We are going to spend some time over the next few weeks discussing return-to-work options, including internships and fellowships designed for moms, training programs, and flexible job options. Today, we’re talking about a somewhat less-obvious path: direct sales.
I know, I know, the phrase “direct sales” used to generate eye-rolling and disdain. But, my dear readers, today I’m here to argue that the new breed of direct sales companies is really, really good for moms. They are a viable career alternative to the traditional corporate job.
Why? Because these companies provide real options. Real flexibility. And in a lot of cases, real money.
I recently sat down with Bianca Sanderson of Ever Skincare to discuss her experiences working for both Ever and its parent company Stella & Dot, and she had some fascinating things to say. For the record, Bianca is a mom of two, and spent many years working for a big traditional company. Our conversation was a breath of fresh air. Here’s a little summary of the high notes.
1. Direct Sales Companies Offer Work Flexibility
I stole that line from Amy Poehler. I love that line. It’s totally applicable here.
One of the coolest aspects of direct sales companies like Ever, and its parent company Stella & Dot, is that moms can 100% customize their schedules and put in the amount of work that works for them and their families.
Want to work 40 hours a week and build yourself a fully-functioning small business? Great! Ever and Stella will support you and provide you appropriate resources.
Want to just host the occasional party so you can make back the money you spent getting up and running? Great! Ever and Stella will support you in that too, and provide appropriate resources.
The ability to choose your level of involvement and hours worked is immensely important for a lot of moms, and really rare. Bianca told me her favorite part of Ever is that she has built a very serious business (she manages a team of 12 and generates great revenue, plus it’s increasing as her team continues to grow), and still gets to pick up her kids from school every day.
2. Moms Can Actually Make Money Working in Direct Sales
In the past, “Direct Sales” = “Pyramid Scheme”. This just isn’t the case anymore. I personally know three women who are making money in direct sales businesses that is close to or exceeds the salaries they used to draw at traditional corporate jobs.
Now, these women work hard – they are putting in 30+ hours a week. But they do it from home, and they do it around their family’s schedules, and all three of them completely love it and feel empowered by it.
3. Direct Sales Companies Promote From Within
This is possibly the best thing Bianca told me: when Stella & Dot was gearing up to launch Ever, they first looked to their current, existing salesforce. Bianca, who’d been a longtime Stella salesperson, applied for an Ever spot, then received a call from the company’s chairman during which he interviewed her about why she was interested in repping the new product line.
And she got the gig, and now she’s killing it at Ever. I love that they gave these founding-level opportunities to women already with the parent company. It’s so good to see loyalty and institutional knowledge rewarded.
4. Direct Sales Companies Provide Training. Actual, Useful, Transferable Training.
In addition to talking with Bianca, I also spoke to my friend Wendy Moulton, who’s been a Stella & Dot rep for several years. She told me all about Stella’s training program, which includes everything from how-tos on getting your business up and running, to hosting a trunk show, to tactics for making sales pitches, to managing your business’s finances. They even host an annual conference where women can attend in-depth workshops to learn new skills and help them grow their businesses.
This type of training can be critical to women who are transitioning into sales from a different industry, or who are aiming to eventually move back into a traditional company job. It makes direct sales a great re-entry point for women who have been out of the workforce for an extended period of time (and as we’ve discussed ad nauseum, getting back to work after being an at-home mom for a while can be super painful).
5. In the Case of Stella & Dot, The Founder and CEO Gets It
Jessica Herrin is a total Mother Clucker. Her resume is absolutely, insanely amazing. And she’s a mother of two. Both Wendy and Bianca report that Jessica routinely gives talks on issues like work/life balance (which, spoiler! does not exist in real life) and how to let go of working mom guilt.
And she founded a business that is essentially dedicated to empowering other moms.
I think I love this woman.
6. The Products Are Fun
Chances are you’re familiar with Stella & Dot. But in case you’re not, or in case you haven’t looked at their product line recently, go check it out here. They have expanded out beyond fun jewelry to include clothes, bags, and other accessories.
Ever is brand new, though, so I’m guessing you haven’t seen their gorgeous products yet. It’s a fantastic skincare line. Everything is clinical grade, botanically-derived, and even the packaging is beautiful. (I swear they are not paying me to post this. I just think it’s great stuff.)
Here are a couple of shots I took during my coffee with Bianca.
So there you have it, friends. Direct sales are serious business these days, and they’re great for moms. Oh and also, Bianca told me that she’s actively growing her team. If anyone would like to speak with her to learn more about Ever, you can give her a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have any experience with other direct sales companies? If so, we’d love to hear from you!
E & H