If you take an interest in jewelry, purses and accessories such as sunglasses, you may have heard about a company called Stella & Dot. This company offers several different lines of chic jewelry designed mostly by New York designers, as well as purses, belts, tunics, scarves, etc. The company was founded in 2003 by Jessica Herrin and has even been featured in Vogue and Cosmopolitan.
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You won’t find S&D items in stores because the company operates via a direct sales model, working with so-called “Independent Stylists,” who are actually private individuals (like you and me), to sell its goods. The company does offer its goods via its website, however.
Stella & Dot is also an multilevel marketing (MLM) company. So, independent stylists that recruit other individuals to also become stylists receive commissions from their sales.
How do you become a Stella & Dot stylist?
To sign up, you must first purchase a starter kit from the company. There are three kit choices:
Once you receive your kit, you are encouraged to showcase your wares by hosting a “Trunk Show,” which is essentially an in-home party/demonstration. You can also feature and sell your goods online, via your own dedicated Stella & Dot website. However, the company strongly emphasizes that trunks shows are the way to go:
You start off earning a 25% commission on your sold goods, which jumps up to 30% if you sell over $2,500, 32% if you sell over $5,000, and 35% if you sell over $10,000 in a single month.
If you start recruiting others to become stylists, you earn a percentage from their sales. Stella & Dot advertises that up to an extra 18% commission can be earned from sales generated by your downline; unfortunately, this information is not broken down or otherwise elaborated on through the website.
As with all direct sales MLMs, there are pros and cons to working for Stella & Dot:
Transparency– The company seems to lay out its compensation plan rather openly and, except for the missing breakdown of downline commissions, most information is shown online. For example, here is the company’s average stylist income disclosure table:
Fashionable jewelry and accessories– Stella & Dot jewelry is chic, trendy and imaginative. The clothes are unique and many pieces are embroidered. Purses are sturdy and several are made from genuine leather.
No sales quota– An independent stylist with no downline has no set quote to meet when she sells Stella & Dot products. She can sell even a single piece per year- and still earn a 25% commission.
Responsive company– There will be customer complaints with any company or business. Where customers have complained about Stella & Dot products, the company has been quick to respond and rectify the issues involved. This also goes back to the “Delight Guarantee” that the company offers to its customers, including 24/7 customer service and free product returns.
Expensive products– Stylists who host trunk shows at their homes and assume they’ll make an easy $500 in revenues per show are in for a surprise: Guests will be hard-pressed to pay up to $228 for a stylish purse or $39 for a pair of bead earrings. It will take some convincing to get people to pay hundreds of dollars for jewelry that, at least in their minds, carries no brand recognition and/or is not made with precious metals/gems.
As an example, check out what two tunics would cost for the average customer:
Sales quota with downline– If you end up recruiting new stylists, you will be required to “lead by example” and sell at least $500 of merchandise per quarter or your commissions from their sales will be reassigned to another lead stylist. So, if you are good at convincing others to join but only so-so at selling Stella & Dot jewelry, too bad for you.
Low average earnings– If you look at the earnings disclosure posted above, you’ll find that 72.7% of stylists don’t even average $2K in earnings for their work, and almost 90% don’t make an average of $5K/year. Those odds are quite sobering when you account for the fact that these stylists are probably out there, working hard, and trying to recruit others as they go.
“Warm market” emphasis– Stella & Dot’s website assumes that its salespeople are going to consist of women, mostly stay-at-home moms and housewives, who somehow have plenty of relatives and friends to sell their wares to. Granted, every person has a certain number of people that she knows and can gather together for a party or two…but that market is quickly used up within a few months. To be truly successful, that person must eventually reach out to and attract a wider (outside) audience of potential customers.
Unfortunately, Stella & Dot says little about this larger market and how to sell to it. In fact, the company almost seems to de-emphasize online selling and advertising in favor of trunk shows- in spite of the fact that online selling and advertising have immense potential for reaching a wide target audience.
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Is Stella & Dot worth it?
While Stella & Dot does offer fashionable products and impressive customer support, it may prove too great of a challenge for independent stylists to make a steady income from, or even a side income. Also, the products are expensive and require a certain demographic of customers with sufficient disposable income to afford many of the offered pieces. In my opinion, there are less challenging business opportunities out there.
Have you sold or do you sell Stella & Dot products? Please leave a comment about your experiences below.
14 thoughts on “Should You Become a Stella & Dot Stylist?”
