Sunday, March 26, 2017

How-To Guide for Hostesses

How do you hostess a really great party! I get that question a LOT!

I would by no means consider myself a professional hostess, but after hostessing over forty online parties for Lularoe last year and now doing several of my own in-home parties for multiple vendors and now my own parties for SeneGence, I do have a pretty good idea of what it takes to put on a pretty decent direct sales event.

Face it, everyone. If you have a friend or know someone in direct sales, chances are at some point they are going to ask you to hostess for them because that’s the way they expand their client base. And by you opening your home and inviting your friends, you can earn some really nice rewards from the consultant or distributor as a thank you gift. It’s a perfect “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” exchange. It’s a lot of fun for both the consultant/distributor and for you if everyone works together to make it a success.

I have been asked on several occasions to give some advice on how to do a great in-home party, both from the sellers and the hostesses, so I decided that what better way to get that message out than to put it on my blog!

So here is a how-to!

1)  Pick a date and time. You have to think about what consultants you have coming and who you will be inviting. I realized very early on that during the week at night and weekend morning parties are NOT the best for my guest list. For me to get the best turnout, I either do Friday or Saturday night or Saturday or Sunday afternoons. For the time, I would allot two hours for Lularoe and add on an extra hour for the second consultant, and one extra hour for the third and fourth consultant. I also like to have my parties be open-house style, so no one has to worry about being on time. It’s actually better if everyone comes and goes so that way the consultants are not overwhelmed during the first thirty minutes. This is what works best for me, but it may not be the same for you. If your guest list are all stay at home moms with toddlers, during the day might be great. If you have happy hour girls, Thursday night might be great. Tailor it to who is coming!

2) Decide on what consultants you will have in attendance and schedule a firm date and time with them. Make sure you can stick with it because once it’s in their calendar, it’s there and they will be passing over vendor events and other chances to have parties for yours. My parties are for the most part the same formula every month; I always have one or two Lularoe consultants, my best friend who sells Scentsy, me with SeneGence, and we’re now adding one more. My house is only 1,700 square feet, so five consultants is max capacity for us. We determined that we can fit six racks of clothing in my living room, so when I decide on one or two consultants, I ask how many racks are coming. Lularoe goes in the living room, Scentsy and SeneGence in the dining room, and the fourth or fifth vendor usually squeezes in between the living room and the dining room. It’s a tight squeeze, but it’s fun and festive!

3) Once you have decided on the time, the date, and the who, it’s time to get the word out! I usually start by creating a public event on Facebook and inviting all of my local friends. About two weeks before the event, I will create an Evite and do my invitations by email. Evite AND the Facebook event have links that you can copy into a text message so you aren’t constantly typing the same information over and over again. Text them, email them, put a sign up at work, tell your friends about it, even post on your community boards! If you can, put a sign up in your yard the day of the party. You never know, your neighbor might be a closet Lularoe fan girl and just didn’t know anyone local to shop with! Remember, all it takes is one pair of leggings to start the addiction. This is key; make sure that you make your event PUBLIC on Facebook; otherwise, you can’t share the event to groups and neither can your friends or consultants.

4) Tell your friends to bring their family and friends. I always tell my guests to bring their spouses and kids with them. It has been my experience that if you make SURE your guests know that their kids are welcome, you will have a bigger turnout. My daughter McKenna is always on kid duty and my husband talks to the guys in the kitchen. It’s a party, after all!
5) Now, most direct sales consultants will tell you not to have food because it distracts people from shopping. I completely disagree. I think if you make it MORE like a party with food and drinks, it is more festive, the ladies with come and bring their kids/spouses, and it won’t be so much like an obligation to BUY. I always tell my guests who say they don’t have money to spend, just come and hang out! It’s a fun time, they can shop, get a break, the consultants have a chance to pass out their cards, and there are no formal presentations so they just drop in and browse. I pretty much have the same food at all of my parties. I always have wine, light beer, bottled water (get the small bottles), diet and regular soda, and Capri-Sun for the kids that come. For food, I make Ranch dip, put out a bowl of chips, a crudité tray, a fruit tray and deviled eggs. Occasionally I will put out a candy bowl or someone will bring a dessert, but that’s really about it…that pretty much fills everyone up and it’s all finger food so it’s quick to eat and fast to set up. Make it easier on yourself with Solo cups and paper napkins; I generally use appetizer plates instead of paper plates.

