The Financial Times:

One of the positive aspects of an economic downturn is a return to simple pleasures and entertaining at home, and that can only be good for direct sellers.

Mother and daughter, Sylvie Rochette and Amelia Warren and their team know that first hand. “We are conscious of what’s happening in the world and we are in tune with the needs of our customers,” says Ms. Rochette, who launched North Saanich, B. C.-based Epicure Selections in 1997. The 100% Canadian, family-owned, women-led party plan direct sales business now has $40-million in annual revenue, with about 6,000 consultants coast to coast — and growing. Many of the new recruits are coming from southwestern Ontario, where the manufacturing sector has taken a hit and layoffs have left families struggling.

Its products, which include more than 200 spice blends and gourmet food products, are hitting all the right notes with consumers. “For our recipes and products to make the cut in the catalogue, they need to be affordable, healthy, fast, easy and delicious,” Ms. Rochette says. “We are trying to make our main course no more than $3.50 per serving.”

While economies around the globe are contracting, Epicure Selections continues to grow. Since 2001, the company has grown 1,269%; almost 40% a year. Revenue for this March rose more than 55%, compared with a year ago.

Logo from Epicure Selections