Company Name: Discovery Learning
What Is It?
A MLM that sells cool toys, but still has an unappealing commission setup overall.
Discovery Learning does offer some pretty cool toys, which puts it a step above most other MLMs. Unfortunately though, it operates through a party-based approach. That approach can make it even more difficult for distributors to make money.
Overall, the company might be a good opportunity if you wanted discounts on toys, but it isn’t that great for actually making money.
The product range is really what makes Discovery Toys interesting. As the name suggests, this company is all about selling toys for children, which isn’t something you often see in a MLM. That could be a good thing or a bad thing when it comes to making money through the company.
The first thing I noticed about the company is that they certainly have an emphasis on toys and on play in general. For example, the catalog is broken down into different types of toys based on the types of play involved.
At the same time, the company also uses a set of symbols for products that illustrate the way that the products support children with special needs and autism. That’s a pretty unusual approach, but it does make it seem like the company is more focused on child development than most other toy companies.
The company sells a wide range of different toys and many (but not all) of these are unique to the company. For example, here is one item from their ‘make believe play’ section:
The prices for toys vary considerably. In some cases, toys might be below $20 or in other cases they might be $70 or more. Many fall somewhere around the $30 to $40 mark.
I don’t personally buy toys for kids, so I couldn’t really tell you whether the prices are any good. But, it would probably be a matter of finding an appealing toy and seeing what comparable toys were on the market.
It is also important to note that many of the toys might be unique, but they often aren’t unique in concept. So, in many cases, you could find similar toys elsewhere and in some cases you might even find some cheaper alternatives.
Overall, the company has a great diversity of products along with some that seem pretty unusual. Add that to the focus on child learning – and I can imagine that the products would be popular.
Reviews of some of the products on Amazon also reflect that idea.
Across Amazon, I noticed that most of the products received somewhere between 4 and 5 stars, and many of them had quite a lot of reviews (111 in the pictured example).
That trend suggests that the toys are generally popular and are probably of decent quality.
At the end of the day, I think the products from Discovery Toys are more unique than most MLMs and in many cases the prices do seem reasonable. Those two factors, along with the positive reviews from many of the products, do put this company a cut above most other MLMs.
So, the company has decent products, but what about the opportunity?
Well, Discovery Toys is another company that uses a party-based approach. This approach promotes the idea of selling the products in physical parties or through virtual parties.
A physical party is the same basic concept of a Tupperware party from back in the day. In this case, you would have a group of people (mostly mothers, I imagine) get together and the host would show the different toys. Given the products are targeted at kids, you’d probably find a fair few children at the party as well.
In this party model, the distributor actually acts as a host, which often involves giving a presentation and showing off different toys.
That brings me to one of the challenges with a party approach. The whole idea is that you physically show different toys. You could show them out of a catalog, but potential customers would tend to find that less appealing.
So, showing off physical toys means that you would actually need to buy them. As the company has a large product range, you’d probably find yourself buying toys that you didn’t actually want or need to help you sell them.
At the same time, most of the rewards from selling products are in the form of free or discounted products. That approach also encourages people to buy.
I’ve known people involved in party-based MLMs and that cycle really does happen. The distributors end up buying products in order to show them off. They often feel like they are getting a great deal, but they frequently buy products that they don’t really need and wouldn’t have purchased otherwise.
Buying a product at a discount isn't a “good deal” it's a cost of running your business. Unless you start thinking about this venture as a business instead of a hobby, it's likely that you'll lose money, or make something less than minimum wage.
Likewise, you see distributors make purchases to get the value of a party over one of the thresholds shown in the graphic above.
In many cases, distributors end up spending a decent amount of money buying products. That makes it so much more difficult to actually make any money from the company.
Now, you can do parties digitally. That basically means that you just end up collecting orders within a specific time frame and they count towards one party. Doing that is much harder than it sounds, but if you do take your business online, it would be the best way to profit in my opinion.
As someone without a huge network of friends and family to rely on for sales, I would definitely need to reach out to the internet in order to make consistent sales.
