Have you heard of Vector Marketing and Cutco? They seem to have had some varied and colorful press over the years so I wanted to do a bit of investigation for myself and produce a Vector Marketing review to see if it could be an option for Your Job Escape Plan or if it would be out of the frying pan, into the fire!
I have no personal interest in Vector Marketing but have found myself defending them as the reviews I have found are rather brutal with many false claims. Then I dug a bit deeper..
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Who is Vector Marketing?
Vector Marketing is the sales arm of Cutco, a company incorporated in 1947 to sell kitchen knives. Vector themselves started in 1981 and operates in 250 locations in the U.S.A., Canada, and Puerto Rico with an additional 300 temporary locations during the summer months.
Why do they have extra locations in the summer months? This is because, unusually, 85% of their workforce is college-aged and most actually do attend college.
More about Cutco
Cutco claims to offer the only high-quality cutlery line that is still manufactured in the U.S.A. which I can believe. A staggering 15 million homes in America have a Cutco product in their kitchen! The product reviews would indicate that customers and happy and indeed these are premium products.
I first became aware of Cutco when I read The Miracle Equation by Hal Elrod. He had been super-successful with Cutco and in his last year there, decided he wanted to break all sales records by doubling his own monthly revenue to $20,000. Not only did he do this, but he went on to train anyone who asked him for help which he did purely for the satisfaction of seeing them achieve what they were not at all sure was possible!
Now, this was around 15 years ago and at the time he was selling knife sets for in the region of $3,000 so I can only imagine what they must cost now. They come with a lifetime guarantee, so I have every reason to assume that they are good!
Why do they focus on hiring students?
I was curious about that! It occurred to me that they possibly hire students because they will have lots of friends whose parents would be a good demographic for Cutco products and it would be relatively easy for them to roll up with a case full of knives to demonstrate them, compared with someone you didn’t know too well.
Vector say they hire students because the flexibility of the opportunity suits them very well – they only have to work when it suits them and if they are studying for exams they can take a few weeks off which you can’t do with a regular part-time job.
Also, face-to-face sales experience would certainly help build the confidence of a young person who would then be much better equipped when attending interviews for any type of role.
Why is there so much controversy around Vector Marketing?
Here is a list of the complaints I have seen along with what I have found out:
1. It is MLM. My findings – No, it is not. It is direct selling with no commissions paid on downline sales as there is no downline. There is maybe a reward system for finding other Consultants, but it is single-level direct selling. Also, there is an emphasis on getting referrals – i.e. other people to host a presentation.
2. The payment per appointment (currently in the region of $18) can be less than the minimum wage if, for example, presenting at a friends house that takes all evening and you might not even get a sale. My findings – You do not normally get paid at all if you are self-employed so any ‘basic’ element is highly unusual.
3. Once you run out of friends and family to present to, there is no other way of getting leads. My findings – actually, this is a tricky one.
Back in the day when Hal Elrod was earning a small fortune selling Cutco products, you were allowed to phone people out of the phone book, now rules have changed and you can’t do that these days.
However, if you are clever, you could start up a blog targeting your local area and sharing advice on knives and chopping, etc – perhaps with some videos thrown in, and you could pick up sales and appointments that way.
4. You have to pay your own travel expenses and don’t get paid to attend the training. My findings – I think people don’t understand the concept of being self-employed. Of course, you have to pay for these things yourself – if this is an issue, it’s a job you are looking for rather than a business opportunity.
5. The recruitment strategy is misleading students about the nature of the opportunity. My findings – Looking at many of the review sites, this would seem to be a genuine complaint as students are offered an interview without being aware that it is a self-employed opportunity. This article was written for the Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses where he alleges that he didn’t know the nature of the work until his second interview.
6. Vector has had multi-million dollar lawsuits brought against them for not paying minimum wage. My findings – this is true – it looks like they had employees at that time rather than Independent Consultants and were ordered to pay $13m to people who were employed during 2004 – 2011.
7. Commission starts at 10% which is very low. My findings – Once you have retailed $1,000 it goes up to 15% then past $3,000 it’s 20%. As a newbie, however, it’s a bit miserable to earn $100 for a knife set costing $1,000 when you consider the time setting up the appointment, traveling, time presenting etc.
Pros of Vector Marketing
1. Flexible hours
2. High-quality product
3. Lots of success stories
4. Some very successful people credit Cutco with giving them the best possible start according to Business Insider. Check out the article here
4. Good training
Cons of Vector Marketing
1. Unless you are totally driven and good at a) getting appointments and b) selling, this might not be for you
2. The fact that they are less than transparent recruitment process leaves a sour taste
3. Likely to be a short-term opportunity unless you find a way to promote to people you don’t know. (Would you welcome a knife salesman who you don’t know into your home?)
4. High price point so you would need to make sure you were presenting to the right audience
5. There isn’t really a way to leverage your earnings unlike with an MLM model where you would potentially have a team that you would earn from too. You are restricted to the physical hours that you can work
Should you join Vector Marketing?
If you have a large network of friends with an interest in cooking and plenty of disposable income, then it could be worth a shot.
Alternatively, if you have an interest in cooking or kitchenware and felt inspired to start a blog on the subject, you could do very well. Furthermore, you could become an affiliate for loads of other quality kitchen products and set yourself up a very nice business in the kitchenware niche!
As always, please do your own due diligence when considering taking up any opportunity.
My number one recommendation
If the idea of making money from a niche website for kitchenware or any other passion you have piques your interest, then check out my review for my number one recommendation for Your Job Escape Plan!
Do you have experience with Vector Marketing? I would love to hear about it in the comments.