My friend Jessica wanted to host a make-up party but was worried her apartment was too small to have ten women over. My old house was like this and before I even thought about it, I said, “Well, you can have it at my house!” (Technically Sean’s house that I live in but still kind of mine, right?)

I knew it was going to be a Body Shop party. You may have never been to this specific party but no doubt you’ve been going to parties like this for years. You show up and the consultant gives you a presentation about cooking gadgets, Tupperware, bedroom toys, jewelry, etc. and you all sort of chat and out of either guilt or being actually impressed with the product, you purchase.

As the party host, you get gifts on a sliding scale based on how much everyone buys. (I think Jessica got around $60 of stuff for hosting the party and us spending around $400 total; as the “cohost”, I got to just arrange the living room and not feel guilty about buying a small amount.)

The consultant makes the initial investment of $150 for the selling kit then books parties. She makes a commission off the products she sells and since every party is an attempt to book more parties, she gets to line up more jobs. She also makes money by having other consultants work under her and getting some of their commission in exchange for training and helping them book gigs. I think she mentioned while she was unpacking making around $100-$200 on a typical night. Not bad.

I had a good time and having ten women in my house I didn’t know, I was in my element. It inserted some novelty into my otherwise boring Wednesday night and I was taught (once and for all) how to do a smokey eye.

These “parties” kind of work like a pyramid scheme: the whole goal of always booking two to three more parties from the initial party. If you are outgoing and like the products, however, I can see being a consultant as an excellent way to make some money on the side. Courtney (our consultant) is mom to three kids and is a part time art teacher at a K-8 school. She does this to make a little extra money and since she schedules her own parties, she can still be on her family’s schedule.

My tips are if you are going to a party like this, either buy something you actually need or buy a gift with someone specific in mind. Otherwise, you can easily overspend. (See friends encouraging you to buy things from the last post.) But again think of this as a form of entertainment something like a lunch with friends at a cafe or a movie and spend accordingly. This is entertainment, after all, but do it the Breaking Even way by having fun with friends without breaking the bank.

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