Sipping wine, catching up with friends, eating nibbles and discussing cooking has to be one of my favourite ways to spend a Wednesday evening. Last week I was invited to my friend’s sunny lounge to experience a Jamie At Home party and, amongst all the chatting, we were there to inspect Mr Jamie Oliver’s designer-led collection of kitchen and dinnerware. Jamie was unfortunately too busy to join us in person instead we had, one of his top Wiltshire consultants, Sharon Buxton. After watching her expertly manage our continual chatting, guide us through the catalogue word perfectly and answer all our questions without hesitation, I personally think, Jamie might have struggled.
I have known Sharon for a few years through our eldest children going to the same toddler group. We had lost touch when other children came along so I was keen to catch-up with her after the party. Speaking with Sharon it struck me how her story would make a great article for Grubby Little Faces. Her love of cooking, her passion for using good quality kitchen equipment and how she is building an incredibly successful career around her family is very inspiring. I caught up with her over a cuppa a few days later and we chatted about her family and how she is building a very successful Jamie Oliver party business.
Why did you decide to become a Jamie Oliver consultant?
I have always been keen to work to gain some money and independence for myself and, prior to becoming a Mum, I had a very successful career in the car industry. However, once I had my boys and having a mother with a long-term sickness, I wanted to find work that I could fit around the things that I valued most in my life. I found the Jamie at Home opportunity (a party plan company), quite by accident. I had decided to host a party but fell in love with the products.
How much does it cost to become a consultant?
The initial set up costs are mostly low and affordable, with no tie-ins, purposely so that people without experience can give it a go with little commitment. I love having my own business, especially as I have the backup, training and marketing from Head Office, so it seems a very safe venture out on my own!
How many hours do you work a week?
When I first started I booked my parties in the evenings once or twice a week when my husband was at home, and worked the occasional weekend. I have become a Manager so I now work a few more hours but still work it around the family. I love developing my own business and now I really see this as my career rather than a ‘means to an end’.
How much can you earn?
It can vary but I have just received my pay slip for last month and considering I am a working mum and I fit this around my children, I have just been paid nearly as much as I used to get when working in a senior full time job. Which I find incredible and exciting.
What do you like most about working as a Jamie at Home consultant?
Working from home, or around my boys has been the best thing I could have done. I can plan my hours and my days of work. I can spend time with my family and work it around the boys activities. I never have to ask a boss for time off to see my children’s nativity or to go pick them up early if they aren’t feeling well.
I am also very happy with my earnings and I don’t have to pay for nursery costs to cover all of my work hours. Plus, I enjoy receiving recognition for my efforts, which I can’t expect from my children in the early years!
Talking of recognition I understand you have done so well you have won some all expenses paid holidays and met the man himself, Jamie Oliver. Can you tell me about that?
I have met Jamie Oliver 3 times now, twice very briefly on stage two years running at our Jamboree collecting a prize; the first year for being 10th for Consultant sales in a qualifying period, and the second time for being promoted to a Team Leader. The third occasion was as Jamie’s house in Essex for the Pimms and Pizza event which I earned a place after winning a draw for all those who introduced new Consultant’s to the business. Instead of just a quick ‘hello’ and having a photo taken, Jamie sat on our table for 15 minutes chatting about anything from the new Deli that opened in Bath to his food revolution in America. He really is just like he is on the TV and very personable.
I have also met Genaro Contaldo (Jamie’s mentor) at a VIP meal at Jamie’s Italian in Birmingham, and he is such a character!
I have been lucky enough to go to Arizona last year, Champneys in Tring this year, and am currently getting excited about a holiday to Tuscany in June this year – all expenses paid trips to congratulate us on our successes with our business.
If you were to recommend only one piece of the Jamie Oliver collection what would that be?
Very tricky as I have so many favourites, but it must be the rice pot – not just for rice but for potato, pasta, cous cous, casseroles and steam puddings to name a few, works perfectly, looks beautiful, cleans easily and so simple for anybody to use.
So when you are cooking for the family what is their favourite meal?
A good traditional roast dinner – my boys can be fussy but there is something to please everyone with this one!
Many congratulations on becoming a manager. If someone was interested in becoming a consultant what should they do?
I’d be happy to talk to anyone interested. You can contact me either by phone 01225 767106 and by mobile is 07972 187431. You can also email me at email@example.com.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to me Sharon and good luck with building your team.
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Please note this post is not a sponsored post. I have not received any money for placing this article on my blog. I liked the event, the products, and the inspiring message. I love supporting people with their dreams.