Can You Make Money With Sigma Distributors, Previously Smart Living Company (SLC)?
Urgent Update - Smart Living Company inventory sold to SIGMA Distributors as of December 31, 2019
Exciting update: SIGMA website has been updated to allow you to place an order from site now. You may now download images from site. If you visit the old site it has a link to new at the bottom and important information for those who are returning SLC members as well as for new members. As of 29 Mar 2020.
What It's Like Selling With SIGMA Distributors (Formerly Smart Living Company (SLC) and SMC)
When I began selling home decor it was with the distributor SMC (Specialty Merchandise Corp), and its spokesperson was Tom Bosley from the TV show Happy Days. In April 2012 SMC changed its name to Smart Living Company. This article was first published over eleven years ago and updated (most recently in Feb 2020) to reflect recent changes to this supplier to completely new company.
Based on my 11+ years experience, yes, it is definitely possible to make money. It is not a scam. You will make money more efficiently if you follow my advice below and avoid choices that make your work harder.
2020 welcomes SIGMA Distributors
As of December 31, 2019 the inventory and warehouse that belonged to Smart Living Company were purchased by SIGMA Distributors (Referred to as SIGMA henceforth.).
Change is scary and while not at the fault of the new company I felt like a little more notice of the change from SLC would have been beneficial instead of going to the website to place an order to find it was effectively no longer available just a page with a notice of the sale.
Updates coming soon on what to expect from SIGMA.
Smart Living Company Basics (left for historical reasons)
Smart Living Company buys and warehouses thousands of home and garden décor products that you can sell in various ways. It provides catalogs and supplies you can use to sell their products. Some of the products are shown on television or may have been picked up at closeout prices. Brands they carry include Home Locomotion, Cloudworks, Natural Solution, Wyland, Harley Davidson, and Sesame Street, just to name a few.
Smart Living Company is more or less like any other drop shipper service. Unlike brokers like Doba, who connect you to the manufacturer or company who has the product and charges you a fee for it, you buy the product from SLC and they either drop ship it or deliver it to you so you can resell it.
Can You Make Money? The Answer Is Yes
Of course there is potential at SIGMA, just like any other sales program. To be honest, you aren't likely to go from never having sold anything before to being a wealthy top ranking salesperson. But why not be fair to the system and actually learn about it before judging it.
I had been using SLC/SMC for over 11 years for a side income. I have averaged about $2,000-$4,000 in sales per year the last 6+ years. I would not call that a smashing success, but I sure would not call it a failure by any means. One year when I was able to stay at home and dedicate more time to my sales I averaged much higher sales.
While I enjoy selling online, it is not as reliable an income as a steady paycheck. Any successful business requires time and dedication.
During weeks where I only put in two to four hours of real effort, I see about $30-$700 in sales, which is at worst $15.00 per hour and at best $350.00 per hour for my efforts. This of course does not consider any costs associated with those sales. Because I don’t have a brick-and-mortar location, my costs derive from online and in-person cash-and-carry sales only.
I Decided It Wasn’t a Scam
I researched SMC, as it was called before I began, quite a bit before I decided to join it. I had been selling on eBay and on my own sites. My most successful ventures have been selling home décor items and Tupperware.
Before Smart Living Company I had been exposed to with get-rich schemes and "it’s so easy that it sells itself" type of programs. I had been scammed before. So I didn't go into Smart Living Company expecting to get rich, and I decided to check it out in detail before I tried it, and of course I called my mother who had been a member in the past to get some advice. I am glad I knew what to expect before I signed up.
I went ahead even though thousands of individuals claimed SMC was a scam, because I could tell from what they said that most of those individuals had not made good decisions in their experiment with SMC. They did not follow the plan laid out on the website or the descriptions in the infomercials.
It’s right to be skeptical of any commercials saying some wonderful system can make you wealthy nearly overnight. As they say, if it is too good to be true, it probably is. Does that mean it is not worth trying? Absolutely not! It just means you should develop a good business plan before you begin.
Think optimistically but plan realistically, with achievable figures, as with any other big life decision. You can begin making money using Smart Living Company successfully if you are truly prepared to do the work involved.
What You Get By Joining SIGMA
Now that we have answered the question“Can you make money with SIGMA?" with a "yes,” let us explore how you can.
SIGMA gives you the option of buying from them and having the item "drop shipped" directly to the person you are selling to, or ordering in bulk directly to you for you to resell, in a "brick and mortar" business, door to door, or kiosk. Similar to Tupperware or Avon you can get catalogs and host parties, or you go to the distribution center and make large purchases without having a shipping expense.
SIGMA has many options for purchasing: you can drive there to pick up your order, order online, mail in an order or phone in an order. They do not charge a "drop ship" fee. Meanwhile I can assure you there are lots of wholesale drop shippers who charge from $1.00 to $8.00 per order just to ship the item for you or to broker the deal between you and the manufacturer, and will charge you for shipping on top of that.
