NEW YORK, Jan. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- When Nanette Lawson decided to leave her 20 year practice as a well-respected CPA in Alexandria, VA, she did something unusual—she started her own business representing the Etcetera clothing line. She made this decision with all of the precision and due diligence you'd expect from an accountant.
As Lawson and many other professional women like her yearn for different work challenges and more flexible schedules, many are transitioning into the unknown terrain of direct sales.
Shopping Around for Something New
"These are women who have had successful careers in other fields but always knew they had the potential to use their skills in other ways," says Mary Alice Heape, president of Etcetera, who started out as a direct sales wardrobe consultant herself. "As they look at direct sales, they look at the money they can make; the prestige, quality and professionalism of the brand and those associated with it; the support infrastructure and the time commitment that comes with a season-driven business. Our best sellers have been with us for over 5 years largely because Etcetera continues to meet and exceed their high standards."
While direct sales is often viewed as a hobby or fast way to make extra income, Etcetera sellers see it as a sophisticated business that gives women the opportunity to own their own businesses. Top sellers earn up to six-figure incomes based on selling the line seasonally and cultivating a loyal client following.
Deciding What Fits
With her eyes wide open, Nanette Lawson's evaluation process in making a change in career to direct sales included the following three-step process:
1) A BRAND WORTHY OF HER PERSONAL & PROFESSIONAL REPUTATION
"I had to feel confident that associating myself with this collection would not damage my hard-earned reputation. The Etcetera collection is truly distinctive, while also being a good value for women who are used to quality. I was very pleased to attach my professional and personal reputation to the line," says Lawson.
2) A PROVEN PRODUCT & SUPPORT INFRASTRUCTURE
Women should pick a company that can truly teach them the ropes and support their growth through training and infrastructure. Before she changed careers, Lawson made sure Etcetera and its parent company, The Connaught Group, were run professionally. "The Connaught Group goes to amazing lengths to support their sellers. The tools and support provided assist consultants in marketing and managing their own businesses. As a CPA, I love that they provide strong back-end operations like accurate customer invoicing and order fulfillment. Whenever I have questions, I've got direct access to professional support staff. The management also fosters a professional development process to help consultants continue to grow and refresh their business strategies based on changing technology and trends."
3) A SAFE LEVEL OF ENTREPRENEURIAL FLEXIBILITY
While Lawson was attracted to the flexibility of running her own business, she was concerned about the start-up costs of building a business. Etcetera was a great choice, she says. "It gives me the safety net of not holding inventory—Etcetera corporate absorbs that risk. I'm only billed for sales when they ship, and the start-up costs are minimal. Moreover, the generous cash flow terms and accurate account receivable tracking has allowed me to sell over $150,000 this year —great numbers for a part-time, flexible, home-based business."
Loving Their New Looks
Lawson finds her success stimulating and validating. "My Etcetera business allows me to stay connected to the business world, yet gives me the ability to creatively manage and market according to my own strategy and desires. Further, it gives me the relationship with ambitious working women that I miss from not being in a regular corporate environment."
Lawson's not the only one with this level of commitment to her direct sales business. Hamilton Northcutt was a well-known news anchor in Atlanta when she joined two friends as an associate in opening an Etcetera home boutique business.
"For the first year, it was just a part-time business that I fit in around my full-time television career," she says. "Then, about a year later, Etcetera approached me about the possibility of becoming a manager. I had been yearning for a break from the long and irregular hours of my job. I wanted more flexibility in my life and was excited by the thought of being my own boss and creating and managing a team of fantastic women. So, in November of 2005, my little hobby turned into a career change. Today, I wear two hats as an Area Development Manager and as a Sales Representative for Etcetera. My business partner is a lawyer and partner in a local law firm, and she brings in a segment of corporate women that she's in touch with daily. It's a match made in heaven."
