Monday, February 15, 2016

Local Women Find Success with Direct Sales

Courtney Shannon (front row second from the right) has been selling Stella & Dot for almost six years.

Many Fort Thomas women have found joy and success within the direct sales industry. The flexibility allows many to also raise children without additional childcare and/or focus on other careers simultaneously. Here's a roundup of seven local women who sell everything from clothing, jewelry and cosmetics to vacation planning, healthy foods and fitness coaching. The links in their titles direct you to their personal pages.

Read on to learn their inspiration for joining a direct sales company, how they've made it work, how you can purchase their products and how you can join their teams.


Maggie Mueller Mason, Trunk Keeper for Matilda Jane Clothing
859.653.6503
maggiemason@matildajaneclothing.com

Maggie Mueller Mason is a Trunk Keeper for Matilda Jane Clothing. 

Bio: "I have lived in Fort Thomas my entire life. Unless you count the few years in college that I lived with friends in Highland Heights—I know, very far away. I went to Highlands High School, graduated from Northern Kentucky University and had a few different development jobs before I quit working to stay home when Meredith was born. Prior to babies, I was the Director of Major Gifts for NKU's business school. My husband, Michael, and I have three kids. Meredith (5), George (3) and Henry (2.5 months). Meredith is in kindergarten at Moyer and George is at Wise Owl."

Mason's daughter Meredith, wearing Matilda Jane Clothing.

Inspiration to sell Matilda Jane Clothing: "There are a lot of reasons I was inspired to sell Matilda Jane Clothing, the first being the product. I love their clothes. The idea behind the line is clothes that keep little girls a little girl. I love watching Meredith run up the steps into Moyer each day. She looks like a 5-year-old. There is so much marketed to young girls, much that is way too old for them, and Matilda Jane doesn't do that. Their clothes are kinda like a modern version of smock dresses. I also love the women's clothes—fun and comfy clothes, but way cuter than wearing workout clothes each day!

"Another reason is I like the company. It started with one woman selling her designs at art fairs around the midwest. She started to get a big following and Matilda Jane Clothing took off. It is still a relatively small company. I am the only Trunk Keeper in northern Kentucky, and one of three in greater Cincinnati. There are regular meetings with people at the corporate office and I have even met the CEO. Trunk Keepers are treated as company employees.

"Lastly, Michael and I made the decision before Meredith was born that I was going to stay at home. I have enjoyed my time as a stay-at-home mom, and wouldn't trade it for the world, but I am a 'doer.' Matilda Jane gives me the perfect amount of time away from home and something for me to do other than focus on my kids all the time. It think it is nice to have something of your own. It's also nice to make some of my 'own' money!"

Meredith and George Mason

Typical workweek and positives/negatives: "It varies. But I typically have around five to six trunk shows each month. So that means a few evenings or weekend days away. I also spend an hour or so each day setting up trunk shows, answering customers' questions, placing orders, etc. Honestly, the trunk shows are social hours for me! I love meeting and talking to new people and so many of my customers have become friends. It is nice to see them each month!

"I like that the job is as much as I want to make it. It is my hope that as my kids grow, I can focus more time on Matilda Jane and have more shows during the day and early evening, so I am still home just as much. Another plus is being able to to take my kids with me! Most Matilda Jane customers are moms and they know what it is like to have a new baby. Henry has already been to two Matilda Jane shows and will go to his third on Tuesday in Maysville. A lot of that is thanks to my mother-in-law who goes along as my babysitter/assistant! And my parents, who watch George and Meredith while Michael is still at work."

Additional info: "There is a variety of clothes for babies through tweens, as well as a women's line. The Spring line launched February 1 and more clothes will come out the first of each month, March through June. The Fall line will launch August 1. I have a show at my house each month when a new release comes out. Anyone is welcome. My next show is February 29, from 6pm to 8pm.


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Katy Leftin, Wildtree Representative 
859.391.7305
katysleftin@gmail.com

Katy Leftin sells Wildtree products. 

Bio: "I was raised in Louisville, KY, where I met my hubby, a Fort Thomas native, at University of Louisville. I graduated from University of Louisville in 2001 with a BA in Fine Arts with a concentration in drawing. My hubbs, Brad Leftin, and I married in 2004 and moved back to Northern Kentucky in 2005. We resided in Southgate, KY, until 2009 when we moved back to Fort Thomas. We have three daughters: Hadley (9), Gracie (6) and Benni (2). Family is my everything."

