Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

A successful career in direct sales, specifically Thirty-One, gives this mom a better home life

NEW PORT RICHEY — Kim Washington had a sick baby and a boss she didn't like.

"It's your husband's turn," he would growl after the day care called to say her son needed to be picked up early.

After much agonizing, Washington walked away from her job as a recruiting manager for a Clearwater call center to be a stay-at-home mom to two young kids.

Now, more than six years later, she's raking in a six-figure salary and driving a BMW convertible selling bags and purses for Thirty-One, a direct sales company that deals in colorful totes, purses and other organizational items.

Washington, 43, who has nearly 4,000 consultants who work on her sales team, is the only senior executive director for Thirty-One in Pasco County.

On Mother's Day, she shares secrets of her success with other moms, and anyone else who's involved in sales. We talked with Washington about her career. Questions and her responses have been edited for length and clarity.

How did you get started in direct sales? Were you the kid on the block with the lemonade stand?

No. I was the little girl clinging to mom's leg. My mom sees me do parties now and says, "You were so shy." Now I just get up there and talk. But it takes practice. I try to keep it interactive. We play a lot of games.

What did you take in college? Business?

I tried business, but I didn't like all the math. I majored in sociology. It's a good fit because I read people well. Sometimes too well.

How did you decide you wanted to sell Thirty-One as opposed to any other direct sales product?

I had sold Pampered Chef, but I didn't have a passion for it. I told a friend I was looking for something different. One night she called me and said, "I found it." I told my husband, "I'm leaving. You're watching the kids." At that time Thirty-One was brand new to the area. "It cost $99 (for a display set), and we're going to make millions," she said. We even got shirts that said "Future Millionaires." At $99, I figured what do I have to lose?

How did you go from staying at home full time with two young kids to cultivating clients and hosting parties? Was it difficult to divide your time?

I have a lot of support from my husband. He would stay with the kids when I did parties at night. I'd get calls from him during parties asking things like, "Do you know where the diapers are?" or "What do I feed the baby?" But it was okay. But it was a time for them to bond with their daddy. Now my kids don't want me to put them to bed. (laughs)

How do you work with the kids in tow?

You can tell a child "Hey, mommy has to work for 20 minutes and then we will go to the park. You can put signs on the door, a smiley face for when it's okay for them to come in and a stop sign for when it's not. Another good idea is to keep a special bag of goodies for them that they can only play with when you are working. Anybody can do this. I know of a woman with five children who does.

What's the biggest challenge?

Knowing when (my husband) is working. I may need to schedule a party a month out, but he gets three weeks of leeway changing his schedule. We're continually working the process of making sure there's coverage for the kids.

What's the biggest benefit?

I set my own schedule. I can be home when my kids get home from school. In my old job, I'd have to work until 6 and we'd get home at 7 and then put them to bed. This way they can get their homework done early and have time to be kids. My husband, (who works at an Apple store) got to quit a job he hated and now gets to work at a job he loves because of my income.

Now that your kids are a little older (7 and 9) are they able to help out?

They sometimes put labels on catalogs or unpack bags, My daughter is the entrepreneur. She wanted to have a dog wash and put fliers up all over the neighborhood. She came to one of my shows and was a helper. Recently my son asked to come to a show.

How do you keep yourself motivated?

I'm a strong supporter of visuals. (Points to office wall of posters) I tell everyone to have a goals list, a "why" or "bigger reason" for what you do. My list here is 1) grow group leaders; 2) share the Thirty-One story in the community. 3) plan retreats and events for leaders; 4) cruise — that's for my family. We want to take a Mediterranean cruise.

A successful career in direct sales, specifically Thirty-One, gives this mom a better home life 05/12/12 [Last modified: Saturday, May 12, 2012 1:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa man arrested for killing man in his USF-area home

    Crime

    TAMPA — A Tampa man was arrested Monday in the death of man found killed at a home in the University of South Florida area last week, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

    Kadeem Dareem Archibald, 26, was arrested Monday on a  second degree murder charge in the University Area killing of Khando Kerr. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  2. Report: Trump asked intel chiefs to push back against FBI collusion probe after Comey revealed its existence

    National

    President Donald Trump asked two of the nation's top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, the Washington Post reports, citing current and former officials.

    From  left, CIA Director Mike Pompeo; Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats; and National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers take their seats on Capitol Hill on May 11 before  testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on major threats facing the U.S. [Associated Press]
  3. For Gov. Rick Scott, 'fighting' could mean vetoing entire state budget

    State Roundup

    Every day, Gov. Rick Scott is getting a lot of advice.

    The last time a Florida governor vetoed the education portion of the state budget was in 1983. Gov. Bob Graham blasted fellow Democrats for their “willing acceptance of mediocrity.”
  4. Romano: Time is up chief, make a call on police body cameras

    Crime

    Excuse me chief, but it's time to take a stand.

    St. Petersburg police Chief Tony Holloway
  5. Potential new laws further curb Floridians' right to government in the Sunshine

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — From temporarily shielding the identities of murder witnesses to permanently sealing millions of criminal and arrest records, state lawmakers did more this spring than they have in all but one of the past 22 years to chip away at Floridians' constitutional guarantees to access government records and …

    The Legislature passed 17 new exemptions to the Sunshine Law, according to a tally by the First Amendment Foundation.