Direct Sales Companies

Direct sales companies like Avon and Mary Kay have a long tradition in our society.  After thousands of years of hawking wares from street stands and traveling wagons, friendly sales reps started knocking on doors in the late 1800’s.  In the 125 years since, hundreds of companies have grown and flourished selling everything from home remedies to vacuum cleaners.  The party plan started in the 1950’s, and most companies have gone online in the last decade.

The direct sales format has created thousands of fortunes.  In fact, long before Eunice Johnson and Fashion Fair and Oprah and her empire, Sarah Breedlove McWilliams Walker — the daughter of slaves, orphaned at 7, widowed at 20 — became the first black female millionaire in the United States in the early 1900’s by selling her line of Madame CJ Walker hair care and straightening products door-to-door.  She originally tried selling them at her church, but her pastor told her that if God had intended for women of color to have straight hair, he would have made them that way.  She ignored him and launched a beauty empire instead.  It was a market completely ignored by big business, and it gave her and her army of female sales reps an income and lifestyle they would have otherwise never known.

Madame CJ Walker

Madame CJ Walker

Walker Villa

Mrs. Walker’s Villa in New York

Walker Ad

Ad for Walker Products

So why are direct sales companies so popular?

  1. Products tend to be good, unique, and not offered in stores.
  2. The party format offers a chance to socialize and have fun with others.
  3. Customers like the one-on-one attention they get from sales reps.
  4. It’s convenient and saves time – no shopping at the mall.
  5. You can re-order any time, either through sales rep, or increasingly, through websites

I could go on, but I think you get the point.  Direct sales companies may come and go, but they’re a time-honored format that works.  Here are some of the most popular fashion-related direct sales companies:


Skin care, aromatherapy, and weight loss products.

Cosmetics and skin care.

Cosmetics, skin care, clothing, jewelry

Makeup, skin care, spa treatments

Bath and skin care products

Skin care, makeup, and fragrance

Skin care, makeup, fragrance.  Can do a virtual makeover online.

Body and bath products.


Jewelry you design that others make for you.




Indonesian handbags made by the victims of the tsunami

Design your own handbags from a variety of styles and fabrics.




Casual clothing

High end career and casual clothing

High end career and casual clothing and accessories

Casual clothing by the Carlisle Collection.

Casual Clothing

Casual and career clothing.

High end career and casual wear.

Casual clothing by the Worth Company

Please note I am not affiliated with nor do I endorse any of these companies.  Please exercise due diligence when buying from or considering becoming a sales rep for any direct sales company.


See any I missed?  Want to get in touch with a rep from one of these companies?  Make a comment on the blog below so everyone can see your input.

If you want to know more about the direct sales industry and the type of customer who buys this way, check out this direct sales article.

Direct sales can be a fun and informative way to add to your beauty cabinet or clothing wardrobe.  Check one out and see!

Already a direct sales rep or thinking about becoming one?  Many of my customers have told me that Wardrobe Magic , Accessory Magic, Ageless Style, and Beauty at Any Age have given them invaluable knowledge to help close sales.  But if you’re having trouble booking parties or recruiting down line, you might want to check out Direct Sales Success.

Direct Sales Success
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  • Peta Norman

    Reply Reply March 26, 2010

    Hi Diana,
    Thank you very much for mentioning the virtues of Direct Sales. It’s a great way of doing business,with fun, independant financial freedom, and flexibility. I’ve been with Optionelle, since it’s official launch in Britain-we are changing our name to EVEology =the study of women , and what they want to wear! We’re looking for Fashion Consultantants to join our team, Much appreciate your top tips for Easter.
    Love, Peta.

    • Diana

      Reply Reply April 1, 2010

      Hi Peta,

      You’re welcome! I think there are many who can benefit from this article, both product-wise and opportunity-wise.

  • Lorna

    Reply Reply April 8, 2010

    Optionelle is no longer the name of the same great company of 29 years. It has changed it’s name to EVEology.

    You can see the reason behind the name change at

    Another great Direct Sales Company that you may want to include in your listing is “Jolica”

    A wonderful FAIR TRADE Jewelry and Accessory Company which supports Artisans around the world through fair trade practices.




  • Loretta

    Reply Reply June 21, 2010

    Thank you for a refreshingly positive outlook.

  • lisa

    Reply Reply March 21, 2011

    I just read about a swimsuit company called Swankini. They will be selling direct with a company called Just Alyse

  • Cynthia Fontan

    Reply Reply June 19, 2011

    Hi Diana! I may be a little late, but I am so happy to have come accross this article. I am a lia sophia (a 39 year old family owned jewelry company)advisor. My team and I are having a meeting of the minds to discuss the challenges we face in selling direct to women of color. Thanks for the history. I’m sure this important fact will help in our presentation.

    • Diana

      Reply Reply July 7, 2011

      Glad I could help! 🙂

  • Doncaster

    Reply Reply March 14, 2012

    Direct Selling has been a long tradition in this country and I want to thank you for writing about it and increasing the country’s knowledge of this great industry. Doncaster has been around for 80 years and has been giving women opportunities they never could have dreamed of 80 years ago.
    Check out for a fantastic business opportunity and fabulous quality clothes!
    Also, keep up do date with Doncaster at

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