As economy struggles, it's time to take direct route in tackling cash-flow issues
DIRECT selling has a certain stereotype. The polite door-to-door salesman with the suitcase of cosmetics is one. The relentless, aggressive seller who won't let you close the front door on him or her is another.
According to the vice-chairman of the Direct Sellers Association of Ireland (DSAI) Janet McNamara, the reality couldn't be more different.
"These perceptions are so inaccurate and outdated, and the DSAI as an organisation has a job to do to create awareness of the huge potential and opportunities that exist in direct selling.
"Our member companies offer a diverse range of products and each have specific marketing models, which range from catalogue purchases, group workshops, and telesales.
"Technology has changed the way direct selling works as well, with income potential determined by how much the seller puts in themselves.
"Last year, Ireland's most successful direct sellers made a turnover of in excess of €100,000."
Despite the apparent benefits of direct selling, it remains under the radar as an income source, according to the DSAI.
A survey the association recently commissioned found that only 37pc of respondents over the age of 15 claimed they had heard, read or seen something about direct selling before, while only two in five had bought something from a direct seller. More than 80pc of people would not consider working in direct selling but that is beginning to change.
The survey also showed that 45pc of respondents were "actively looking for ways to earn extra money in the next 12 months".
Given the circumstances of the country at the moment, it is perhaps not surprising that direct selling is likely to be considered as an income source by some 25pc of respondents. Nearly half have no idea on the cost to start up their own direct selling business, however.
Ms McNamara says awareness of the business is low but growing.
"Ireland currently has over 16,000 direct sellers with a combined turnover of €60m -- a 10pc increase in numbers in the last five years and an increase of 13pc in turnover at a time when the Irish economy was in freefall."
She believes it is Ireland's "best-kept secret" as the economy suffers.
'Mrs Brown's Boys' up for award
RTE'S 'Mrs Brown's Boys' has been nominated for the Best TV Comedy category in this year's prestigious Monte Carlo Television Festival Awards along with RTE's comedy/drama 'Trivia'.
These RTE-commissioned series are the only English-speaking series selected from submissions across Europe. They will be competing in the comedy category against huge US brands like '30 Rock', 'Glee' and 'Modern Family'. The winner will be announced in early June.
Meanwhile, international acclaim for 'Republic of Telly' continues to build. Its comedy video 'Rugby' is continuing to win over high-profile fans, with Aussie actor Russell Crowe being the latest star to tweet about the video.
This follows comedian Will Ferrell asking to use the 'Republic of Telly's video on his comedy website Funnyordie.com.
McKenzie joining think-tank
Dr Kenneth McKenzie, strategic planner at Mediaworks, part of the Owens DDB group, has been asked by the UK Institute of Practitioners in Advertising to become a member of their Behavioural Economics Think Tank. The think-tank is a response to demand within the advertising industry and from clients to use a robust evidence base when designing communications, and in evaluating their impact. This is the first time an Irish agency has been asked to sit on it.