Company: Pampered Chef
Price: From $109 for a consultant kit
Scam or Not: Not a Scam
Overall Ranking: 4/10
An Introduction to Pampered Chef
Pampered Chef is a fairly popular direct marketing company, where members sell a wide range of kitchen and kitchen-related products.
These days, many people are passionate about cooking good food and making healthy meals. This makes the concept and the products of Pampered Chef fairly appealing to many people.
How Pampered Chef Works
The basic concept of Pampered Chef is likely to be a fairly familiar one. The company follows a direct sales model. Under this system, individuals act as consultants for the company.
This means that they are responsible for promoting the products and making sales, mostly by having at home parties.
Distributors receive a commission from sales, which can add up over time.
Additionally, the company follows an approach called MLM (or multi-level marketing). With this system, your income comes partly from sales and also from recruiting and building up a team.
That team is known as a downline and distributors gain commissions from sales made in that downline. The idea is to grow your team as large as possible, while increasing your sales and your rank in the company.
The more successful you and your team are, the greater the potential for income.
In theory, it’s possible to make a fairly high amount of money via a MLM. However, most people don’t reach that level.
Even though there are many similarities between them, each MLM also tends to be a bit different. That’s partly because of the products and also because of the compensation plan.
So, with this Pampered Chef review, we’re going to look at both of those areas.
The Compensation Plan
Pampered Chef is, unfortunately, one of the few MLMs that doesn’t offer much information about their compensation plan on their site. Instead, that information is something that you get from the person who recruits you.
However, the company does provide some information about average income levels.
This table might look fairly appealing but it makes me wary.
In particular, there is no information about how many people end up at each level. From other MLMs, I’d guess that most people are in the first tier and they’re probably spending more time on the business than the company is estimating.
Even though there isn’t a lot of information on the site itself, the company does still have the same general patterns as other MLMs.
This means that there are various ranks within the company and the idea is to progress up through those ranks. Doing so tends to involve building a larger and stronger team, while increasing your sales and the sales from your downline.
This is one of those ideas that sounds a lot easier on paper than in practice.
Actually creating an effective team ends up being extremely challenging and you will find yourself struggling to make sales and to recruit. To make matters worse, anyone you do recruit is going to end up competing with you for sales.
The entire design of a MLM means that if you want a decent income, you need to recruit. Unfortunately, this is where the plan also falls apart.
Realistically, there are hundreds of different direct marketing companies out there, promoting many different types of products. Many of those companies rely heavily on recruiting, offering a similar technique and compensation plan.
Because of this, most people that you know will have already been approached by other distributors. For that matter, some may even be in other direct sales companies.
This situation makes it that much more difficult to recruit.
Honestly, most people who would be willing to join a direct marketing company are already in one or have tried and failed. Even if you can recruit a few people, you won’t be able to grow your downline enough to earn a decent income.
Now, one advantage of Pampered Chef is that your commission rate will increase based on your total sales.
This isn’t something that every MLM offers but it’s beneficial if you plan to focus on sales rather than on recruiting. Nevertheless, the commissions here do cap out at 25%, so there is still an emphasis on recruiting if you want to make the most money.
The Party-Based Model
One key aspect of Pampered Chef, and many similar companies, is the idea of home parties.
These parties provide a way to show off the various products and the food that you can create with them.
As a sales technique, this can work really well, as it is easy to get people passionate about food.
However, the parties are hard work and they’re typically not as effective as you might think.
One major issue is that you often end up having the same groups of people come to multiple parties. Those people may be passionate and make purchases the first time or two – but their purchases would tend to decrease over time.
To keep making sales and build your business, you really need to attract new people.
Now, each party that you hold is hosted by someone. This basically means that it is at their house and targets their group of friends. That host gets various bonuses, depending on how well the party goes.
Those include discounts to their purchases and even free products.
The structure makes a lot of sense. It means that the host has an incentive to invite as many people as possible and to encourage sales.
How well this works really depends on your social network. Ideally, you would want to pick hosts that have different social connections, so you aren’t always getting the same people at your parties.
