Ricochet News

Direct selling providing more opportunities for more women

Aug 22, 2017
Direct selling providing more opportunities for more women

Figures just released indicate that unlike many other sectors in the economy direct selling is growing, providing more micro-entrepreneurial and income generating opportunities for women.

Currently some 1 333 223 South Africans benefit from direct selling and have the opportunity to build their own small business, of which 72% are women.

Despite the flagging economy, direct sales in 2016 were 18 percent up on 2015, totalling nearly R12.9 billion

According to Cornelle van Graan, chairperson of South Africa’s Direct Selling Association (DSASA), direct selling attracts female entrepreneurs because it offers opportunity, flexible working hours, training and the ability to work from home.

The number of women who make a full-time living from direct selling has grown by almost 30% with the majority operating in the health and wellness, personal care or household good sectors.

Van Graan says that the sector also provides opportunities for women who have an existing full-time job, but want to supplement their income. 

“Direct selling is also a good way for stay-at-home mothers to make a living, while being actively involved in the lives of their children. Getting started is generally easy, low cost and low risk.”

“Mothers usually have an existing network of other moms, giving them excellent access to a market with similar needs and interests. Their personal relationships and endorsement gives buyers confidence, so these women can be very effective sales people.”

About three-quarters of all direct sales people in South Africa are involved part-time.

Besides flexibility and access, part of the appeal of direct selling may be that money can be earned immediately the sale is made. There’s no waiting until the end of the month or the next payment cycle.

Van Graan says while motivation can vary from paying for a child’s education to saving for a dream holiday, most women get involved in direct sales to provide for their families.

There are 34 direct selling companies who are members of the DSASA. There are more than a million independent business owners associated with DSASA member companies.  They make sales totalling nearly R13 billion a year. Everything from financial services to beauty products and skin care, from fragrances and fashion accessories to nutrition and health supplements, from dinner services and a host of other tableware and kitchenware to household cleaning supplies are sold.

What you need to know about direct selling:

If you are thinking of becoming a direct seller here’s what you need to consider to help decide what direction you want to pursue.

  1.     Product selection

The direct selling industry offers a range of products within sectors such as health, beauty, homeware, financial and investment products, nutritional supplements and weight-loss management.  Although it is preferable to choose products which you are familiar with or interested in, you will receive training on all products being offered by the DSA member company that you choose to join. Believing in your product is vital to effectively market and sell your product, as well as personal fulfilment.

  1.     Choosing which company

Visit www.dsasa.co.za for a full list of member companies and scroll down and identify the companies offering the type of product or service of interest to you or the business opportunity that appeals to you. Attend a demonstration or visit the website of the company to help decide which company you feel best suits your needs and ideals.  

  1.     Research appealing companies

Read through all their marketing collateral and agreements to get a good understanding of the stability and history of business and of your responsibilities.

  1.     Investigate the start-up costs

All DSASA member companies are obliged to keep start-up costs low.  Your initial investment will typically cover a sales kit with all company information, product samples and training materials. Avoid companies expecting a large investment or who push overzealous inventories, you should be allowed to grow at your own pace and affordability. 

  1.     Study the return policy

All DSASA member companies are obligated to buy back any unsold, re-saleable product inventory, promotional materials, sales aids and kits purchased within the previous 12 months at the selling price less an administration fee of up to 10% of the selling price.

  1.     Fully understand the compensation

Check the member companies’ compensation plans as they all differ. Make sure you understand details of earnings and the overall business model.