If you’ve scrolled through your social media feeds lately, you’ve probably seen one of your friends promoting some kind of direct sales business.
Whether it was a well-known brand such as Avon or a more obscure company such as Discovery Toys, these companies offer the opportunity to earn money on your own schedule while working out of your home.
If you’ve heard of direct sales and are curious about how it works, this is the guide for you.
After an overview of what direct sales companies are, we’ll show you 16 of our favorite direct sales companies for earning money in your free time (or even in place of your full-time job).
- What Are Direct Sales Companies?
- The Best Direct Sales Companies
- Start Selling (and Earning) Today
What Are Direct Sales Companies?
Before we give you our list of direct sales companies, we need to discuss what direct sales is.
Specifically, we need to explain how direct sales differs from both multi-level marketing (MLM) and pyramid schemes.
Direct sales is exactly what it sounds like: You sell products directly to other consumers.
Generally, direct sales reps are independent contractors who work on commission.
They don’t receive a set hourly wage or salary, but rather earn a percentage of the profits from each item they sell.
Multi-level marketing, on the other hand, describes a business model in which current sales reps can earn a commission from the sales of other people that they recruit.
Very often, direct sales businesses will also have a multi-level marketing component, as it helps them expand their overall sales.
Multi-level marketing is neither illegal nor inherently unethical, although certain MLMs are ethically questionable due to their focus on the recruitment process as opposed to the products they sell.
Pyramid schemes are, as the name implies, a scam.
They are illegal in the United States and most other countries.
So when does an MLM or direct sales business become a pyramid scheme?
The key difference is that pyramid schemes are all about collecting fees from new members and encouraging as much recruitment of new members as possible.
They do not place any importance on the product they sell (or, in some cases, claim to sell).
In this guide, we’ve been careful not to include any pyramid schemes, as well as companies that are currently under investigation for unethical practices (such as Rodan + Fields).
That being said, just because a direct sales or MLM opportunity is not a pyramid scheme doesn’t guarantee you’ll earn money doing it.
The Best Direct Sales Companies
Based on our research, the following direct sales companies are some of the best ones out there.
However, you should always do your own research and read all the fine print carefully before agreeing to participate in any direct sales business, MLM, or other business opportunity.
1. Mary Kay
When you work as a distributor for cosmetics company Mary Kay, your job will be to sell beauty products to other people in your community.
Mary Kay calls their distributors “beauty consultants.”
To get started with Mary Kay, you’ll need to purchase a $100 starter kit.
From there, your goal is to sell the company’s products, as well as to recruit others to work under you.
You can earn up to 50 percent commission on the items you sell yourself, as well as a commission from the sales of other people you recruit.
Avon offers a variety of personal care products, including a skincare line, anti-aging products, body products, makeup, and even wellness supplements.
When you work as an Avon representative, your job will be to sell the company’s products to friends and family.
You can do this in person, and you can also sell products in your own free Avon Online Store.
Avon requires its representatives to buy starter kits that range from $25 to $100.
The company guarantees that you’ll make a 40 percent commission on the first kit you order.
If you’re interested in the sorts of products Avon sells and have the people skills necessary to convince others to buy, it could be a good opportunity to look into.
Moving from cosmetics to food storage, we have Tupperware.
The company is practically synonymous with reusable, high-quality food storage containers, and the odds are good that you have some in your cabinet right now.
Selling Tupperware can be a fun opportunity if you enjoy hosting parties.
Much of Tupperware’s business model revolves around hosting parties in which you demonstrate the versatility of Tupperware products to your friends.
Tupperware will even provide you with free products just for hosting a party.
Starter kits for Tupperware cost $99.
4. Pampered Chef
Pampered Chef sells kitchen wares of all sorts through its network of consultants.
As with Tupperware, the primary sales technique here involves hosting parties.
During these parties, you’ll demonstrate the products to your guests.
f the guests like what they see, they can place an order directly from you at your party or after the fact at your online Pampered Chef store.
Pampered Chef will provide you with party plans to get started, as well as recipes to demonstrate the uses of their products.
You’ll need to pick a starter kit, which range in price from $149 to $249.
Naturally, this opportunity is best if you enjoy (and are reasonably good at) cooking.
5. Thirty-One Gifts
Thirty-One Gifts offers a variety of handbags, totes, backpacks, pillows, and other printed goods.
It’s a fun company to sell products for if you love to stay updated on the latest accessory and home decor trends.
Starter kits for Thirty-One Gifts begin at $99.
You’ll also pay a monthly subscription fee of $14.95 plus tax, which covers your personal Thirty-One Gifts website.
The company claims that you can earn at least 25 percent commission through selling their products, and consultants also receive a 40 percent discount on the company’s products.
As the company’s name implies, Scentsy is all about products with pleasant fragrances.
The company offers wax warmers, essential oil diffusers, laundry products, bath items, and more.
The common theme is that all the products smell great.
It costs $99 to get started with Scentsy, plus $10 per month for your personal Scentsy website (though the first three months are free when you purchase a starter kit).
The company encourages consultants to host parties to sell products, though you can also sell them through your Scentsy online store.
