Some See Direct Selling As An Answer To Economic Woes

What do recessions and rhinestones have in common? What do layoffs have to do with lipstick?

Businesses like Avon, Amway or Mary Kay report growth when the economy shrinks. More and more people are turning to direct selling as a means to supplement their income. The Direct Selling Association of American reported sales of $30.8 billion in 2007 by 15 million independent direct sellers. A spokeswoman said Friday that a recent survey showed an uptick in 2008, but official numbers are not yet available.

Monica Brown began pitching jewelry for Premier Designs when her husband lost his job last year.

“We needed money to feed our kids,” she said. As a Premier sales representative, she said, “I don’t have to worry about being fired or getting laid off.

“I have a show tonight, one tomorrow, three next weekend,” Brown said Friday.

Brown is booked for the rest of the month trying to help women accessorize with jewelry that runs about $31 a piece. In a recession, when a $1,000, 14-karat diamond ring is out of the question, Brown finds it is easier to get customers who will instead splurge on a $30 necklace.

“I really got into Premier for the financial reason,” she said, “but I love helping people.”

Logo from Premier Designs

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