By Erin Horrigan
Selling candles, kitchenware, sex toys and lingerie in living rooms is overtaking waiting tables and cashier work as students find new ways to make ends meet.
As the unemployment rate among 15 to 24 year olds nears 15 per cent, students are turning to direct sales or “party plan’’ consultancy to top up their incomes.
Full-time post-graduate philosophy student Catriona Adams took on a second job selling sex toys for Pure Romance because the hours suited her.
“I was only working three hours a week at my other job and I was on Centrelink payments, but I seriously needed something extra,” Catriona said.
“Last year I made more than $14,000 in sales and I got about 20 to 30 per cent of that in my pocket in commission.”
Murdoch forensic biology and toxicology and criminology student Tanika Callister, who also has a second job at the same company, says she earns good money for the relatively small amount of hours required.
“The market for sex toys is strong, sometimes I actually want to stop uni so I can do this full time,” Tanika said.
However, direct sales does not pay off for everyone. UWA classics and ancient history student Christine Merchant made very little selling scented wax and fragrance accessories for Scentsy.
“These companies prey on those who are naïve and eager,” Christine said.
“They might work well if you have a ton of rich friends and family, but most people at uni have student friends.”
Murdoch University careers councillor Jane Foster encourages students to do their research and make sure they’re not getting into a scam, but said that direct sales can be very valuable.
“Students need to be creative these days, employers aren’t offering many hours and direct sales can definitely offer students the opportunity to increase employability and take their income into their own hands,” Ms Foster said.