If you’re looking to start a home business in direct sales, but don't know which company to choose, then you can start by looking into the 16 companies listed below. They're broken down into the following categories:
- Home Goods, Décor, and Candles
- Food, Tea, and Wine
- Health and Wellness
- Personal Care and Makeup
Unless otherwise noted, all of these companies are a member of the Direct Selling Association (DSA). Some companies allow you to join through their website, and others require that a consultant help you. The sites have resources to find a consultant in your area or to have one contact you.
Home Goods, Décor, and Candles
Clever Container: Started in 2007, Clever Container is one of the newer companies on the list. If you like organizing, Clever Container has over 200 products and several startup options form $49 to $99. Clever Container uses a party plan model.
Scentsy: Scentsy started in 2004 by selling wax tarts and warmers and expanded into candles. Today, it includes several scented products such as bath, body, and household cleaners. Scentsy uses a party plan model.
Tupperware: There are certain names that are synonymous with direct sales, and Tupperware is one of them. Although not in the Direct Sales Association, Tupperware was started in the 1940s, so it has a long track record of success. Tupperware makes containers, pitchers and kitchen ware, and it's always evolving to help make life in the kitchen easier. And if you’re worried about BPAs, as of March 2010, Tupperware products in the U.S. and Canada are BPA free.
Food, Tea, and Wine
Tastefully Simple: Tastefully Simple offers more than 60 meal kits sold through a party plan model. You can get started for only $39.
Tealightful Tea: If you like tea, especially custom hand-crafted blends using fresh organic teas, herbs, spices and botanicals, you might want to consider Tealightful Tea. It uses a party plan model.
The Cocoa Exchange: Are you a chocoholic? The Cocoa Exchange offers chocolate brands of Dove, Pure Dark, and Pod & Bean. Beyond chocolate candy, The Cocoa Exchange also sells mixes (brownie, martini), teas, sauces, rubs, and more. It uses a party plan model.
Wildtree: If you’re concerned about eating all-natural organic food, Wildtree offers a business opportunity for you. It uses a party plan model.
WineShop: If you’re a wine lover, the WineShop can help you start a home business. The Wine Shop offers wine and gourmet food items. It uses party plan and person-to-person marketing. You need to be 21 or older to start this business.
Health and Wellness
The number of companies in this category is huge. A few top ones are listed below, but you can visit the DSA to see more.
BeachBody: If you’ve heard of P90X or Shaun T, you’ve heard about BeachBody products. In this program, you become a coach, and along with selling its DVDs, you can also promote shakes and other nutritional supplements. It uses a person-to-person plan.
Melaleuca: This is a company you may not have heard of, but it’s been around over 30 years and has an A+ rating at the BBB. Melaleuca offers safer, non-toxic home care, personal care, beauty, and other products. It also offers discounts through hundreds of retail partners, including Priceline.com, Barnes and Noble, Kohl’s, Verizon and more. The membership is $29, and then you buy products you need from it’s vast line of personal and home care items. Melaleuca uses a person-to-person plan, but differs in that you don’t sell products individually. Instead Melaleuca works like Costco or Sam’s club, in which people become members and shop for what they want directly from the site.
Shaklee: Shaklee is another company that has been around a while. It offers products for a health lifestyle, from supplements to protein powder. It has a person-to-person plan.
Personal Care and Makeup
Avon: Avon is the oldest company on this list, founded in 1886. At one time, it was a door-to-door sales company offering makeup, but has changed with the times and offers a host of products including makeup, skin care, jewelry and more. Avon creates new catalogs frequently so there’s always something new to offer your customers. The start up is only $10, making it one of the most affordable to start, too. It uses a person-to-person plan, and since it’s so well known, many reps just have to delivery a catalog and then take orders.
BeneYou: Started in 2010, this company initially sold Jamberry nail wraps and other nail products, but like many companies with a limited scope, expanded it’s line to include additional beauty products as well to appeal to more consultants and customers. It pays up to 40% commission with two start up offers at $99 and $200.
Mary Kay: Started in 1963, Mary Kay is the oldest and one of the most well-known names in direct sales. Mary Kay started the company with a vision to empower women. Its products are primarily skin care and beauty products. It’s a party plan and person-to-person plan that also offers a store website and mobile business tools for consultants.
Fun Journey Stampers: This company is like owning your own craft store. Stared in 2011, it has a vast array of products, including scrapbook and memory-keeping items, planners, party goods, stamps, inks, washi tape, card stock, plus the tools and accessories that go with crafting. It offers starter kits so you can pick the one that best fits your needs and budget. It uses a party plan model.
SendOutCards: Started in 2003, SendOutCards makes creating and sending personalized cards easy. While it’s something everyday people can use, a great target market for this business is other businesses that want to stay in touch with their customers and prospects. You create your cards online using a template and/or uploading your own graphics and photos, and SendOutCards prints and mails it to the recipient. You can even add a gift that will also be sent from SendOutCards. It uses a party plan and person-to-person plan.
How to Choose the Right Direct Sales Company for You
In reality, success in direct sales, as in all home business, comes from having an interest and excitement about the business. Any business is hard to build if you don't understand it or aren't committed to it. If you don’t like or know anything about health and wellness, for instance, selling vitamins will be difficult.
To determine if direct sales is for you, and to find the best direct sales company, start by answering the following questions.
- What types of products or services do I use and enjoy? There are direct sales companies in many industries, and chances are there is a company that sells a product or service you can get excited about.
- How much time can I put into a direct sales business? Direct sales is a person-to-person business, in that you need to share the products directly to potential customers. This can be done in a variety of ways including a party plan (hosting a group demonstration), one-on-one presentations, over the phone (one-on-one or conference calls), or webinars. Based on your current schedule, is there a type of presentation option that works best for you?
- Do you have limits on how much you can invest? Some companies require $25 (sometimes less) to start, while others require $300, or sometimes more.
Answering these questions will help you narrow your search. When you look at a company, make a checklist of your needs and see if they're met. Choose the company that aligns the most with your needs and interests.
How to Avoid Direct Sales Scams
A big concern many would-be direct sales reps have is scams. Many scammers and schemers use a direct sales model, but they don’t have a product or service, or one of real worth. This is the definition of a a quasi-Ponzi or pyramid scheme.
Follow these tips to to avoid a direct sales scam:
- Check that the company is a member of the Direct Selling Association. All companies listed there must meet standards of business practices and ethics.
- Choose a company that has been around for five years or longer. While new companies might be great options, they are at their most financial risk in the first few years.
- Read everything, including the fine print. Many people that complain about direct sales really only have themselves to blame for not reading what they signed up for. Read the contract, terms, and restrictions. Make sure you understand how to terminate your contract and return your kit or products. Study the compensation and marketing plans, and ask questions if you don’t understand something.
- Choose a sponsor you can work with. You'll want a sponsor that doesn’t put pressure on you, while at the same time challenging you to reach your goals.