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March 2009
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Custom Handbag Parties Keep Guests in Stitches

Madison Handbags began as a eureka moment for Trish Rost.  She was looking for a product to market through home parties when she thought about handbags.  Rost made some prototypes from designs she had created then she bought a bunch of different fabrics with the idea of letting the party-goers choose their own fabrics and patterns.

Rost says she “had butterflies in my stomach” when she held her first party, then realized she had a hit when everybody there bought a handbag.  Now Madison Handbags has around 150 independent sales people who are holding parties in 16 states.

Direct marketing, or selling at home through parties, has caught on in many industries including jewelry, makeup and kitchen ware, and now Rost and her company’s distributors are finding success with their custom handbags.

While she was working on her own Rost estimates that she was selling about 20 bags per month, now the company sells 2,000 bags a month with price tags ranging from $25 up to $125.

The company introduces new fabric designs several times a year and now offers more than 100 fabrics and 16 bag styles.  A starter kit for new consultants is $299, which includes eight sample bags, sample fabrics, invitations, business cards, and a sales consultant handbook.  Check out for more information.

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Author, Instructor & Pattern Designer


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