Pampered Chef sells cookbooks, kitchen tools, and packaged food items in four countries. The company employs a multi-level marketing force totaling around 50,000 distributors.
While I’ve got a lot of respect for these guys, I wasn’t on board to distribute after being approached to join. The reason why might surprise you…
This video explains:
All good? Let’s continue…
Pampered Chef has the distinction of having been acquired by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway. The conglomerate took over in October 2014 and just over one year later began shutting down operations in the United Kingdom.
Now, Pampered Chef products are sold in just three countries: the US, Canada, and Germany. CEO Tracy Britt Cool, appointed by Berkshire-Hathaway, has extensive experience running big outfits and serving on boards of the likes of H.G.Heinz, Benjamin Moore, and Oriental Trading Company. She has been called a rising star of Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffet’s protege.
So it looks as if Pampered Chef is in good hands- don’t let the closing of the UK division worry you. If it’s good enough for Warren Buffet then there’s a pretty good chance this company is working from a foothold that’s sitting squarely solid ground.
The Better Business Bureau rates them an A+, and they are accredited. Based in Addison, IL, the Pampered Chef employs around 500 people at is headquarters and has offices in German and Canada as well. According to their website, they’ve had 12 million customers since founding in 1980.
They maintain test kitchens employing home economists, food scientists, chefs and dietitians. 90% of their products are exclusive to them and the catalog includes almost 500 items.
Targeting the busy household mom, Pampered Chef products seemingly offer tools that allow the consumer to make tasty, convenient meals and have fun doing it. This concept is promoted most successfully at home parties, around which the Pampered Chef empire was built.
But the products can also be found on Amazon, where the products enjoy enviably high ratings from lots of customers. Here’s a smattering of what you’d find if you were to take a look on Amazon:
- Large Micro cooker for Microwave ($28.99 down from $39.99)
- Mini Tart Shaper ($18)
- Nylon Pan Scrapers Set of 3 ($14.99)
- Celebrate Celebration Gift Boxed Serving Plate ($37.92)
- Parmesan-Garlic Oil Dipping Seasoning ($11.99)
- Teriyaki Sauce with Honey (14.99)
On the official Pampered Chef website, the e-catalog is full of wonderfully enticing items, from bakeware to cleaning. Shoppers may also browse the “charitable giving” category, which includes items that come with a philanthropic edge.
For example, purchase the Round-Up from the Heart Nourish Bowl Set and $4 goes to the Feeding America charity. That is apparently equivalent to 40 meals served.
There’s also a $10 and under category- nobody gets left out in the cold when it comes to access to purchasing Pampered Chef products!
Food items include easily-shipped pantry items like:
- Gluten-free flour ($19.50)
- Cherry Balsamic Vinegar ($17.25)
- Spicy Pineapple Rum Sauce ($12.50)
- Rosemary-infused canola oil ($12.50)
- Peppercorn Medley ($8)
- Cinnamon plus Spice Blend (6.75)
As you can see, Pampered Chef food items are cleverly developed to incorporate the latest food trends. They state on their website that as of September 1, 2014 all of the following products are gluten free, identified with a big red starburst on the label.
- seasoning mixes
- savory sauces
- vanilla extract
Product pages are also tagged with scrumptious recipes that call for the spices, rubs and whatever else you’re browsing at the moment. The result is a very pleasing user experience that gently coaxes visitors into the world of Pampered Chef products.
Hosts earn free and half-price products as well as rewards for future purchases. Consultants, on the other hand, earn income.
There is a new consultant plan, designed to increase sales that occur at the 1 million cooking shows held in the US alone each year.
- 20% – 27% commission on product sales
- 20% or more discount on purchases
- Travel opportunities
- Training events, many of which are free
- $10 per month for personal sales website plus back office support
- Back office support includes training, motivation, phone & email support, and other resources
Pampered Chef offers consultants lots of ways to run home parties, too. The options are creative, diverse plans that accommodate any kind of personality. For example, if a consultant is intimidated by the traditional lecture-style demonstration of products, he or she may choose to do a “station-style” event where guests test products and move from station to station, mingling and preparing each step of a recipe at each subsequent station.
There are also virtual parties that make use of online technology to cast an event and then take orders online as well.
Consultants choose from two kits to start their business:
- PC Kit ($159)- Includes 26 items valued over $600.
- PC Mini Kit ($99) – Includes 15 items valued over $350)
Each kit includes enough to demo a dip (mini kit) or choose from dozens of recipes (bigger kit).
There are 9 consultant rank levels, starting with Consultant. Becoming a Consultant is as easy as registering and purchasing one of the starter kits mentioned just above.
There are occasional promos, like the current one: join in January 2015, submit $1250 in commissionable sales within 30 days and get PC dollars worth $100. PC dollars can be used to purchase products or business supplies or they can be put towards registration fees for meetings.
Cooking show sales average more than $450 per show. Building a team increases the income. Recruiting within the first 90 days leads to eligibility to participate in the Fast Track to Director program and possibly $2000 in bonus income.
Despite diminishing its global footprint by closing down the UK wing at the start of this year, the Pampered Chef is still the largest branded kitchenware company in the United States. It’s also still the largest direct seller of housewares in the country, which puts it in a sweet spot as far as business outlook goes.
And no wonder: kitchen gadgets and pantry food items are universally needed, priced for 100% access to all consumer markets, and perfectly suited to the home party direct selling method of distribution.
With Warren Buffet and Tracy Britt Cool at the helm I can’t think of a better framework from which to try your hand at direct selling. If you’ve got a leaning towards cooking and entertaining and you have lots of friends, you might want to go for it. If you’ve got a head for business and leadership skills, go all the way and become a consultant. This company is a safer bet than most.
But, it’s still the sad story of selling hype and chasing the hot opportunity.
There is a better way. You can build a real value-driven business…and feel good about it.
Check this out. It will help wreck your money-chasing habits.