I used to not be a very big fan of the direct sales industry (pyramid scheme, anyone?). But, I did love some of the products. I owned a bunch of Pampered Chef and Scentsy stuff and loved them. But I knew how it worked: go to a “party” at someone’s house, buy some things to support them, and find out that I, too, can host a party for free stuff (which we did sometimes) or join the company as a rep “to make a bunch of money like I’m doing right now”. Sure, and now I have to push the opportunity to all my friends and family so I can make money. That part wasn’t for me. Too many horror stories.
But I always liked the products I just bought.
So after we started Save the Day Seasonings, we had to decide how we were going to sell them. We entertained the idea of direct selling, but because of trepidations about the industry we decided to try to get into stores. About the same time, we started selling at a weekly farmer’s market in Boise.
It was literally like pulling teeth to get any store buyer to talk to us, even when we already had an “in” with the store. I was confused, because we clearly had a better product than what was available. Says a lot about that mysterious industry.
Meanwhile, at the farmer’s market, sales were astonishingly good! After 6 months we only got our products in 2 very small stores, yet week after week we had amazing sales at the Market. Then I had a middle-of-the-night flash of inspiration: “You have to go direct sales!” What I realized was that when a potential customer has the opportunity to taste our products and we can briefly explain how we can help make their cooking (and lives) easier, tastier, and healthier, they were sold! A store could not offer that. Plus, we had so many ideas for new blends, and even whole new product lines, that a store would never be able to stock it all. We decided to take control of our own destiny. We became a direct sales company, but one with a mission to bring a better name to the industry.
Fortunately, we found that there are MANY great direct sales companies out there, and that there was, in fact, a very RIGHT way to run a direct sales company without being a “pyramid scheme”. There is also a governing body, the Direct Sales Association (DSA), that has a code of ethics that member companies like us pledge to follow, including a guaranteed 90% buyback of all products should you choose to leave the business.
So now I’m a big fan of the industry because I know that it can be done ethically and in ways that are beneficial to our Kitchen Consultants. There is also legislation right now in Congress for the first time to define at the federal level what a “pyramid scheme” is so we can more effectively bring down companies who are abusing a system that legitimate companies use to help people improve their lives. So we will be supporting H.R. 3409.
As a company, our story is not a new one: guy has problem, guy solves problem by creating something cool, guy starts selling cool new product, works, struggles, rejoices, despairs, has success and failure, has nothing yet has everything, and in the end a company emerges that is larger in vision and passion that the sum of its parts. But that’s been my and our road. What about your road? Do you have a potential that is, for now, under-developed? Just know that no reward is without risk of loss. No love is without risk of heartbreak, and nobody prospers without their fair share of misfortune.
If your life feels like more misfortune than fortune, as many people feel at some point in their lives, know that the greatest people who ever lived also had to wade through lots of it to get to their fortune. But they just did one thing that others did not do: they did not give up. And I’m glad I didn’t when I could have, because now I have an opportunity to, with our company family, change the world!