Her meal-prepping parties help busy families eat healthy foods throughout the month.
Inspiration to sell Wildtree: "I love Wildtree because of the organic, natural, non-GMO products. Every time I read a label I understand and know exactly what is in it—no chemicals, preservatives, additives, MSG and/or dyes. The meals are quick, easy, delicious and healthy, all at a great cost. The health factors, cost effectiveness and bringing dinner back to the table are why I signed on."

Typical workweek and positives/negatives: "My work week varies. I put about five to 10 hours in a week, give or take. The extra income, yummy quick recipes and health benefits are great! I am gone at least one night a week if not more, which can be hard since I have young kids. But it is nice because it gives me some adult time and allows me to help others save time and money by helping them prepare quick, healthy dinners for their table."

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Loryl Shelbourne Haggard, Stampin' Up Bronze Elite Demonstrator; Scentsy Lead Consultant; Vacation Daze LLC Vacation Designer and Travel Planner
859.816.6683
NeedAVacation0830@gmail.com


Loryl Shelbourne Haggard is a Vacation Designer and Travel Planner with Vacation Daze LLC.

Bio: "I was born in Anaheim, CA, and grew up in Escondido, CA. I moved to Indiana after my freshman year of college. I graduated from Franklin College with a bachelor's degree in business management and human resources. I have minors in mathematics and education. I spent 10 years in the Army Reserves. I first enlisted in college and then went through the ROTC program starting my junior year of college. I met my husband, Jeff, in Indy in 2001. We were lucky enough to get transferred back to the Northern Kentucky area as my husband is from Alexandria, KY, shortly before we married in 2002. We have two children, Jack (10) and Thomas (7). We moved to Fort Thomas in 2010.  

"I started selling Stampin' Up in 2008 after Thomas was born. I was a buyer, designer and manager for a local scrapbook company with four stores from the time we moved to the area until 2008. I joined Scentsy in November 2011. I became a Vacation Designer/Travel Planner in May 2014 with Vacation Daze, LLC. I am an Independent Consultant."

Haggard also sells Stampin' Up and Scentsy products. 

Inspiration to sell Vacation Daze, Stampin' Up! and Scentsy: "Stampin' Up—I am and always have been a crafter by nature and love sharing that with others. It allowed me to stay connected to the craft industry from home. I also own a craft show business with my business partner, Marilyn Bryant—Creative Chicks' Custom Crafts. We work all year, but are busiest come fall when it is craft show season.

"Scentsy—Why wouldn't you sell a product you love and constantly use? I started selling it to buy my stash at cost. It has also given me the opportunity to fundraise monthly and give back to the community through my direct marketing group.

"Vacation Daze—This is truly my dream job. I get to have my own business helping people travel and make memories while putting my family first. My love of Disney and my love of travel was the perfect fit for my company and I am so excited that as a new little agency that we became an Earmarked Agency just at the end of the year. So, what does that mean?

"Our travel agency's knowledge of Disney products has earned us the distinction of being named an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. We are given this special designation by Disney as a result of our agency's ongoing focus and commitment to planning customized, magical trips to the Disney Parks, Disney Cruise Line and other Disney vacation destinations worldwide.

"But, I don't just plan Disney vacations. I book everything from one-night hotel stays to cruises, Disney and Universal packages, all inclusives and groups, honeymoons and destination weddings, as well as anything else you can think of. I love helping families find a vacation that best fits within their budget. I definitely feel that this is one of my specialites. My services are always free for my clients that book with me. In fact, I usually find that I can help save my client money as I know where to look to find the best promotions. Using your timeshare or condo a family member gave you for a week? No worries—I can still help plan the most magical adventure with a minimal planning fee based on what is needed."

Haggard and her family travels to Walt Disney World 45 to 60 days a year.

