Leggings and jewelry and books OH MY! What is it about these Multi-level Marketing (MLM) product lines that have us seeing them everywhere we look lately? Well, something has to be working and personally I kind of “get it” more than ever… I’ve read the satirical articles about irritating Facebook groups selling psychedelic leggings, and I understand how that resonates with many readers. That’s fine (and pretty funny too), but as a small business owner myself I have a bit of a different outlook, and honestly I’ve enjoyed recently hosting a couple of product parties in my own home (or together with friends), and here’s why…
I like the stuff!
I have integrity about what I bring into my home and offer my friends. I’m confident about the products because I love them, I’m not trying to “hock” anything to anyone and the friends I bring into my home to showcase their wares aren’t either. I value transparency and quality in a product as well as the sales process so if that’s lacking in the company’s philosophy (or the representatives approach) then count me out! Also, I don’t just add people to Facebook groups or invites – instead I send personal messages/emails/texts. When they are available I hand-deliver (sometimes with a loaf of pumpkin bread I’m-just-sayin’) or mail catalogues and take the chance to chat about why I like the product. If you really are sharing a product you love this extra step comes pretty easily.
Okay, the activity level of my social life is middle ground – I keep my friend group tight and value time with my boys (hubby, son, and pup) over all. But I mean, girls just wanna have fun, and I’ll take any excuse to have a par-tay… especially one where the guests are over 5 years old and I can enjoy wine and conversation with neighbors and friends! One friend said it perfectly – it’s nice to get together for dinner and visit, but it’s EXTRA fun when you can shop!
I Support Small Businesses In All Kinds of Forms
Some MLMs are giving stay-at-home and single mom’s a really great income! These mamas work hard, even if they aren’t in an office all day, why wouldn’t I want to help them out in a relatively easy and totally fun way? Some may be of the opinion that MLMs are big business, not small businesses, but have you ever actually tried to start your own small business? Or get a small business loan? Writing a business plan is F-U-N let me tell you! As the daughter of entrepreneurs I grew up watching my parents do amazing things like open up their own local coffee shop, cigar shop, construction businesses, furniture and antique businesses, and even a salon franchise… you name it! These ventures came with different degrees of success but what they all had in common was that they needed a ton of either man-hours, or start up money, or both. My husband and I count our own small businesses as additional children in our family because of the time and resources needed to keep them healthy. I can absolutely appreciate the opportunity afforded by MLMs to be your own direct sales boss, and work from your passion with a reasonable upfront cost and without a lot of the sacrifice needed in the more traditional small business model.
I Can Find Out More About the Brand
These products have consultants with their “ears to the ground” so to speak… you may not give honest feedback to a corporate suit (and how can you really?) but you’ll tell your friend what you honestly think about a product. They in turn go to seminars and retreats designed to empower them as well as gather their feedback. It seems like this leads to more integrity, and definitely more transparency than what is usually offered by retail businesses. For example, I can talk to a LuLaRoe consultant in-person about how the items used to be made mostly in the US and as the company grew they expanded to include overseas without closing their US factories… I can have a conversation about what KEEP Collective means by “responsibly sourced” materials over a glass of wine… I can chat about how Usborne Books asses labor and environmental standards through PRELIMS (Publisher’s Resolution for Ethical International Manufacturing Standards)… Really it means I can talk to a fellow small business owner who is interested in knowing the same things about the product as I am and make educated choices without scouring the internet for tidbits of information.
This post was live for about a week before I came back and added this part… I realized after I posted it I never even mentioned that through sales of the product a hostess of a party can earn some really cool items, for free! Since it came to my mind later, it’s pretty obvious it isn’t the main “why” for me. Unless you are hosting the party online or in the business owner’s own home, you still have to provide food, drinks and clean up your home which all takes your own time and money. For me, it has to be worth it beyond the freebies, and the above reasons are really what drives me! I just set up a party with two of my favorite direct sales mamas and I’m pretty excited to see some friends and neighbors and give them an opportunity to buy some unique gifts or holiday outfits from these’s hard working ladies. They get to shop and socialize while staying out of the malls and big-box stores – the freebies are nice because I love the products and I know my guests will, too!
Here Are The Ones I Love:
KEEP Collective: Through KEEP Collective I love creating meaningful jewelry gifts that tell a story or showcase the unique personality of the receiver (I’ve been known to make up my own Harry Potter inspired designs as well!). KEEP is a part of the Stella and Dot family and is best described as a modern charm concept. My friend and representative is Amanda Dixon, a designer that can help you create a meaningful gift piece for any occasion!
Usborne Books: My Usborne representative is none other than Green Mom’s own Lelaina Arnold! We both love Usborne for our Homeschool library and have found they have well-made, high quality books on topics that pique the interests of our little ones.
Young Living Essential Oils: I refuse to subscribe myself to the cult of just one essential oil brand and we use a few different types ’round these parts! That said, I personally chose Young Living enough for various needs, and when I do I like to go through my caring and educated friend Elizabeth Haynes to order them.
LuLaRoe: Love ‘em or not, LuLaRoe has become quite popular lately! LuLaRoe is a fun and flattering line of comfortable clothing for all body types. Not just the signature funky patterned leggings, the line also includes dresses, skirts, maxis, sweaters and vests! For the adult line I love to have Jess Wijono as my consultant (join her Facebook Group here), for the new DotDotSmile girls line I go with the multi-talented Amanda Dixon (join her Facebook group here).
Thoughts on MLMs, direct sales, Mama-ran-businesses, or small businesses in general? We love a good conversation, leave us your thoughts in the comments below!