Why Did Weekenders Close Their Doors Revisited

I was ready to put this issue to rest, until I ran across a new post, talking about why Weekenders closed their doors.

The post was written by a wonderful Canadian trainer, motivator and former Weekender Rep., Sheila Wray Gregoire. I truly enjoyed her post, yet, found parts of it to be based on opinion and not on facts (which she does clarify by stating her conclusion came from the comments on her original blog post.)

In Sheila’s post she states there are three reasons Weekenders closed their doors.

1. Home Parties are obsolete
2. It was too expensive to be a consultant
3. In home party businesses, you make money by selling to other consultants, not to customers.

I want to look at #1 & #3 since #2 is completely subjective.

First it should be made clear that the Clothing, personal care and accessories side of our profession asĀ  grown in the last five years from 27% to making up 33.7% of the profession, while every other sector except services has fallen in size.

Second, and more importantly 66.9% of ALL sales are STILL made in the home. So to say home parties are obsolete and this is why Weekenders closed their door is based completely on opinion and not on the factial statistics of our profession.

Third, Party Plan/Group Selling makes up the second highest form of selling (28.9%) next to One-On-One selling (which makes up 67.1%.)

These three statistics are a clear indicator that Weekenders did not go bankrupt because they used a Party Plan business model.

Now let’s take a look at #3 “You make money by selling to other consultants.” Although this can be true of direct selling companies in the health and nutrition sector of our profession, with the home business plan model the distributors make their most money selling to the end user.

I can verify this statement by reviewing such public companies as Tupperware and Avon. Or by reviewing the number submitted by such great privately held companies like Mary Kay, Discovery Toys and Pampered Chef. When you review their attrition of distributors verse their retention of customers we see the majority of income is made selling to the end user.

One statistic that did come into play is the fact Weekenders waited years to change their focus from Professional Baby Boomer ladies and increase their focus to include Generation X & Y.

Shaklee made this change back in 2002 and has enjoyed continual growth all through the new century. We can also see other great companies who started targeting these two demagraphic groups such as Avon, AmWay, Mary Kay, Jockey Person To Person and many others.

Generation Y alone is 75 million strong. Had Weekenders increased their focus sooner there is a real possibility they would still be doing business as a network marketing company.

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6 thoughts on “Why Did Weekenders Close Their Doors Revisited”

  1. Here it is January 2010 and I've just learned this sad story. Was the company sold to another company? I loved my weekender clothing…especially for traveling…perfect for cruises. How very said.

  2. Where are there any leftover weekender clothes. I have had some of mine for twelve years and am still wearing them, and want MORE!
    Is there a catalog anywhere?
    Lives in Oregon

  3. I was a coordinator until a couple of years ago. I think the main reason they lost sales was because they abandoned the original concept and tried to go for the younger market. The quality of the material went down, and they ended up selling stuff that you could get for half the price in any high street shop. I so wish someone would relaunch using the original material and concept and stay in the niche they filled so well.

  4. One other point to consider with regards to Weekenders demise is the delay in utilization in technology by the company. When other MLM’s already had “online ordering” for the consultants, Weekenders lagged behind that trend by 3-5 years. As a former Weekender coordinator and person in the technology field during her “day job” this was astonishing to me. I can only imagine if they lacked the technical vision and expertise in this simple area, they also lacked they “systems” in other operational areas of the business. In short they didn’t use technology to improve efficiencies. They must have been also heavy on operational costs.

  5. Wow thanks so much for this! Home parties are indeed alive and well, just check out the Direct Selling Women’s Alliance which is supporting successful party plan professionals all over the USA. I certainly agree that party plan in particular sells to customers vs. other consultants, I think Ms. Gregoire must be confused?? In fact most party plan professionals are so busy working their own businesses they don’t take a night off to go to someone else’s, although many I know certainly do support other direct sellers whenever possible. Thanks for your enlightened response!

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