Purpose – The paper aims to describe the application of direct selling, the process of selling a consumer product or service from one person to another, in an environment that is not a permanent retail location.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper explores the application of direct selling from the perspective of companies that have built their business around direct selling and those who are evolving into direct selling. The paper focuses the examination on three companies participating in the direct selling category: The Longaberger Company, The Pampered Chef and The Tupperware Corporation.

Findings – The paper finds that direct selling is an increasingly important component of the marketing mix for many traditional, successful companies and presents some keys to success.

Originality/value – Successful direct selling companies in the future will help to maximize growth and optimize customer loyalty at all levels.

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