Matilda Jane Clothing (which is sometimes just called Matilda Jane) is an interesting clothing network marketing company. The company largely focuses on clothing for girls, but also offers some items for women and for boys.
The company was initially founded in 2005, using the concept of unpredictable clothing. That concept describes the clothing well, as the pieces tend to vary wildly in their colors, patterns and overall appearance. While you might find similar pieces elsewhere, there aren't many other companies that entirely focus on unusual and whimsical clothing like this.
By focusing on unusual clothing, Matilda Jane Clothing has carved a powerful space in the marketplace. Many mothers love the pieces of clothing. The sales shows can also be an enjoyable social occasion, while the seasonal variation in products keeps customers coming back for more.
Those areas are all fantastic and mean that Matilda Jane Clothing stands out. Even so, there are some limitations too. These are equally important, especially if you hope to make money by selling items from the company.
Matilda Jane Clothing is pretty hush-hush about the financial side of being a consultant.
Nevertheless, in this post, I examine the two ways to earn in as much depth as possible. I also consider whether Matilda Jane Clothing has any potential as a long-term way to make money.
What Products Does Matilda Jane Clothing Sell?
Not surprisingly, Matilda Jane Clothing primarily sells clothing. Their product line is sometimes considered to be ‘whimsical’, offering somewhat unconventional items for women and girls. That is a fairly accurate way to sum up the product line too, as many of the products are unusual. This aspect is good from a sales point of view, as it would be hard to find similar products from other brands.
As with any clothing company, the products are likely to be hit or miss. After all, people will either like the styles or they won’t. In fact, the clothes do tend to polarize people. Some find that they love the style and the innocence of the products. Others think that the colors and patterns are too loud or that the styles are simply too unusual.
The same is true for the pricing of the products. While the items aren’t excessively expensive, the price points may not be suitable for all families. For example, a pair of leggings for girls costs $34, while many of the dresses for children are around $50, if not more.
Those prices aren’t unreasonable – especially if the pieces are being purchased for special occasions. Nevertheless, many families may not be willing to spend this much for clothing that is likely to get muddy, stained or torn relatively quickly.
More than anything, the pricing means you should pay close attention to your audience and think about who you would be selling to. For example, of most of your potential customers would regularly spend $30-$50 on a single item of clothing, then you could potentially make money through Matilda Jane Clothing. If those prices would seem excessive, getting sales would be that much harder.
There are also some additional considerations about the products.
One is that the selection isn’t all that large. The exact number of items varies over time, but it will never be as extensive as a clothing store. Plus, many of the products are similar to one another.
Realistically, the more options there are, the greater the likelihood that people will find something they want. With relatively few products available, many potential customers might choose to buy nothing.
Nevertheless, the product selection doesn’t appear to be static. Instead, new items are released over time and older ones are retired. That pattern can create excitement, often meaning that customers buy items as soon as they are available to be sure that they don’t miss out.
The company has faced controversy in the past for doing this because they were releasing a very limited number of some products – such as Shasta top, which is described below.
It’s not clear whether Matilda Jane Clothing is still following this pattern with some releases. But, it is a concerning aspect. It means that some people may not get clothing items that they want and this could create some very frustrated customers.
Earning From Sales
Matilda Jane Clothing doesn't provide many details at all about earning money. However, one page on the site mentions that members earn 20% commission if they sell less than $2,500 in clothing a month. There is no information about the commission rate for a higher amount of sales.
Even so, the information provided does show that Matilda Jane Clothing has high expectations. Selling $2,500 of clothing in a single month would be pretty difficult. Yet, Matilda Jane Clothing requires you to get above this mark to earn more than 20% commission. While we're on the topic, it's worth mentioning that 20% commission is pretty low for the industry.
From reading between the lines and looking at online discussions, it seems that Matilda Jane Clothing mostly uses a catalog ordering system. This approach means that customers order products through distributors and the products are then delivered.
This style is less risky than distributors needing to purchase the products and then resell them. Nevertheless, Matilda Jane Clothing isn't without risk. The starting cost $1,600.
Some of that cost seems to be for clothing (although there is no indication about how much you get). From the descriptions of the parties, it seems that distributors purchase a sample collection that customers can see and potentially try on. It seems likely that the distributor would need to buy more items over time, as the collections from Matilda Jane Clothing change regularly.
