The Truth About Direct Sales

Direct Sales. Some people love it; others roll their eyes at the idea. I have several friends who are consultants for direct sales companies, and I belong to two companies as well. If you have thought about joining a company to make a little extra income or to expand on a hobby, read on.Or, if you are curious why your friend is selling bags, scents, makeup, etc., you’ll find this interesting. I will share my experience, lessons I’ve learned, and things to consider before signing on.

  1. They are not all pyramid schemes. Yes – there have been a few companies who have got into legal trouble for basically being pyramid schemes and leaving people with a lot of inventory on their hands with not much to show for their efforts, but this is why it’s important to research a company before signing on. Many direct sales companies are reputable and have been in business for awhile due to a strong customer base. If the company you are looking at seems to value recruiting more than the products, watch out. Recruitment should be a bonus, not the focus.
  2. What’s the true cost of joining? That cheap introductory kit will be more than what you’re paying for. Most companies will charge a one time technology fee (anywhere from $10 – 25) and sometimes a monthly website fee to stay in business. Do you need to meet a quota to stay active? Is there a yearly fee? These are not negatives, but real factors to consider. Depending on your intent, the cost could add up if you are not planning to actively sell.
  3. Who are you signing up under, and do you get training? Personally, I want to talk with the consultant a bit before I join her team and feel out her intentions. Will she be a supportive guide or a “ghost sponsor?” Are there resources to learn how to be successful with your business? I am blessed to have great sponsors for both of my businesses, and they have become good friends. Both companies I work with have supportive networks and plenty of resources for me to get ideas and information. You are making a business decision, so treat it like such and do the research.
  4. What is the track record for customer satisfaction? The last thing you want to do is piss off your friends and family if the company doesn’t deliver on their promises! Does the company have a good return/exchange policy? An easy way to contact? Are these quality products?
  5. Is this something you want to dedicate time towards?I would be really wary if someone told me, “all you need to do is share pics and make money in your pj’s!” Oh, if only it were that easy! The truth is, you need to establish your credibility with people. Your customers will buy if they feel they can trust you and that you care. Building a direct sales business takes time – so please don’t think you’re going to make thousands of dollars in a matter of months. BUT, if you are consistent,  positive, and offer great service, you will build a strong customer base.
  6. Family and friends might not be on board at first. Of course, you will have friends who will be excited for you and love the product you are selling. However – don’t expect your sales to come from just those close friends and family. Sometimes people feel funny giving money to their friends, or family members are nervous about showing favoritism. Let them know you do not expect them to buy, but if they could refer your name if someone is looking for your product/service, that’s all they need to do.

These are the main things I’ve learned over the course of a year in the direct sales biz! Most of all, find something that you are passionate about. People will feel your authentic love for what you do.

And friends who have friends in the biz – don’t roll your eyes at her. She is trying to do something to better her situation. If you don’t like the product or are not interested, just be honest and say so. Don’t “ghost” her! I can tell you that being ignored is MUCH WORSE than being told no. Chances are, she is a big girl and can handle it! I do!

I hope this was helpful! Enjoy your new adventure!

Love, laughter, and makeup (my new tag line!) –

xo, Melanie.

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Phrases I Hate

“Act your age.” “Ladies don’t act like that.” Those two phrases were ones I dreaded hearing when I was growing up.  I never truly understood what they meant, but now I am older, the context of those words make me cringe and upset. Why?

Because we direct them at girls. We expect them to mature faster and be quieter, more “ladylike” in demeanor. Their enthusiastic energy gets toned down, their “tomboyish” attitudes and activities looked at as something weird, or a “phase.”

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There’s a famous saying, “Well behaved women seldom make history.” To me, it means not being quiet when people are hurting.  To not accept poor treatment. To rise above expectations. To DO YOUR OWN THING, regardless of age.  I am in my mid 40s and still like amusement parks. I listen to everything from Rihanna to Skrillex and jazz too. Wearing crazy leggings makes me happy, and yes- my hubby is 12 years my junior. Some people might think I haven’t “grown up,” but on the contrary, I’m growing in experiences. If we stop trying new things, taking risks, or sharing an opinion, then you have stopped experiencing life.

So, to my fellow “ladies” out there: Stop apologizing for your ideas. Don’t second guess yourself.  Trust your instincts. Say what you mean.  Be brave and DO YOU!

Until next time,

Love, laughter and shoes-

xoxo, Melanie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What #BeautyIs…

Hello lovelies,

What is beauty? What do you consider to be beautiful? I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea lately, mostly because so many women and girls are subjected to a marketed ideal which for many, is unattainable. As a beauty and fashion blogger, I am committed to writing about and showing diverse versions of beauty. Maybe if more of us did, we can combat the  unrealistic, photoshopped messages and embrace who we really are!

Beauty Is…

  1. Trying something new.
The awesome Carmen.

The awesome Carmen.

My dear friend Carmen, who is already an accomplished actor, director, and ballroom dancer, decided she wanted a new challenge and a new way to get healthy. So, in her late 30s, she picked up a whole new sport! Fierce.

2. Creating Your Own Trend.

The unique and awesome Jakey!

