COOLVILLE - A Coolville woman was recently recognized for having sold more than $1 million worth of Longaberger Basket products during her 21 years with the company.
Joy Burdette started selling Longaberger products in 1991 after her daughter had a party and invited her.
Burdette spoke of the unwritten agreement between mothers and daughters that when one has a party to sell someone, the other becomes involved to a certain extent. She bought a few products.
Photo by Brett Dunlap
Joy Burdette of Coolsville, a national sales leader with Longaberger, has been recognized for career achievement in sales of more than $1 million. She received a gold pin featuring three emeralds signifying her membership status and a letter of recognition from company owner Tami Longaberger. Burdette began selling Longaberger products in 1991.
''That is how I got started,'' she said. ''I grew to love them when I started using them. Now, there isn't even a closet in my house that doesn't have Longaberger in it."
She was 44 at the time and looking for a business opportunity. She had previously been involved in Burdette Camper Sales and had worked for Middleton Dolls and the Parkersburg Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The Longaberger Co. was established in 1973 and is a maker of handcrafted baskets and other home and lifestyle products, including pottery and other tableware, wrought iron, fabric accessories and specialty foods.
There was a lot of work in getting herself established in holding down a full-time and finding time to do the Longaberger work.
''Like any new business, you are not just going to say you are a 'Longaberger consultant' and people are just going to flock to you,'' Burdette said. ''It just doesn't work that way.
''However, there is an opportunity there if you want to take it.''
Burdette said there is an opportunity for many people, especially young women with families who would like to work at home.
At times it was trying, but Burdette said God helped lead the way for her through the Bible verse of Proverbs 14:23 which said "All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty."
''I was like, 'OK, I am keeping after it,''' Burdette said. ''He has blessed so much through the Longaberger opportunity.
''I wish I would have known about it years before.''
Burdette said the business has changed considerably over the last 21 years.
''It use to be that you would go out and do those home parties,'' she said. ''People aren't really open to home parties like they were before.
''I do think Longaberger is on the cutting edge of the direct sales business. They are opening up satellite shops, in places like Jeffersonville. They are blending that with the home consultants, because we can sign up for times to work in those outlets. We can go and get unattached customers with anything they buy that day will be credited to our sales. If anyone wants to sell, that is our opportunity to recruit. No other company, that I know of, has done that.''
Burdette had the support of her husband, Jerry, to start doing Longaberger full time in 1994.
She has continued with the company because she believes in the products as Longaberger's baskets are still made in Ohio.
''I really do love the products and use them everyday,'' she said. ''I think it is the relationships I have been able to build, with not only customers and hostesses, but with the people on my team.''
Being involved with the company has given her opportunities to travel to Florida, Hawaii and around the country.
A national sales leader is the highest position in the sales field.
''Right now, there are 170-some on my team,'' she said. ''They are just wonderful people."
''Some of them got into this 'to feed their need.' They like the product and don't want to have to pay full price for it.''
Others sell Longaberger to supplement their income to take care of bills and other expenses.
Burdette will again be recognized for this achievement on-stage at Longaberger's annual sales convention this summer.
Reaching $1 million in sales was one of the goals Burdette wanted to reach.
''Now, my next goal is to have 100 direct recruits,'' she said. ''I am at 70 so I need more people on my team.''
Although her husband is retired, Burdette plans to continue to sell Longaberger products.
''I don't have any desire to retire yet,'' she said. ''If I enjoy it, why retire? If I can do it, I am going to do it. It is a love of the product that keeps me doing it.''