By Ellen Parlapiano
Leah Adams, 30
Mom of three, ages 10, 6 and 4
Lives in Denver, Colorado
Product: Celebrating Home tableware and decor (celebratinghome.com)
Started: January 2010
Works: About 15 hours a week
Earns: About $15,000 per year
Moving is a way of life when your spouse is in the Air Force—and makes it tough to hold down a regular job. "Who knows where the military will send us next," says Leah. "Now I can work wherever we go."
Backstory: Leah discovered Celebrating Home at a school PTO event, while living on Grand Forks Air Force base in North Dakota. Having just finished chemo for cervical cancer (she's in remission now), she hosted a party for fun. While it was winding down, her husband, David, 32, came in from his second job and said, "You could sell that stuff." Leah laughed it off, but David encouraged her to try. "He felt I needed something positive after being so sick," she says. When offered a start-up kit for half price as part of a special promotion, Leah bought in and lined up events with friends on the base, showing how to cook quick meals and set beautiful tables with the stoneware.
Then what? Within three months she'd earned enough so David could quit his second job. After the military relocated them to Denver, Lisa was fortunate to meet more potential reps while selling at a local crafts show and learn marketing tricks at the company's training conference. But a few months later, David was deployed to Afghanistan. While he was gone, Leah and the boys lived in Pennsylvania with his parents. Her mother-in-law connected her with possible hosts, and her eldest son, Luke, loaded the car before events. Even David pitched in, posting specials to his Facebook page. "This business provided a needed distraction," says Leah. "It helped me and the kids forget, even if for a few hours, how much we missed Dad." When David's tour of duty ended safely in June, the family celebrated with a beach vacation in Sea Isle City, New Jersey, thanks to Leah's earnings. Now back in Denver, Leah has sales reps in three states and a growing team.