So, some hosts might be people you know from work, while others may be people you know from church or from other social groups.
But, even then there is likely to be overlap and you can easily end up with similar people at each party. When that happens, your potential for income decreases, especially as you are trying to sell and recruit from the same set of people.
As such, it’s worth thinking hard about the structure and whether it would work for you. There’s little worse than investing time and money into a system and then finding that it isn’t any good.
One interesting thing that I noticed in Pampered Chef reviews is that the company offers the ability to sell products through ‘virtual parties’.
This is fairly unusual.
Most direct marketing companies place a huge emphasis on selling products in person. That focus can often be an issue, as it means you have to physically interact with people to make sales – and people do tend to be fairly busy.
Being able to sell online could easily result in more sales and it makes the entire process less stressful overall.
The one other thing that I want to mention is that you have to stay active as a consultant. Specifically, you have to make at least $150 in sales per month.
This might not sound like a lot but it does mean that you probably need to hold at least one party per month and possibly more. It also means that you can’t simply take a month or two off, even if there is a family crisis.
To me, that’s a frustrating situation.
After all, one of the biggest advantages of working for yourself is flexibility – and the flexibility here is pretty limited.
The Product Selection
The compensation plan is an important aspect of making money but, in some ways, the products are even more important. After all, there is little chance to be successful if nobody wants to buy the products that you’re promoting.
As the name of this company suggests, the emphasis here is on the kitchen and on cooking – and there is a wide range of products on offer.
Now, many of the products are fairly typical and a bit expensive for what they are.
Whether or not they are worth it is debatable. I’ve certainly seen some Pampered Chef reviews suggest that the products are overpriced and low quality. However, many people are also impressed with the quality.
This is one of the few MLMs where I have used the products personally and I was fairly pleased with the quality of the ones that I tried. Nevertheless, many of the items are fairly expensive and may be more than some people are willing to pay.
In fact, there are also some comparatively expensive items that the company offers.
Now, the prices here aren’t excessive – as you will often pay this much for quality cookware in stores as well.
But, selling expensive items through direct marketing is tough. After all, people are often buying blind and have no way to be certain about the quality of the product until they have already paid for it.
This issue is likely to make people reluctant to buy the expensive products, particularly in the cases where the products aren’t even that unique.
But, that being said, there are products from Pampered Chef that would sell well.
The food category is one example of this, especially as some of the items here are unusual and most are reasonably priced.
Plus, these are consumables, so people would end up coming back for more.
There are also some fairly fun sets, which would be appealing as presents and are unusual.
All-in-all, there is enough variation in products and in prices that many people would find something that they want to buy. Additionally, the presence of consumable products along with items like plates and bowls means that you would get people coming back to buy more over time.
This means that the product selection is good enough that you would probably make some sales.
Nevertheless, it’s worth thinking about your potential customers first.
Even the reasonable products from Pampered Chef aren’t cheap and some people will find the products too expensive to even consider. So, you would want to be selling to an audience with some disposable income and to people that love to cook.
Pampered Chef Reviews
There are a number of Pampered Chef reviews out there, both for the products and for the opportunity as a whole. From the various reviews, there can be no doubt that some people truly do love the company and even earn money through it.
However, not everybody agrees.
To a degree, a person’s experience with Pampered Chef would be connected to whoever recruited them. If you were recruited by someone experienced who was good at training new members, then you would have an advantage in figuring out the company and how to make money from it.
In contrast, if the person who recruited you wasn’t very good, you could easily end up confused. This is especially relevant for Pampered Chef, as there are a number of online tools and systems. So, if you aren’t very computer savvy, you may get stuck about what to do or how to progress.
I’ve actually seen this in practice, as I attended a Pampered Chef party with a consultant who hadn’t received much support or training. In total, it took more than 2 hours for her to work out how to actually submit the order online and the person who recruited her was little help at all.
This may be why some Pampered Chef reviews are absolutely glowing, while others are horrible. This may also mean that Pampered Chef is a particularly bad choice for anybody who tends to need a lot of support or training.
Is Pampered Chef Worth It?
