Remember Tupperware? In the seventies their parties were all the rage, and I got to thinking about making money from party planning them this week when I read about Jamie Oliver’s plans to expand his Jamie at Home kitchenware range – sold exclusively at Tupperware-style parties – into America and Australia.
I’ve always thought of party planning as belonging to a bygone time. Most women I know (and party planning does seem to be exclusively female) would prefer to discuss books than plastic storage containers and thank God for that. But as with so many things that seem to be making a resurgence during the recession – crafting, allotments etc – party planning is on the up again. With traditional employment down, people are thinking about different ways to boost their incomes, and party planning fits the bill for some because it’s flexible with low start-up costs.
The idea’s simple: invite your pals and their pals into your home, buy some wine and have a giggle while shopping from the comfort of the sofa.
You can make money simply by agreeing to host parties but will make substantially more if you organise them too, ie do the bookings, collect in the money and so on. The real money though lies in persuading your guests to then go on and organise their own parties because you then get commission from their subsequent sales too. This multi-level selling, introduced by Tupperware in the fifties, was pioneering in its time and can still be lucrative if you can inspire your guests to start hosting their own nights.
So, is party planning a nice way to make extra cash whilst catching up with pals or is it too rooted in domesticity for you liking? In their day Tupperware parties were both criticised for keeping women’s focus on the home and simultaneously praised by feminists for giving women a route to start their own businesses. I found this article about whether Tupperware parties changed the lives of women fascinating.
And whilst Tupperware is no more in the UK, (plans for a 2011 relaunch were axed shortly after being announced) there are plenty of other companies still working the home party format:
Avon - Ding dong! Another oldie, but still going strong.
Body Shop – in addition to their high street shops, their party planning arm is big business.
PartyLite - candles and fragrances. This one’s been around a while.
Jamie Oliver - he’s the daddy. Is there any pie that doesn’t have one of Jamie’s fingers in?
So, do you fancy it? If so, a good resource to find out more about party planning and how the money side of them works is the partyplantogether site.
What do you think? Ever been to a home party? Ever considered hosting one? Or is it all simply a bit too Tupperware for your tastes? Personally, I don’t think it’s for me but I can see that if you want to start your own retail business without the overheads of premises etc then it’s worth considering. I’d love to know what you think.