It's no secret. Job security is being washed away by the tides of technology and more people than ever are looking for new ways to make money. In this Stella and Dot review I'll talk about earning money... the Stella and Dot way. I was surprised to learn just how big Stella and Dot are... which may explain some of the complaints and negative reviews. But before we get into details... I'll set the stage with a little history and background.
Please note, I am not a member or an affiliate for Stella and Dot. This review has been researched with information and/or testimonials that are available online in the public domain. Any recommendations and/or conclusions are strictly opinions and may not to apply to, or agree with, all persons or situations. See full disclaimer for more info
What Is Stella and Dot?
The story of Stella and Dot begins with Jessica Herrin. Having received a B.A. from Stanford in 1994 and attending Stanford Graduate School of Business, Jessica went on to co-found the weddingchannel.com (now owned by theknot.com) at age 24.
But that wasn't enough to satisfy her passion for entrepreneurship... she continued her journey into business, designing her own jewelry and DIY jewelry kits.
In 2007, Jessica, along with co-founder Blythe Harris (a jewelry designer for Banana Republic who she met at a Stanford alumni event) started Stella And Dot… which they named after their Grandmothers.
Stella & Dot today is a direct sales fashion company that sells clothing, jewelry and accessories. At least, that’s who they are on the surface.
Underneath you will find a massive network of independent entrepreneurs who sell lifestyle, and some might say, hope… something we all need in today’s world of uncertainty.
By 2010 Stella and Dot had reached 100 million in sales.
Success stories like these are rare, but as entrepreneurs (and aspiring entrepreneurs), they not only inspire us… they humble us as well.
I don’t have much love for multi-level-marketing… but what Jessica Herrin and Blythe Harris have built is incredibly impressive. If you decide to join Stella and Dot (and even if you don’t), their story is something to aspire to, and learn from.
Is Stella and Dot a Scam or Pyramid Scheme?
It should be clear that Stella and Dot is the real deal, but it’s hard to talk about multi-level-marketing without also talking about scams and pyramid schemes.
It's not a black and white topic, which is why the debate is never settled.
Let's talk about scams first, and I'll come back to pyramid schemes in a moment.
Stella and Dot is not a scam, but it it’s entirely possible that a member will try to scam you. No multi-level-marketing company can fully control what their agents do or say in order to get a sale, or recruit a new member.
The definition of a scam is “an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their confidence”, so any stylist that's dishonest to you may be running a scam. For example, if they're trying to recruit you by lying about how much money they make, and/or how much effort it takes to make it (so you'll join and buy products), it'll feel like you're being scammed.
If you're told that 1 out of every 10 people on average will join (just an example)... but you've shown it to more than 30 and no one is interested... it'll start to feel like a scam. You were told it works, but it doesn't seem to be working.
You will get varying opinions on this and some people may have valid arguments, depending on their experience. But... to be clear, Stella and Dot (the company) is 100% legit.
As far as being a pyramid scheme, every MLM is, to some degree, a pyramid. The word “scheme” might be the wrong word, but your Stella and Dot team (aka downline) is built by recruiting people, and having those people recruit people, and so on...
Legally, they are not a pyramid scheme because legitimate products are being sold, and Stella and Dot operate within legal boundaries.
But, the structure of the distributor network is definitely pyramid “shaped”, and the money flows up, to the top. Some might say too much of it flows just to the top
If MLM's don't appeal to you, another way to make some extra money is with online surveys. Sites like surveyjunkie.com will pay you for your opinion or you can also make money visiting websites, watching videos and searching the web with Inbox Dollars.
No... surveys are not passive income and they won't make you rich, but they can provide a little extra money for those who are not ready to start a business.
If you want passive income without selling or recruiting, you can leverage the web to work exclusively from home and multiply your efforts in ways that are not possible selling in person is what you need in order to get what you want.
Will You Make Money?
There's no question that some people are making money with Stella and Dot.
Will you? It's possible, yes.
It all depends on the type of person you are. Do you enjoy selling for example...
But there is an unfortunate truth, and I'm not saying this applies to you, but 99% who join an MLM will lose money.
Again (as mentioned above) they won't make you rich, but you will make some money and more importantly, you won't lose it.
For more freedom and independence if you're not into driving around at night and doing home parties, consider an online business where you have more control of your surroundings and your costs.
That doesn't mean Stella and Dot are no good, it just means that no opportunity is one size fits all... nor should it be.
No career is one size fits all either and no education is one size fits all. The good news is that even when it comes to making money from home, you have options.
How Much Does It Cost?
To join Stella and Dot, you will need a “getting started kit”. There are 3 options and each one includes,
- 50% off your first 30 days
- Your personal website
- Dottie, Stella and Dot's easy-to-use business app
- Digital and printing marketing materials
- Mimi, their mobile digital assistant
- Online and in-person training
- Trunk Show display tools (neck forms and trays)
- New Stylist Workbook and launch guides
Your three options are determined by the amount of Stella and Dot jewelry and accessories you want to start out with.
Option 1 – Essentials ($199)
Includes everything from above, plus $350 in jewelry and accessories.
