The Mommy Lyfe: The Best Direct Sales Company Jobs for Stay at Home Moms
Just a little disclaimer: I do not work for any of these companies. In fact, as of right now, I've never even worked in direct-sales. So, though I have researched these companies, what I've written here is merely my own observations and opinions and a list of companies I personally deemed the most trustworthy after much time culling the masses. I'm not guaranteeing that anyone will find themselves rolling in sweet, sweet cash by joining any of these companies.
That being said, as a stay at home mom I find myself interested in direct sales companies. Besides the passive income I earn here on HubPages, I'm totally intrigued by the idea of expanding my income while still balancing life at home with my daughter and soon-to-be second babe.
Beauty + Skin Care
Oh, Arbonne. In the past I have had several friends and acquaintances become Arbonne consultants. Some were successful, some were not. It really came down to the time and energy they were willing (and most importantly, able) to invest in this company. Those with young kids failed. It's time consuming and requires a lot follow up with potential customers.
As with many of these companies I just could not find an absolute starting price for joining the Arbonne team. It looks to be around $80 but there also seem to be a couple of hidden fees in there that will inevitably up the start up cost. It also seems that you must sell $150 in products within your first 1-2 months.
I have tried Arbonne products. They're not life-changing, though I'll admit they're not only beautifully packaged, but they somehow feel extra luxurious in comparison to anything at the drug store. Because of the price, I wouldn't recommend trying to sell to your fellow mommy friends who are probably already feeling guilt about the air-freshener plug-in they bought at Wal-Mart. If you decide to sell Arbonne, branch out to friends and family with older children or even try throwing parties with the high school crowd where everyone gets to experience a facial and a foot soak. That's how you really sell this stuff.
Consider hosting a fundraiser party for guests. This will introduce them to the product while you get an opportunity to give back through your work.
This is a personally beloved brand for me. I have always loved J.R. Watkins products and until now didn't even realize they offered direct-sales opportunities.
The Watkins Company sells naturally-based health, body, and food items (like seasonings and extracts) but I'm personally a fan from the limited amount of products they've sold in Bath and Body Works and hardware stores (quite the spectrum, there).
I looked around and couldn't find any solid information on how much it costs to start up with J.R. Watkins or what you must sell to remain active. However, I did find some information that suggests it's $40 just to become a "member" and the price goes up from there for start-up kits. My advice is to visit the site and request information on the appropriate form.
The products themselves aren't very expensive at all so you'd probably have to sell quite a bit to make a profit, and it certainly doesn't look like a get-rich quick scheme. To me, the benefits of being a direct-sales representative for The Watkins Company are A. a discount off your own purchases, and B. the opportunity to sell a cult-favorite that's difficult to find in stores--but familiar enough to be trusted by a wide-range of consumers.
You could certainly throw parties (try a tasting party with J.R. Watkins seasonings) but I also think the body and health items would sell themselves just through word-of-mouth and social networking. Give items as gifts and hook your friends and family.
Rodan and Fields
There are haters and there are devout followers of Rodan and Fields products but it's undeniable that this company is booming. It originated in department stores but was pulled nearly a decade ago and converted to a direct-sales company. If it sounds familiar that's because Rodan and Fields is the same company that created and sold the Proactiv line (which was personally heaven-sent for my crappy post-high school skin. Though I no longer need to use it, I credit the product with my now scar-free skin).
But let's get down to the nitty-gritty. This isn't a cheap product and it's expensive to become and remain a consultant. At minimum it costs $45 to join the Rodan and Fields team but it can cost a much as $995 (yeah, you read that right--almost a thousand bucks) depending on your start up kit. The average kit goes for around $400 so it's no doubt an investment. The compensation guide looks like a science text-book with tons of graphics and colors and numbers. I know from a consultant though that monthly fee includes $25 for your website and $80 for inventory.
This company also offers, among the majority on this list, one of the greatest opportunities for big money. Glassdoor reviewers give it high marks and those I know who sell the product really seem to enjoy doing so. But success with Rodan and Fields absolutely hinges on your ability to invest time, enthusiasm, and of course, money into the product. Social networking is a must. As I've said with a few of the other companies on this list, I also personally see a locale aspect to success in selling this product. I live in a place where most people earn a low-medium income and I know this stuff would be a hard sell--not because it doesn't work, but because most people around here wouldn't be able or willing to spend that much money on skin care. If you're in a predominantly wealthy area and network with people who really care about appearance and skin care (say, in a big city) though, this is a company worth looking into.
Direct Sales Success
Be okay with losing your investment.
