On With the Show!

Featuring a star-studded cast of baskets, table linens and more.
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This story appears in the June 2003 issue of Startups. Subscribe »

"Everything I bring to a home show has been taken off a table or the side of a chair. There's nothing I display that I'm not currently using in my home," says Tia McLaughlin, an Allentown, New Jersey, associate of The Longaberger Company. "It's great, because you get to tell people exactly how everything's being used," she adds.

McLaughlin, who works full time with children who have learning disabilities, has been selling The Longaberger Company's line of home décor items, including baskets and table linens, on the side since 1999. She holds two to three home shows each month, and she also oversees 20 other sales associates who are part of her branch.

McLaughlin first learned about The Longaberger Company when she attended a home show as a teenager. It wasn't until she started her family, though, that the 31-year-old began thinking seriously about it as a business opportunity. "Right after I had my baby, I was thinking about having a home show. I figured I could do this and make [some side] money, and it just blossomed into this great business," she recalls.

Today, that great business opportunity is providing extra income for a growing family. "I continued to do this while I was on my maternity leave, and it was great. It supplemented our income big-time," says McLaughlin, who had her second baby last October. "I booked more shows because I was home more, and was able to take an extra month of maternity leave."

Even though selling The Longaberger Company's merchandise has its perks, like giving McLaughlin the extra income to hire a cleaning person to help her with housework, McLaughlin doesn't intend to make this her full-time job. "I really like it as my side business, because it's still fun. I don't feel pressured to do it to put food on the table," she says. "I look at it as something I can do to relax and have fun and still make money at."

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