Wildtree offers meal kits that help you “make mealtime less hectic and more memorable.”
As a Wildtree rep, you’ll be able to earn up to a 40 percent personal commission on the products you sell, plus commissions for members of your sales team (other people you recruit to sell Wildtree products).
The startup costs for Wildtree include $129 for your starter kit, plus $8.95 per month for your personal Wildtree online shop.
8. Traveling Vineyard
Love to drink wine? Love to help others choose the perfect wine for every occasion?
Then Traveling Vineyard could be worth looking into.
As a Traveling Vineyard Wine Consultant, you’ll host free, in-home wine tastings for your family and friends.
The goal is to help them discover new wines (and then purchase them from you at the end of the event).
Startup kits for Traveling Vineyard cost $179.99 (plus shipping and taxes).
You’ll also pay $15.95 per month for your personal Traveling Vineyard site (though the company waives this for the first three months after you sign up).
Are you passionate about weight loss, fitness, and healthy living?
If so, selling Beachbody products could make sense.
The company offers a variety of fitness programs, nutrition programs, and nutritional supplements, all with the goal of ending obesity and promoting a healthy lifestyle.
When you work as a Beachbody Coach, you’ll be able to earn up to a 35 percent commission on products that you sell.
It costs $39.95 to sign up to become a coach, plus $15.95 per month.
This is notably cheaper than some of the other programs we’ve discussed, so it could be a good opportunity if you’re passionate about the product but are also on a tight budget.
10. Tastefully Simple
Tastefully Simple offers meal kits and foods that take the stress out of meal prep.
The company has meal kits to cater to a variety of food allergies and dietary preferences, including dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, and kid-friendly.
As a Tastefully Simple consultant, you’ll sell these meal kits through hosting parties and operating your online store.
To join, you’ll need to purchase a meal kit, which start at $69.95.
You’ll also need to pay a joining fee of $39.95, which gets you starter packs of order forms, party invitations, and product catalogs.
Similar to Scentsy, PartyLite sells a variety of fragrance products, with a special focus on candles and wax warmers.
If you love making your home smell delightful and want to help others do the same, then PartyLite could be the opportunity for you.
To get started with PartyLite, you’ll need to purchase a $99 kit.
PartyLite claims you have the potential to earn 25 percent profit from the very start, and you can also add further items to your kit if you make more than $500 in sales during your first full month as a PartyLite consultant.
12. Stella & Dot
Stella & Dot sells jewelry, bags, clothing, and accessories.
If you love keeping up with the latest fashion trends and helping others look their best, then working as a Stella & Dot stylist could be the opportunity for you.
As a Stella & Dot stylist, you’ll be able to earn a 20–35 percent commission.
To get started, you’ll need to purchase a $99 starter kit.
From there, you’ll be able to start hosting your own parties (or “Trunk Shows,” as the company calls them) to sell Stella & Dot products to your friends and family.
Formerly known as Jamberry, BeneYOU is a company that sells both wellness and beauty products.
Their specific offerings range from nail wraps to gut health supplements to weight loss products.
With all these different types of products, there are lots of opportunities for you to earn no matter what you’re interested in.
As a BeneYOU associate, you’ll be able to earn up to a 30 percent commission on the products you sell.
You’ll need to purchase a starter kit for $29.95, and you’ll also need to pay $10 per month for your BeneYOU website (though the company waives this fee for the first three months after you sign up).
14. The Cocoa Exchange
The Cocoa Exchange is all about introducing people to the best chocolate products out there.
If you love chocolate and other gourmet food (and want to help other people learn more about it), The Cocoa Exchange is an opportunity for you to look into.
To get started with The Cocoa Exchange, you’ll need to buy a Business Kit for $129 plus tax.
You’ll earn a commission of 25–40 percent on items you sell, plus an additional commission from the sales of other people you recruit to sell for the company.
15. Discovery Toys
Do you love kids, education, and toys? Then Discovery Toys is a direct sales opportunity that could suit you well.
The company sells “premium quality, kid-powered learning products for newborns through school aged children.”
As a consultant for Discovery Toys, you’ll host parties to show your friends and family the educational benefits of the company’s products.
To get started, you’ll need to purchase a $155 kit.
Discovery Toys claims you can earn up to “34% profit on your personal sales,” as well as a 7 percent commission from the sales of other people that you recruit to work for Discovery Toys.
16. Gold Canyon
Gold Canyon is another company that offers candles and flameless fragrances.
They also sell a variety of candle holders, wax warmers, and essential oil diffusers, all with the goal of helping you make your home smell great.
You can earn a 25 percent commission on all Gold Canyon products you sell when you become a Gold Canyon Executive.
The cost to do so is $200, which covers a starter kit that includes product samples and business materials.
Once you’ve established yourself, you can also recruit other people and earn a 10 percent commission on the products they sell.
Start Selling (and Earning) Today
We hope this guide has helped you understand some of the many direct selling companies that are out there, as well as the opportunities they offer you to earn from the comfort of your home.
To learn about more ways to make money from the comfort of your own home, check out our list of 8 Stay-at-Home Jobs to Bring in Extra Cash.