Direct Sellling gaining traction - Million Wishes
A dozen women sat around Isabelle Carelli's dining room table last month, drinking wine and eating finger food. As they ate, Mary Kay beauty consultant Jocelyn Kenner discussed the different skin care and beauty products the women would be trying on.When Kenner was finished — the real fun began.First the women had to remove any eye makeup they had on."You just want to give it a little shake," said Kenner of the oil free makeup remover she passed around the table with a bowl of cotton balls.
For the next few minutes, the women used small purple mirrors to make sure they were removing all their eye makeup.Looking a little concerned, Ann Vitiello asked, "Are we going to get makeup to put back on?"Kenner assured her she would.Then for the next four hours, the women learned the importance of using toner, exfoliant and cleanser as well as how to pick the right lipstick, eye shadow, eyeliner, blush and foundation for their skin color.Kenner, a Mary Kay beauty consultant for the past eight months, has become part of the growing Direct Selling industry — an industry of about 1,500 companies, including Tupperware and Avon, that sell consumer products or services, person-to-person and usually in a home setting.
From 1994 to 2004, sales increased nearly 80 percent from $16.6 billion to $29.7 billion, according to the Direct Selling Association, a national trade association of companies that manufacture and distribute goods and services sold directly to consumers.In addition to makeup and skin care products, Direct Selling companies offer lingerie, pet supplies, toys and children's accessories, scented candles and in-home photo shoots.The largest categories of product sales are personal care products ($9.2 billion), home/family care ($9.1 billion), and wellness products ($4.8 billion)."It's become an increasingly more popular way to shop," said Amy Robinson, director of communications and media relations, for the Direct Selling Association.One reason is that companies are finding direct selling is a great distribution model."
On the financial side, direct selling has low overhead, robust cash flow and there's little need for an advertising budget because that's what your sellers are doing for you," Robinson said.Many traditional retailers have started their own direct selling subsidiaries, including Lillian Vernon with "Celebrations," Jockey with "Jockey Person-to-Person," Jones Apparel Group with "Million Wishes," and the Body Shop with "The Body Shop at Home."There is also an increased frustration with traditional retail shopping.