6) Make sure that if you have WiFi, you give the password to your consultants ahead of time or put out a sign so they can connect. With everyone doing orders and invoicing online, it will help out your consultants and your customers immensely so they can check out fast, and if the tweens bring their devices, they will appreciate having it so they can play Minecraft.

7) If you have dogs, I would suggest confining them to outside or another room. I have a black Lab, a Great Dane mix and a Yorkie/Dachsund mix, and they stay confined during all of my parties for several reasons: I don’t want them getting scared and nipping a kid, I don’t want the guests scared when they see how big my dogs are, and I don’t want the Lula getting dog hair on it. Plain and simple.

8) Check with your consultants ahead of time to see what they need. I usually send a picture of my living room to the Lularoe consultant that is coming so she has an idea of how she is going to set up her racks. I always offer to set up a table for leggings, and I have a little bag of belts and shoes that I set out for accessories in case someone wants to see how leggings look with boots or how they can belt a Carly to look a little more form-fitting. I also set out a full-length mirror and move some lamps into the living room since my house is on the darker side of the moon. I have moved furniture around for racks, made different food depending on what the consultant prefers (for example, I like red sangria but I have had a consultant request white sangria in case of spills), and made size cards. Tabatha, my Scentsy consultant, will use a lot of my Scentsy products for her display so she doesn’t have to bring all of her stuff from East Texas, so I always make sure I have that ready for her when she arrives.

9) You are going to need at least two rooms for changing. I always set up my guest bathroom, my daughter’s room and my office for changing rooms, and that way if a lot of kids come, they can hang out in my daughter’s room, and we still have the two rooms free. 

10) Since I always have Scentsy there, and I LOVE Scentsy, I make sure and change out all of my warmers with fresh wax and make sure that all of the scents are ones that are currently carried by Scentsy. I also put the Scentsy box next to the warmer so if the shoppers are curious as to what scent it is, they can look and then ask Tabatha about purchasing it.

11) Ultimately, whatever you are hosting, make sure you are promoting it because your guests aren’t going to be interested in it if YOU are not interested in it. Granted, this is not a hard task for me because I adore Lularoe, but I always make sure that I dress in full Lularoe and try my best to wear something that the consultant sells. For example, if she sells Amelias, I wear an Amelia, but if she doesn’t, then I’ll ask her what dress she would like me to model. Tabatha will wear Lularoe as well and I’ll try to not dress the same as the consultant. But if you are hosting Chloe and Isabel? Wear the jewelry. LipSense? Wear the lip color. Stella and Dot? Put on a necklace. Thirty-One Bags? Pull your bags out that you have already and show your guests how much you love them. Flaunt your Scentsy! This is your party! The more your consultants sell, the better for everyone because you will be rewarded for bringing them clients!

12)  For me with LipSense, I’m pretty easy because my stuff is small. I have a four-foot long table, and everything fits on it, so as long as I have a space to accommodate that, I’m good, but I do like having WiFi since my invoicing system is online. I like to drink wine during my parties out of a clear wine glass so I can show my customers that I am demoing the product for that the lip color does NOT come off.

13) Lastly, ALWAYS send a thank you note! I usually get a thank you note when I hostess as well, but I always always always send a handwritten thank you note to the consultant letting them know that I appreciate the opportunity and also that I appreciate the gift of the clothing that they rewarded me with for bringing them business. It's just good manners!

Now…let me tell you what NOT to do because there are some dos and don’ts with hostessing direct sales:

1)  Don’t have competing vendors there. If I got to a guest’s house and saw a Mary Kay rep, I would turn around and go home. It’s just not courteous. Lularoe is a little different because no two consultants have the same inventory, but even then, I always make sure that I talk to both of the consultants and make sure that they are okay sharing my living room before setting up the event. But don’t invite two jewelry vendors, don’t invite Scentsy and Pink Zebra, no Perfectly Posh and Arbonne…just NO. It’s not polite to them and it’s confusing for your customers. Enough said. If you want to hostess for competitors, do it on separate dates.

2) Most direct sales consultants are going to make sure that you are aware of the hostess compensation system beforehand, and if they have not, ask. It’s better to know up front what to expect than to get to the end of the party and have things be awkward. Hostess rewards are at the discretion of each consultant, but there is nothing wrong with asking. If you can’t agree, don’t waste their time or yours. If the consultant and the hostess aren’t on the same page, the guests will pick up on it and your guests are going to be shopping from the consultant because they assume that you know the consultant and trust them.

