Direct Cellars is one of just a handful of wine network marketing companies. The main product of Direct Cellars isn't the wine itself. Instead, it is the company's ongoing wine club.
There are some attractive aspects to this idea. For one thing, wine isn't a common network marketing choice. This should mean that there is less competition from other distributors and a greater chance of making regular sales.
Wine can also be an overwhelming field for beginners. There are so many different bottles to choose from, not to mention all the types of wine and how they vary from one another. The wine club from Direct Cellars could be a way for people to learn more about wine without much stress or pressure.
Indeed, wine clubs are popular in their own right. The one from Direct Cellars doesn't have many amazing features, but it is still interesting enough and customers may want to get involved.
There are also limitations to focusing on wine. Many different places sell wine, so customers have no shortage of options for purchasing. Wine lovers may also be resistant to what Direct Cellars offers, as the wines are not especially unusual and the club does not allow members to choose the wine that they receive.
None of these issues mean that you can't make money with Direct Cellars or by promoting wine in general. Even so, it's important to consider your audience carefully before joining any company.
Two Ways To Make Money With Direct Cellars
Direct Cellars provides two ways to earn. The first is what you might expect – you can make money by selling the products. This includes selling individual bottles of wine, along with a subscription to the company's wine club. The other approach is to recruit others and build a team. Doing so is more involved, but your potential income is higher as well.
While these two areas are present in most MLMs, the specifics and requirements vary from one company to the next. That's why this post discusses each of the areas in-depth, along with how well Direct Cellars works as a way to earn overall.
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. Direct Cellars has a small selection of wine on their site (typically 10 bottles or less). The wine is often around $30 for a non-member and $20 for a member.
The pricing alone shows that the bottles of wine aren't especially rare or amazing. The tiny size of the selection is likely to deter people from buying many bottles of wine in this manner.
However, the main feature of Direct Cellars is their wine subscription service, where people receive monthly bottles of wine. Members can choose between a 2-bottle, 4-bottle, or 6-bottle membership. All versions can contain red wine, white wine, or a mix of both.
Oddly, customers sign up to be a VIP member ($25/year) and a member of a wine club at the same time. It's not clear why these two services have to be linked, but there is no way to join either of them separately.
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. Some details about sourcing are discussed, but the language is vague and there aren't many specifics provided.
This style could be frustrating for some people. It also means that there is no way to be certain whether or not customers will enjoy the wine that they receive. Still, most wine clubs take a similar approach.
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 a few variations) and a limited selection of wines for individual purchase. With so little variation, sales could easily become 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 by 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.
Making Money With Sales
To join Direct Cellars, you have to buy one of two packs, for either $249.95 or $499.95. The cheaper pack provides 6 bottles of wine, along with a 20% discount on reorders and some coupons. The more expensive version has 12 bottles of wine, a 40% reorder discount, and more coupons.
Direct Cellars provides members with a personalized replicated website. Any sales made through this site earn a 20% commission. This website will be almost identical to what other members receive, so it won't rank well on search engines.
Unusually, Direct Cellars focuses on the online angle. While members are encouraged to host wine parties, there is much less focus on parties than with other companies. This can be an appealing aspect, as holding events can be time-consuming and frustrating.
The other side of Direct Cellars is the idea of building a team. Direct Cellars follows a unilevel plan. This is a common approach. It involves creating a team beneath you that is structured based on who recruited who.
You then earn commissions from the sales of your team members based on their level and rank. For Direct Cellars, the commission breakdown looks like this:
One interesting aspect is that you earn 10% commissions from the people you recruit, regardless of your rank. You also earn 5% (or 10%) from the next level down. These are decent figures for the industry.
As you may notice, rank plays a large role in how many levels you can earn from. This means that your income is related to the size of your team, along with your own rank.
Each rank has its own set of requirements. These will get progressively more difficult as you go up the levels. Most of the requirements will relate to the success and structure of your team, rather than your own personal performance.
Direct Cellars provides few specifics about the requirements for each rank. However, they do give some examples, such as in the image below. As you can see, the requirements get high relatively quickly.
The leg requirement refers to individual recruits and their downlines. This means that you can't just have one well-performing leg in your team. You need two or three individuals who are being effective at sales and recruitment.
There are bonuses as well, which can increase the amount that you earn. These include a rank advancement bonus, a multiplier bonus, and the DC Car Club bonus. Each bonus comes with its own set of requirements. In all cases, decent income potential is linked to having a large and well-performing team.
To remain active, distributors for Direct Cellars need to reach at least 40 Business Volume (BV) per month. Each bottle of wine provides 10 BV, so the 40 BV requirement is equivalent to a 4-bottle wine order. While this isn't a high requirement, you do still need to hit it every month.
Many people will be able to get around that cost by selling products each month, which is the best outcome. Still, if you couldn’t make sales in a given month, you would need to purchase the wine 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 just promoting various bottles of wine and a monthly wine club. This isn't a large product range, especially as the wines aren't very unusual.
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? After all, there are other wine clubs out there and many different places where people can buy wine.