’re all back at work it can be ages between seeing friends and I have to remind myself that that is just the way it is when we all work!

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Baby-led weaning

We love baby-led weaning!!  Baby led weaning means allowing your baby to lead the way – they tell you when they are ready to start solids (around six months, when they can sit unassisted and start grabbing food of your plate), and they eat the same food as you, as it is – so there’s no pureeing.  The Baby-led weaning book is my favourite parenting book and I highly recommend it to every parent.

Firstly, some of the benefits:

  • It’s so much fun!  Yes, in the early months there is a lot of mess, but be prepared with bibs, wipe clean floors, and plenty of flannels and baby wipes and it’s no problem
  • In the long run, it’s a lot less mess – I promise!  Because your baby has a head start on learning how to eat, they get the hang of eating neatly a lot sooner
  • It gives you extra time: spoon feeding a baby involves both of you and is over very quickly, but you can put your baby in their highchair with a selection of food and leave them to it (supervised) whilst you get on with eating your own dinner and doing the washing up
  • You can go out for dinner and they can eat at the same time as you, meaning you don’t have to entertain them or take your own food for them
  • It takes a lot less organisation as you just give them what you’re making anyway
  • It helps you eat more healthily as you want to introduce them to more foods
  • It’s makes for more adventurous eaters – it’s great showing off your kids eating things like olives and prawns and mustard!
  • It’s less cooking and washing up for you – as everyone eats the same food at the same time.

And a few tips:

  • At first your baby won’t understand that food fills them up, so if they’re hungry give them a milk feed first.  Food should be considered an activity in its own right, rather than a mealtime, for the first couple of weeks at least so offer it when they are wide awake and happy – it might not be at traditional mealtimes for a while
  • Offer a selection of foods and allow them to play with it and eat what they want.  Even if they seem to not like something, keep offering it a few times to give them opportunities to try it again.  Don’t worry if it all ends up on the floor!
  • Don’t worry if they don’t seem to eat much, they are still getting everything they need from milk – remember “food is for fun until they are one”
  • Start with things that are easy to hold: brocoli, roasted veg in chip shapes, soldiers of toast (spread with anything: hummus, cream cheese, avocado, banana, melted cheese)
  • If you are worried about giving your baby solid foods straight away, then try to team up with a friend who has done baby-led weaning (ideally one who is a couple of weeks ahead of you) so that they can give you more confidence.  Sharing mealtimes is also a great way to give you a break from cleaning up once in a while!!
  • Enjoy it and take lots of photos!  Here are three of my favourites of Oscar.

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Direct Sales: Pampered Chef

Direct Sales is an excellent way to get into self employment with the backing of a larger brand behind you.  Many Mums choose to do Direct Sales either as their sole work, or alongside part or full time employment, as it offers such flexibility.  Pampered Chef is an example of a Direct Sales company.  Consultants come to your home (or workplace, school, youth club, day centre, etc) and do a cooking show where they showcase their products whilst creating lovely nibbles for your guests.

Caroline Cannon is Mum to Jack, 3, and became a Pampered Chef consultant in October 2011.  She also works part time in Customer Services.

Pampered chef is an American company that was founded in 1980. It offers high quality kitchenware and tools and is sold through the party plan (like Tupperware, Ann Summers).  It offers hosts amazing incentives for having a party; consultants (like myself) are incentivised and rewarded for selling the goods and people that buy the products are investing in amazing superior kitchenware that will not leave anyone disappointed.

I was recruited at a Pampered Chef party hosted by a friend. It’s not something I would ever have dreamed of doing but I love it. I love the flexibility, meeting new people, my new cooking skills and newly acquired confidence.

When my director (who was the consultant at the party I attended) talked about extra money and ‘how £50 was a lot of money you could earn instead of watching the TV instead of an evening’ I realised this was a real opportunity I should grab.

It instantly appealed to me and I haven’t looked back since. It’s an excellent way of meeting new people and will give you a confidence you probably never knew you had!

There are monthly meetings and these introduce to you all the other consultants in the area and there is always a cooking show. It’s a great way to see how others might do a cooking show and everyone is always very friendly.  My experience in going to these meetings is finding out about everyone else and their story about getting into Pampered chef. There are many who used it as a stepping stone to get back into work after having children. And this is massively successful. Having children seems to lower women’s confidence and it can take a while to build this back up. I can honestly say that the women I meet now are so confident and love what they do.