If you are selling at a party or door to door, a per-order charge may not be an issue if you order all items at once and deliver them personally as opposed to in a brick and mortar store. This business would be hard to do for someone without a phone or internet. You could mail your orders in, but your sales would be limited, practically, to brick and mortar stores or flea markets.
When you sign up you will get access to SIGMA's website, which is searchable like any other website. The front page is full of links taking you to resourceful areas of the site and to the lowest cost products.
As of February 2020 there are currently no charges to be a member however they have also removed the volume discounts. This is subject to change as SIGMA continues to evaluate their options for improving their business.
If you are a highly motivated salesperson who isn't afraid to ask someone for a sale face to face, there are so many opportunities waiting for you. But your new business still has a long road ahead with many hurdles.
The single biggest hurdle might be the cost of operating an online store and the cost of getting it set up if you do not have either website design skills or a lot of time on your hands to learn them. More on that further down in the article.
Catalogs are currently not available as of February 2020.
Tools are available to help you succeed, or to do better if you have been trying to sell SIGMA. This page is purely informational to assist readers in making a decision whether to use SIGMA and does not represent the company in any way.
Plans to earn money selling any product will require very hard work regardless of the supplier you choose.
Looking for a Connection Without the Commitment?
HNG Wholesale allows free access to the same products as Smart Living Company. For more information visit HNG's F.A.Q.
Shipping and Website
Shipping costs at SLC have gone up and down. The standard shipping rate for orders below $30.00 (not including the shipping or fuel surcharge) is now $7.95. For orders over $30.00 the shipping cost is a percentage based on a zone map.
For example, if you need to ship a product that weighs between one and two pounds, the rate is typically about $9.00 to $12.49 using the UPS calculator, while the actual cost charged to you is typically $7.95, plus a possible fuel surcharge which is typically about $.50. That is a difference of $0.55 to $4.04 in potential additional profit.
This difference in cost gives you an incentive to upsell. It is expensive to pay someone to package and ship one little 95-cent item, and it won’t make you a profit. Often, I get orders online for one very small item, like a $1.00 clearance item, and they will gladly pay the $9.00 - $12.49 shipping I charge them to get it. Bizarre but very common! And you have to honor requests like this or you will ruin your reputation.
You can avoid this dilemma by setting your online store up to only accept a minimum order (though you chance losing those little customers). Or you can find a way to change little buyers into big buyers through special offers or strategically designing your website, for example by placing related items all around the cart to boost sales. Upselling is one way to achieve success in sales!
Limitations of Website
Since the change to SIGMA they finally did get a new site up but it still has some limitations.
- Downloading pictures is one large zip file or one by one from the product page.
- While they did add plus sign buttons to make it easier to add to cart they do not have a way to just add with SKU number.
- They still do not offer a product feed on the site however they do now email about 4 times a day inventory status files.
Shipping Times Have Improved Since the Warehouse Upgrade
After the previous company changed warehouses, I was upset with shipping delays that lasted more than a month for some of my orders. After a couple of months, orders for less than two or three items started shipping quickly, but the struggles continued for another two to three months for larger orders.
Currently overall shipping has improved and customers are very happy with the fast shipping. Now orders I place by noon PST typically are shipped that day or the next morning at the latest. There are always exceptions for very heavy or bulky products.
For some reason, I still do not get emails for all tracking on the orders I place. That is only a minor inconvenience because as soon as they creare the label I can log in and get the tracking information.
I lost some loyal customers during the warehouse upgrade and for the most part they have not come back. On the other hand, since the warehouse finally worked out the kinks, shipments go out very quickly and I have gained new customers.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
How much does it cost to join SLC?
At this time due to the recent changes to SIGMA Dist. I am unable to tell you a fee amount for new accounts as I have not been able to find any indication of a charge to new members and for myself, I registered as a previous SLC member. Update as of 3/29/2020: There are currently no monthly/annual fees for being a member.Helpful 10
I had an old account when it was Specialty Merchandise Corp. How do I know what my fees will be now if I want to start up again?
If your membership number rolled over to Smart Living Company then there could be a chance it has migrated to SIGMA as well. As for fees they are currently not charging any fees.Helpful 7
Can I get catalogs?
Currently, the new company does not provide catalogs. This may be a feature they bring back but as of right now the answer is unfortunately no.Helpful 4
I've been an SMC member since 1989, how do I get to the new website?
You can visit https://sigmaslc.com/Helpful 3
I have the opportunity to pass out hundreds of catalogs, do I have to do everything online while working for Sigma Distributors?
No, however, they currently do not have catalogs available to purchase. You potentially could make your own small catalog. The new company is still working the kinks out in their setup.Helpful 2