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What is Direct Sales and What are the Top 10 Direct Sales Companies?

By August 23, 2021September 13th, 2022No Comments

By Stacy Garrels

What is Direct Sales? 

Direct sales is the term used to refer to the practice of selling items, merchandise, or services directly to a consumer rather than from within an established retail location or storefront. Selling items through Walmart as an affiliate doesn’t qualify because Walmart isn’t a direct sales company. But selling skin care, beauty products, weight loss items, gourmet food, or essential oils to your customer base would be considered direct selling.  

The Difference Between Direct Sales and MLM (Multi-Level Marketing) 

Direct sales and MLM are part of the same industry, and the right company can easily overlap as a work at home or business opportunity. But while an actual direct sales business may involve only selling to individual clients, a multi-level marketing business involves turning those clients into people who sell the items to their contacts as well. With MLM, a starter kit is often provided, and startup fees are usually involved. But with either category, there are plenty of direct sales companies to choose from if starting your own isn’t an option. 

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Direct Sales 

Direct selling or joining a direct sales company has both advantages and disadvantages, just like any other type of business opportunity. 


Direct sales companies offer plenty of potential opportunities for those interested in starting a home business without substantial startup costs. Skincare, gourmet foods, personal care items, essential oils, and home décor are just some of the most popular niche options. Unlike franchises, you don’t need years of experience or a small fortune in the bank to get your direct sales business off the ground. The best direct sales companies can be turnkey solutions that will help you start making money immediately. And direct selling opportunities can help the representative grow an independent and steady income, whether working full-time or just a few hours a week. 


The direct sales concept was created in the early 19th century when ready-made items weren’t easily accessible. Today, modern direct sales companies may lack efficiency. While Tupperware and Avon are still examples of successful direct selling, many other similar items can be found easily at big box or discount stores. Direct selling can also strain close relationships, especially if you simply try to sell to friends and family. Therefore, working successfully for a direct sales company requires you to have or create a strong customer base. Income is dependent on a variety of factors, and even those who work full-time may end up putting more into their business than they get out of it in the long run.  

Is Direct Sales a Viable Career and Business Option? 

Success in a direct sales company can be defined differently than with other businesses. Many people opt to buy a starter kit and sign up for an opportunity because they want to get their favorite products at an impressive discount. That can be a great option for those who buy or want to try specific expensive or higher quality skin care and beauty products. You probably won’t become a millionaire regardless of what anyone claims. But many find it worth the effort just to get a decent discount and make some extra pocket change. Of course, you need to decide if that’s worth it to you. As with any home business, you need to treat it as a business to be truly successful.

How to Succeed in Direct Sales 

One of the most important keys to success in Direct sales is the ability to sell. You need to know how to sell to a potential customer or client. Be sure you understand fully how the product works and be able to discuss any of its active ingredients if questioned. That’s especially important in skincare and beauty products. Make sure the starter kit or startup costs aren’t too expensive. When researching a potential company, confirm that it is listed with the DSA (Direct Selling Association) to ensure it is legitimate, operates throughout the U.S., and provides plenty of helpful resources that will help you build your business correctly. 

The Top 10 Direct Sales Companies

The search for the best direct selling home business opportunity begins with the DSA and careful planning. Proper research will help you discover the top direct sales companies. Here’s a list of direct sales companies you can use as a starting point.  

Amway – Amway pulled in $8.4 million in 2019. While an actual MLM, this health, beauty, and home care business consistently sits at the top of the list for direct sales companies.  

Avon – As the fifth-largest beauty company and second-largest direct selling business in the world, Avon is a great option for those who have an interest in selling skincare or personal care items. 

Beachbody – If you’re a fitness fan and want to jump into the weight-loss industry, Beachbody may be the perfect company for you. 

DoTerra – DoTerra sources and sells high quality essential oils on the market. The products are not cheap by any means, but many customers insist they’re completely worth the price. 

Mary Kay – Mary Kay focuses on providing beauty and skin care solutions that are sustainable and better for the planet. 

Pampered Chef – From kitchen essentials to party ideas, a Pampered Chef consultant can create her perfect foodie-driven home business. 

Scentsy – Fragrance lovers can enjoy over 80 unique low-heat and long-lasting scent items and cleaning products by becoming a customer or direct seller through Scentsy

Thirty-One – Improve your own style while helping customers get their fashion fix, home décor, and gift solutions when you become a Thirty-One consultant. 

Traveling Vineyard – Share your love of wine and schedule in-home tastings with other oenophiles when you run your own Traveling Vineyard company. 

Tupperware – Founded in 1946, Tupperware is still a popular choice for party planners. And with the right drive and contact list, becoming a Tupperware consultant can be a fun and flexible business opportunity. 

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