Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009
Party plan is a term synonymous with fluffy slippers, a host with a lounge room of giggling women, and sadly pyramid schemes. For years this vehicle for making money has been pushed aside, defamed, ridiculed and the butt of jokes. But who’s really having the last laugh?

In a tough economic climate, this time tested means for making money has become the salvation for many. Party planners are laughing all the way to the bank, these everyday people who have put aside their prejudices and joined world wide recognised brands like Intimo Lingerie, ENJO, and Chef's Tool Box are making money, flying in the face of a potential recessionary tornado.

Why are party planners so successful? Simple - they sell everyday products consumed by everyday individuals, in everyday homes, all with the convenience of home shopping. In a time-poor society, home shopping has becoming increasingly popular, akin to shopping online but with the added benefit of personal customer service.

Sonia Williams author of bestseller, "Give it a Go, what have you got to lose?", conducted a year-long investigation into the industry, interviewing more than a hundred distributors. In an Australian first she launches the first Australian book to unreservedly reveal the secrets to success in the world of party plan - warts and all.

Sonia, a nominee of for the Telstra Business Women's Awards, 2008 and 2009 says she was motivated to write her third book because "The evidence speaks for itself". According to the worldwide federation of direct selling, this billion dollar industry boosts annual sales of US$114 billion generated through the activities of more than 62 million independent sales representatives members world wide. Even former US president Bill Clinton recognises the merits of the industry, officially endorsing direct selling, saying "Direct selling strengthens the US and its economy, providing an opportunity for a better future."

In fact so popular is party plan, it is estimated, a Tupperware party starts in Australia and New Zealand every 3 minutes, and somewhere in the world every 2.3 seconds. Closer to home, the magnitude of the contribution made by the direct selling industry to the Australian economy is significant.

The Direct Selling Association of Australian (DSAA) has 75 members representing more than 620,000 independent distributors in Australia. If each of the 620,000 recognised distributors made a conservative $100 in sales per month, this industry collectively generates $62 million dollars in sales each month.

According to the DSAA, the total contribution to Australian economy is a whopping $9 billion, or 1% of Gross Domestic Product. Now who’s laughing?

Putting aside the statistics, Sonia says, "There are too many success stories, to deny the industry its due merits." Sonia recalls, "A mum of four was left destitute when her husband walked out. She found re-entry to the work force to financially support her family impossible and turned to party plan. Now she successfully supports her family, and is in line to attend the companies, fully paid conference in Thailand."

Well known author Robert Kiyosaki, author of the bestseller "Rich Dad, Poor Dad", recognises the benefits offered by direct selling. He has been quoted singing the industry's praises: "A business in direct selling is the ticket to what I call 'freedom money'... where the average person can enjoy the benefits of financial success without the hassles associated with a traditional business."

Sonia says she finds a complete misunderstanding of party plan, the main reason it is not readily promoted as an alternative and safer option to start a business from home. "Each and every day across Australia, small business owners are hitting the wall, sinking considerable amounts of capital, chasing their entrepreneurial dreams. Whereas a distributor has the opportunity to make money, with the support and stability from multi billion dollar icons like Avon who have successfully weathered several recessions.

"For less than the cost of a designer pram, anyone and everyone can 'Give it a Go’," says Sonia, "Party plan is unequivocally the only equal opportunity where, few barriers to entry means no one is discriminated against, from the less educated to the Rhodes Scholar, the defining point between success and failure is attitude."

With increased regulation from bodies like the Direct Selling Association of Australia (DSAA), Australian Consumer Competition Commission (ACCC), and state based Consumer Fair Trading Offices overseeing the industry, party planners are laughing all the way to the bank. Here are estimates of DSAA Member contribution to Australia's direct selling industry:
  • Industry Sales - $1.2 billion, or 90% of industry turnover
  • Total contribution to Australia's economy - $9 billion, or 1% of Gross Domestic Product
  • Economic performance contributes to 100,000 jobs outside direct selling
  • Independent contractors distributing DSAA member products - 540,000
  • Independent contractors engaged full-time - 4.6%
  • Female representation - 91%
  • Persons employed by DSAA members - 2200
  • Average sales per DSAA member employee - $636,000
  • Average sales per independent contractor - $2,200
  • Share of complementary medicines market - 23%
  • Share of skin care products market - 15%
  • Major sales breakdown: New South Wales 30%, Tasmania & Victoria 30%, Queensland 20%
  • Household visits - 2 million per month
  • Direct sales customers - 3 million.
For further information and interviews with party planners or with author Sonia Williams, contact Sonia on 0409 520 920 or 03 51 447224

Contact Profile

Show Mummy the Money

Sonia Williams, a Telstra Business Women's Awards nominee 2008 and 2009, is the author of best seller, Show Mummy the Money, Raising a Business, and her latest best seller, Give it a Go, What have you got to lose?. Recently featured on 60 Minutes, Sonia is a mum of two, who focuses on promoting the many ways mums can make money from home.
Sonia Williams
P: 03 5144 7224
M: 0409 520 920


Party planning is tried, tested - and much-maligned. But Aussie mums have the last laugh in an industry that contributes $9 billion to the Australian economy.



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