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People Top 5
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- December 01, 1980
- Vol. 14
- No. 22
Bill Jackson, 25, left a safe $15,000-a-year job with a big New York accounting firm to sell wicker furniture the Tupperware way—at home parties. Jackson's Larchmont, N.Y. company, The Wicker Place, Inc., now has a staff of six selling on commission. (They earn up to 25 percent and the hostesses of wicker parties collect 5 percent of the evening's take, plus a 15 percent discount on any purchases.) Items range from a $1 fan to a $400 couch. "With no overhead," Jackson says, "I don't have to mark up items as much as the retail stores." An entrepreneur even as a boy in Garden City, N.Y., Jackson was one of five children of an insurance underwriter father and Realtor mother. He put himself through Holy Cross College in Worcester, Mass. with odd jobs as a yardman, bartender and house painter. After receiving an accounting degree in 1977, he set out to be a CPA. But soon, frustrated by the 9-to-5 Manhattan grind, Jackson turned to wickerware. "After a year I'm still learning the market by trial and error," admits bachelor Jackson, who shares a Westchester County house with two sisters. Yet the prospects are bright, he believes: "As long as this recession continues, wicker is cheaper than anything else. I can't miss."
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