Our Voices, Harmony and History’s Beat

These days have weighed heavily on Americans’ hearts, regardless of geographic location, family heritage, political persuasion, or socioeconomic background.

As leaders in direct selling know, our industry has borne witness to so much. Across the generations of direct sellers—from the Yankee salesman days to the virtual social selling parties of the COVID-19 era—we have innovated, adapted, and endured.

As I look out on Washington, D.C., I see a city that, in its permanence, testifies to the enduring promise of American democracy as codified by the world’s longest-standing constitution that is the basis for American individualism.

Direct sellers are no strangers to that spirit of independence history’s headwinds; direct selling’s endurance across the decades has allowed generations of Americans to face and endure defining moments that changed the course of our country’s history.

After the Civil War ravaged the South, many young men, unable to afford higher education, began selling bibles door-to-door.

Just before World War I, ten companies joined together to form the Agents Credit Association—the Direct Selling Association’s predecessor—to fight for the interests of the 93,000 traveling salesmen across the U.S.

The Great Depression and World War that followed tempered a generation of resilient individuals that would become the founders of direct selling companies that continue today. The post-war boom created opportunities for American women seeking new ways to contribute to their family’s financial security.

I am confident that direct sellers will again help revive and transform their communities with the spirit of independence and entrepreneurship at the heart of our country.

Through all this, DSA has stood by and for direct selling. As in those earlier moments of national and global challenges and crises, we will be there to protect, promote, and serve direct sellers even as they serve their customers and communities. We will be there for each other.

In times such as these, it’s easy to become obsessed with what makes us different from each other. But direct selling and DSA give us a different—a better—perspective. A perspective that illustrates the better angels of our natures.

DSA is comprised of competitors who may, at times, have quite disparate interests. Yet, time and again, we come together to find a set of agreed-upon priorities that form a vision for how we continue to move forward and fight for direct selling in Washington, D.C., and in statehouses across our great nation.

We do this as a community, and we do this because we are stronger together. Perhaps we can be an inspiration to those who might be distracted by the divisions of our times.

As we Americans participate in the historic 2020 election season, I want you to exercise your right to ensure that your voice is a part of our great American democracy. And as you do so, I want you to remember that we are all part of direct selling, a great American tradition.

Our community gains strength as a result of your voice, one filled with passion, personal gifts, talent, and faith in the good things that tomorrow brings. I have confidence that 2020’s multiple challenges will come to be viewed as yet another moment for growth in our American story from which we will all gain deep wisdom.

JOSEPH N. MARIANO is the President of the U.S. Direct Selling Association and the Direct Selling Education Foundation