The unique and awesome Jakey!

Jakey (another dear friend!) has always followed her own lead in fashion. She’s worked every hair color you can think of, can pull off just about any style, because she’s fearless!

3. Making Your Life Happen.

My beautiful cousin, Jax.

My beautiful cousin, Jax.

Though she had a steady job and was doing well in her hometown’s college, Jax (real name: Jacqueline) wanted more. She took a risk, aimed high, and ended up becoming an Editor in Chief of a major college newspaper. She’s also about to graduate and launch a new career. Well done!

4. Not Settling for Less Than You Deserve.

My BFF of several years, Debby.

My BFF of several years, Debby.

Debby is practically my sister. We’ve been best friends since age 4, and we’ve seen one another through all kinds of ups and downs. A couple of years ago, she was in a miserable relationship which had practically stolen her bubbly lightness and joy. Though it was difficult, she summoned the courage to leave the man who brought her pain. By not setting for someone who did not appreciate the beautiful person she is, she now has a wonderful relationship! Don’t EVER settle. You don’t know what you are missing out on!

5. Celebrating Your Body, Your Spirit.

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Bikini, Forever 21 Plus.

Bikini, Forever 21 Plus.

So many of us wait until we’ve got the “perfect body” before we’ll put on a bikini, wear a swimsuit, or even go to the beach. I haven’t worn a bikini in 15 years, and I’m tired of waiting. Let’s not let media decide how we should feel about ourselves. Be proud to be you!

6. Facing the World Through Challenges.

The lovely Beth!

The lovely Beth!

Recently I learned that Beth, one of my high school classmates, is facing cancer. Though her prognosis is good, she is still dealing with the harshness of chemo. I love that she put herself out on Facebook with a red lip and a sparkle in her eye! Get ’em, girl! You’ve got this.

Beauty is not what comes out of a bottle, a syringe, by an Instagram filter, or off a clothes rack. It’s truly how we see ourselves and how we treat the world around us. Let’s celebrate what truly #BeautyIs!

Love, laughter, and shoes-

xo, Melanie.

 

“Face-ing” the Inevitable

Hello all,

I want to tell you about a big AH HA moment I experienced this past weekend.

Last week I got my hair cut for the first time since we moved here, and as the stylist shaved away layers of my red tresses, all I saw was white, white, and more white.

Where did my hair color go?

Usually my dark ash brown roots would signal the time for a touch up. However, this time I could hardly see any brown.  Sighing, I picked up some Clairol that promised to “cover stubborn grays.”

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Two days ago, while moisturizing my face,  I paused to examine a tiny crow’s feet wrinkle that seemingly popped up overnight by my right eye.

I am 44. In some respects, I am proud of that age.  When it comes to my face and body, that number scares me. “Age is just a number” is a mantra I practice, yet, the reality is I AM GETTING OLDER.

At 34.

At 34.

At 44.

At 44.

What will getting older mean for me? Will I fight gravity? Or will I embrace what is happening? I don’t know.

Susan Sarandon perfectly expresses my hopes for aging:

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I think the secret is, enjoying the now and letting go of the worry will show from the inside out.  Here’s to remembering that idea when I cringe at another crow’s feet!

Love, laughter, and shoes –

xoxo

Melanie.

 

Cosmo Gives a Voice to Curvy Gals; Now Let’s See Them!

I stumbled upon an excellent online article by Anna Breslaw, sex editor of Cosmopolitan, about the realities of being a fat woman. For “What Being a Fat Woman is Really Like,” Breslaw interviewed two women (referred to Woman A and Woman B) who proudly call themselves “fat”. Both women candidly discuss dating, sex, how they handle negativity, and health. I found myself nodding along with many of their statements, especially when Breslaw asks how they feel about other women complaining about their bodies:

“I hate it. I always notice it, and it feels like shit. I was at the salon yesterday and a woman was complaining about getting “so fat” at her waitressing job and she was literally half my size. It made me feel like shit, and I felt bad for her, too. Stop thinking about yourself in such shitty, negative ways! It’s so bad for you. Also, you’re not fat. Fat is just a descriptor, and you don’t match that descriptor in any sense of the word. So stop.”

That’s a major pet peeve with me, too!

As much as I appreciated Cosmo including an article about curvy gal realities, why not include the women’s names? Photos? Perhaps the women preferred to be anonymous, but my feeling is, if they were proud of themselves, then show it!

Or- was it something else? Was Cosmo not ready to show off plus size “real” women?

I’m a subscriber to the magazine, and I enjoy the fashion, sex tips, and current issues. However, I challenge the editors of Cosmo (United States) to include PICTURES of curvier women. Maybe even women over 35! Going back over the past year’s covers, it looks like Jennifer Lopez is the only cover girl over 40. Let’s put money where the words are.

Cosmo holds an annual “Fun, Fearless, Female” award every year. I ask them to be fearless and include more plus size celebrities Rebel Wilson, Amber Riley, Queen Latifah, or Melissa McCarthy. We haven’t seen many curvy gals since Adele’s December 2011 cover.

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Now, that would be truly fun and fearless.

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