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Daytona Beach, FL, News-Journal: “Direct Selling Soars”

July 22, 2009

The article below is from the Daytona Beach, FL, News-Journal.  The headline says, “Direct selling soars,” but then you’ll see that revenue is slightly down.  The key is that recruiting numbers are way up, which means people are looking and open to other ways of making money.  Revenue is down because, it seems obvious, people can’t afford to spend as much money as they used to.  Remember, the most important key to making big money in direct sales is TIMING – most of the companies mentioned below have already had their big vertical growth phase and will never again offer the chance to grow with a company from 5000 reps to 100,000 or one million reps.  That’s why DubLi, with an amazingly tiny 7000 reps, is such a huge goldmine for us.

Red highlights are mine.

July 14, 2009

Right To The Point:  Direct Selling Soars

Business Writer

DAYTONA BEACH — After not working for several years, area resident Nancy Valorose decided to ease back into the workforce through direct retail sales.

Last month Valorose staged her first party for lia sophia jewelry, one of more than 200 businesses that are members of the Direct Selling Association. The firms all offer consumers the opportunity to make money through a multi-level compensation plan or single-level plan — or both.

Valorose worked as a project coordinator in the law enforcement field for years before she and her husband moved here three years ago to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, as well as to be near his mother.

She chose lia sophia because she likes the product, she said. “At this point I want to work for myself.”

She is not alone.

Neil Offen, DSA president, said the ranks of direct sellers swelled by 100,000 people in 2008. “Recruiting is up. People either need to supplement their incomes or they have lost their jobs,” Offen said in a telephone interview from his office in Washington, D.C.

Sales in the U.S. were $29 billion in 2008, down slightly from the $30.8 billion posted in 2007, according to the 2008 Growth & Outlook Survey Report prepared for the trade association, which represents 95 percent of the industry.

During a recession, research shows those attracted to direct selling are more serious about making money than typical recruits who usually are looking for ways to obtain the products at a discount for themselves, Offen said.


The median gross income for people involved in direct sales is $2,500 a year for about five hours a week. Those who are willing to put in more time can earn more money, he said.

In some instances direct sellers also can earn the use of a new car. That is what happened to area resident Paula Reed, who sells Mary Kay cosmetics. “We are independent beauty consultants,” said Reed, who works during the day full time at an area college.

Reed said she started selling Mary Kay about five years ago to earn extra money. At one point she devoted up to 20 hours a week and produced enough sales to earn the use of a car for two years. “You can also take a cash option,” she said.

In recent years, however, she scaled back her hours to concentrate on pursing a second graduate degree. Fortunately, she said, a strong client base still supports her.

Kathy Desmore-Reeves started with Mary Kay, stopped and then started again about two years ago. Desmore-Reeves said she initially joined to help a friend and to make extra money. The second time, however, she was looking for something to do once her daughter graduates from high school and heads to college. “I’ve given her all of my time. I decided it was time to do something for me,” she said.

Desmore-Reeves, who also holds down a full-time job, said she now limits her selling time to the weekends.


Clothing, accessories and personal care items comprise about a third of the items sold through direct sales, according to statistics compiled by the DSA. The next largest category is home and family-care products, which accounted for 25.6 percent of sales in 2007, followed by wellness products, including weight loss and vitamins, which accounted for 21.4 percent.

“You name the product and somebody is selling it,” Offen said, noting the phenomenon is worldwide. In Japan, consumers can shop for autos and condoms at home parties.

The largest number of U.S. sales occur in the South, which accounted for 31.6 percent in 2007. The second highest region was the West, which accounted for 26.8 percent. Women, perhaps not surprising, made up 87.9 percent of the direct sales force in 2007. One reason may be the social nature of hosting home parties.

Of the estimated 15 million direct sellers in 2007, only 9.9 percent worked full time, which is 30 hours or more a week.

Ormond Beach resident Kim Miller, a unit manager for lia sophia jewelry, said she spends about 20 hours a week, including time spent conducting training classes for new consultants or advisers.

Miller said she started with the company six years ago after her children left home and she suddenly had a lot of spare time. “So, I started selling jewelry and got a cat,” she said.

Thanks to her sales volume, she has earned trips to Hawaii, Mexico and even had the opportunity this year to go on a cruise. She passed on the latter and took the cash option that allowed her to buy new living room furniture.

Miller said when she started with the company, there were only 12 people selling lia sophia in Florida. That number has since grown to around 600, she said. “Up north, in Michigan and Ohio, there were thousands of them,” Miller said.


The majority of people involved in direct sales devote about 10 hours a week, according to Offen. “That is all they want. Most have very modest goals,” he said. Some women get involved to earn extra money for the holidays, to pay down a credit card or to help pay for something they want, such as a refrigerator, he said. If they meet their goal, then they are considered a success, he said.

Between 10 percent and 15 percent of direct sellers have been known to sell several different products during a year, he said. One reason may be the ease to get in and out of the different programs. Some companies will buy back leftover products at a discount, Offen said.

Direct Selling Firms

There are actually hundreds of direct sellers in the U.S., but here’s a sampling of some of the most well-known with representatives in this area.

· Avon: cosmetics

· lia sophia: jewelry

· Longaberger: baskets, home goods

· Mary Kay: cosmetics

· Pampered Chef: cookware

· Partylite: Candles

SOURCE: News-Journal research

More information:
· Direct Selling Association

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