Is the Direct Sales Industry a Scam?
By Holly Reisem Hanna
Recently I’ve noticed a lot of traffic coming to my site from the search query, “Stella & Dot Scam”. Having hosted a Stella & Dot party myself and knowing numerous direct sales Consultants for Stella & Dot, I couldn’t figure out why this query was popping up so much. So I decided to dig a little deeper to see if there was actually something to it.
First of all, for those of you who are not familiar with Stella & Dot, it is a direct sales company that sells the most adorable jewelry from mompreneur, Jessica Herrin. In the direct sales industry, Independent Consultants market and sell products directly to consumers away from a retail store location; often times this is done through in-home parties, presentations, online stores and/or through catalogs (Avon, Mary Kay and Tupperware are all well known direct sales companies). For a small fee, the company supplies the Consultant with a starter kit that gives them everything they need to get started with their business; usually including samples, training, a website and marketing tools. The Consultant then makes a commission off all of the products that they sell – pretty straight forward.
I started my quest by performing a Google search on, “Stella & Dot Scam” and low and behold 211,000 different results popped up (I only looked at the first 5 pages of results). Starting with the most relevant result, I conducted my research and here is what I found.
- One question from a woman on a forum asking if anyone had any good or bad information on Stella & Dot – no negative replies were noted.
- Various multi-level marketing articles (MLM) that included Stella & Dot as an example of a direct sales company.
- Numerous interviews with Jessica Herrin, CEO of Stella & Dot.
- The same complaint on numerous review sites, about a rhinestone missing from a ring that was purchased through a Stella & Dot Consultant.
- Assorted reviews on the Stella & Dot opportunity – none of the reviews that I looked at were negative.
Nothing out of the ordinary, so I continued my search on the Better Business Bureau website where I found one A- rating for an Independent Stella & Dot Consultant located in Clear Water, Florida. My last effort to dig up some dirt on Stella & Dot was to perform a Twitter search, and this too proved to be fruitless.
So is the direct sales industry a scam?
Absolutely not! Not only do I know a ton of women who are supporting their families by working in the direct sales industry, but according to Direct Selling Association (DSA), the direct sales industry generated over $30 billion in U.S. sales in 2007.
Of course just like any other industry, there are some bad apples in the bunch, so if you’re considering a work at home opportunity in the direct sales industry, you just need to take your time and do your due diligence. Starting by following the steps that I took above, then see if the company has any contact information listed; an email address, phone number and physical address. Try to contact them and get some additional information on their company and the opportunity.
Look for testimonials from other Consultants, in fact talk to other Consultants about their experiences with the company. You’ll also want to test out the product for quality and durability, along with learning the commission structure, associated fees and contracts that are required for the business opportunity. Check to see if the company is affiliated with the DSA which promotes ethical business practices in the direct sales market.
We all know that when you’re looking for work at home opportunities, you are bombarded with information, websites, and products that all claim to be the next best thing. It’s hard to know what to believe and who to trust, but by investing a little time and effort you can protect yourself from scams and perhaps even find the career path that you’ve been searching for.