Typical workweek and positives/negatives: "Let's be honest—I own four businesses that have been very successful so I am working frequently. But—my work schedule is focused completely around my family's crazy schedule so I am typically working while they are at school/work, practice, sleeping, etc. I am on call for my clients 24/7, especially when they are traveling. I love what I do and wouldn't trade it for the world. I feel very fortunate to be able to do what I love and put who I love first. I truly have the best of both worlds. I am a mom and a wife that also can be an independent business woman. Selling Stampin' Up and Scentsy while having my craft show business have always been hobbies to me that kept me connected to the real world. Being a vacation designer has put me back in the real world—this is the career I was made for."


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Tiffany Maple, Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant 
trmaple@marykay.com

Tiffany Maple in an Independent Beauty Consultant with Mary Kay

Bio: "I have a Bachelor's from University of Cincinnati and Master's from Wright State University. I have worked as an athletic trainer for 10 years and a massage therapist for the past three years. I am single and have lived in Fort Thomas for four years."

Tiara = queen of sales that week in Maple's Mary Kay unit.

Inspiration to sell Mary Kay: "There are several reasons why I decided to start a business with Mary Kay. First is the marketing plan. Mary Kay is an unbelievable opportunity that is unique from all other direct selling companies. Our company is 50 years old and last year we grew by $50 million! Every year Mary Kay is the No. 1 selling brand for skin care and color cosmetics in the US, as well as top five internationally.

"Secondly, I love, love, love the products! I have been using skin care and makeup since I was a teenager and truly nothing has ever made my skin feel and look better.

"Lastly—and I promise to stop gushing after this—Mary Kay was introduced to me at a time that my self esteem was at an all-time low. I figured I was at a place where I was who I was and there wasn't much hope for improvement. But a friend challenged me to try the skincare for three weeks, morning and night, and see what I thought. By taking a small step in using the skin care system and taking care of myself, it led to me taking care of myself in other ways and was a real positive turning point for me. My hope is that by introducing other women to Mary Kay products, I might help someone just like I was helped—sappy, but true."

Typical workweek and positives/negatives: "There is no such thing as a typical week and I love that! I work my Mary Kay business around my massage business and that works really well for me. What's great about Mary Kay is that you can do it as little or as much as works in your life."

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Julianna Abdon, Fitness Coach at Beachbody
JuliannaAbdon@beachbody.com


Julianna Abdon is a Fitness Coach with Beachbody

Bio: "I have been married to my wonderful, supportive husband for 10 years and we have two little girls, ages 3 and 5. Ashlyn goes to Wise Owl Preschool and Natalie goes to Ruth Moyer Elementary. My family moved to Fort Thomas when I was in the fifth grade and I went to Ruth Moyer as well! I loved growing up in such a tight-knit, safe community with sidewalks that allowed me to explore the town on my bicycle. I graduated from Highlands in 2002 and attended Northern Kentucky University. I now work for the IRS as Quality Control in Accounting.

"My true love is being a mom, fitness and nutrition. I love helping others reach their fitness and health goals. I discovered my passion for helping people be healthy through being part of an online fitness group myself. I was able to lose my baby weight because of the great workouts and nutrition plan that my coach recommended to me, as well as the accountability and support the members of the group provided. The groups help a lot of people reach their health goals and feel so much better about themselves. I decided that I wanted to be a part of that by being a Fitness Coach with Beachbody LLC. As I grow my business and team of coaches, my next goal is to supplement my full-time income from the IRS by becoming a full-time coach and mommy!"

In addition to Beachbody products Abdon offers online coaching.

Inspiration to sell Beachbody products: "I am inspired constantly by the people in my online fitness challenge groups that work hard through a program, see awesome results and start to feel more confident, some for the first time! I was also inspired by my own results. I lost my my baby weight in my first 21 days and now I continue on to get stronger every day. I have to say I am inspired by my little girls as well. They love to 'work out' with me and eat the creative, nutritious meals I make for them. They are proud that I help people to be healthier and feel better."

Typical workweek and positives/negatives: "As I am still growing my business, I work a full-time job with the IRS and then spend one to two hours a day supporting my fitness challengers. When I become a coach full time, time freedom (creating my own schedule) and financial freedom are just two of the perks. For now, it's nice that I can build my business in my free time (early morning, lunch break, after children are in bed) so that I do not sacrifice time with my family. It can be challenging when others do not know awesome this opportunity is and dismiss it as a multi-level marketing scheme, which it is not at all."