Colleen Peterson of Boston had taken a five-year hiatus from her job as a marketing sales manager with IBM to raise her young children. She was interviewing to go back to the corporate world full time when she was introduced to Etcetera. As she interviewed at companies, she kept imagining running her own business. It was foreign territory, but nonetheless enticing. Today, Colleen has been successfully running her own Etcetera business for over five years.
Peterson points out, "Starting my own small business did seem intimidating at first, especially with no experience. But for consultants, the Etcetera infrastructure is invaluable – the incredibly reasonable initial investment belies the huge amount of support actually provided. Online order entry, our internal and external websites, online accounts payable, full and complete sample sets, inventory tracking, consultant support reps and so much more… is all included. My career transition was much easier knowing that I didn't have to worry about these crucial details. I could focus on helping women buy these gorgeous clothes!"
Shopping with a Bigger Purpose
Meanwhile in San Diego, Lolly O'Dorisio, a retired flight attendant and a breast cancer survivor, decided to come out of retirement with a business representing Etcetera. O'Dorisio launched her business in the spring of 2009 and proudly named it Shopping Therapy with Lolly. "I'm equally proud that, with my own Etcetera business, I choose to give a portion of my proceeds to non-profits fighting breast cancer." As O'Dorisio points out, "women will always shop and I can help them make it fun and exciting plus choose to give to an organization I believe in."
Good Looks Start with the Right Support
Etcetera president Mary Alice Heape says the company's high level of support allows sales consultants to pass that same level of support to their own clients. "Our wardrobe stylists are women who are passionate about helping others look their best. They are active in their communities. These are women who enjoy being up-to-date on all of the latest fashion trends. They know what works best for each body type and how to build a wardrobe that will stand the test of time. We're very proud of the level of service we're able to provide to our clients."
With consultants selling the line in over 45 states, Etcetera has thousands of loyal clients who look forward to their one-on-one wardrobing appointments each season. The new Spring collection is available in size 0 to 16 and can be previewed at www.etcetera.com.
January 24 through March 28, by appointment only
Trunk shows take place in the private homes or personally owned venues of our trained, professional wardrobe consultants. Shows occur four times a year, in over 660 cities and suburbs across the U.S.
Women can be introduced to a consultant in their community or can make an appointment by contacting Etcetera at 972-733-6503 or email@example.com.
Growing a Home-based Business with Etcetera:
Etcetera is a leader in empowering women to build, flexible, lucrative careers with greater flexibility and work/life balance. The company continues to attract networked, entrepreneurial women to represent the line in their communities via home-based fashion businesses. In recent weeks, Etcetera has appointed women as wardrobe consultants who came from the real estate, interior design and banking industries. Highly networked women interested in representing Etcetera should contact the company's director of recruiting, Edie Dance, at 850-484-8120 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Etcetera is actively interviewing candidates for sales and management roles in: AZ, CA, CT, FL, IL, MA, MO, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, TX, VA, WA and Washington D.C.
Founded in 2000 by Bill Rondina, CEO and Chairman of The Connaught Group, Etcetera ("Casuals Etcetera, Inc.") is a company that embodies Rondina's vision to provide women with top quality designs through a customized and more rewarding trunk show shopping experience. Headquartered in NYC, Etcetera has management and wardrobe representatives showing collections in over 660 cities and upscale suburbs nationwide. The Etcetera management and design teams have experience in some of the most renowned design houses in the world including: Christian Dior, Burberry, Albert Nipon, Mary Ann Restivo, Carmelo Pomodoro, Episode, Ellen Tracy, Anne Klein and Tahari. Money Magazine ranked Etcetera as one of the top 20 companies for women looking for high-end careers with flexible hours.
For more information about Etcetera, please visit www.etcetera.com. For press interested in learning more about the line and experiencing this fantastic shopping experience, please contact Kathleen Lucente at Kathleen@redfancommunications.com or 512-217-6352.
To become an official Facebook fan of our brand, click here on Etcetera Official Site.