Nearly all of us, at some point, have probably received a Facebook message from someone we went to high school or college with, asking how we are, stating that they’ve noticed we’ve been going on adventures/growing our family/whatever, and then asking if we would like to work from home. This question invariably brings up red flags, as there is plenty of negative information floating around the internet and in the news about direct sales or multi-level marketing – which is fair.
There are certainly some companies out there that take advantage of consultants, as any other company would, so it’s important to know what you’re investing your time and money into when getting involved with direct sales.
One important tidbit to remember about direct sales companies is that not all are created equal – particularly in the food industry. And you can make a full-time, living wage off of being a consultant.
Luckily, there are several well-established direct sales companies that are perfect for food lovers who want to invest in creating their own business all while working from home! Read on to discover our top five direct sales food-related company picks for the aspiring chef or tastemaker:
Tastefully Simple in the Midwest-based network marketing company that is centered around food and founded in 1995 – that means over two decades of being in business. Being around that long has allowed the company to create super popular recipes – in fact, you can find them all over Pinterest, and Food.com even copies Tastefully Simple recipes. On the company website, you can find links to meal kits, recipes, and an online shop filled with mixes, sauces, utensils, foldable chopping boards – you name it.
Startup cost: For new distributors or consultants, prices range from $170-239.95 (this is a tad pricey for the industry, FYI).
Compensation: “Regular customers” can host parties, and if they make over $500 in sales, they get $65 worth of free products from the company. As you sell more, you earn more, with the ability to receive up to $165 in free product.
Consultants receive a 20% discount on future orders and can earn up to 30% commission on sales – this is pretty average for the industry.
I first learned about Pampered Chef when I was dogsitting for my theatre professors in college while they were away at Spoleto, one of the U.S.’s largest performing arts festivals. The festival lasts for a couple of weeks, so while I was having the time of my life getting to hang out with two puppies in a house all to myself (I lived at home throughout college), I also had to learn how to cook for myself.
The wife of my theatre professor was a Pampered Chef consultant, and so had all the tools and cookware at home – let me tell you, it was primo stuff! I believe my love of cooking stemmed from that time in my life, and I’ve always remembered Pampered Chef as having amazing products because of that.
Startup cost: Kits range from $109 – $249. This pricing is high for the industry.
Compensation: Consultants earn based on a commission structure, like most MLM companies – the Pampered Chef’s commission structure is as follows:
- $1 – $749 monthly sales = 21% commission
- $750 – $1249 monthly sales = 22% commission
- $1250 – $2499 monthly sales = 23% commission
- $2500 – $3999 monthly sales = 24% commission
- $4000+ monthly sales = 25% commission
One of the best things about this company is that they make no bones about what they do – it’s all in the name. Direct Cellars started as a direct-to-consumer wine club a few years ago and expanded from there in 2016 when it became a direct seller. Wine starts at around $20/bottle, so this isn't the cheap wine you bought back when you were a broke twentysomething. Fans get to try a new wine every month.
Startup cost: There are multiple options. For one-time costs, there are social levels and elite levels.
Social Level: $249.95 + $9.99 shipping = 4 bottles, your own personal website and one year of membership. Social members receive 20% in savings on additional cases of wine.
Elite Level: $499.95 + $14.95 shipping = 12 bottles, your own personal website and three years of membership. Elite members receive 40% in savings on additional cases of wine.
There are monthly options, too:
Members receive 2 bottles per month for $49.95 + $6.99 shipping
Members receive 4 bottles per month for $79.95 + $9.99 shipping
Compensation: There are two types of plans: a binary plan and a uni-level plan. This means that consultants can quickly earn commission from a downline and have the stability of a 9-deep uni-level plan. Consultants also have the opportunity to earn a check match bonus on the dual team pay of your first four levels.
Do You Bake?
This direct seller places its focus on selling sauces, packets, and other baking and cooking products, much like Pampered Chef or Tastefully Simple. One notable point is that it is free to join – this is unusual for a multi-level marketing company. Their product range places a strong focus on food itself.
Startup cost: To get started, you will need to purchase a starter kit, unless you want to sign up for the “Start It My Way” kit, which is free!
Other options are:
- ‘Just a Taste’ Start-Up Kit: $49.95
- ‘Crave it’ Start-Up Kit: $69.95
- ‘Extreme Baker’ Start-Up Kit: $185.00
Compensation: Consultants earn 20% commission off of products sold, with the potential to earn up to 37% for high sellers. This is fairly average for commission numbers.
Wildtree’s food products focus on promoting organic ingredients, according to their website. Three key brand components stick out: responsibly sourced ingredients, all-natural products, and healthy, “mindful” meals.
Another interesting touchpoint is that the “parties” you throw are actually branded as “tastings,” and they are scheduled during the evening.
Startup cost: $49.95. There is a quarterly quota of $350 in sales.
Compensation: Earn 25 – 32% commission + 3% commission on direct team member sales. Once you become a Leader, commission increases to 40% + 12% on team member sales! You can also receive free products, business tools, and incentive trips.
Have you tried any direct sales companies? Which ones do you love? Let us know in the comments!