Farragut women busy multi-level marketing

Remember Tupperware?

Turns out Tupperware didn’t die, she just reproduced. Wildly. Over the years, the queen of the plastic bowl has given birth to a multitude of children with names like Pampered Chef, Rodan + Fields, Young Living, doTerra, Arbonne, AdvoCare, LulaRoe, and Isagenix.

Her direct-sales offspring have multiplied so much that they’ve become part of the daily lives of women across the country, including those in Farragut. Multi-level marketing is booming in Farragut, agree some women who should know.

Decades after the Tupperware boom, the home party is still

alive and well. But there are

twists on multi-level marketing that Tupperware could never have envisioned.

A couple of weeks ago, Farragut area resident Dawn Swinson helped out a friend who sells trendy LulaRoe clothing by having 15 women over for a “pop-up boutique.”

“The pop-up boutique is a come-and-go party,” Swinson said, “where women can come by, try clothes on, make a purchase and be out the door.” But the seasoned party-thrower said there’s yet another wrinkle in direct sales.

“What a lot of consultants do now is open a box [of products they’ve ordered] and do a Facebook Live Party,” she said. “They will show products as they’re opening their box and sell them on the spot to women watching online. Then they’ll e-mail you an invoice, you pay it and they’ll ship it to you.”

Just two days before her party, a group of women gathered at the Saddle Ridge Clubhouse for an open-house style party where guests could learn about LulaRoe, Young Living Essential Oils, Tastefully Simple meal preparation, and Mojilife, one of the newest-comers in multi-level marketing that specializes in fragrances. Organizer Terry Oakes, a Saddle Ridge resident, said the event is open to everyone and the next one is planned for June.

“Multi-level sales have increased in Farragut over the last few years,” Oakes said. “It makes shopping easier because it’s something you can do online. You don’t even have to leave home. If you go to shows, usually products are there, cash and carry.”

Over the years, Oakes has been to all sorts of parties: Thirty-One, Mark Kay, Jamberry, Pampered Chef, doTerra, Young Living, Younique, Usborne Books, MojiLife, Avon, Tupperware, Premier Jewelry… maybe a couple more.

Across Farragut in Falcon Point, part-time pharmacist and mom of two Tia Mashburn began running her Rodan + Fields business in 2014.

“I had never done multi-level marketing before,” she said. “When I first thought about joining the company, I did my research. Not all multi-level companies are created equal. Of course, you read negative reviews about everything — including the bicycle I bought for my daughter for Christmas. As a professional, I give suggestions to people and I give them the best choice that I’ve read about or used. I used Rodan + Fields and had great results from it. I was also looking to make extra money so I could be with the girls more – pick them up from school and put them to bed at night.”

“I started with Rodan + Fields two-and-a-half years ago,” said Farragut High School graduate Lindsey Kant, a friend of Mashburn’s. “I was a busy mom of two with my third child on the way. My husband was in grad school, and I was working full-time as a pediatric nurse. I was definitely not looking for a job opportunity. I had never been involved with any kind of direct sales before or sales in general. I definitely don't consider myself a salesperson. If I would have let that fact alone steer my decision, I would have missed out on such a gift. As a working mom, I've found it difficult to build meaningful friendships. This group of women that I have found is incredible and have become some of my closest friends.”

Kant’s mother-in-law, Esther Kant, a Fox Run resident, has just gotten her toes wet too.

“This is my first time to do multi-level marketing,” said the mother of five and grandmother of 15 last week. “Someone from church introduced me to Genesis PURE.”

Genesis PURE offers nutritional supplements, skin care and oils.

“The principal is to cleanse and balance,” Kant said. “I was looking for something for my arthritis. The products have completely gotten rid of my arthritis pain.”

“I feel like women are looking for something more flexible,” Mashburn said. “The connotation behind the term ‘multi-level marketing’ is different now than it was decades ago. Years ago, when you said ‘direct sales,’ people automatically thought ‘pyramid schemes,’ but that’s so far from the truth now. The other thing is that people think you have to be a salesperson to do this. The last thing I am is a salesperson. I look at it as a good opportunity to share a good product with someone. I’m not knocking on people’s doors. We don’t have to do the parties or the pop-ups.

“The community of women I’m involved with in Rodan + Fields is so supportive of each other…When I joined, nobody just left me on my own. I have a team of women who surround me, support me and give me advice. It’s one of the perks of this business, for sure. You don’t find very many people who will pray for you and that’s one of the things I love about it. The community of women I’m involved with in Rodan + Fields is so supportive of each other.”

“It’s been one of the best decisions I have made,” she said. “I love it because I get to run my business the way I want to, so I’m my own CEO.”