LoveToKnow Handbags had the joy of interviewing Independent Consultant and, as of November 1st, 2010, Independent Director Cindy O'Lone. Cindy's enthusiasm for the Thirty-One products shines from her face as she talks about her career with this company, building her own business and why she loves the products so much. Cindy's Thirty-One parties are a celebration of women and what makes each hostess such a special part of her guests' lives.
Thirty-One Handbags Interview with Cindy O'Lone
A Little About Cindy
LoveToKnow (LTK): Cindy, thanks for taking the time to chat with us about Thirty-One. Can you tell us a little about yourself and why you started selling these bags?
Cindy O'Lone (CO): My husband Bob and I have been married for 23 years. We have six children ages three to 18. After being a stay at home mom for 17 years, I knew my oldest child, my son Kyle, was going to go to Indiana State University to get an aviation degree. Mom needed to go to work to help pay for that. After looking for several months for any kind of part time job and getting no interviews, a friend of mine in Ohio told me about Thirty-One. I had never heard of the company before After looking it up online and seeing the start up kit was only 99 dollars, I showed my husband the site. Since I had no job prospects, he told me to give it a try. I've been with them for 14 months now and I love it.
LTK: Did you always love handbags and fashion? Why Thirty-One and not some other direct sales company?
CO: Yes, I've always liked purses and totes. After seeing the products online, I thought they were really cute. Once I got the kit, I saw how great the quality was. I thought women would love this.
A Little About the Company
LTK: Can you tell us a little about the history of the company?
CO: Thirty-One was started by Cindy Monroe down in Tennessee. Now the company is up in Columbus, Ohio. She named her company Thirty-One and based it on Proverbs 31. It is a company that celebrates the courage of women and rewards them for who they are. We tend to use that same motto at our home parties by celebrating, encouraging and rewarding the hostess and women who attend our home parties.
LTK: Thirty-One products seem to be really well made. Can you tell us a little about the quality?
CO: We have a 90 day warranty against defects. We have great customer service. I've had a very low return ratio.
Home Parties for Thirty-One Bags
LTK: Why do you think people love these bags so much?
CO: You can personalize most of our items and a lot of people have unusual names these days. You can embroider names on most of our products. We carry products for everyone. Babies, toddlers, teens, moms, dads and grandparents.
The Purse with Multiple Looks
LTK: You sell leather-like purses with interchangeable skirts. Can you tell us a little more about those?
CO: We have a fitted purse skirt that has 12 different skirts to interchange. We have our newest, which is our city skirt purse, which is a larger version.
LTK: Which handbag are you carrying right now?
CO: The City Skirt Purse. It is larger, so it's good for busy moms. It currently has six different skirts.
Growing Her Business
LTK: What are some different things you do to get the word out about the product you are selling?
CO: Basically, word of mouth. It took one party and I've had over 50 parties now. I have a FaceBook group page. I always carry my products and so do my three teenage daughters. I wear my Thirty-One T-shirts. One time a man in McDonald's approached me and said, "Young lady, I'm 82 and I know you're not 31." I just smiled and said, "No, but I work for 31 and would you like to buy your wife a purse?"
LTK: Your sales are through home parties. What are the advantages of purchasing the product this way?
CO: I love home parties because women are so busy today and what better way to get together with your friends. With Thirty-One, it is low stress. I'm there to help you. I know the products well. You can see and touch the product. Women are visual. We like like to see products. You can also order through my website without having a party, though.
How To Sell Thirty-One Bags
LTK: What about someone who is interested in selling Thirty-One, any advice for them?
CO: Give it a try. As an independent consultant, I can tell you that our kits are still just 99 dollars, which includes embroidery on several products and some business materials. Our company is still growing. We're one of the fastest growing direct sales companies in the country and the company is debt free. There are several states that still have a desperate need for more Thirty-One consultants.
There's a lot of growth potential because it's still new. You can do this at your own pace and from virtually anywhere. Whether you are a stay at home mom, teacher, nurse or even a college student. I'm still adding to my Fun Team.
Thirty-One Bags as Gifts
LTK: Can you give our readers some ideas for using Thirty-One to make up gifts?
CO: Our products are great for baby shower gifts, wedding gifts, such as using our large utility tote and putting the new couple's last name on it and filling with towels. The cinch sac is great for teens and toddlers and busy moms. Thermal lunch totes are great gifts for kids or teachers or anyone who has to take lunch to work. Every month we have a great customer special where you can get some things as cheap as $5 or even free. We have great customer hostess specials every month.
LTK: What bags are most popular with the teen crowd?
CO: The Boardwalk Bag is one teens seem to really like. They also like the Cinch Sac. They love the Retro Metro too.
LTK: What bags are most popular for busy moms?
CO: The Cindy Tote (named after our CEO and founder). That one is my favorite. Moms also like the organizing shoulder bag and the Retro Metro.
LTK: What are some of the new things coming out that we should watch for?
CO: The new holiday guide just came out. It is full of cute things for everyone in the family. My personal favorite is our Lil' Expressions Canvas Tote Bag. The bag includes free personalization. It can hold up to six children that you can choose and personalize hair color, skin color and name. It's a great gift for new moms, moms, grandparents or teachers. You also get a choice of outfits. For a teacher, you could put Mrs. McDowell's class and put some kids without names on the bag.
LTK: Where would you like to see your business go in the next five years?
CO: I hope to have a large team of women from all over the country. I'd like to add many women to my Fun Team. I want to get together with other women several times a month for parties and have a little me time. I have this vision of women being financially independent. We have many single moms in our company that this has helped tremendously. This biz is great for stay at home moms.I really want to help other women succeed and help them reach their dreams.
LTK: Anything you'd like to add?
CO: There are endless possibilities with Thirty-One. You can earn free trips. There is a national convention every summer. I got two nights at a Hilton in Columbus, Ohio totally paid for last year because of monthly sales I had. You can earn laptops, you can earn gift cards. There is monthly recognition for sales. Not to mention, you earn a great income. With Thirty-One, we celebrate, encourage and reward women. I encourage you, if you are looking for a fun job while getting paid to party, check out my website.
A very warm thank you to Cindy O'Lone for sharing her insight about the Thirty-One Bag line and her adventures in selling this fun product.