MLM Success: She Dove Right Into Becoming a Chocolatier for Dove Chocolates

MLM Company: Dove Chocolates

Helene Supraner is a fourth grade teacher living in sunny Florida. Like most teachers, she is "always looking for extra money somewhere."

An introvert by nature, Helene admits that she never thought of doing something in the MLM area, but the combination of an online video game and chocolate piqued her interest and encouraged her to jump right in with Dove Chocolates Discoveries.

Now she is called the chocolate lady at school and, in addition to earning that extra money, Helene has found a fun, creative outlet as well.

How she got started

While playing an online video game one night, Helene became intrigued when another player changed her online name to show that she offered in-home chocolate parties. Helene contacted the other player right away because, "I was immediately interested. Chocolate tasting was something that I could see my girlfriends and I going to. Plus, I love chocolate," she said. Who doesn't?

Start-up costs

The low start-up costs sealed the deal and launched Helene's career as a Dove Chocolatier. From now until the end of the calendar year -- Dec. 31, 2010 -- you can pay just $49, instead of the regular $149, and get enough chocolate and chocolate goodies to host your first four parties. In addition to the value of the chocolate being well over a $100, you also get two free months of your own chocolate website, catalogues and training information that teaches you how to set up your business. "For $49 I thought, why not? I couldn't lose because if I didn't like the business aspect of it, then at least I'd still have all that good chocolate," Supraner says.

There is also a level two starter kit that costs $300, for those who know for sure that Dove is the MLM company they want to work for. This is not for people who want to test the waters or who are on a tight budget.

Also, chocolatiers receive inflated commissions for their first 30 days. Therefore, if you sell the recommended $1,000 in your first month with Dove, your commission goes from 25 to 45 percent. "In my first month I did hit my $1,000 in sales, so I made $500 in profit," Supraner says..

Each party of about 10 people yields about $300-$500 in profit and takes about two hours to set up, do the chocolate tasting of five different items, the ordering for guests, and the clean up. This means that Helene is making about $75 per party, or $37.50 per hour.

Pros and cons

Helene loves that this "is one of those jobs that you can do as much or as little as you want." She chooses to work about 25 hours per month, which means that she makes about $900-$1,000 worth of extra money each month. "When I signed up I went overboard at first just because I was so excited about the business. The 25 hours that I put in each month is more than I have to, but I also think it's the little extras that I do that help," she says. Also, "the chocolate sells itself."

The only place where this teacher has experienced a learning curve is in the payment department. For example, candy is a taxed item, but baking chocolate is not. Some states charge a shipping tax while others do not. "It can be cumbersome at times," Supraner says, "because people cannot even total themselves out at parties and figure out how much they are spending, so they need to wait for me to help with their paperwork to make sure that their order is correct and that they are getting charged appropriately." Fortunately, all chocolatiers are given a "cheat sheet" that helps ease the process of figuring out what items are taxed and what the cost is for each.

Supraner is still surprised by the people who are most eager to host parties, because it is usually the people she thought would pass on the opportunity. For instance, the school she teaches at let Helene host her first chocolate tasting party in a classroom for all school staff after the class day was done. "The biggest challenge so far has been getting people to the parties to taste the products," Helene notes, "but once they are there, sales are the easy part."

Helene's advice

If you are thinking of doing something with an MLM company, Helene recommends giving it a try and learning what you are capable of. Working for Dove has forced Helene to get out and meet people and try something new. "I love how it brings something else out in me besides being a wife or a teacher," she adds.

Helene also admits that she may not have even tried to sell Dove Chocolates were it not for the low start-up costs of $49. "The investment was low enough me for that I am afraid I might not have tried this if it weren't on special; but now that I did, I am finding out what I am capable of doing, and I am happy I spent those $49 and tried."

Since Helene only ordered her kit and started with the company in October, she has no monetary goals yet, but she is still enjoying the initial phase of not knowing what to expect next from this chocolate endeavor.

"If you interview me in 10 years, I hope I can tell you that I am selling chocolate full time. I love this business and really have nothing to lose. I feel like I am getting in on the ground floor (the company is only 3 years old) and that I can really grow with this."

Next up in this series is the story of the only father-son team working for Creative Memories.

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