October 21, 2014

Selling Pet Products Through Home Parties

Shure Pets - pet products sold through home parties

EDITOR’S NOTE:  SEVERAL YEARS AFTER PUBLISHING THIS ARTICLE, IT APPEARS SHURE PETS HAS BECOME ANOTHER SMALL BUSINESS FAILURE STATISTIC, AND CLOSED DOWN.

This week’s company profile is Shure Pets. Shure Pets combines home parties with pet products. If you’ve ever been to a Tupperware party (men, don’t laugh — some of the top Tupperware sales professionals are men), then you know the business model.

Shure Pets has a line of almost 300 pet products that are sold through direct sales consultants. These direct sales consultants arrange in-home parties with friends, relatives, neighbors and others they know. Often the pets are invited too.

There the sellers can show pet lovers a wide variety of products to lavish on their pets — everything from vanilla dog shampoo to cat vitamins. The company even offers pet-themed items for pet owners such as coffee mugs and garden stones. The sales consultant earns a base commission of 25%. And the friend or neighbor hosting the party earns credits toward free products.

Recently I had a chance to chat by phone with Andrew Shure, the founder and CEO of Shure Pets. He said that when he started the business, “No one was doing pet parties — it was a unique concept.”

He leveraged two trends: the phenomenal growth in the pet industry and also the growth in the direct selling model. As we pointed out here before at Small Business Trends, the pet industry amounts to $38 billion annually. And according to the Direct Selling Association website, direct selling (such as through home parties) is a $30 billion industry annually. About 14 million people earn some part of their living as direct salespeople.

I asked Andrew why he chose the home party model for selling his company’s products. According to Andrew, from the buyer’s perspective, it is “like having a personalized shopper working for you.” With most retail environments being self-serve today, it’s hard to get anyone to tell you in detail about a product or even answer a question. “A direct salesperson, in the relaxed setting of a home party, will tell you about the products, show you how to use them, and explain the benefits.”

And so what attracts the sales consultants to this business, I wondered? Andrew notes that most of his company’s sales consultants do the work part-time or as a side business. “Shure Pets attracts passionate pet lovers looking for supplemental income. You can set your own hours. The average party sales are $400, so at 25% commission that would mean about $100 earned for the average-sized party. That translates into $25 to $33 an hour (including preparation time) in the example given.”

He also notes that most of his company’s sales consultants are already employed in a pet-related field, perhaps as a dog walker or veterinarian tech or pet groomer. “There are a lot of entrepreneurial businesses that feed on the pet industry. Being a Shure Pets sales consultant fits nicely with people who are already involved in the pet industry.”

Andrew felt that the dynamics of the pet industry set it apart from other industries and made it ideal for the direct selling/ home party model. “People have emotional connections with their pets. And home party sales are a high-touch, relationship business.”

17 Comments ▼

Anita Campbell - CEO


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses, and also serves as CEO of TweakYourBiz.com.

17 Reactions

  1. I’ve heard of other industries having a similar business model that uses product parties to gain revenue, but it probably works the best for something like pet products. I work in a pet friendly office so I know that once one dog-owner finds something he/she loves, it’s likely that ten others will hear about it. It’s all about using the business model that works best for your industry.

  2. I love Shure Pets and the Products, I have been with Shure Pets For two years,Its a great Home Business? See me If you like to Join My Winning Team “A Shure Winner”
    Sharon Rowley
    shurepetsrocks@aol.com
    Team Leader
    http://www.catalog.shopshurepets.com

  3. What a great idea. I would go to this kind of home party anytime! Sounds like a lot of fun.

    I really like the website too. It’s colorful, fun and attracts attention.

  4. I love this and had no ide it existed! I would love to have one of these parties as I know many pet owners that would love to come and bring their furry friends!

    Great idea on the home party, too. And, Mila, I agree with you wholeheartedly that once a pet owner inds something they love related to the industry – many others are sure to try it out.

    This was especialy true with the dog food scare recently. I suggested organic food to many who then went and began feeding it to their pets.

  5. I Love it! Having two dogs, I very much agree that the emotional connection to them makes this so very personal and ideal for the pet lovers. I love the idea of being able to bring the pups along.

  6. Interesting case. The home party concept seems to be catching on with a wide variety of products. Companies like this should do very well with customers who prefer that high-touch experience they cannot get online or even in most brick-and-mortar chains. Kudos to Shure Pets for exploring this channel.

  7. Hello I would like a work at home job saling pet prducts for sure pet through parties can I fix me up a website where I can sell Sure pet products that way? e-mail me at carolg_75638@yahoo.com

  8. I AM MOST INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT MORE ABOUT THE EARNING OPPORTUNITY OF SHURE PET PARTIES. I RAISE SMALL BREED PUPPIES TO SELL, AND THIS WOULD COORDINATE PERFECTLY. PAM FARR

  9. Very good idea. I would love to get more ideas on how to market in this way. How to get the first parties started. It doesn’t sound like being male is necessarily a problem. I believe we are in a business that could do great in party situations.
    If anyone can help I would be very grateful. Mark

  10. What a great way to share your passion of pets!

  11. I WAS REALLY IMPRESSED TO SEE HOME PARTIES FOR PET, ARE THEIR ANY CONSULTANTS IN THE PHILLIPSBURG,NJ ,08865 AREA/ WERE HAVING A VENDOR FAIR IN MARCH, ID LOVE TO GET THEM IN.

  12. Anyone know how many dealers there are currently?
    Are there any in the Midwest?
    thx!

  13. is this company available in the uk

  14. Hello my name is Sara, and I would like to experience ur product in peoples homes and mine. Had pets all my life, we have a large pet family with 5 kids. I sure hope I can share ur business with others in there homes.

  15. I understand this company is out of business? Such a shame. I was curious about them.

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