The parties are focused mainly on free and discounted products, but it is still possible to earn money through the company as well. Interestingly, the company makes a big deal out of what you get from different tiers of parties but provides little information about what you earn in terms of money.
One of the few indications on the company’s site is that distributors can earn up to 34% profit on sales and up to 7% as bonuses from the sales of their team. But, note the phrase up to. Those figures are what you might earn high up in the company, but they probably aren’t what new distributors earn.
After some digging around online, I was able to find out some more information.
For one thing, this is what you can actually earn financially from a party:
So, basically if you sold $400 worth of product at a party, you could earn either $80 or $100. That’s not horrible, but it’s not as great as it sounds either.
The odd thing about the table is that column on the right: wages per hour. It’s basically assuming that it takes four hours to do a party. That might count some preparation time, but honestly, it isn’t realistic.
If you want to make money from a MLM, you have to spend a decent amount of time building your team and making connections with potential customers. So, you might have hours and hours of time invested to make a single party successful, and that doesn’t count the time you actually spend at a party.
There isn’t much more specific information available online, but in general, the company works the same was as other MLMs. Essentially, you have two aims. One is to sell products and the other is to build a team.
Your team is the people that you recruit, the people that they recruit and so on. As that team grows and makes more sales, your own profit increases. To make a decent amount of income, you have to get that team to a decent size.
Growing a team (also called your downline) is the part that I really don’t like about MLMs.
At the end of the day, your income is often tied to the success of your team, which is ultimately out of your control. Without a team, you are just a direct sales person, working for wage. Albeit you can work on your own hours, but you are still just a salesman instead of a “business owner”.
MLMs have their fair share of supporters and many do get angry at my stance on the business. But, I think you do have to be realistic if you’re going to get into any business opportunity. Where is your profit going to come from? What's your business plan?
In the case of MLMs, it certainly is possible to be successful! I don't deny that.
However, only a small percentage of people in any given MLM are successful. In fact, the nature of the model pretty much guarantees that. Although Discovery Toys does have quality products, and I think that some kids/parents will really enjoy them, it's not a business I would want to get involved with, or recommend for my readers.
In general, Discovery Toys would be an appealing opportunity for some people and not for others. Realistically, the opportunity seems to be focused on parents with children or teachers, as these are going to be the people that know the most about how children play. Additionally, parents and teachers are likely to have contact with other people who are likely to want to buy toys.
So, if you fall into either of those groups, Discovery Toys could potentially be interesting.
However, I think the company would be a horrible choice for most other people (like bachelors, for example), as trying to sell kids toys when you don’t have kids can look a little creepy sometimes.
Even then, this type of MLM is best for people who are interested in cheaper products from the company. At the end of the day, the party-based structure does support people buying products at lower prices, but that same structure makes it harder for people to actually earn money.
MLM VS Affiliate Marketing
In many ways, the MLM model is designed to make it hard to make money. The highest profits come from team building, yet any MLM quickly runs out of potential distributors to recruit. After all, there are only so many people interested in trying to sell toys for an income source.
Network marketing and direct sales seem like a great idea because they’re an alternative to working a ‘typical’ job and are much less expensive than trying to start your own business. But there are other options out there, which are cheaper to run, and do not rely on team building or existing networks of friends and families to earn.
The internet is a powerful tool for making money! Now you can start up your own business without much overhead or the need to carry stock. This approach to online business I recommend is known as affiliate marketing. It lets you make a percentage profit from promoting products from other companies, like Amazon, without you ever needing to physically buy, hold, or sell any products.
Sales are generated by creating helpful resources online via articles on your very own website! You can recommend products you enjoy, critique the ones you don't, and help real people make informed buying decisions.
Whatever type of product you decide to promote, it's important to own your own website to grow your business.
Parties only work if you have a network of friends with money in their pockets. Network marketing only works if your friends are interested in joining business opportunities.
With a website you can reach the entire world, and only promote great products to people interested in what you have to say. Plus, you open up doors to multiple streams of revenue like affiliate sales, ad click revenue, paid advertising, and even selling your own digital products.