Marilyn Lewis has seen a few recessions in her lifetime, but the Thousand Oaks resident has always had a back-up plan. Like almost 15 million other women in the U.S., Lewis is a direct seller — she sells cosmetics to other women from her home.
Although it may conjure up images of ’50s Tupperware parties, direct selling isn’t just for housewives with too much time on their hands anymore – anything but. When the going gets tough, women are often called upon to supplement their household incomes, and direct selling — whether it be cosmetics or kitchenware — lends itself as a practical way for many to do that.
The number of direct sellers in the U.S. first jumped to more than 5 million in the recession of the early ’90s. Then, when the dot-com bust and the subsequent recession of the early 2000s rolled around, that number jumped to more than 12 million.