Business News

GUEST BLOG: The rise of the male direct seller

By Business & Finance
10 February 2014
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By Lynda Mills, director of the Direct Selling Association of Ireland

Direct selling has always been popular with working mums who have enjoyed the flexibility of working around their family commitments. However, while this kind of direct seller continues to thrive, there is a new kid, or rather man on the block with a rise of the male direct seller.

According to recent data released but the Direct Selling Association of Ireland (DSAI), the trade body that represents the direct selling industry, men now make up 38% of the Irish direct selling force, a rise of 8% over the past two years.

Direct selling is where products are sold to consumers outside of a fixed retail environment. This can be through networking, parties or distributing catalogues. Over 16,000 people currently earn money through direct selling in Ireland, and it continues to appeal to an increasing number of people as an alternative to traditional employment.

With the opportunity to take control over their own work and earnings, and a great range of products that appeal to both men and women, male sellers have relished the chance to start their own businesses with low start-up costs. This has become even more apparent since the emergence of the recession in 2008 as the traditional jobs market was weakened.

The DSAI represents member companies that direct sellers can choose from, including a host of household names like Forever Living, Herbalife and Oriflame. With a huge choice of member companies, sellers can enjoy full autonomy in their work as they decide, when, what and where they are going to sell.

Many of our sellers got started in the industry after they have witnessed the success of their partners, and we have increasingly seen a trend of couples becoming direct selling teams.

The industry is appealing to increasing demographics in Ireland as an alternative to traditional employment. Figures have shown a 121% increase in distributor numbers since the Irish recession began in 2008, while sales throughout the industry for the same period have more than doubled.

Compared to the UK, where less than a quarter (24%) of the direct sales force are men, nearly two out of every five direct sellers are now male in Ireland.

Top tips for getting into direct selling:

  • Pick a product that you will enjoy selling – there are products to suit everyone. Your passion will shine through if you love a product and will make it much easier to sell.
  • All DSAI members sign its code of conduct which ensures members are ethical, so if you are thinking of getting started in direct selling always look for a member company. The DSAI website has a full list so is a good place to get started.
  • Direct selling is based principally on face-to-face contact with customers; therefore you must be a people person. People are your greatest asset, so always show respect and be ready to offer your help to whoever needs it.
  • Expect that not everyone will says yes – you will often hear the word ‘no’, but this does not mean failure.  Think of it as another reason to move onto the next ‘yes’. Your persistence will pay off.
  • One of the main attractions of direct selling is the flexibility it provides. Your working pattern can be just a few hours a week or, for some, a full time occupation. Choose the hours that suit you and your lifestyle.

lynda millsAbout the blogger

Lynda Mills is the director of the Direct Selling Association of Ireland. A true veteran of the industry, Mills previously worked with direct selling brand Avon, and possesses an in-depth knowledge of the industry.