Don't expect to lose your investment, but be realistic with the idea that if you don't work hard and you don't network you will lose your investment. Thinking realistically will help you to put forth the effort needed to find success without losing yourself to magical thinking.
One of the oldest direct-sales companies on this list (it was established in the 1800's!) Avon also sells some of the more affordable beauty products offered by direct-sales companies, including their Mark line, targeted specifically at consumers in the 16-25 age range.
Here's the thing about Avon though--there are a lot of hidden seller costs, from the catalogs to the packaging you'll use-- while the start up fee at the moment appears to be only $15 (!!) I can't find anything on monthly fees or quotas. I do think there's opportunity for a small passive income with Avon, but anyone considering selling Avon would do best to research personal experiences and decide from there.
Mary Kay needs no introduction. The make-up and skincare company has been an icon of American direct-sales for the last five decades. While a quick Google search brings up a smattering of both disappointed and dedicated independent consultants, success with Mary Kay seems to really come down to your interest in both selling and using the product.
Initial start up costs are $100 plus "shipping and handling" and consultants do seem to have a quarterly selling quota.
Usborne Books and More
Ugh! THIS is a company I absolutely adore. As a former homeschool-kid I grew up with these awesome books and can personally vouch for the products offered by Usborne. From educational sticker-books to baby board books, Usborne is loved by both kids and parents.
A benefit to becoming a consultant for Usborne books in the US is that the company is based out of the UK and their product is not available in the states except for the limited titles found in brick and mortar book stores and the small (outdated) selection on Amazon. So by being a direct-seller of this product, you have a leg up on the retail competition as you'll be offering new titles at the best possible price.
Mini-starter kits cost about $70 and the full starter kit is somewhere around $120 plus tax. There is no inventory to stock so beyond the initial investment you're good to go and at the time that I'm writing this there appears to be no monthly minimum fee to remain active. In the past this fee was small.
Some options for selling Usborne books are home parties (which average only $100 in sales per party) and book fairs at schools (which have some real cash-earning potential). Needless to say, this isn't exactly a get-rich-quick company and the niche is small--not everyone needs or wants children's books! But for the right momma with the right circle of friends I think this would be a great company. You could also consider throwing Facebook parties around the holidays for extra sales and homeschool stock-up parties each season.
Straight up this is some pretty cute but pretty expensive boutique-style children's clothing. And Matilda Jane is another company I can't get an easy answer from regarding start-up costs. I do find that disappointing when a company doesn't lay it all out there for potential sellers, but I guess they want to get you working from the start.
From what I gather, to become involved in Matilda Jane, you've gotta host a Trunk Show--another name for the parties that most of these companies require to make money.
Considering the price and niche consumer market required to spark interest in the product, this is a company best suited for moms who are passionate about children's fashion, and who have the the right social-circle to sell to.
Sellers also receive a discount once they've sold a specified amount of merchandise.
Hosting sales parties via Facebook is a great way to involve others in the product you're selling, whether or not they think they're interested in the first place.
Discovery Toys sells a variety of brightly colored toys aimed at sensory discovery and education through play (their products include toys and games designed for autism and special needs). If you have young kids or you homeschool then selling for Discovery Toys could prove dangerous--there's a lot of cool stuff here.
Start up costs are around $150 and there is a quarterly sales quota of $150. You don't have to keep inventory though it would be a good idea if you do decide to host home parties.
Health + Supplements
It Works! Global
You've heard of those wraps right? The ones you wrap around your post-partum stomach that magically transform your doughy middle into bikini-ready MILF abs? They're sold by It Works! Global and their team of distributors. Also available are supplements and health-shakes.
I can't get a super clear idea of how much it costs to sell for the company but it appears that packages start around $100 and can go up to $400.
After reading through reviews written by former and current distributors and users of the products it's clear that the products work--if only temporarily--and that selling for It Works requires an intense amount of motivation and work, without which you'll surely fail. This is more like a Work-At-Home career choice than a stay-at-home mom hobby. There seems to be an opportunity for serious cash here, but there's also opportunity to fail and lose money.
I'm personally not that motivated by health and fitness (I'm proud if I make a smoothie for myself in the morning and consider hauling my toddler up and down the stairs exercise enough...) so I don't think this would be the right company for me. But for someone who values those things and has the tenacity to truly sell and stand by this line of products, this looks like a great route. You may not need to throw parties to succeed (it's even suggested the you lose money at parties since you'd have to let guests try out the expensive products you've purchased yourself) but you'll stay plenty busy networking, advertising, and fulfilling orders. This is also a product you definitely need to go out of your own social-circle to sell. I live in a snowy, middle-sized town where my friends are much more likely to drop a hundred bucks on a pair of Patagonia gloves than a toning-wrap.
