Part of the reason for my rant that day was because, like many, I had a preconceived notion of direct sales. I grew up with parents who had had a bad experience with one particular company, and always warned me about the hidden dangers of not only selling but actually buying from or having anything at all to do with what my parents considered to be "pyramid schemes." I won a couple of Scentsy items from a charity raffle, but they were the only direct sales items in my house. Then, when I started to take Cloth for Everybum national, several direct sales consultants offered to do fundraisers for us. Anyone who has ever run a very small nonprofit knows that I couldn't turn down an offer of a fundraiser or donation.
One of those fundraisers was for a company called Chloe + Isabel, a jewelry company. I didn't normally wear a lot of jewelry and I wasn't really into jewelry. I wanted to buy something, though, to support the cause. I bought a pair of earrings for my mom for her birthday... and ended up adding a couple of bracelets for myself into my order. When the order arrived I was amazed by how beautiful everything was.
My last child was potty training and I was sad to donate my entire diaper collection to Cloth for Everybum. I needed a beautiful new collection in my life. Chloe + Isabel replaced my passion for collecting cloth diapers, and I found a lot of joy in it. My daughters could wear and enjoy some of the jewelry with me and it felt wonderful to share it with them too. Whenever a new collection was launching, I became just as excited as I had been when a new Softbums' print was coming out, or when a favorite WAHM cloth diaper release was stocking.
As I continued to buy and follow my merchandiser's posts, I began to become enlightened by how the world of network marketing and direct sales had evolved since the beginning of Amway, Tupperware, and Mary Kay. So many new direct sales companies have sprung up over the past decade. So many women with children have found successful careers in the direct sales industry. One must wonder why.
"82% of women in the United States who make $100,000 a year or more did it through direct sales."(http://
newpittsburghcourieronline. com/2014/03/06/successful- women-make-their-mark-in- network-marketing/)
But why women? Why, if network marketing is so good, does that statistic not include men?
From musing on this subject, it has become clear to me that it is
because, now that women are expected to work and do the "second shift" at home, women with children are finding that often their ONLY option to go to work and to contribute income for their families, is through direct sales. I didn't read this in an article I can cite, and I didn't learn this from talking to a wiser person whom I can quote. I learned this the hard way.
When my first daughter was 9 months old, I took a job at a newspaper, but I left it after 1 month when I found out I was already pregnant again! When my second daughter was 9 months old and my first daughter was just turning 3, I began to feel 100% touched out! And because of that, I desperately wanted out! To be out of the house and to feel like someone more than "Mommy." I had volunteer work to do, but my husband frowned upon the countless hours I dedicated to volunteering, since it did not provide anything for our family. Sharing my overflowing cup has always been a central part of who I am as a person, but I thought maybe there is room in my life for work outside of volunteering.
I took on a job as a seamstress at a military sew shop, but because of the demands of my family life at home, I also left that job after 3 months. The only reason this job was even financially viable for me in the first place was because I was able to arrange to work only in the evenings and on weekends. I never saw my husband. If I had had to pay for childcare for 2, I would have actually been paying to work. Minimum wage is about $10/hr depending on where you live and childcare ranges from $5-10 per hour per child.
Simple math demonstrates how many mothers literally cannot afford to work.
Some women have professions before they get pregnant, and for them it may be easier to continue working. Their pay may be high enough to cover childcare costs and continue working. Some women can blog or babysit or tutor and make ends meet. For many of us, there is an option: an opportunity. It is called direct sales.
I was not recruited into direct sales. In fact, how I ended up here is more of a story of love. Not every direct sales company is multi-level; and Chloe + Isabel is one of those. I was not recruited into my position. I chose it, because I fell in love with the product and I wanted to share my passion with others. I started Cloth for Everybum and do cloth diaper advocacy for the same reason: I had a passion I wanted to share.
My story is just one story, of thousands like mine. I hope that my voice can in some way speak for those thousands, at least in a small way. To make those who have been bothered at any point in their lives by a direct sales invitation, understand.
I created this series of graphics to illustrate not why I sell direct sales, but why I buy it. So many of my friends and family sell so many wonderful products, and so many of those have indeed enhanced my life.
My sister-in-law sells Roden+Fields. My best friend sells Lularoe. I would rather buy my skin care from my sister-in-law, than the pharmacy. I would rather buy my clothing from my best friend, than from the department store. Wouldn't you?
Several of us mothers in direct sales have joined together to create an event dedicated to discussing this subject. We are also sharing information about the products we love and sell. We would like to invite you to join us in this discussion over on Facebook: https://www.
Regular Contributor: Stacy Mojica is an accredited Real Diaper Association leader, founded the Low Country Real Diaper Circle, Sun City Real Diaper Circle, and Cloth for Everybum, Inc. She has two daughters; born in 2011 and 2012. Stacy has a degree in English and ran a small artisan cloth diaper shop via Etsy for one year, but has made her career in cloth diaper advocacy and education. Stacy has a tendency to hyper-focus. Give her a coffee and a kid-free hour and she will do amazing things!