Company Name: Direct Cellars
Do I Recommend Direct Cellars?
Direct Cellars has some advantages, including relatively high commission rates and an interesting overall concept. Nevertheless, I still don’t recommend trying to make money with Direct Cellars.
There are simply too many complexities to doing so and there are many better wine clubs out there. You would be better off joining one of those for enjoyment and making money a different way, such as through affiliate marketing. There are tons of wine-related business opportunities in the affiliate world such as Wine Of The Month Club (through Commission Junction) or Wine Down Box (through Shareasale)
What Products Does Direct Cellars Sell?
Network marketing companies often seem to promote the same types of products time and time again, such as jewelry, supplements and skincare. On the other hand, Direct Cellars is completely different both in terms of products and strategy.
Basically, Direct Cellars is a company that lets you make money by selling wine. Or, more specifically, it offers a wine subscription service, where people receive monthly bottles of wine. Members are also meant to have the ability to buy wine from the company at a reduced cost – although that doesn’t seem to be available at present.
The idea is likely to appeal to some people, especially those who are interested in learning more about wine. And, if nothing else, it is a fun type of product to sell, especially as alcohol does have a strong social component.
But, there are some limitations too. For one thing, the company offers almost no information about the actual wines that customers get. The description below comes from their FAQs and really isn’t that helpful.
Likewise, the only decision people can make is whether they want all red wine, all white wine or a combination of both. From the experience point of view, not being able to choose makes sense – but it does mean that people would periodically get wines they absolutely hate.
The main two options that customers have are the ones below. There is also a 12-bottle case option, which is more expensive. However, that one seems to be for distributors only.
The company breaks down the wine you get like this:
Inconsistent formatting aside, the information isn’t all that helpful. For example, the cheapest option is two bottles each month, where people are paying around $25 for a bottle of wine. But, from the information on the site, there is no way to tell whether you’re actually getting wine that’s worth that much, less or more.
The implication across the site is that you’re always getting high-quality wines. But, I’m not so sure. If that’s the case, why is there not a single example of specific wines? Instead, everything on the site is extremely generic.
There are also some limitations to where the wine can be shipped to and the company doesn’t cover all of the states. I assume this is the result of legal requirements but it does mean you can’t be a distributor in some parts of the country.
As of right now, there are many reviews out there about Direct Cellars as an income opportunity but very little information about the actual wines. It seems that most people haven’t tried out the service, so it’s hard to know whether the wine itself is any good.
Personally, I love the concept of Direct Cellars. A monthly wine club is a fun approach and many people would truly enjoy it. The company does also seem to be legitimate and you probably get exactly what they say you will.
Still, there isn’t much to set this wine club apart. Instead, there are other similar clubs out there, many of which are much more transparent about what you get and offer more options. For example, one other club is Winc, which also matches selections to the tastes of the customer. They even have their own affiliate program that allows you to earn money by recommending their product.
Another challenge with Direct Cellars is that you’re only promoting one service, with two main variations (2 and 4 bottle orders). Having a limited product selection will often make sales more difficult.
For the right audience, this would still work. However, you would need to find people who are interested in wine, can afford to buy it regularly and don’t mind having their choices made for them. That’s an interesting combination because many wine lovers would want to choose for themselves.
The idea is achievable. After all, you can make money selling almost any product. But, it’s still critical to make sure you have a viable audience before you get started. You also should be passionate about wine yourself. If that’s not the case, you’d have a much harder time promoting the company and convincing people to join.
Is Direct Cellars A Good Business Opportunity?
To join Direct Cellars, you have to buy one of two packs, the cheapest of which is almost $250. The pack seems to be just a versions of the 4 bottle a month pack, where you’re paying all at once. But, it’s not actually clear what you get, which is a little concerning.
The other pack is roughly twice the price and it’s not obvious what you’re getting in that case either. I sincerely hope you’re not simply getting 4 or 12 bottles of wine with these packs – as that would be an extremely expensive introduction to the company.
As for income, you earn 50% commission when you make a sale of the either of these large packs. That’s an impressive level, as most companies offer somewhere from 25% to 33% in commission rate. And, like similar companies, you also earn from the sales of your team members. So, if you can build a decent team, your income potential can increase dramatically.
I’ll come back to the team aspect in a minute. First, I want to highlight something odd.
Most reviews don’t mention this but Direct Cellars doesn’t provide any information about commissions from actual sales. Their main product is the $49.95 or $79.95 wine club, yet there is no information about the commission you get from selling this.
If you do get 50% from individual sales as well, then this company stands out. But, they don’t say that, so you may get considerably less. Either way, the emphasis is strongly on selling the large packs. This means that there is a very strong focus on recruiting people into the company, rather than just selling the wine.
For people that do get involved with recruiting, there are multiple systems and bonuses to help increase income. One of these is the Dual Team Pay system, which is a type of binary payment plan. Most MLMs offer something similar. For example, Vemma has the same basic structure, including the terms left and right team.
The idea is that you balance the people who are recruited into two different teams. You can then get various bonuses based on how those two teams perform compared to one another. In most cases, your team-based commission will depend on the sales of whichever team performs the least well in a given week or month.
This structure means that you have to focus on team building to some degree. So, you can’t simply earn money by recruiting one person – even if that individual is exceptional at making sales.
The specific amount you earn from your team also varies based on your rank. You can get anywhere from 6% to 20% from the sales of your team members.
I’ll admit that the compensation rate is impressive. It’s unusual to see companies go this high for team-based commissions. Instead, the rates normally just go up to around 5% or perhaps 10% at the most. But, in this case, the starting rate is 6% and it just increases from there.
Still, the requirements for ranks do go up as you go along. This means you need to recruit new people into the company (and ensure they stay active) to earn at those higher levels.
There is also a second key bonus structure, which looks like this here:
I’m not going to go into the concept in detail but the design offers a second way to earn money from your team. In this case, there is less emphasis on structure and you’re not limited to just two teams.
In both cases, the general idea is simply that you’re building a team. The goal is to have a large team that is effective at making sales and recruiting others. If you can do this, the potential for income is high.
In fact, the commission rates of Direct Cellars may mean that you can earn more money than with most other MLMs. But, it’s not all fun and games.
For one thing, there is a monthly cost to Direct Cellars. To stay active, you need to be selling or buying $79.95 worth of products. That means the larger subscription option or two of the smaller ones. Likewise, any people you recruit need to meet this target to stay active. If they don’t, your potential to earn money from them decreases.
Many people will be able to get around that cost by selling product each month, which is the best outcome. Still, if you couldn’t make sales in a given month, you would need to purchase yourself. That cost can add up, especially if you have multiple slow months.
It’s also important to consider whether Direct Cellars is realistic.
Yes, you can earn money with it and the commission rates are pretty good. But, you’re still dealing with one basic product, which is the monthly wine subscription. Plus, the company is far from transparent and isn’t all that well-known.
Do you think you have the connections and social skills needed to get people excited about the wine club? For that matter, will your contacts have the $250 plus needed to simply get involved?
Direct Cellars is an unusual opportunity with a surprisingly decent commission rate. These aspects could allow you to make money with Direct Cellars, especially if you love wine. But, there are enough red flags to suggest that you should proceed with caution.
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