I am a Thirty-One husband.
I love my wife. She is my best friend, my daughters’ mother, my better half. She is talented and loving and fun. And she spends money on some ridiculous stuff.
It is no secret that money, and the differences of opinion in how it should be spent, is one of the major stresses on a marriage. To a guy like me, who has had 3 wallets in the last twenty years, buying multiple purses, handbags, wallets, totes… is a frivolous waste of resources. I mean, that money could go to buy football tickets, a good steak dinner, basketball tickets, a new HDTV, satellite subscription or video game console. We could save up for a motorcycle! Real, worthwhile expenditures.
A few years ago, she saw an acquaintance with a bag she really liked and had never seen anywhere. It was a Thirty-One bag. It turns out that Thirty-One is a direct-sales company, kind of like Avon, Mary Kay and Tupperware. The Thirty-One consultant has a party in which the hostess invites friends to come see the products, hear the pitch, and hopefully make purchases and book parties of their own. In exchange, the hostess gets free gifts and incentives based on how much is purchased at her party. At a good party, the hostess can make off with a good amount of free products. That’s how Emily got started. A party for the bag.
Part of the pitch at the party is a brief spiel about the benefits of becoming a Thirty-One sales consultant. They hear that Thirty-One is a reference to Proverbs 31, specifically Proverbs 31:10-31.
10 An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13 She looks for wool and flax
And works with her hands in delight.
14 She is like merchant ships;
She brings her food from afar.
15 She rises also while it is still night
And gives food to her household
And portions to her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
From her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength
And makes her arms strong.
18 She senses that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hands grasp the spindle.
20 She extends her hand to the poor,
And she stretches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household,
For all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies belts to the tradesmen.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.
26 She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
29 “Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
31 Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates.
It’s a Christian company and promotes those values. They hear about commissions and incentives and building a team. And then there’s “the kit.”
I think the kit is what really hooked Emily. Thirty-One has a package of Thirty-One items they call “the kit” that are priced way below market-value that are designed to be the consultant’s samples. But in the end, it’s a bunch of great Thirty-One products for dirt cheap. I think that’s what initially made it worth her time and effort to explore the sales consultant thing. At the time, imagining my wife in sales was almost humorous. It would be completely out of her comfort zone. While I was intrigued that she was exploring a possible way to bring some extra income into the house I was skeptical that it would really come to pass. What really got me was the idea that she would get her bags for cheap, and earn the money to buy them in the future. The way I figured it, if Thirty-One simply supported her bag “habit,” then it was worth it.
Boy, was it worth it. Within months, Emily was booking parties and building a team. She was networking with other consultants, getting party ideas from their Facebook group and online forums, and her commissions continued to rise. As her team grew, the small percentage she got from the sales of her downline consultants really began to add up. A couple years in, she has 263 consultants downline. There are months where she makes more from Thirty-One than her regular job. She was able to go part-time and picks up our girls from school so she can spend more time with them in the afternoons. In this economy, there have been months at my job that were very poor and her Thirty-One income is the only reason we could pay all the bills. She feels great about herself, she has new friends and colleagues, Thirty-One is sending us to Disney World next year… it is all great. But the best part for me is I can’t remember the last time I felt stressed or resentful over a purchase she made, because she earned the extra income that bought it. I didn’t realize what a drain and stress it was on our marriage until it was gone. I can’t remember when our marriage was better. That is the Thirty-One gift.
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. ~ Proverbs 31:11