This approach can be seen in the way that the parties (called Trunk Shows) are represented on the site.
This style would certainly create enthusiasm for the clothing and should promote sales. Even so, $1,600 is a pricy way to begin a business. You don't even know whether the clothing is going to be appealing to your audience or how much return on investment that you're going to get.
As a general rule, parties work well for sales. There is significant social pressure at play and people often make orders on impulse. Mothers bringing their daughters along could also promote sales, especially if the kids get excited about the products.
But, this type of event has disadvantages as well. For example, many local areas are already saturated with companies that use the same approach. This means that potential customers are sick of the concept and may be unwilling to attend. Some also feel manipulated or used when they are asked, as it can feel like people are taking advantage of their friendship.
Even if you do get people interested in the events at first, you’ll normally find that attendance decreases over time. That often happens simply because the novelty wears off. Plus, some people may only want one or two items.
There are also costs to consider. For example, holding a show would take a considerable amount of time and energy. This could get tiring quickly, especially if you were trying to hold multiple of them in a month. For that matter, the goal is often to hold two or more parties each week with different audiences each time.
Parties can cost financially too. One aspect is simply the gas to travel there, as parties are typically held at hostess’s houses (sometimes called Janes), not your own. You may also want to provide snacks, drinks and/or prizes. These costs can be significant, especially for parties where you don’t make many sales.
Finally, the concept is to have many products on hand, so that people can see them and try them on. This means that the more you own, the greater your sales potential. With the product line consistently changing over time, it’s easy to see how this could quickly get expensive.
You would be able to sell some of those items directly on to customers, especially once they are out of season. But, even then, the potential to end up out of pocket is considerable.
Matilda Jane Clothing is one of the few companies that makes you apply before you can become a member. This style gives the company more control over who represents them and helps ensure that the competition doesn’t get too high.
This could be good for sales. For example, it means that some areas don’t have any local distributors, even though demand for the products does exist. So, if you could break into those markets, the potential for income would be higher.
But, this pattern does make recruitment more difficult. As such, you might recruit someone just to find that they aren’t accepted as a distributor. This would make it harder to build a team and to increase your income.
One other thing to mention is the competition. The items from Matilda Jane Clothing may be unique but there are many other clothing stores out there. Additionally, Matilda Jane products are frequently resold often for a much lower price. The site Thread Up is one example of this and there are also many Matilda Jane items on eBay, including both used and new variations.
For all these reasons, it's clear that you need to break out the mold of parties and Facebook advertising. You build a lead generation website to reach new audiences.
This availability of product would make it much harder to sell Matilda Jane items at full price. Some people would still want new items, of course. And, this is clothing, so items that are in fashion will always be more popular. Still, the competition is important to consider.
There is also a second component, which is recruitment. Here, distributors can increase their income by getting others involved in the company. Doing so means that they can earn from the sales that their recruits make and they also have access to various bonuses.
Recruitment tends to have the greatest income potential but is more difficult to pull off in practice. Plus, the successful people tend to be the ones who can make sales, build a large team and also ensure that team members do the same. Achieving this requires a considerable skill set and/or ability to learn. If you plan to build a team, you absolutely need a solid lead generation strategy.
But, Matilda Jane Clothing provides very little information about the team structure and what you can expect. There is clearly some recruitment involved, but that's all that we really know.
I would expect that Matilda Jane Clothing has a simpler team system than normal, just because of the way that potential distributors need to apply. Most other MLMs try to get as many members involved as possible. This should mean that you can focus more on product sales and less on team building. Still, without the details, it's hard to know what you can expect.
This lack of transparency is always concerning. This also means that the main source of information would be another distributor, if there is one in your area. Personally, I always prefer the ability to fact-check information rather than having to learn everything second hand.
I'm not convinced about Matilda Jane Clothing. It would be possible to make reliable income, but you'd need to be an excellent salesperson with a decent number of social connections. You'd also need to be willing to invest in the company and would probably want to buy some of the new pieces as Matilda Jane Clothing releases them.
If you're passionate about the clothing, the whole process might be worth the effort. In fact, the company might be very relevant if you have a child (or children) who already wear pieces from the company.
For any other situation, Matilda Jane Clothing seems like a lot of hassle. You'll probably be faced with many recurring costs – and it isn't even clear whether you can earn a decent amount of money. If nothing else, it would be better to find a company that offers the information you need up-front.