Additional info: "I run two Fitness and Nutrition Groups each month and a free Clean Eating Group monthly. People can also contact me if they love fitness, nutrition, and helping people, and are interested in joining my online coaching team. We help every coach succeed and have an awesome online training program."

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Sarah Messmer, Arbonne Independent Consultant
sarahbryan56@hotmail.com

Sarah Messmer, second from the left, is an Independent Consultant with Arbonne.

Bio: "I've lived in Fort Thomas my whole life. I graduated Highlands High School in 1998 and have a degree in social work. I've been married to Mitch for 9 years and we have three kids, ages 8, 5 and 1. April will be my 1-year anniversary selling Arbonne."

Inspiration to sell Arbonne products: "The products inspired me to sell—along with getting a 35 percent discount as a consultant! Arbonne is a 36-year-old health and wellness company with a working and lucrative business plan with products for men, women and children that speak for themselves. They are botanically based, vegan formulated, dermatologist tested, pH correct, free of GMOs, gluten-free, toxin-free, use no animal by-products and have never been tested on animals. We are the best of science and nature—pure, safe and beneficial.

"After deciding to become a consultant with Arbonne, I have found a community of women empowering women (there are men, too, with numbers growing). They are smart, motivated and excited about the future. I'm inspired every day.

Skincare and makeup have always been top-selling products but our nutrition products are quickly becoming the most popular products. Protein Powder, 7-day Cleanse, Fizz Sticks for energy, Hydration, and our Detox Tea are 'necessities' when clients are trying to live a healthy and fit lifestyle."

Typical workweek and positives/negatives: "A typical workweek consists of 10 to 15 hours of actual 'work.' Phone calls, texts and emails start the workweek; a one-on-one to talk to someone about the products, business plan of both; and a facial party or Healthy Happy Hour for a client who wants to share the products with friends and receive the best hostess rewards. This business is what you make it and I love the flexibility and potential!"

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Courtney Shannon, Stella & Dot Senior Director and Founding Leader
859.802.9049


Courtney Shannon (far right) is a Stella & Dot Senior Director and Founding Leader.

Bio: "I am a second generation Fort Thomas resident have lived here my whole life except for four years at Western Kentucky University and 2-1/2 years in Phoenix. I spent 14 years in human resources before I decided to stay home with my son Aidan and daughter Brynn."

Stella & dot jewelry

Inspiration to sell Stella & Dot: "When Brynn began first grade my husband, John, said, 'Well, I guess you can go back to work now.' Say what? I had plans to be a lady who lunched! I began to explore career options and realized a few things—I could not go back to corporate America and I needed flexibility. My husband is out of town a ton for work.

Right about that time I bought a gorgeous bracelet from the Silent Auction at Santa House—the bracelet was from Stella & Dot. I researched them online and liked what I saw. Their founder, Jessica Herrin, had already founded and sold her first business, and had been featured as one of Oprah's people to watch. Plus, the jewelry was beautiful! The sign-up fee was only $199 and gave me a business in a box—jewelry samples, a personal website, business supplies and training. I had my first trunk show (basically a pop-up shop in my living room) and sold $1,700. I made $510 in commission and the same amount in free jewelry credits—I was hooked! That was almost six years ago."

A focus group of Senior Directors at a Directors Conference in Napa

Typical workweek and positives/negatives: "I do an average of four trunk shows a month in ladies' homes all over Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky—and the occasional road trip to Nashville to do the same for sorority sisters (so much fun!). I am a Senior Director and a Founding Leader. Senior Director is considered an executive level position and the compensation reflects that. Founding Leaders are the first 100 Directors in the company—can you you believe we only have 98? So much opportunity!

I have a team of over 400 women so in addition to doing a trunk show a week, I spend time working with Stylists on my team to grow their team. I work from my house or Fort Thomas Coffee. In the summer I set up a laptop at Highlands Country Club while my kids take swim lessons. We are a technology company so it is easy to work remotely! The hardest part of my job is to be disciplined about working while the kids are at school—not getting distracted."

Additional info: "There is a ton of opportunity in this market for someone interested in starting their own fashion accessories business. At every trunk show only the Hostess and I have heard of Stella & Dot! I would be happy to meet over coffee or wine to chat about the business."

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