If you like to cook or bake, then you may have heard of Pampered Chef.
This company was started in 1980 by Doris Christopher and offers several lines of cookware, bakeware, food products, cookbooks and kitchen accessories. Here is a sampling of just a few products that Pampered Chef offers:
One of the notable facts about this company is that, in 2002, it was purchased by Berkshire Hathaway. So, Pampered Chef is actually owned by Warren Buffett.
Another notable fact about Pampered Chef is that it’s an MLM (multi-level marketing) company. In other words, the company contracts with private individuals, who are called consultants, to sell its products. These consultants sell the company’s products at house parties, craft fairs, or online. Consultants’ customers can range from complete strangers to family members and friends.
Pampered Chef consultants can be just about anyone- your neighbor, boss, or colleague at work. Even you. So…should you consider Pampered Chef as your side or full-time work gig?
Getting started with Pampered Chef
Enrolling with Pampered Chef requires a purchase of a starter kit. There are three kit sizes ranging in price from $109 to $249. Within each kit, you receive an assortment of kitchen bakeware, cookware and accessories. You also receive marketing collateral such as brochures, catalogs, sales receipts, invitations, thank you cards, etc.
Incidentally, if you don’t want to, or simply can’t shell out $100-$200 for a starter kit, Pampered Chef offers host credits to consultants who host a party. These credits can be used to knock off up to $50 from your starter kit.
Pampered Chef consultants also have the option of creating a company-supported website; the charge for this service is $10/month. Unless you have a lot of current customers who are just dying to buy a bundt pan, your best bet is to snag new customers by advertising products online.
Depending on their volume, Pampered Chef consultants earn 20-25% commissions from the sales of their products to others. The following table outlines how the sales volumes, expected work hours and commissions work:
Consultants can also earn 3% bonus commissions from any individuals whom they recruit and who then go on to also sell Pampered Chef products.
Pampered Chef offers a good line of products which are backed by a 30-day return policy. The company also offers discounts to its consultants for selling products and for hosting parties- even virtual (i.e., social media) parties. So, are these incentives and the overall compensation plan worth becoming involved with this company?
Broad market base– Pampered Chef offers several lines of kitchen products that can be used by just anyone in the world. Whether you choose to sell online or in person, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who can’t use a spatula or a cake pan.
Quality products- This company prides itself on offering great products, some of which come with lifetime guarantees. Additionally, the company has a 30-day “no questions asked” return policy.
Consultant discounts– When you host virtual/in-home parties, you can score product discounts with the following party sales:
So, if you like Pampered Chef products, hosting parties is one way to get them (more) cheaply.
Stability– Pampered Chef has been around for decades and, much like Tupperware, is a viable household name. It’s also part of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies. Unlike some MLMs, this company is not about to go bankrupt or close down anytime soon, leaving you with a bunch of inventory you can’t sell.
No inventory– Speaking of inventory, Pampered Chef consultants don’t have to store it in their homes. Aside from the starter kit components, all orders placed by consultants are delivered directly to the consumers through the company.
Expensive products– Pampered Chef products are not cheap by any measure. For example, this stainless steel steamer costs $17.50. Is it really any better than a similar stainless steel steamer that I can purchase at Wal-Mart for $11.56?
Your “warm market”– Pampered Chef strongly encourages consultants to sell to their “warm market;” in other words, their relatives and friends. This approach might work initially, such as during the first virtual/house party, but then what? Consultants need to cast a much wider net than their “warm market” or their “warm market” will soon become the “oh no, not another Pampered Chef party” market.
Low commissions– As mentioned on other MLM review posts, commissions that are 30% or below make it more challenging for the consultant to earn a viable full-time or even part-time income because it is difficult to launch effective promos or product discounts. As such, one has no real advantage against the glut of other Pampered Chef consultants, or even other third-party kitchenware companies.
Market saturation– Pampered Chef products are offered on Amazon, on eBay, and on many other websites set up by consultants- so why is anyone going to pick you out of this crowd of established sellers? Furthermore, consultants who have leftover inventory and just want to leave the business often post their wares online. These can be found at a significant discount, compared to the actual retail cost of those items.
Party costs- Eating and cooking are sensory experiences that cannot be fully enjoyed just by going to a computer and landing on a social media page. To truly make the bucks in this business, you will need to host actual home parties and, preferably, cooking demonstrations. Such events will not be cheap, and they will certainly not take up the few hours per week that are advertised on the Pampered Chef website.
Is Pampered Chef worthwhile?
Overall, Pampered Chef does not offer the benefits that come with the efforts involved in selling its products. You may want to try hosting a party just to score some product discounts for yourself. But doing this line of work as a business will test your patience and your personal finances. Furthermore, the market is already glutted with kitchen products and accessories, which makes your late entry even more of a challenge. Overall, you are better off seeking other business opportunities elsewhere.
Have you had any experiences with Pampered Chef as either a buyer or seller? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.