3) There is nothing wrong with looking at the things that you want as your hostess gifts, but it is in very poor taste to ask the Lularoe consultant before the party if you can set aside the items that you want for yourself. Your guests are there to shop. They should get first choice.

4)  Lastly, don’t guilt your guests into coming by telling them things like “you really want such and such” or “please come and by, I want this”. I went to a Pure Romance party where the hostess was reminding everyone all night long about the item that she wanted, how she couldn’t afford it if we didn’t buy a lot and it made things very awkward. I wouldn’t even mention anything about hostess rewards to your guests. In fact, I tell people that there is no obligation to buy and I would just like to see them, which is the truth! My last in-home party I saw a friend of mine from four jobs ago that I hadn’t seen in five years and it was a lot of fun to catch up with her! I have had guests ask me if I get hostess rewards for hosting parties at my home, and I answer that I do but that’s not why I’m having the party. Direct sales is a lot of networking as we all share the same clients, but it’s also supposed to be fun and not “what have you done for me lately?” at all.

5) If you have the party at the consultant’s house instead of your own, don’t leave the mess for her to clean up.

6) If you have the party at your house instead of hers, don’t leave her alone to clean up and take down. If you have ever helped a Lularoe consultant set up for a party or take down, you know it’s no easy feat. Each consultant has their own system, so it’s best just to ask for direction and do what they ask and lend the extra hands.

So that’s it! That’s my guide for hostessing a great direct sales party! If you want to read my guide to hostessing a great online direct sales party, click here to read about that as there are a little different rules.

Oh, and P.S….

If you DO want to hostess for me? You can hostess for me online or in-home. I have a sliding scale for a percentage off your order depending on what sells during your party and as long as I sell one thing at your party, I will give you a lip gloss of your choice OR $20 off your order, your choice. So if you are interested in earning some LipSense, drop me an email at or join my Facebook group here.

Good luck with your party! And HAVE FUN! This is a picture of one that I took in January at my in-home party, and everyone had a great time!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Day #11: LashSense and Sand Dollars

When I first started blogging, I envisioned this being strictly for Lularoe...until I realized that there really IS a demand for review of certain beauty products. And now that I am a SeneGence distributor, I realized I could do both here easily.

LipSense is fantastic. It's what made me become a distributor. I bought my first tube in November, my next two in December, and after that, I was hooked. I will do a review on it at some point, but right now while I'm still trying all the other lesser known products, I'll focus on those since I won't sell anything that I haven't tried and reviewed myself. I just won't do it. If I have a client that wants something, I'll disclose that I haven't tried it and I won't stop her from ordering, but usually it's a person who has tried it elsewhere or has heard great things about the product first. 

So, one of the first things (other than LipSense) that I was asked about was LashSense, the mascara made by SeneGence. I am extremely picky about my mascara, probably more so than any other cosmetic that I wear since I wear contact lenses, and I knew this would be an excellent product for me to try and review since I would run it through all the tests that I always do with every mascara. 

First, I have to tell you that there is a story here. This is absolutely not Sephora's fault and could have happened anywhere from Ulta to Neiman Marcus, but I happened to be at Sephora when it happened. I am allergic to about 50% of mascaras that are on the market, and did I happen to mention that I am picky about my mascara because I wear contacts? Yes. So I was standing in the middle of Sephora in my pre-Lularoe days when I wore all black, and I think two of the customers mistook me for an employee. When they asked me for my number one choice in mascara, I responded with Too Faced Better Than Sex without thinking. I then proceeded to watch the first one put on the mascara straight from the tester on her eyelashes. If that wasn't bad enough, the second one opened a brand new box, cracked open one of the mascaras, put it on her eyes, put it back in the box, and walked away. I just stood there with my mouth open. And yes, ever since then? I have never purchased a mascara without making SURE before I left the store that it was sealed, and most of the time if I can, I just order it online. And I have ordered mascara since then online from Sephora and I have purchased mascara at Ulta since then as well, but after I buy the mascara, I stand there in front of the cashier, tear open the box, and make SURE that tube is sealed with no tampering before I buy it. 

A few rules that I have on mascara:

1) DO NOT SHARE IT. Period. I don't think you should share makeup period, but I share eye makeup all the time with my BFF because I know she cleans her makeup brushes regularly and so do I. I also share it with my daughter. But mascara? No way, no how, absolutely not. 

2) Always keep it tightly closed so no air gets in there to dry it out. And once you have cracked the seal? See #4. 