This type of business model tends to be exceptionally controversial. In particular, I’ve noticed that people often take offense at negative reviews – because they enjoy being a part of the company. In fact, I even knew a Pampered Chef distributor myself who was passionate about the products and the opportunity as a whole.
So, is the company a good idea or a waste of time?
For one thing, this type of business does give you a lot of flexibility and it can be a good income source, especially for people who aren’t working.
Much of the debate comes down to what you’re looking for.
One major issue that I have is that you’re never fully independent. No matter how well you develop your downline and your customer base, you’re always going to rely on Pampered Chef and on your team.
This means that your income is partly tied into Pampered Chef reviews and the company’s reputation as a whole.
So, if the company starts to become less popular or even goes under entirely, your income may decrease or disappear.
Likewise, you’re always going to be limited by the rules and restrictions of the company.
One example of this is the need to stay active.
In many ways, Pampered Chef is an intermediate between working for yourself and acting as an employee. You do have a lot of flexibility, including the ability to make your own hours and determine how much you want to work.
Yet, you still have many of the constraints that you would find with being an employee and you lose out on other advantages, like benefits.
This begs the question, is Pampered Chef worth it?
Personally, I’d never recommend this model as a replacement for a job.
There are many reasons for this but the main one is simply scale. Yes, you can make a little money with Pampered Chef fairly easily – especially if you know people that like the products.
But, scaling up to a full-time or even a part-time income is a lot more difficult.
In particular, you have to rely on both sales and recruiting to make a decent income. Likewise, you have to get fairly high in the ranking structure. All of this is feasible but do you think that you could actually do so in practice?
Even if you had no problems making sales, recruitment is an entirely different story.
In practice, most people find that they can only recruit a few people into the company (at best) and those recruits don’t tend to be particularly dedicated. As such, it becomes almost impossible to grow your downline to the point where you are actually making decent money.
So, if you’re wanting a good source of income, Pampered Chef isn’t the answer.
But, if you’re wanting a little money on the side, well, maybe.
As I mentioned before, many people do enjoy being Pampered Chef consultants, which is why there are so many positive Pampered Chef reviews out there.
In some cases, being a consultant could be a good way to make a little money while socializing. The nature of the products does mean that you could make some sales without having to be too annoying or aggressive.
I’ve also seen people be a distributor for Pampered Chef or similar companies simply to make it less expensive to buy the products themselves. After all, even the starter kits give you a decent number of products at a pretty good discount.
Although, in fairness, you could probably buy similar products in stores at a much lower price than their estimate value.
So, if you’re after a little income or trying to offset the costs of your own products, then Pampered Chef may be an option. Just like the companies Clever Container and Paparazzi Jewelry, you are promoting products that are likely to sell, so you’ll probably make some money in the process.
Most of the positive Pampered Chef reviews out there exist because people do like the products and enjoy the company. Yet, at the same time, Pampered Chef really isn’t a great income opportunity.
Realistically, there are simply too many constraints on you and far too much focus on recruitment. You also have to rely on your friends and family to try and make sales. This could mean that you lose friends fast, especially if you start trying to pressure them into buying.
In general, MLMs are somewhere in the middle of working for a company and being self-employed. If you’re trying to make a decent income, this isn’t a good place to be. Instead, if you want the advantages of being self-employed, then it’s better to go all the way.
One of the best ways to achieve this is online. Making money online tends to be more powerful than direct marketing, partly because you have a much larger potential audience. You also don’t have to manually seek out people and make sales on a one-on-one basis.
As such, it becomes much easier to create something that is popular and that you can continue to expand.
There are various methods out there for making money online but the one that I always come back to is affiliate marketing. This technique is the perfect place to start because you don’t need to physically own products. Instead, you promote items from sites like Amazon and countless other examples.
You could even promote kitchen tools and ingredients if you wanted to.
Affiliate marketing is also fairly easy to learn. All you really need is direction to get you going and there are multiple options for getting that.
Regardless of your level of skill and experience, I recommend checking out a site called Wealthy Affiliate. This is a great place to get training and support, and to learn how to build your own successful affiliate marketing business online.