Finweek English Edition - - COVER STORY -

have found ei­ther part- or full-time em­ploy­ment yment work­ing as in­de­pen­dent sales rep­re­sen­ta­tives re­sen­ta­tives for pre­dom­i­nantly cos­metic and house­hold brands.

Multi­na­tional giants such as Avon, Her­bal­ife and Tup­per­ware, re, for ex­am­ple, have found an in­creas­ingly y cap­tive mar­ket in SA – where mil­lions ons are starv­ing for any type of work – not only to con­sume their prod­ucts, but ut to sell them within their lo­cal com­munini­ties. Cos­met­ics group Avon, on, widely re­garded as global bal leader in di­rect sell­ing, f irst en­tered the South African mar­ket in 1996 and says it has seen a sharp in­crease in the num­ber of its i ndependent rep­re­sen­ta­tives in SA over the past five years. The com­pany boasts over 6m ac­tive in­de­pen­dent rep­re­sen­ta­tives world­wide, although it doesn’t break the num­ber down by re­gion.

Her­bal­ife, the global well­ness com­pany that has been strug­gling to keep its im­age clean over the past sev­eral months, says it has around 22 000 di­rect sellers in SA.

The home prod­ucts group Tup­per­ware re­fused to di­vulge any in­for­ma­tion on its lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tives, although we sus­pect it has a mini army of lo­cal women ped­dling its prod­ucts. It’s dif­fi­cult to pin down how much SA’s le­gion of di­rect sellers earn on av­er­age, but it ap­pears that many of them are cer­tainly earn­ing more than just petty cash.

Alice Mthini (left) and Denise Zweirs, Avon’s top sales lead­ers

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