3) Always apply it to clean lashes. I don't think it's a good idea to apply mascara to lashes that already have mascara on them because then your applicator is picking up your old mascara and putting it back in the bottle. Ew. 

4) Set yourself a timeline to get rid of your mascara after a certain timeline, and that time clock starts the second that mascara is opened. All makeup has expiration dates, and we can all tell when stuff has gone bad. I have lip glosses and lipsticks that smell bad, and I have some eyeshadows that have clearly had it because they won't blend well anymore, but with mascara? I set a 90-day note on my calendar to change mascaras. Some sites recommend sixty days. It's not worth it. That stuff can breed bacteria and if the right kind gets into your eyes, it can really damage them. To me, it's not worth it. I usually spend between $20-$25 on mascara that I use every day. For grins, let's round that up to $30.00 with taxes and shipping if you order it. That averages out to 33 cents a day. To me, it's worth it to have the peace of mind. If I didn't like mascara so much, I probably wouldn't use it but it is one of those "I would take it with me to a desert island" things so I do. 

So, on to the LashSense. I opened it on Wednesday March 1 and threw away my last tube which was some waterproof thing from CoverGirl that I bought a few months ago. LashSense will NOT be my tester for the public as I will not have one (see #1 above) and I will be getting rid of it on June 1, exactly three months from the date I cracked the seal. 

LashSense mascara comes in two colors-black and brown. That's it. No blue, no purple, no neon green. Just black and brown. The black is a jet black and the brown is a dark chocolate. 

I applied it live for the first time during a live video in my multi consultant group which has Butterfly TV every Wednesday night, and it applied fine. The brush is a traditional barrel shape with a wider section in the middle than at the ends, and the point of the brush is narrower which is good for applying it to your bottom lashes on your waterline. It goes on very smoothly
with no clumping and no need for an eyelash comb. It's not as thick as other mascaras that I have worn, so there is no spiky lashes, no fake eyelash look, and it's not overly dramatic. It dried to the touch within a few seconds. I used an eyelash curler to curl my lashes, and the mascara did not spatter onto my cheeks when I closed my eyes. I also tested it yesterday without an eyelash curler, and it also did not spatter onto my cheeks, which most mascaras do. As you can see, I did not wear it with any eye makeup at all for take #1.

As I stated, I am highly allergic to most mascaras, so I was watching this to see if I was allergic to this. Usually when I start having an allergic reaction to a mascara, it starts with my contacts starting to go fuzzy and I can't see very well. Not only did that not happen, but after an hour I took one out to inspect it and see if there was any residue or flakes on my contact. Not a one. The next morning, it was still on, but removed easily with waterproof eye makeup remover. I
have not tried Fooops! yet, which is SeneGence's makeup remover, so I'm still using my favorite Sephora brand which takes off everything. Take #2 was later that morning. I did apply full makeup to see how it would look and used Too Faced's Peach Pallette and Urban Decay eyeliner. The mascara went on fine and accentuated my eyes with the eye makeup. I also decided to test the waterproofness of this mascara and put a swirl on my hand at that time which was about 1 pm on day 2. My last test was the morning of day #3 which is where I went to sleep wearing my makeup (not a good idea, but I took a chance because I wanted to test the durability and also the waterproofness) and took a shower the next day with my makeup on. By the time I showered, I had probably washed my hands at least a dozen times since the day before, but look at my hand after the shower. 

So pros of LashSense:

-No allergic reaction.
-Ease in application with no need for my eyelash comb.
-No cheek spatter.
-No eye irritation.
-Long durability.
-Natural look.

And my cons of LashSense:

-I'll be honest, $25 is a tad pricey for mascara, even for me, but my old standby Too Faced Better Than Sex in the pink tube is not waterproof and it is $23 whether you buy the pink tube (regular) or blue tube (waterproof). And I don't play when it comes to my mascara, because if I open one and I'm allergic to it, I either have to toss it or see if I can get the store to take it back. Most of the larger stores now will take mascara back even if it's opened, which is great, and guess what? So will I! If you like what you have read and want to give this a try, let me know, and if you aren't 100% satisfied, I'll accept it back opened or not for a refund or exchange within a reasonable amount of time. 

-The ONLY other thing I didn't like about this was that for me, I prefer a thicker application, and I couldn't get that without a lash thickener. Yes, I admit it, I like my lashes once mascara is on to look one step below wearing false eyelashes. However, SeneGence has a solution for that. If you like THIS look that I am modeling, which is very nice, you can order just the mascara, but if you are like me, and want a more dramatic eye, you can buy the combination tube which has LashSense on the top and UnderSense on the bottom. UnderSense is like a primer for mascara. I haven't used it since I wanted to review LashSense all by itself but from the pictures that I have seen, it appears that using UnderSense would give me the look that I want, so when the combo double-ended tube is back in stock, I'll be ordering it for myself to try it for sure. 