How much you want to work is entirely up to you. You can choose to pursue it as career, and indeed a very successful one at that.  Or you could do what I do and hold one or two parties a month.

I am more than happy to talk to anyone about Pampered Chef, and if you want to discuss anything please don’t hesitate to call me on 07810 501385 or you can email at carolinecannon.pamperedchef@yahoo.co.uk

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Team Tea

A couple of years ago I was at my friend’s house playing with our three young children.  It was coming up to 5pm and we were having yet another “What are you doing for dinner, I can’t think of anything” chat.  Almost every day, dinner hangs over me like a black cloud – trying to think something that’s quick and easy to make, that’s moderately healthy, that I have all the ingredients in for, and that everyone will eat – it’s hard, and we resort to frozen pizza far too often!

So we decided to start something called “Team Tea”.  Every Thursday night we take it in turns to cook.  The Mum who’s not cooking looks after the (now four) children whilst the other Mums makes dinner in (relative) peace.  Now, I don’t know about you, but if I’m just making dinner for myself I’m more than happy with a bowl of cereal/beans on toast.  But I love spending time making a proper meal for guests.

So once a week we are guaranteed to have a proper meal that is eaten around the table.  And more importantly, once a fortnight we don’t have to do any washing up!!  The kids love it, they either eat with us, or just before and then go and play whilst we eat.  We love it, we usually have pudding and a bottle of wine, and now that we’re back at work it gives us a chance to have a proper catch up which might not otherwise happen.

If you find dinnertimes stressful, I recommend finding a friend to pair up with to do something like this, and you can start enjoying dinner time again!  It’s not quite going out for dinner, but it’s not far off.  In fact I’d go as far as to say it’s better – it’s cheaper, you don’t need a babysitter, and you can still have an early night if you need one!

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Direct Sales

Many Mums start doing some Direct Sales as a way of earning a bit of extra money in a sociable role that they really love.  Direct Sales means getting a group of people together and showing and selling them your products.  It’s a way for a group of friends to have a nice evening in and do a bit of shopping from the comfort of their own home, but with the opportunity to try before they buy.   It’s perfect for Mums as it’s so flexible, you set your own hours and targets.  It’s also great for Mums as becoming a Mum has likely introduced them to a whole new social circle who are likely to be in their target market.

There are so many companies now offering these positions (Pampered Chef, Neal’s Yard Organics, Craft Superstore, Avon, Kleeneze, Usborne Books, Body Shop to name a few), you are bound to find one that sells products that you are passionate about and can enjoy selling.  You can choose to sell at evening parties at a host’s home, daytime groups (playgroups etc), a party in your own home, at events like school fetes, or door-to-door.  With most of these companies you now also get a personal website so you can do some online sales as well, and customers can buy your products again and again without coming to more parties.

Anita started working as an Usborne organiser in Exeter in 2012.  She is a mum of 2 and already worked part time, but needed to find a way to boost her income.  Direct sales was a good option for her, as it had such flexible hours to fit around her part time work and children.  You can even take your kids along with you when you are hosting book parties so this saves on childcare.

I love their children’s books and also meeting other people so the work is enjoyable.  It doesn’t always feel like work because parties can take the form of coffee mornings, playdates or even an evening with wine and nibbles! I think it’s a fantastic opportunity for people trying to get back into employment, especially parents with young children.

Caroline is Mum to Jack, 3, and works part time in Customer Services.  She became a Pampered Chef consultant in October 2011.  Pampered Chef sell high quality kitchenware, and during their parties consultants use the products to cook some goodies for all the guests!

I was recruited at a Pampered Chef party hosted by a friend. It’s not something I would ever have dreamed of doing but I love it. I love the flexibility, meeting new people, my new cooking skills and newly acquired confidence.

As well as the social aspect of hosting parties, most of these companies bring their consultants together on a monthly basis, so there are additional networking opportunities.  Caroline has met many other Mums at these meetings who have also used Direct Sales as a steeping stone into work after having children:

Having children seems to lower women’s confidence and it can take a while to build this back up. I can honestly say that the women I meet now are so confident and love what they do.

If you make and/or sell any sort of product you could consider taking this approach to selling your products in addition to online or shop sales.  Give us a call if you’d like to discuss starting up a direct sales arm to your business.

Have you considered Direct Sales?  Have you been to any parties like those described above?  If you’d like to discuss some of the options for getting started, give us a call on 0800 043 2440.

Leave a comment

Filed under childcare, employment, food, online business, planning, retail, work-life balance