Option 2 – More To Love It ($499)
Includes everything from above, plus $1000 in jewelry and accessories
Option 3 – Ultimate ($699)
Includes everything from above, plus $1500 in jewelry and accessories
Since trunk shows (or home parties) will be your main sales environment, you can expect additional expenses such as fuel, parking, dining, possibly clothing, as well as wear and tear on your vehicle.
Some trunk show may be hours away from home, in which case you may require hotels or Airbnb accommodations.
These are not critical expenses to get started, but as an “independent contractor” of Stella and Dot, they are important to consider and keep track of.
Stella and Dot Compensation Plan
With some direct sales companies, you must purchase products at wholesale (discounted), and sell for retail, in which case you keep the profit.
Stella and Dot, however, works by paying you a commission. Personally, I prefer a commission sales model because your money is not tied up in inventories and returned products.
You can earn up to 35% commission from your personal sales, and up to 12% on your team (downline) sales.
Commission rates are based on your PQV (personal qualifying volume). Base commission is 25% but there are monthly power seller bonuses.
- 2,500 PQV (bonus 5%) + (25% base) = 30%
- 5,000 PQV (bonus 7%) + (25% base) = 32%
- 10,000 PQV (bonus 10%) + (25% base) = 35%
The amount you earn on your downline sales is determined by your GQV (group qualifying volume), your CV (commissionable volume) and your rank.
To earn, you must remain active. According to the compensation plan, effective January of 2018: “To keep an active Stylist account, you need 500 PQV in the last rolling 6 months. If you do not meet this requirement, your account will be converted to earn referral rewards when you share Stella & Dot.”
Stella and Dot have a diverse product line, and the more products they have to buy, the more products you have to sell.
- Charms & Engravables
- Covet Fine Jewelry
- Clutches & Crossbody Bags
- Wallets & Companions
- Versatile Bags
- Covet Leather Accessories
- Travel Bags
- Scarves & Hats
- Bag Charms
But, that’s not all. Stella and Dot are part of a larger family of products that include jewelry from Keep Collective and skin care products from EVER.
Stella and Dot Reviews
As far as product quality and price, it’s difficult to comment accurately simply because the line-up is so large and diverse. You're going to find complaints about some products, and praise for others.
Having said that, I've included some Stella and Dot complaints below (as examples). Not to discourage you from buying or becoming a stylist, but to keep it real. Stella and Dot, like any company of their size, receives complaints.
It should also be noted that unhappy customers are more likely to complain, than happy ones are to comment.
Despite the negative reviews, Stella and Dot is still a company with sales in the hundreds of millions. If their products were consistently as poor as some complaints suggest, they wouldn’t be where they are today.
And of course, there are positive Stella and Dot reviews as well…
Is Stella and Dot For You?
Stella and Dot offer a lot. They have a stable history, a solid marketing plan, and co-founders that many entrepreneurs would be proud to emulate. They also have a diverse product line that appeals to more than one demographic.
Having said that, the question you must ask… is what you want from Stella and Dot.
Quite often people join MLM’s because they think it’ll bring them freedom, independence, and of course… money. But the truth is, the vast majority of people (who become multi-level-marketers)… never achieve freedom, independence, or money.
Why??? Because multi-level-marketing is all about selling and recruiting (despite what they tell you), and most people don’t enjoy selling and recruiting.
Doing what you don’t like doing is probably what you’re doing now (or at the very least, trying to avoid). Going from one thing you don’t enjoy, to another thing you don’t enjoy, is not a good strategy.
First, doing something you don’t enjoy is not sustainable. Second, even if you defy the odds and achieve a certain level of success, but you hate what you’re doing and are unhappy... you can't really call it success.
In the case of MLM’s, you have to enjoy it because even the top earners keep working to recruit new people, either for themselves or for someone in their downline. They’re still motivating people, trying to maintain their organizations and managing personal sales.
Selling and recruiting is just a reality of multi-level-marketing, which is why few succeed at it.
There is a reason why car sales people have one of the highest turnover rates (67%), and why it's a line of work that few job seekers are interested in.
Fortunately, Stella and Dot does not cost a lot of money, so you can try it. Unlike some MLM’s (Lularoe for example) which cost several thousand, you can become a Stella and Dot stylist for a couple hundred dollars.
So, if you’re not sure about multi-level-marketing… it might be worth the experience to find out.
On the other hand, if you already know that selling and recruiting are not your thing, Stella and Dot is probably not for you.
Don't Like Recruiting?
Check out my number one recommendation. Learn how to earn from home without ever having to sell or recruit a single person.
Stella and Dot Income Disclosure Statement
Having read Stella and Dot reviews, and watched videos… it’s clear that Stella and Dot have a strong marketing strategy as well as good training, support and sales tools.
Does that mean Stella and Dot stylists earn more than other MLM’s?
Income disclosure statements, like Egyptian hieroglyphs, are rarely simple to decipher… but I’ll try.
According to Stella and Dot’s 2016 IDS (income disclosure statement), 92.1% earned an average of $4066 or less… not counting expenses.