I have LashExtend in stock in clear. It is a product that helps your lashes grow. I haven't tried this and to be honest, I don't need to because the one thing I was blessed with was very long eyelashes. LashExtend comes in black and brown for day use and a clear formula to wear at night and is to be used for fuller and longer lashes within three weeks.

So here is the price breakdown for all the "lash" stuff.

LashSense in black or brown all by itself is $25.00.
UnderSense (the primer) all by itself is $20.00.
The combo LashSense/UnderSense is $20.00. 
The Lash Extend in clear is $50.00.
The Lash Extend in brown or black is $55.00.

As of the time of this post (and of course, this could change by lunch time), I have one black LashSense, three brown LashSense, and one clear LashExtend. I can order the brown LashSense only. However, if you are interested in any of these, please comment, join my page, email me, text me, send out smoke signals, whatever, and I'll put you on my list to order as soon as they come back in stock. And if you are reading this review after the fact? Hopefully if you read this and are like, oooh, gotta have THAT, let me know because it might just be in stock to order or I might have it!

So where are the sand dollars, you wonder? 

I have to show me Roeing in the wild! And I haven't done that in a while even though I have a ton of Lula pictures and the laundry basket to prove it. In fact, I've now ruined every last one of my old non-Lularoe leggings and yoga pants so now I have to wear my Lula leggings around the house OR go buy non-Lula leggings. And that's just wrong. Yesterday I had breakfast with my girl Deborah Shute and I sported a 2X Cassie (YES! I NOW CAN FIT INTO A 2X CASSIE! AFTER ONLY BEING COMFORTABLE IN A 3X FOR ALMOST A YEAR!), a black Irma and a black Mimi. Yes, flip's starting to be a little spring-like around here. And I LOVE this Cassie; the design reminds me of sand dollars so it is one of my favorites. I also have it in light blue and white. And lastly....a close up of LipSense Beige Champagne which turned out to be not as nude as I thought!

Hope everyone has a great day and please let me know if you have any questions about LashSense! To join my group, please click here to be added.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Day #10: Where have I been!?

So yes! I have been gone for a while (sadly) and really have violated my New Year's resolution to blog every day, even if it was just to post a few pictures, and I plan on rectifying that VERY SOON.

However, I do want to share with you what I've been doing!

First off, I have left my old job to take a new job adjusting with another carrier and getting that all situated and resolved was kind of a mess. That's really about all I can say about that in a public forum, but just know that I am going to be MUCH better off where I am going. MUCH.

Second, about six weeks ago I decided to do three things almost simultaneously which in retrospect was kind of a mess and probably not the best idea to do all at the same time, but you know how you can see things are going south, you know you're overcommitted, but you're helpless to stop it because things are already in motion? That's kind of how things have been for me. So the three things I decided to do at once:

1) I decided to sign up to be a distributor for SeneGence International, who manufactures the WILDLY popular and WILDLY fantastic LipSense. I named my business Erica's Butterfly Kisses. It took me literally about five minutes to come up with the name. I love butterflies, I thought kisses was fun for lip color, and Butterfly Kisses was the song I danced with my dad to during the father-daughter dance at my wedding. My friend Tabatha found an aqua and royal blue butterfly logo, and my business was born. 

2) I decided to start an online multi-consultant event for Lularoe consultants to sell their wonderful clothing which of course is why I started this blog, and I am fortunate enough that I am able to post a small LipSense album alongside their inventory and gain some clientele while helping my Lularoe girls sell their beautiful clothing. We would LOVE to see you there. Our events are Butterfly TV every Wednesday night (schedule announced in the afternoon) and then our Multi on Saturday starting at 12 noon Central going through 12 noon Central on Sunday. Please join us here if you are interested....we have giveaways every week including one unique Buyer's Choice giveway sponsored by the consultants and lots of other giveaways. We are growing daily and I hope you will join us!

3) I used to cross stitch HEAVILY but stopped about ten years ago when my daughter was born and finally decided to liquidate it so I could use it to fund Erica's Butterfly Kisses. 

And THAT'S what has been going on! It's been insanity! But the Roeing goes on....LipSense style!