Direct Selling continues to grow in popularity amongst UK consumers. Indeed new figures from the Direct Selling Association show that over a third of the UK population (34%) have chosen to buy products through this method, including via parties, catalogues, or face-to-face. These high levels in consumer demand show the industry continues to thrive. There are now 400,000 people making money as direct sellers – more than any other type of part time work in the country.
One key factor that explains direct selling’s popularity is product range, giving consumers and sellers alike a breadth of choice. In its traditional post-war form, direct selling was associated with Tupperware parties. Step forward to present day and the industry is now open to a wide range of products including cosmetics, cleaning products, nutritional products and homewares to name a few. Among the options, craft supplies are a particularly enticing product for the aspiring direct seller.
Craft is a growing market and has exploded in popularity over the last few years. From celebrities spotted with knitting needles, to mainstream television devoting air time to craft, many factors have helped to raise its profile. The Great British Sewing Bee returned for a third series this year on BBC 2, with the opening episode pulling in 2.3 million viewers. These figures are a clear reflection of the popular interest in craft.
Craft products and direct selling are a great match. As a business model, direct selling thrives on social interaction. Sales are typically conducted face to face with products demonstrated to an individual or a group at direct selling parties. Meanwhile crafting is also big on social interaction, keen crafters love to get together to swap ideas and discuss techniques. Sharing what you create is a powerful and yet simple way to strengthen relationships. Therefore the relaxed and sociable environment that comes with crafting is the perfect opportunity for a direct selling party.
Given the ties between craft and direct selling, there has never been a better time to turn this hobby into a profitable venture. The flexibility of direct selling means there’s no rigid commitment so what you get out of it depends on how much you’re prepared to put in. Enthusiasm for your product will always drive the selling process – leading to new and exciting business opportunities and the fun you can have with craft provides the perfect platform to launch your direct selling business.
Paula Gorry, UK Business Development Manager, Stampin’ Up! UK – a leading craft company which operates via a network of direct sellers
 Business for Home, ‘34% British Have Bought Through Direct Selling’, https://www.businessforhome.org/2015/06/34-british-have-bought-through-direct-selling/, June 10 2015