Party Plan In Your Spare Time – Direct Selling Parties

The party plan business is booming and you could be part of it, but it doesn't suit all personalities. But if your well organised and outgoing it could be for you!

We are sticking our neck out here. Over the next few years we think more main stream companies will be introducing party plan formats. It’s also known as a form of direct selling. About three-quarters of a million mums are already in on the act. Of course you don’t need to be a mum to sign up but because it’s flexible work it’s traditionally been used as as second income or for spare cash.

New opportunities are springing up all the time. Jamie Oliver got in on the act a few years ago and other home selling companies are also offshoots of household name companies.

Party planning appeals to outgoing, sociable people. You need to be comfortable hosting gatherings or demonstrating, showing off and generating interest in products. Already the market is worth billions and is growing at more than 10% a year. Some people can be glib about this type of work either thinking home based selling is a con or maybe they think it’s not really much like working at all. Well it’s neither.

Hosting Versus Becoming a Consultant?

Hosting parties isn’t an earner although you will get discounted and free products. Becoming a consultant is where the money is but there’s more responsibility. As a consultant you have to be confident enough to demonstrate products and take party ideas to hosts and possibly put up with targets for selling. For example, some companies will ask you to hand back your starter kit if you don’t make the required number of sales in a given period.

Picking a company

We’d say pick something that appeals to you – preferably something you can be really enthusiastic about. Not everyone is going to be comfortable hosting Ann Summers parties, but Avon or Vie at Home could be an option. Avon’s not traditionally sold this way..over the years it’s been more door to door or selling to friends but now Avon parties are no longer unusual.

If you’re a complete novice look for companies with a successful track record. If you are doing it primarily for the money don’t throw your hat into the ring with a start-up. Very seasonal products are unlikely to give you repeat business. The amount of training and ongoing support you may get varies. Try to find out from researching and posting on forums whether you’re preferred options are sound.

So how much can you earn?

You’d be recommended to pick a company that’s a member of the Direct Selling Association. The rule of thumb is to look for low start up costs and a generous compensation scheme. But it’s not that cut and dried. Don’t dismiss companies out of hand that require a signing fee as they may offer greater earning opportunities down the line.

Bioflow, makers of magnetic bracelets among other things, requires a sign up fee of less than £100. However commissions start at 30% and you can sell their products in a number of ways. With companies that don’t charge some form of sign up fee they sometimes (like Partylite) claw back the money on your first sales. Also check whether you’re expected to put in a minimum order every month or whether there is more flexibility. Some people don’t gel with their chosen company because they don’t cope well with targets or can’t commit to targets.

The terms and conditions and commissions you can earn vary widely. It’s worth spending time investigating a few options. Some companies will discourage you if you already have full time job. There can also be opportunities to earn more in quasi management roles such as being a team leader.

Successful party planners earn £200 + a month. Some will earn a lot more – running into thousands a year. But do reflect on the fact that although some people are motivated primarily by the money, others aren’t. It can be a good way to build up a social life. As an example, with Body Shop at Home you earn 25% commission. If the average party makes £300 that’s £60. Hold four parties a month that’s £240!!

Also consider your lifestyle. Don’t pick a children’s toy company if you don’t have children! Duh! It’s obvious really but people forget. And don’t over-estimate the amount of time you can commit.

How does it work?

Once you sign up you either have to buy a starter pack of goodies or you are given one – the terms vary between companies. But starter kits are never expensive. If your preferred plan does require you to pay for stock to get started budget up to £400. Commissions can be more generous once you reach a threshold. For example, you may start on 30% commission but rise to 50% or more. Alternatively you may have a wider choice of products once you reach a threshold. Other companies such as Body Shop at Home have a flat commission structure at 25%. There are opportunities for promotion too from consultant / distributor to team leader type roles.

It’s also worth mentioning party planning rarely means people coming round to view products on a table. Your tasks include getting people interacting with the products and to break the ice. There’s a whole science behind the detail of parties. You’ll find planning a party is quite a responsibility. It’s a big mistake to create an evening where the focus is just on selling. Get people to relax. Make sure drinks and snacks are on hand.

Which companies party plan?

Direct home sales are booming. Here are some of the most well known:

    Body Shop At Home
    Chocolates for Chocoholics Ltd
    Creative Memories
    FM Perfumes
    Jamie At Home
    Kleeneze (including Cabouchon )
    L’Occitane with Vnatural
    Mary Kay Cosmetics
    Neals Yard Rememdies
    Oriflame UK
    Silver Republic
    The Pampered Chef
    Tish Tash Toys
    Truly Madly Baby
    Usborne Books
    Vie At Home


Any extra income you earn is taxable. If you earn self employed income (most party plan people are) you need to be registered with HMRC as self-employed within three months of starting.