Finding work-life balance is a constant struggle for anyone. Thanks to greater opportunities with home-based businesses, many women are finding they can have careers that work for them and their families. Here are two unique stories of Brentwood moms who have done just that.
A Surprising Career
Working in home-based direct sales was not the career Mary Favazza ever envisioned. But after working at a traditional job in marketing and becoming certified to teach, this mother of three has found her niche with Tastefully Simple.
Favazza is one of 25,000 Tastefully Simple consultants across the United States. The company sells “easy-to-prepare foods and gifts” through home parties and online.
“After my first daughter turned 1, I wanted to work but also be home. It’s difficult going from being a career person to a stay-at-home mom and not having something that was my own,” she said. “Not just income, but an identity outside of the kids.”
After talking to a friend in Chicago who was working full time, had a baby and was also a Tastefully Simple consultant, Favazza visited the company’s website and thought, “I want to give it a try.”
Six years later, Favazza’s business, on which she spends an average of 15 to 20 hours a week, is going strong.
“I thought I’d do this until I run out of friends and relatives to have parties,” she said. “Fortunately, I’ve never run out of people wanting to have parties.”
She credits the success of Tastefully Simple to the fact that the products are consumable, everybody eats and reordering products is a large part of the business.
“I enjoy this because everyone can work the business however they want,” said Favazza, who is now a team manager and assists 18 consultants. “You just need to be consistent with what works for you. Direct sales can be very rewarding and lucrative if you find the right product.”
Averaging about one party per week, Favazza spends the rest of her time coaching her team by phone or email during her children’s naps or at night. She credits her supportive husband for helping in her success, which recently earned her and her family an incentive trip to Walt Disney World.
The home-based business also has enabled Favazza to find the time to earn a master’s degree in family and consumer science.
“Tastefully Simple has been great for me because it’s very flexible—I make my own schedule and decide what days I want to work,” said Favazza, who travels to three conferences a year. “I see myself doing this indefinitely. I’m able to still work, run a business from home and be there for my kids.”
Mom and Daughters Working Together
Three years ago, Donna Baudendistel retired as a special education teacher with the idea that she wouldn’t be working every day. While still substitute teaching, she came across an entirely new business venture that opened up the world of sales to her family.
“Getting into the home party business was the last thing I expected to be doing,” said the mom of two. “But when I found Emily Rose @Home, I realized it was something I could do with my daughters.”
Baudendistel is one of the first 50 women across the country and in the St. Louis area known as a “founder member” of the Emily Rose line that sells clothing, furniture and accessories for 18-inch dolls, which are similar to the American Girl dolls.
What’s unique about this business is that its founder, who started the company to be home with her own daughter, designed it for mother/daughter entrepreneurs.
Mothers and daughters operate Emily Rose @Home parties. Mothers bring their daughters to the parties. Baudendistel explains the products to the moms in attendance while her daughters, Leanna, 12, and Simone, 10, organize crafts and activities for the little girls attending the parties, Baudendistel said.
“I really like helping set up the clothes and the dolls and helping with the little girls and seeing them happy,” Leanna said. “I know how to manage money better, and I’ve learned how to save money.”
Baudendistel “got in on the ground floor” of Emily Rose when she was looking for a doll bed for one of her daughters and found the affordable line that appealed to her as a mom and as a business opportunity.
“I liked this company because it’s truly a mother/daughter business,” she said. Half of her business cards have her name and the other half have her daughters' names. “It’s been a way for my girls to learn really good business principles,” she said.
When Baudendistel first started with the company, her daughters originally thought that when they sold $100 in merchandise, they would make $100. They quickly learned about expenses involved in running a business, including paying sales tax.
“It took me about a year to get started and figure out what I was doing with this business, but thanks to training provided by the company and an online network of consultants, I’ve learned a lot,” she said. “It’s really helped me tap into my own creativity. I’m also going to have an opportunity to mentor new consultants, so it’s put me back in a teaching role.”