If you are a direct seller in Delaware, if you live in Delaware and love CUTCO knives, if you’ve ever been to a home party in Delaware for jewelry, or make-up, or candles, or clothing, we need your help! Delaware state representative Bryon Short has introduced legislation that seriously threatens direct sellers. This legislation could come up for a vote as soon as next Tuesday, March 23rd.

Please help us by contacting your elected state representative and senator (you can find out who yours is and get an email address here:  http://legis.delaware.gov/Legislature.nsf?open ). You can copy and paste the language below into and email and send it immediately. Feel free to personalize your message. If you rely on direct selling to support your family, say so – I did. If you believe in what the direct selling industry can do for others – say that. If you simply believe in creating good legislation, as opposed to legislation that broadly damns an entire industry in an effort to stop some rogue players, then write. Thank you in advance for your support and assistance. Here’s what I wrote, please borrow freely:

As my elected representative, I wanted to write regarding my STRONG OPPOSITION to HB #317, which if it passes, will be coming to the Senate.

This legislature will directly affect my livelihood as well as my company’s presence in the state of Delaware. I have been working for CUTCO Cutlery for 18 years, and for nearly ten years have managed a satellite office here in New Castle County that conducts internet operations, external relations, philanthropy and academic programs for the company. We employ 5 people in our Pike Creek office, 4 of whom are Delaware residents. CUTCO is a direct selling company, and this bill would put an extraordinary burden on our representatives.  Specifically:

  • As currently written this bill covers all direct sellers. The bill amends the Delaware Home Solicitation Sales Act which specifically defines “door-to-door sales” as being sales made at a place other than the place of business of the seller.
  • The bill is overly broad and should specifically target traveling sales crews who often dishonestly associate themselves with legitimate direct selling companies.
  • No other state requires the registration of direct sellers or for them to display an identification card. Direct sellers sale through home parties, one-on-one and door-to-door.
  • Many of these direct selling activities can take place after 7 p.m.
  • The vast majority of the direct selling sales force is made up of women working to supplement the family’s other income, selling on a part-time basis with modest earnings.
  • Imposing a registration requirement on direct sellers is unnecessary and unjustified. We estimate there are about 40,000 independent direct sellers in Delaware in 2009.
  • Traveling sales crews on the other hand are fringe operators who target vulnerable teenagers, have no connection to the communities in which they sell and move rapidly around the country. In contrast, direct sellers are legitimate small business owners made up mostly of women ages 35-54 who sell to their friends and family and maintain strong social ties to their community.

I ask you to vote NO on this legislation.