The direct selling industry is pervasive and global, and it traces its roots to biblical times. In the United States, the Yankee peddler is the precursor of the channel of distribution that is today’s direct seller, an independent contractor dealing directly with the ultimate consumer. Some of the best-known direct selling companies were founded in the middle of the nineteenth century (for example, Southwestern and Watkins). Some that were “standards” in their times, no longer exist (for example, Realsilk).

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