HOME-BASED BUSINESS / Sisters-in-law save money and work out of their homes with jewelry business

Amy Curiel, left, and Amy Church hold their cell phones, which they use a great deal in their Premier Jewelry businesses, with photos of earrings on them up to their ears, as virtual earrings, of sorts. Wendy Nugent/The Edge

Amy Church and Amy Curiel have several things in common ? they?re sisters-in-law, they?re young, both reside in Newton, they obviously have the same first name and each has a home-based business.

The young women are jewelers with Premier Designs, which is a tier-based company with people selling their wares in jewelry parties all over the United States and Puerto Rico. It was founded on biblical principles in 1985 by Joan and Andy Horner in Dallas.

Church and Curiel work hard at selling the jewelry as independent distributors, and each has been doing this for less than a year ? Curiel since August 2014 and Church since October 2014. For all they have in common, they started selling Premier for different reasons.

?I started selling it to save for family vacations,? Church said, as well as updating things around the house.

She and her husband want to take their daughter, who will be 2 in August, on vacations when she gets old enough to enjoy them.

In addition to the financial, there was another reason Church wanted to become a jeweler. Since she?s a case manager with United Health Care and works out of her home, she had a desire to get out of the house, as she put it. It?s a chance to socialize and talk to others.

?I?ve met some incredible girls doing this,? Church said. ?We get together once a month. It?s nice to see them and talk girl talk.?

Curiel is doing it to start a family.

?I started truly to compensate fertility costs,? she said. So far, she and her husband have spent $30,000, and now they?ve whittled it down to $7,000.

?Our money is all going into a savings account for Baby Curiel,? Curiel said.

At one point before she started her business, Curiel met Nicholle Buhler, who was selling jewelry to adopt a son from Korea. This inspired her.

Curiel also sees an advantage of her business that?s not financial. She said some of her best shows were where no one showed up, and she ended up talking to the hostess and making a friend. Making those life-long friends is quite the benefit, Curiel and Church agreed.

Another entrepreneur, Janie Becker of Newton, started her home-based business with Scentsy in February 2010. Scentsy is a company that sells a variety of items, such as scented wax, wax warmers, laundry-care products, bath and body products, and room sprays.

?I had hosted a party from another consultant a couple months prior, and it was very successful,? she said. ?The product was such a cool concept to me, and I just fell in love with it. I thought, ?If she can make that kind of money off of my friends and family, couldn?t I do the same???

Becker decided to go with a home-based business for the flexibility and the money.

?At the time, I was working a full-time job, a part-time job and going to school full time,? she said. ?As a way to bring in a little extra money each month, a home-based business really provided the flexibility I needed to work around my schedule. I knew I wouldn?t have the ability to work any kind of set hours with another part-time job, so a home-based business let me work when I had the free time.?

Curiel also likes the flexibility a home-based business can provide. She was employed at a full-time job and a part-time job, working 12 hours a day to earn extra money. She no longer is doing the part-time job, and gets to be her own boss and set her own schedule.

?My average earnings are about $60 an hour,? Curiel said. ?The flexibility is just awesome.?

Church said she picked having this kind of business for the flexibility, and she chose Premier because she doesn?t have to carry an inventory, she makes more money than other such businesses that also don?t require people to carry inventories, there are no quotas, and it?s fun.

When Church tells friends who sell through other companies she makes 50 percent commission, and there?s no quote or inventory needed, they usually say in a surprised tone, ?Really??

Another advantage of selling the jewelry is it sells itself, Curiel said.

One disadvantage to having a home-based business, she noted, was a person has to learn to discipline oneself.

?You always hear, ?Your business will work if you work it,?? Church added.

Becker said one disadvantage is a person is never guaranteed an income.

?You may have one very successful month and then a period of no sales,? she said. ?You may run a special that you think should generate a lot of interest, and nothing comes out of it. It can be very frustrating.?

On the flip side, Becker said there are many advantages to having such a business.

?It does take a lot of work, like any other job, but you have the flexibility to do it in your own time,? she said. ?Most direct-sales type opportunities come with a very low startup cost, and the website maintenance, advertising tools, production and shipping are already set up for you. You simply have to get out and sell it, and you make money on it.?

Before picking a home-based business, Curiel advised people to do their research.

?If you?re looking at different companies, ask questions,? she said.

When she was deciding, Curiel looked at a variety of such businesses.

Church agreed, saying people should go to the horse?s mouth ? the person doing the selling ? instead of just googling the company for information.

Becker suggested to potential home-based business owners to find something about which they?re passionate.

?The more you love the product and are able to dive into it, the more excitement you will portray, and that excitement will be infectious to others,? Becker said. ?Your use and knowledge of the different products will help answer questions that others have for you.?

by Wendy Nugent

The Edge

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