Mums doing their bit

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Rise in rookie cosmetic reps as households chase extra cash

Wakatipu mums with small children are boosting family coffers by flogging makeup to other mothers.

Like well-known direct marketing brands Tupperware and Amway, international cosmetic firms Avon and Mary Kay have been around for years.

They’re not new to Queenstown but increasing numbers of local women are taking up the work-from-home sales game as the recession bites.

“I’ve got two small children and as everyone knows, in Queenstown it’s pretty expensive living and to be a stay-at-home-mum is quite a luxury, really, so I do Avon to make a little bit of extra money for our family,” consultant Mitzi Cole-Bailey says.

“It fits in well because I can either do it in the evening [or] when the boys are with me during the day, I can take them with me in the car and drop the books [and product] off to people.”

Sarah Harris, a mother of two kids under four, got into Mary Kay for the same reasons. “It ticked all the right boxes – I could choose my hours … and working about 10 hours a week, I can make more than if I got a retail job on $12 an hour somewhere.”

Mary Kay consultants gross an average of $300 per party and anywhere from zero-$1000 a fortnight, depending on how many hours they put in, Harris says.

The national average for Avon sellers is $400 over a three-week period, Cole-Bailey says.

Harris is building up a team of local consultants around her – there are over-riding commissions and travel benefits if she recruits a certain number of sellers and achieves personal sales targets.

She’s “busier than I’ve ever been” and believes the “lipstick indicator” – a theory that a consumer turns to less expensive indulgences during tough economic times – is making a difference.

Anyone can become a seller – Mary Kay charges $149 for starter packs and Avon $20. Training and information is also provided.