If you like to cook and experiment with new recipes, you may have considered starting a Tastefully Simple business from your home. Maybe one of your friends or coworkers even recommended Tastefully Simple to you.
What is Tastefully Simple?
Tastefully Simple (TS) was founded in 1995 by Jill Blashack Strahan and Joani Nielson and offers food items, seasonings, recipes and cook-at-home meal kits. The company operates as an MLM and hires contractors, called consultants, to advertise, demonstrate and sell its products. TS consultants may be found selling their wares at festivals and trade shows, at home parties, or even online.
These are but a few of the products that TS advertises on its main website:
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How do you start as a Tastefully Simple consultant?
TS consultants can join the company by purchasing one of these three join kits:
- A 30-meal kit that costs $200.
- A $69.95 10-meal kit in a choice of Family Faves, Fix It Fast or Easy Grillin.
- Any other qualifying meal kit.
In addition to buying a meal kit, the new consultant also pays a $39.95 join fee.
Is Tastefully Simple a good business investment?
The TS website doesn’t provide a lot of information about how much money its consultants can earn or how much of a commission they earn once they recruit other team members and rise up in the TS ranks. However, one piece of info that is noted on the website is that consultants earn 30% on the items they sell.
Consultants also earn the following rewards if they host a party and sell a given volume of product:
There are additional incentives offered to consultants who sell lots of product or recruit many downline consultants. Trips to tropical locations, for example, are touted as one of the incentives of being a TS superstar.
So, what stands out about Tastefully Simple in terms of its pros and cons?
Good quality products– TS food products are advertised as being as natural as possible, gluten-free, etc. In effect, I would expect to find TS stocked on the shelves of Whole Foods or some other natural foods store.
Market saturation is harder– Unlike jewelry, clothing or candles, food is consumed on a regular basis. As such, you are less likely to saturate your market with TS products once you’ve sold to all available customers. Sure, you may have to wait a week or two before advertising to the same clientele…but eventually cake mixes, sauce packets and spice jars are used up and people are hungry again.
Products transparency- Some food-based MLMs showcase finished meals and other foods on ther websites without telling the consumer that she isn’t getting the actual portrayed food, just the seasonings or sauces. TS makes a good effort to emphasize that it isn’t selling entire meals, just the kits and additives to make them.
Food items are listed with ingredients as well as customer reviews. For example, here is the information on the Brown Sugar & Maple Bacon Seasoning:
Products aren’t cheap– In general, TS products are pricier than those found in a regular grocery store. For example, the spice jars on TS run almost $10. In contrast, McCormick seasonings at a Kroger store cost $4-$8.
Unfortunately, as is the case with most MLMs, products must be priced higher if consultants are to be paid a commission. The company must also make a profit.
Products are consumed- As a TS consultant, you’ll soon learn that you need to spend money on products in order to make money on products. As you host parties and give out food samples, you’ll run low on your initially ordered TS kit(s). So, you’ll find yourself ordering more kits as time goes on.
The silver lining to this is the fact that you’ll score free and 50% off products as you sell a given volume of TS products at your hosted parties. So, those free and reduced cost items will at least partly cover your supplies. On the downside, you’ll need to continually order products even if you never sell anything for TS.
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You can be deactivated- In the TS legal agreement, there is the following stated term: “I agree to maintain a minimum of $200.00 of Part One Retail orders, less credits, per quarter. In the event that I fail to have and place the required quarterly minimum, the Company need not provide any written or electronic notice that this Agreement has been terminated.”
So, if you don’t purchase and/or sell at least $800 of product each year with TS, you won’t be an active member.
Parties are a must– Food is a sensory experience, meaning that customers are more likely to purchase a food item once they’ve tasted it. As such, you’ll need to host house parties in order to move product. Given that TS even rewards you based on how much product you move at a house party, you may not even have the option of not hosting parties on a regular basis.
There’s a website fee- TS Consultants who wish to list products on their own TS-sponsored website must pay a $10.95 monthly fee for the website. Additionally, consultant must pay $29.95/month for the ecommerce platform that connects to their website.
Tastefully Simple is a business pass
In a world of many upon many business opportunities, Tastefully Simple simply costs too much money and time to be a feasible long-term business. TS is a business you may wish to shop from while compiling your family’s dinner plans; however, buying the actual business requires that you devote all your spare time to hosting parties, cooking, shopping for groceries, and making sure your stockpile of products doesn’t go bad or become contaminated.
Have you sold products for Tastefully Simple? Please leave your comments about this business opportunity below.