Skincare has a long and prosperous history of being sold through direct sales or party plan companies, such as Avon, Mary Kay, and BeautiControl. The average age of an Avon rep is 45-years-old. But, there’s a new girl — and her beauty brand — bringing the work-at-home scene to a younger than ever crowd — tweens and teens.
Fortune reports Willa was started by Willa Doss and her mother, Christy Prunier, when the wee entrepreneur was only eight-years-old. She was beginning to show interest in taking care of her skin, but Prunier had a hard time finding products she felt comfortable letting her use. Most lines, which were developed for older girls and women, were too harsh for a young girl’s delicate skin. Products marketed to Willa’s age group were often scented with overpowering bubblegum or sickening sweet, fruity scents. Realizing the lack of natural skincare products for young girls, they went to work creating one.
Prunier was diagnosed skin cancer on her face, not long after Willa was born. Her dermatologist told her the cancer was a direct result of too much sun exposure in her early years. Since 80 percent of sun damage happens by age 18, she is on a mission to help young girls protect their skin. Willa skincare and cosmetics are free of parabens, sulfates, DEA, and phalates. They are never tested on animals.
The line was originally carried in retail stores, like Target and J. Crew. However, Prunier had an “a-ha” moment when she watched her daughter in action, discussing the products with other girls.
“There was something about a girl speaking to another girl that was incredibly powerful. The best ambassadors for these brands are the girls.”
The pair took their products out of stores to focus on creating their direct sales business, which just launched April 1. Young entrepreneurs can sign up to become Willagirls by applying online and purchasing a starter kit for $99. The kit includes products valued at more than the $99 investment. It also includes marketing supplies, access to the Willa app, and a personal retail website.
“We made the kits as inexpensive as possible. We don’t want anyone to lose money on it. We’ve been making every effort to make sure they’re successful from Day 1.”
Willagirls can sell through traditional home shows or online “virtual parties.” They earn between 10 and 25 percent commission, depending on sales volume. There are no monthly sales quotas to maintain their representative status. There is a yearly technology fee of $50, which is included in the starter kit price the first year.
Another unique feature of the company is that they encourage reps to put a portion of their earnings toward college savings. When a girl puts money into a 529 College Savings Account, Willa will match her contribution at 10 percent. Willa Doss is proud that she and her mother are offering much more than quality skincare to girls and young women.
“The girls gain so many things, learning to talk in front of other people and manage their finances. They’re so happy to have something that they own and are in charge of.”
[Images by Willa/Facebook]