Now is the time to be your own boss.
If want to make a little extra cash on your own terms, there’s a whole industry out there waiting for you. It’s called direct selling. You sell a product—ranging from gourmet foods to accessories and everything in between—for a percentage of the sales during personal meetings, parties or shows. You’ll need to purchase a start-up kit of products and are typically provided some training. Companies often help you set up your own online shopping site, too (though there may be a monthly fee). Generally, flexibility is the biggest perk because you create your own hours. You’ll typically earn purchasing discounts, too. If you eventually recruit others to be representatives, you’ll earn a percentage of their sales as well.
For many people, direct selling is a way to supplement their incomes, although some people transition successfully to full-time gigs. When considering taking the plunge, read the fine print and ask a lot of questions before committing; most won’t refund your investment cost if you change your mind. Here are a few companies to investigate.
Your mom and even your grandma may have shopped with Avon, as this venerable company has been around since 1886 (years before women had the right to vote in the U.S.!). It’s such a well-known brand that you’ll never have to explain what it is. Offerings include makeup, skin care, bath and body products, fragrance, jewelry, fine silver jewelry and fashion, so it’s basically one-stop shopping. Kits to get you started begin at $25, and you can earn up to 40 percent on sales. A KickStarter program helps you earn commissions faster if you meet specific sales goals in a certain time frame.
Don’t you hate having to buy a bottle of wine before you know if you’ll like it? Most people do. This direct sales opportunity allows you to educate people about wine while creating your own wine business. As a Boisset ambassador, you purchase a flight of wines from the company, then enjoy it with friends at a tasting. You’ll earn 25 percent commission from your sales, including online, and up to 35 percent if you build a team. Kits start at $149 for a 3-bottle mini-flight. Not a wine expert? You’ll get coaching from your sponsor and weekly training calls from the home office. The collection includes something for every wine palate.
So, know anyone who doesn’t like chocolate? We didn’t think so. Cocoa Exchange offers exclusive products including chocolate candies, sauces, and gourmet treats, all made in the USA by Mars, Inc. Become a curator, and you’ll earn 25 to 40 percent commissions, based on personal sales volume. Starter kits run $129 and include a tasting flight of products such as truffles, martini mix, and deluxe spices. You can add on specialty product brand kits for another $99, which feature unique chocolates and creative sauces, teas and rubs that feature, well, what else? Chocolate!
Finding attractive hair accessories—whether you have baby-fine hair, an abundance of tresses, or natural hair—is never easy. Enter Lilla Rose, founded in 2008, which offers fun and functional hair clips, pins, bobbies, hairbands, and hair sticks. Start up kits are $49.95, but you can add on product to round out your party presentations or set up a booth at fairs. Commissions start at 30 percent and increase if you build a team. There’s also a personalized website for online sales where you can upload your own images to customize the experience.
What’s better than food for connecting with others? From cooking shows in your hostess’s home to Facebook parties, which are completely virtual, Pampered Chef consultants earn 20 to 25 percent commission based on sales volume. That can increase to up to 31 percent if you build a team. Startup kits begin at $109 and include what you’ll need to put on a cooking show including tools such as basting brush, knives, grill pans, and all kinds of other fun kitchen wares.
Founded in 2006, Steeped Tea allows you to share your love of tea with others through tea parties and online selling. You’ll earn 25 to 39 percent commission, based on sales volume and other consultants you’ve sponsored. Startup kits run $99. The products contain no artificial colors, flavors, or added sugars. Of course, you’ll find your favorite flavors such as chai and matcha, but there’s a whole world of deliciously different flavors including pumpkin banana bread, strawberries and cream, and sweet date marzipan.
Founded 10 years ago, this company sells a range of unique accessories including an array of fun jewelry, pieces, trendy tunics and scarves, clutches and cross-body bags. There’s also a line of fine jewelry featuring diamonds and white or yellow gold. Stylists earn 25 to 35 percent commission on sales. Starter kits to demo products run $199 for basics. You get to choose the accessories and jewelry you want for your kit, so it’s completely personalized to your tastes. Sister companies, Keep Collective and EVER Skincare, offer other direct selling opportunities.
The gift company Thirty-one was founded in 2003. They offer a huge number of attractive home organizing and personalized products including storage bins, purses and totes, wallets, lunch and picnic thermals, and customizable pillows and wall art. Consultants make 25 percent on every sale through face-to-face, online, and catalogue parties. Starter kits are $99. If you become a leader to new consultants, you’ll earn a percentage of their commission as well. There’s also a monthly subscription fee for a personalized website and emails to customers.
Arricca SanSone writes for CountryLiving.com, WomansDay.com, Family Circle, MarthaStewart.com, Cooking Light, Parents.com, and many others. She’s passionate about gardening, baking, reading, Polish pottery, vintage cookbooks, and spending time with the people and dogs she loves.
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