I’m a stylist for 3 years trying now. Wondering where you complied your data, as some of what your reporting is not at all accurate. Perhaps it’s a perspective thing, since you wouldn’t have access to the same “back of the house” knowledge on marketing, tools, etc that the company affords us. By my standards, their creating images etc for us to use is a plus- less work for me and they’re beautiful! We are not at all prohibited from creating our own images, scripts, words to say, etc. They have recently introduced yet another stylist app- created in house, which is basically unheard of in the direct sales business. This, on top of a sales app in which we can produce images, price points, and take orders from our smart phones. Which brings me to your idea that they discourage us from sharing online. Why would they take over 3 years to develop an app that digitizes imagery for us to use- online, via social media, by text, email, etc? Because it’s a fallacy. Yes, the heart of our buisiness is the “trunk show”, because our model is to offer personal service to our beloved customers. (By the way I live in middle class northeast PA, and have a base of over 600 customers in my system, from all over the US). That being said, they understand the balance between stylist’s offering one on one or one on many styling advice in person; and today’s need for need now, want now, buy now. That’s why we have sites that are open 24/7, and can offer styling virtually, as well as in person. Wish you could have contacted a stylist before publishing. It’s really a great gig, with no pressure to enjoy the benefits. Beyond extra cash, styling comes with a community of women who support each other abundantly, awesome discounts on products (because there’s plenty of women who sign up just for that!), and an avenue for personal expression and growth through style and owning your own business. You should sign up- we love Stella Fellas! :)
Interesting that most of the reviews here are by men??! S&D was created by women, for women!! I joined just over a year ago, as I loved the jewellery and needed a bit of sparkle in my life! It’s has fulfilled my need to get out and socialise, while providing some extra cash, and lots of free jewellery??. Women sign-up for many reasons, and enjoy the supportive community of other women, and excellent training that often builds their confidence, and can lead into greater things. I have just reduced my ‘day job’ to 2 days a week, and am stepping up my S&D business. I’m loving building a team, and mentoring them to achieve success, on their terms ( not mine!!) Like any business, it’s possible to achieve high earnings if you work hard, but this business is not just about money…and can truly offer the fun, flexible career, that so many women crave!! If Carlsberg made a company for women….this would be it ????
I was a S&D stylist, and it’s not a gig for those with small social circles or day jobs that are not in the educational field. Also, do your research – if you live in a small town and there are stylists within a 10 mile radius – DON’T BOTHER SIGNING UP! It’s very much a cult vibe with everyone posting the same company approved scripts and photos (you are not allowed to stray from said scripts or else you are out of compliance and possibly ruining the company’s image) and your upline ignoring you if you don’t perform. The jewelry tarnishes quick, and the warranty is 90 days max. After that, good luck. Over priced Koolaid that seems to be the flavor of the month, IMO.
I have to disagree with this review -as it’s not always like this. I live in a fairly small village and had never heard of S&D until a friend in town invited me to a party. It was only after having my own party and signing up that’s I eventually discovered another 2 stylists only streets away ? One had been active for 5 years, yet I’d never heard of the company? Was it a problem for me? -quite the opposite!! We have helped each other out by lending items to each other etc, and I have found a new friend?.
I’ve been burned by mlm programs before and I’m glad I found your review because I now know that Stella and Dot isn’t for me. The few mlm’s I have tried made me realise that the direct selling and trying to recruit family and friends made me feel really uncomfortable. Thank you for your honest review.
Not a problem, glad you were able to find my site. I hate the pressure to throw parties in order to sell to your friends and family. You will burn through your social circles pretty quickly and then what? Your business is over before it even really gets off the ground.
I have never understood the policy that a lot of MLM’s have the either discourage online selling our outright prohibit it. I think I might be a combination of having complete control over the brand or maybe discouraging potential buyers / distributors from getting online to research and potentially seeing negative reviews.
I think someone who is really good at selling might be able to make money with Stella and Dot, but if you don’t have a knack for (or interest in) that, I would probably choose something that doesn’t rely so heavily on direct face-to-face pitching of products. Just my opinion.
The idea is enticing, but ultimately most people get tired of pedaling over priced products to their friend.
I’m glad you put in a plug for Wealthy Affiliate there at the end. I wish I would have come upon them years ago. I have been thinking of starting a travel blog for a few years, but had no idea where to start. I have found their training to be incredibly useful. It’s detail oriented and structured well. I feel like the process they walk you through ultimately sets you up for success online.
Talk about detail. You definitely went in with this article, Steve.
Thanks so much for sharing! :)
And no, I’ve personally never heard of Stella & Dot. But I have now … especially through your article.
Their compensation and support services caught my eye though. :)
Thanks for sharing, Steve! Glad I had some time to read this.
I really appreciate the work that you’re doing.
Blessings to you and yours,
The page get right to the heart of the matter and then deep dives to all the things to consider becoming Stella & Dot stylist or not. I like that, v clear and to the point.
My only suggestion for improvement would be changing the priority of them. TO me the biggest setback to me a Stella & Dot stylist is that the products are very expensive.
I absolutely loved this post. You actually made me love accessories even more– although I am not a big shopper… it seems like I have ALL accessories in my drawers, vanity, closets and jewelry boxes. Now, I am seriously going to put some thought into adding this to my online entrepreneur repertoire or list of things-to-consider. It would fit with my pampering time, time helping other women and increase my business aptitude.
Thanks for this!
You’re very welcome Nerissa. If you do decide to pursue Stella & Dot, please report back here with your experiences!
Well no Steve, honestly I’m not gona be signing up to be a Stella Dot stylist bro lol, and the main reason I’m here commenting right now is because im genuinely looking for some birthday presents for my partner. I don’t remember if shes mentioned this exact Stella Dot company before, but she loves New York so im gona let her know about this anyway and see what she thinks.
Shes already a rep for a few other stylist/make up/fashion/hair companies so im not sure if she would have time to try another one, but she can be the judge of that ;)
Sounds good Marley. Be sure to report back later if she does end up joining. I’d love to hear actual experiences people have had with Stella & Dot.