My post on Weekenders going bankrupt has brought a huge number of comments, mostly because several search engines and a post-Mary Kay consultant site picked it up (that’s why there are so many anti-Mary Kay comments, I think!).

Anyway, I thought I’d sum up after reading through all the comments (and thanks so much for commenting!). People seem to agree that Weekenders went bankrupt for three reasons:

1. Home Parties are obsolete
2. It was too expensive to be a consultant
3. In home party businesses, you make money by selling to other consultants, not to customers.

So let’s go through those, and you can tell me if I got it right.

Weekenders’ bankruptcy is hardly unexpected given that people are just too busy to go to home parties today. It worked twenty-five years ago when kids weren’t in soccer, women weren’t working, and shift work wasn’t as common. Today, it’s not as if people are simply free on Tuesday night and want to go over to a friend’s house to hear a sales pitch.

And people really don’t like those sales pitches, or making them to their friends! That’s why I quit. It almost got embarrassing. With the internet, we can buy so much online (and if you like Mary Kay or Arbonne or Weekenders, check out ebay. It’s all there but much cheaper!). Why would we go to a party?

That being said, there are two products I really like: Epicure, which makes spice blends and amazing salt and peppers, and Norwex, which makes these incredible cleaning cloths and mops that use no chemicals. I buy that stuff constantly, and especially for gifts. But I’ve never had a party. I just catalogue shop, and I’m happy to not get any hostess benefits. I just want the products!

So you know the stuff is good. With everything else, I’m not sure the products are that outstanding. Probably a competitor could do just as well, and it would be cheaper.

Now let’s look at #2.

With Weekenders, you had to spend a lot every season for new sample clothes. I hear from Mary Kay that you had to put tons of money into samples, too. So being a consultant costs a lot.

And #3?

There is so much pressure to make it to the next level, where you start getting more commissions on your downline. I think that’s why people often buy the stuff themselves, just to make it to the next level. If you only have $400 more to go, why not put it in yourself? So you’re left with all this product you don’t really want and can’t sell.

That’s why I think most home party businesses do most of their sales to representatives, not customers. And that’s not a good business model.

And with most people dropping out within a year, it means you have to replace people constantly. So people are being recruited who don’t really have the money to risk, but who believe it’s an easy way to get rich. It’s not. It changes your relationships, takes you out of the house too much, and makes you buy stuff you don’t want.

It’s not worth it, in my opinion. If you can represent something like Epicure where there really aren’t parties; people just keep ordering from you, then great. Otherwise, people will start avoiding you like the plague.

So that seems to be the summary of the comments. Only one obnoxious commenter came by, and he was dealt with pretty quickly, so thanks for all the discussion! And I hope all the former Weekenders reps and the very mad Mary Kay reps move on to something better for themselves and better for their families!

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