Four years ago, natural skincare company Willa launched with products created specifically for girls. As The Wall Street Journal reports, the company recently pulled its products from more than 300 stores nationwide in favor of selling directly through Willa’s teen and “tween” customers.
New research from Harris Poll and commissioned by Direct Selling News found that among adults age 18 to 34, 54 percent of men and 42 percent of women have made a direct selling purchase in the past six months. However, adults are not the only ones interested in buying and selling through their own social circles. In addition to offering product tailored to young consumers, companies like Willa provide an opportunity for budding entrepreneurs to hone their skills.
Founder and CEO Christy Prunier says Willa was inspired by her then 8-year-old daughter, Willa Doss. Prunier founded the company following a fruitless search for safe and effective skincare products for young girls. Willa offers natural products to help girls combat the lasting skin damage that largely occurs before age 18.
Now, Willa is giving its customers the opportunity to sell the products as well. Called “Willagirls,” the young sales reps can market the product at get-togethers or one-on-one and receive 25 percent of total sales. Girls (or their families) can also receive a percentage of sales by hosting a party, and the company is developing software that will allow Willagirls to host “virtual” parties online.
Willa’s story is not unique among direct selling companies. At Origami Owl, a company founded by a 14-year-old girl, about a third of sales reps are younger than 24. Origami Owl also trains Owlettes, girls age 12 to 17 who can sign on with a parent or other trusted adult as a partner.