Considering direct sales? Event connects moms with company representatives
Posted August 30, 2015
Updated August 31, 2015
Laura Procaccini knows that plenty of her fellow stay-at-home moms have considered direct sales, lured by the ability of earning extra income for their family, but still staying at home with their kids.
Procaccini, a Holly Springs mom of three who is originally from London, hopes to connect local moms with direct sales companies at a free event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday, at the Holly Springs Cultural Center.
The no obligation event aims to introduce moms to company representatives from 15 direct sales companies, including Thirty-One, Plexus, Scentsy, Mary Kay, BeachBody, and Pampered Chef, so they can learn more about what is involved in selling for each company. The event will be set up in the style of a vendor or craft fair. Moms are welcome to bring their kids.
Procaccini isn't involved in a direct sales company. Instead, she hopes to organize more free events like these that connect people with local businesses. She launched her own company - Personal Business Solutions of North Carolina - in June to put her professional event planning skills to use. She plans to hold more free events like Wednesday's direct sales fair to connect moms, families and individuals with local businesses.
She envisions small, industry-specific events that target specific needs - wedding planning, in-home day cares and more - so visitors come and find information about exactly what they are looking for.
Procaccini explains her plans and vision for her business in this Q&A:
Go Ask Mom: Tell us a bit about yourself. You're a stay at home mom with an interesting background in event planning?
Laura Procaccini: I have three children ages 7, 4 and 2 and love the flexibility of owning my own business while staying home with my kids. I have a varied background in event planning and truly love what I do. After college, I took an internship at a non-profit, during which time I assisted in the organization of a gala at the White House. The gala honored our biggest donors and helped raise awareness for our cause.
Shortly afterwards I began working at the British Embassy in Washington, DC as the executive assistant to the military attache. While working at the Embassy, I was heavily involved in the organization of our annual conference for the 150 British Army officers who are based throughout the United States. This conference involved four days of meetings, including presentations from prominent U.S. Army generals and ended with a formal dinner for 300+ guests – my husband still talks about how amazing those dinners were, full of British military traditions.
After four years at the Embassy I had my first child, became a stay-at-home mom and never looked back.
GAM: Tell us about your business - Personal Business Solutions of NC. What prompted you to launch it?
LP: I launched my business in June of this year and have hit the ground running. I'm a member of multiple networking groups on Facebook and noticed there was a personal disconnect among business owners. One day someone would tell the group they owned a website design business and the next day someone else would ask if there were any website designers in the group. This happened over and over with every type of business. It made me realize there was something missing when it came to networking on social media. That personal touch, that memory you have of someone from meeting them and talking with them even for just five minutes. I created Personal Business Solutions to bring that personal feeling back to networking. I want my events to connect people with like minded customers and businesses so they can build a true connection. Networking shouldn’t be just about collecting business cards, it should be about building relationships.
GAM: What's happening at the event on Sept. 2?
LP: I am so excited about this event. Direct sales is a growing field and is especially popular among stay-at-home moms. Similar to what I saw in the networking groups, I noticed many moms on social media asking for suggestions of ways to make extra money for their family. I also saw direct sales reps advertising for new team members, yet these two sets of people didn’t seem to be connecting. The event on Wednesday is about connecting direct sales reps with moms who might be interested in joining their company. Anyone interested in joining a direct sales team, or someone simply looking for more information about how these companies work, is welcome to attend this free event. I will have representatives from 15 different companies there and there is no obligation to sign up for anything. People can drop in at any time, walk around and talk to the representatives that interest them. Moms are welcome to bring their children along with them to this event.
GAM: Direct sales companies are a big draw for stay-at-home moms, but are there some keys to making those businesses profitable?
LP: I think the number one factor is believing in the product you’re selling. Companies that will be represented at this event sell an array of different products - from cookware to make up to natural cleaning supplies and even personal safety devices. Everyone, and their needs, are different and being able to shop around for a company that is the right fit for you is essential. If you don’t believe in the product you're selling, neither will your customers.
The other key factor is believing in yourself. These companies want to see their employees succeed. So many women I’ve spoken to in the direct sales industry talk about how they've gained a newfound sense of confidence since joining their company. This is a very female oriented industry and there is an atmosphere of togetherness and unity among direct sales reps, even from different companies. These women build each other up and support each other more than any other industry I know.
GAM: What's next for your business? How do you hope it will grow?
LP: I already have a few other events I've started to plan. I'm planning on hosting a vendor event in the fall that brings together local vendors who specialize in weddings. Brides can meet with photographers, bakers, artisans and more so they can truly shop local for their wedding. I'm also hoping to put together an event to showcase local small businesses who offer services to children - in-home daycares, kids activities, doulas, homemade children's items and so much more. My hope is that these events will not only connect local businesses to each other but also with the local community.
Another venture for Personal Business Solutions is that I recently launched a MeetUp group, Mompreneurs of the Triangle. I created this group to meet the needs of local moms who are also small business owners. We hold child-friendly networking events at parks, indoor playgrounds, child-friendly restaurants and more. We connect as both moms and entrepreneurs to talk about our businesses while our kids have a good time and meet new friends.
Go Ask Mom features local moms every Monday.