So, networking and social-media savvy are musts with this company.
Direct Sales Success
Give yourself space to work.
Carve out a corner of your home just for you and your endeavor. Make it kid and partner free and fill it with whatever inspires you to work towards your goals.
Young Living Essential Oils
Young Living Essential Oils offers just what you'd expect--essential oils, in all forms (from roll-ons to droppers for diffusing).
Start up costs range from $40-$150, depending on which kit you go for. I can't find anything about monthly costs or quotas.
Personally, this is a company that piques my interest for three reasons--I myself use essential oils, many of my friends use essential oils for their families, and finally, this particular company is sought-after for their product which hails as one of the more pure and trustworthy essential oil retailers in the U.S. These are products that sell themselves, but they're also not for everyone and you must keep that in mind if you do decide to become a consultant. This is a niche product that appeals to those who really value the benefits of essential oils.
Style + Accessories
Stella and Dot
To become a stylist for Stella and Dot, you'll need to put in an initial investment of around $200+ This cost includes the jewelry you'll be putting on display (and hopefully selling) at your initial trunk show (home-party). Stylists earn 25% of their total sales, so if you sell $100 worth of jewelry at your first trunk show you'll take home $25. Given the price of the pieces though, you'll likely make more if you host a large enough show.
Here's the really great thing about Stella and Dot though. From what I've found, at this time, it doesn't seem like they require a sales quota or selling schedule, so your income from this business really would be equal to the time and energy you can put into it each month.
Founded by a 14-year-old determined to have enough money to buy her own car by sixteen, Origami Owl is a jewelry company that allows "independent designers" to throw "Jewelry Bars" where guests oogle lockets, charms, and blingy earrings.
Start costs start at $149 for the basic package and go up to $399 depending on how much you want to invest right from the start. To maintain an active status you must sell $200 worth of wholesale every six months. But at around $60 a pop this shouldn't be too difficult if you can host around two parties a month.
Origami Owl doesn't seem to be a real time-taker-upper and should suit busy or new moms just fine. Honestly, the lockets seem pretty youthful to me and many of them I can't actually see buying and wearing, even at twenty-five (but maybe that's also because my kids would yank that sparkly charm right off my neck) but they'd make a great gift for my middle-school-aged niece and the post earrings would work with my lifestyle. Origami Owl also offers charm bracelets and lanyards (say, for key-cards) and with a product that's so customizable, this would be a great opportunity for fun, bubbly sellers and their friends.
Chloe + Isabel
First off, props to Chloe and Isabel for their super easy to navigate FAQs. It's refreshing to see a direct sales company offering straight forward answers to potential sellers.
Chloe and Isabel is a direct sales jewelry and accessories company. This company intrigues me because most pieces price below $50, are on-trend and are often featured in prominent fashion mags.
Start up costs are $175, this includes the pieces you'll need for home parties. There is no monthly quota, but if you fail to sell for over six months you'll no longer be considered an active consultant.
If you've never heard of Jamberry Nails, the company sells nail wraps--these plasticy things that you melt onto your nails for an instant manicure. They're super cute and supposedly super durable. Perfect for washing dishes, wiping bottoms, and peeling potatoes without ruining your nails.
The wraps aren't cheap though, at around $15 per sheet. The company also sells nail lacquer with a similar durability guarantee for the same price.
The start up fee is $99 and eventually you have to pay a monthly fee for use of your own website. That fee isn't stated.
You could definitely sell this product through social networking. In the end, parties may cost you since you'd have to use the expensive products as demonstrations. I have never used the product myself but I have friends who do and most of them say with a little practice it's easy to apply--though not everyone agrees. Sell this product at your own risk and if it doesn't work out for you at least you have some sweet nail products to keep for yourself.
Candles + Housewares
Ask friends who are or have been involved in direct-sales what their best advice for breaking even is, and if they have any connections they'd be willing to share with you.
You've probably heard of Scentsy -- the direct sales company that offers electric warmers, scented wax, and rooms sprays, among other good-smelly-things.
For me, Scentsy is an obvious and easy sell. Make my house smell like a bakery with the flip of a switch? Duh!
The start-up price is about $100 but you're also required to earn a certain amount of points (from sales, I figure) in a time frame that I don't totally understand because I'm very tired and way too full of mom-busyness to decipher the Scentsy code.
The cool thing about Scentsy is that while you can host Scentsy home parties (and probably should--since this product can't totally be sold without the sniff-test, right?) you could also see some success in virtual parties, especially with repeat customers. And a candle product with no flame appeals to fellow parents.
For a mom with small kids and not a ton of spare time this is a company that appears to fit the bill.
