What I Learned From Three Years in Direct Sales–The Pros…The Cons

The Pros

I sold Stella & Dot jewelry and accessories for 3 years and I wrote about why I loved being a Stella & Dot Stylist here.

Being able to sample them at a discount or get them free was fun.

As a walking billboard for my products. I loved getting complements and “selling” my jewelry and accessories while holding a casual conversation.

Wearing my accessories made me feel good. I enjoyed planning my outfits around my accessories and it forced me to take more time to put myself together before I walked out the door, knowing that I had a great opportunity to sell on the go.

Many of the samples are my favorite pieces. I love to mix and match them with my non-Stella & Dot accessories.

The Cons —

The cons for me really weren’t cons so much as they were realizations about what sales entails and what I found less enjoyable — Booking, Booking parities from parties, constant revolving door of contacts.

Booking and selling at trunk shows can be stressful. The main source of income for a direct seller is in the “party.”

Customers would try on my samples which were also the samples that I wore each day, so I had to get beyond the idea that other people were trying on my things.

It’s not always the win-win senario for you and your hostess.Your audience will either love what you’ve got and buy, which benefits you in commissions and in your points toward earning free accessories for you and for your hostess. Your audience will also hopefully not only become customers but will host their own shows, thus inviting their friends to their own party and the cycle continue. or they won’t; leaving you and your hostess without any free and discounted merchandise due to lack of sales.

Once I contacted everyone on my Who Do You Know List (a list of people who you know from all of your different circles), to interest them in doing a show with me, it became harder to meet new people to do shows for, so I’d go to vendor and networking events to hopefully meet new potential customers there.

While I loved meeting new potential clients at those networking functions, vendor events have admission fees ranging from free to upwards of $125 or more. While it was tax deductible, I did have to be careful to weigh the cost vs. the return on investment for these functions.

The set-up for these events was always a bear for me. There were so many little things to bring, in addition to the jewelry and accessories–the table — a heavy foldable 4-6ft table, table cloth, stands to hold up signage and display trays,neck busts to display the necklaces on, bracelet bars, bag stands to hold up the totes and handbags, banners, mirrors other doodads to make my table stand out and look pretty.

Wear and Tear  on My GPS and I —

There’s also the getting lost factor. The GPS is my best friend. Finding the hostesses homes or the locations of the vendor shows and allowing for enough time to potentially get lost, get on the right track and arrive with plenty of time to set up and put a smile on your face before the guests arrive. It seemed that no matter how much time I left to get to my destination it wasn’t enough. I was always rushing to get everything set up before the doors opened for business.

Would I do it again?

I am not sure. I’m leaning toward no, though. While I love how DS gives women (and some men, too) a chance to start a small business literally right out of the box — you buy your sample kit and your catalogs and you’re ready to go — it’s difficult to keep on finding new customers. Creating a team is the way to earn the most income from a

Am I sorry I did it?

No, not at all! I wanted to try something new, I was very practical about it and I knew the risks.   I definitely made sales, I learned something new, I was able to purchase my samples at a discount and even better, earned some of my favorite jewelry, accessories and bags free.

What about you? Have you been in

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