Jones Apparel Makes A Wish on Direct Selling

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Leading fashion apparel and accessory company Jones Apparel Group launched a national party plan program this week called Million Wishes.

Million Wishes will sell jewelry, handbags, belts, scarves and other key accessories for a particular season while educating women on the latest fashion trends - all in the comfort of a hostess's home, like Tupperware, Longaberger, Lillian Vernon's Celebrations and Mary Kay do.

"Million Wishes provides the company with an alternative distribution channel, providing a network to target consumers who wish to combine the shopping experience with a social setting," Rhonda Brown,

president/CEO of Jones' footwear, accessories and retail group, said in a statement.

Jones is a designer, marketer and wholesaler of apparel, footwear and accessories under brand names such as Nine West, Jones New York, Anne Klein and Kasper. Its traditional channels of distribution included major department stores and its own specialty retail stores.

The New York company believes direct selling can be a profitable business and expects to have 9,000 consultants in 3 years.

Million Wishes provides women with an opportunity to "experiment with the latest fashion trends by trying on products and experimenting with new looks while getting positive feedback from their friends," Million Wishes president Betty Palm said in a statement.

The company plans to publish its first catalog in March with 200 to 300 items and recruit 3,000 style consultants in 2006.

In addition to a corporate Web site where style consultants can conduct all business transactions, personal Web sites will be available for consultants as a business management tool. New products will be introduced in semi-annual catalogs in March and September.

Unlike some other party plan companies, Million Wishes will ship all orders direct to consumers.

The launch will be supported with advertising and special events.

Chantal Todé covers catalog and retail news and BTB marketing for DM News and DM News.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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