Mary and Martha
This "faith based" home décor company may be kind of a niche market (the majority of it's products are plastered in bible verses and spiritual inspirations) but marketed towards the right social circle, Mary and Martha home parties might appeal to brides-to-be looking to decorate their new abode or you might try throwing virtual parties around the holidays.
Start-up fees are between $100-$150.
Direct Sales Success
Choose a company that sells products you would be willing and excited to buy.
If you can't see you or your family using the product than how are you going to convince anyone else that they need it?
The Pampered Chef
Like Mary Kay, The Pampered Chef is one of those companies that has a cult-following. The start-up fee is $160+ and consultants must sell $150 a month to remain "active" though it looks like that's kind of a loose standard--supposedly you can go six whole months without a sale and still become "reactivated" with $150 in sales.
Because of the popularity of the product though, it looks like this is a pretty time and energy consuming direct-sales job. Consultants seem to do their best work at home-parties. However, there are consumers who seek this product out so hosting virtual parties and keeping an online presence would probably benefit a seller too. It seems that the key to success with Pampered Chef products starts with personality, specifically an outgoing and bubbly one.
Personally, I think it's a good sign that this company not only made it through the recession, but that the company seems to be thriving as a whole.
Food + Edibles
Dove Chocolate Discoveries
You don't necessarily need to be passionate about chocolate to sell Dove Chocolate Discoveries. Chances are most people that you'd be selling to already feel pretty great about chocolate. The thing is, you can pick up chocolate at the gas station, so why buy direct?
From my research of DCD, it seems that this is a company and product that would best suit a mom with older kids who can stay behind for chocolate-tasting parties since it seems pretty hard to sell the product through social-networking alone or in your own limited social-circles. I think that some of the products would sell well in an office setting too--say as holiday gifts from the boss at a large company.
Start-up fees are $100+ and to remain an active consultant you must sell $600 in six months.
Steeped is a fairly new (2012) company specializing in loose-leaf teas. Of many of the companies I'm writing about here, this is admittedly one of the few I've actually heard of prior to my research. I was invited to a Steeped tea party last month but thanks to debilitating morning sickness (yay) had to decline the invitation. It sounded fun though, a bunch of friends getting together to try flavors like Birthday Cake and Almond Chocolate Torte. The start-up kit is only about $150 but you are required to pay a monthly fee of near $13 to maintain your active consultant status.
Although virtual parties would probably see some sales, this is one of those products you really need to sell at home-parties and through in-person-networking to break even. I personally can't see myself buying a gourmet edible product like this without sniffing it at the very least, and it might be a hard sell if most of your friends are still in the pregnant/breastfeeding stage since many teas and herbs are kind of a no-no during those times.
That being said, I think this product has a lot of potential. Tea and accessories can be touted as perfect Mother's Day and birthday gifts, and these parties would be fun to throw and attend during the cold, blustery winter months post-Christmas when most direct-sales companies are probably experiencing a lull in sales. Plus, on the flip-side of coffee-madness, there's a ton of devout tea-drinkers and it comes with the quiet promise of relaxation and me-time -- a mom's greatest fantasy.
Although I'd honestly never heard of this company before my research, with hard-work and a commitment to tasting parties, it appears to be one of the most lucrative direct-sales companies around. Why? Because Wildtree is offering products that people actually use on a daily basis.
Syrup, gravy, and salsa are just a few of the products offered by Wildtree under the premise that their condiments and spices are, "free of preservatives, additives, fillers and promote a healthier lifestyle." ... which is probably how they can convince you purchase a $12 spice blend. After looking through their product catalog and their business model I do think this looks like a good opportunity for those who have the time and the energy to devote to the company and selling Wildtree products.
Wildtree parties require "tastings" which requires cooking, so if you're not actually comfortable with cooking or making yourself at home in someone else's house (I would be totally freaked out-- ummm can I touch your stove? Is that cool?) this probably isn't the right company for you. You will also need to set up and take down your parties so as not to leave your host or hostess with a mess.
So, if you've got kids in diapers, seriously just move along.
If not, listen up. Wildtree offers a product that others will actually buy without much hesitation. Unlike earrings and body-wraps, you don't need to convince potential consumers that they need food. They do. And though the blends offered through Wildtree can look expensive, in reality it would take far more to create those blends at home. You're also opened up to a greater consumer-base than some companies can reach since men and women of all ages and all walks of life eat and therefore, cook.
The initial start-up cost appears to be $50 but you must meet $350 in sales each year. With the price of these products, this seems reachable after a few good-sized parties.
Do you have experience with any of the companies I've listed or with direct-sales? Share in the comments!