Of course, that doesn’t tell the entire story. On the high-side there was at least one who earned $38,200, and those on the low side earned $300. Again… that's income only; expenses unaccounted for.
Also, they are referring to active members. Although it’s not mentioned here, it should be safe to assume that many Stella and Dot stylists did not make any money.
When we get to the higher end, the very top 0.2% (that’s 2 people out of a thousand), on average, earned $265,900. The low end of that average is $171,700 and the high end $693,500.
It’s hard to say how many active stylists Stella and Dot has, but according to a recent Wired article, there may be as many as 30,000… which means (according to their income disclosure statement) 150 or more stylists could be six-figure earners.
What I Like About Stella and Dot
- It’s not the cheapest business to start (you can start an online business for much less), but it’s not out of this world either. It’s reasonable. Certainly, if it'll put you in debt… I might recommend something else. But as far as MLM’s go, the cost of starting a Stella and Dot business is not bad at all.
- Stella and Dot is a commission based sales model. You don’t need to buy a ton of inventory and then go out and sell it. Your customers can simply order online, while you earn commissions.
- A diverse product line which helps to increase the dollar value of each sale, as well as the total number of sales.
- You may never meet Stella and Dot’s founders, but even a chance to be around that kind of mentorship (or the entrepreneurs they have mentored) is a tremendous opportunity.
What I Don’t Like
- Many of the product reviews were disappointing. Which brings me to another point… When you join an MLM, it’s important to remember that it’s NOT “your” business. You can choose when to work… but ultimately, you are still working for someone else. You have no control over the products (price or quality), you have no control over customer service (at the corporate level), and if you leave… your future sales (from customers you established) and your team belong to Stella and Dot.
- No surprise here… but selling and recruiting. I spent more than 10 years in sales, and from my experience (for myself and what I’ve seen sales do to friends) if you don’t enjoy selling, and more importantly, can't handle constant rejection… it’ll eventually make you miserable.
- Minimum sales requirements to maintain your “active” account status.
Where Do You Go From Here?
One of my biggest issues with MLM’s is this; They tell you anyone can do it.
In the case of Stella And Dot, they say “No experience? No problem. You don't need to have any background in sales. We're here to show you how to turn your natural skills into professional talents!”
To be fair, it’s not just Stella and Dot. Most MLM's are guilty.
The simple truth is… it takes a unique person to succeed at multi-level-marketing. And you might be that person.
Are you good at sales and do you enjoy it?
But what if you don't enjoy sales? What if you have no interest in selling to your friends, family and co-workers?
You can still make money, it just depends on what you want...
If you're just looking for some extra spending money, the best low stress method I know of is doing simple surveys online. Survey Junkie and Inbox Dollarsare two of the better ones I recommend.
But what if you want something more? What if you're looking for the freedom and independence that only a passive income can provide?
It's a little tougher than online surveys, but there are ways you can earn passive income without having to do things like recruit or host home parties.
Using the internet to make money exclusively from home and multiply your time and effort in ways that are not possible with MLM's is what you need in order to get what you want.
Whatever you choose though, it's critical to know what you really want. Is it the lifestyle with passive income and less stress you want...
... or is it the status of being a top salesperson and recruiter?
Because those are two very different goals. If it's sales and recruiting, then Stella and Dot could be your thing.
If it's less stress and passive income, you'll be more comfortable working exclusively from home and building your own online business.
Another reason that some network marketers succeed is because they join with unique circumstances. They may own a business for example, which gives them access (during work hours) to many people, or they may be a leader in their community which gives them an uncommon authority.
But network marketers like to tell people, “your success is dependent on YOU”. And many people believe that, which is dangerous, because if you fail... what they are saying is that on YOU too. But it’s not true.
If anyone could do anything, we'd all be star athletes, A-list actors and billionaire business moguls.
When a traditional company hires a salesperson… they ask for a resume, and they often want to see a proven track record. They also interview candidates, and check there references…
Why? Because they're hiring someone who is suitable for the job.
If, for some ridiculous reason, they hired a person with zero sales experience, someone who claimed they were no good at selling, and in fact didn't want to sell... who’s fault would it be when sales suffered?
It’s not the new hire... It’s the person who did the hiring.
You can’t put a person into a position they are not suited for… and then tell them "it’s their own fault if they don’t succeed".
But MLM’s put that burden on people all the time.
In my opinion, your success depends on doing something you enjoy, and leveraging your strengths. If your talents and personality are suited to multi-level marketing… then I would recommend Stella and Dot. You may have what it takes to succeed.
If you prefer thinking over talking, and your talent is persistence, then you'll probably have more success behind a laptop than you will in front of a crowd.
That’s my rant, and if you’ve read this far… I thank you for sticking around 😀
I hope my Stella and Dot review was helpful, and if you have any comments, questions or even a mini-review of your own, please share in the comments section below.
PS – I’ve been down the MLM road before and (for me at least) it was miserable and frustrating. Years later, I finally found a way to earn an income from home with no selling or recruiting involved (I didn't even leave the house). Click HERE for the exact formula I used.