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Direct Sales: An Insider Perspective

As I sit here next to my husband on the train back home from Chicago, I am reminded of the little things, the simple things, yet the so very hugely important things in life. About 5 years ago now, I worked in an impatient neuropsychiatric unit while pregnant with our oldest daughter. I was up at 6am every morning, home at 6pm every evening, throughout the pregnancy; through exhaustion, morning sickness (sometimes all day sickness), conducting sessions with geriatric patients suffering from a plethora of emotional, psychological, and physical disorders. I was in the company of physically aggressive and verbally abusive patients, who desperately needed help. The career of a Music Therapist was the most rewarding, most exhausting work I have ever known. But I was there for those patients, because I loved them, no matter what toll it took on me emotionally and physically, even during my pregnancy. When I became a Mom, we decided that it was time to let this work go so I could instead put my whole heart and soul into our family. It was not an easy decision-we were uncertain of the financial implications it would have but we knew it was important for the baby’s health so we took the leap.



For over 3 years now, I have been immersed in the direct sales world. A Mom with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and a Master’s degree in Music Therapy, turns to sales. Crazy, right? Totally. But not really at all. My Dad did sales all his life. He was busy, he traveled a lot, but the money was always good. We never needed or wanted much. I remember as a teenager thinking about pursuing something business-related in college, but then I remembered how much my Dad traveled, how long the days were, and how sometimes stressful his work could be. I never imagined that I would be doing what I am doing now.

My name is Brittin, and in 4 months, I became a Team Manager for a team of over 100 women. During my daughters nap times, I worked on my computer, I connected with my team, I followed up with customers, I began to master social media networking and marketing, and I built a successful business that fulfilled the financial gap that was created by me quitting my job as a Music Therapist. I enjoyed selling things, I liked the paychecks, and I loved the sisterhood that I built. I loved the team that I supported. Above all else, I loved that I was able to be home with my daughter yet contribute financially to our household.

Fast-forward about 2 years, I have since changed companies. My first direct sales gig cost me less than $100 to begin, my second one cost me several thousand dollars to begin and a whole lot of blood, sweat, and tears. The stakes are higher, the work is harder, the product is larger, the pressure is higher, the days are longer, and the sleep deprivation is huge. But you know what? It’s fantastically freeing, motivating, financially gratifying, and emotionally fulfilling. My husband and I took a leap. We spent thousands of dollars we didn’t really have to begin our LuLaRoe clothing business, and within a matter of months, that money was recovered.

For those who are new to direct sales, listen up: It isn’t a “pyramid scheme.” Just get that 1980s lingo right out of your head, because it simply is an inaccurate description of what direct sales means today. You don’t sit up at the top of a company and watch the money roll in, just because you created a down-line of other people who believed in what you were doing. That is not how it works.

Legitimate direct sales companies operate on a Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) plan. Revenue or “bonuses” do move upward in the chain or recruitment (upline) and it is possible to make a significant paycheck by being higher up on the sales team. This is an exception, especially for those who were early adopters of the product, and not a rule. A successful direct sales consultant has to work hard for direct commissions/profit from their personal sales, in addition to their bonuses from their team and recruits.

We work on this business almost constantly. We are often up at 3am packing and shipping orders to our almost 3,000 customers. When we take a vacation, it isn’t completely a vacation because we still are answering emails and making sure our amazing customers are happy. We receive upwards of 50 emails per day from customers or team members. Sometimes our processes fail, our shipping label printer breaks, internet goes down, sometimes we oversell inventory because of a glitchy system, our invoice system goes down… you name it. There are stressors in direct sales just like any other job. We haul hundreds of pounds of clothing up sometimes several flights of stairs, so we can help women feel beautiful and share these amazing clothes at a pop-up boutique.

If you don’t sell, you don’t make money. The idea of the “pyramid scheme” is inaccurate. You don’t get to the top by just sitting there and the money most certainly doesn’t come in unless you’re working your business.



Something that irks me the most? When people say, “I’m tired of my friends asking me to buy things on Facebook.” You know who you are. You rant about these amazing companies, but we don’t even know what you’re ranting about. We are able to make money from home, form friendships with people from all over the world, support each other and uplift each other, sell products we believe in, teach our kids how a business works, and show them what hard work looks like. What exactly is your issue with direct sales? I have yet to read a factual article bashing direct sales. I saw one that said LuLaRoe leggings were $40, they are junk, and that you don’t make money unless you have a team. Well, news flash, they aren’t $40 (they are $25), they’re the highest quality leggings on the market and the only leggings that are triple brushed, making them the softest possible leggings in existence. I have been wearing mine for almost 2 years with no issues. You can have a team of 0 and you can still make substantial money doing this business. You’re pulling these facts from a special place, but it certainly isn’t a place of truth.

When you support your friends’ businesses on Facebook, you are supporting them directly. Instead of generating profits for a large corporation who is more invested in their shareholders and the outrageous pay of their CEO, you are helping a family-or a network of families-make ends meet. You are helping a Mom be home with her children, if she chooses, yet still contribute financially to the household. You are purchasing a product that someone you know and respect believes in.

When you receive a package from us in the mail, consider this: That invoice was personally sent to you by us. That shirt was unpacked from a box, pulled out of plastic, hung on a rack, put on a mannequin, photographed, tied up in a ribbon, put in a ziplock, and put into a polymailer by us. The shipping label was printed by us, paid for by us, and that package pickup was scheduled by us. Every single part of that process was done by a family, not by a huge company, and not by someone you don’t know. Those little thank you cards, business cards, care cards, and coupons within the package? Designed by us, printed by us, and completely personalized to be representative of our business. On holidays, we go out and buy special treats so that when you open your package, you may feel special and feel like the valued and very important customer that you are to us.



So, stop the bashing. Stop spreading rumors about companies. Stop the ridiculous articles using the phrase “pyramid scheme,” which just makes you look ridiculously misinformed. Start supporting your friends. Start spreading truths and praises about these amazing companies who are helping those you love be able to live their lives with a bit more financial stability and freedom.

Tomorrow morning at 6am, I will be in one of 2 places – in my bed asleep, or upright in a recliner rocking my 1-year-old daughter. I choose when to start work for the day, I choose whether or not I stay in pajamas all day, and I choose how hard to push my business. I am my own boss, and THAT alone is freeing. And so are buttery soft LuLaRoe leggings.

Brittin Schumaker is a mom, a blogger, and a small business owner. During the day she picks up toys and is a made-to-order chef for two amazing girls and a sweet baby boy. At night she sells LuLaRoe at www.brittinsboutique.com, and she blogs at www.crunchofthemom.com. When she sees her husband, they either fall asleep or fall madly in love again.

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