If you’re looking for a fashion related business opportunity that’s not an MLM, this Agnes & Dora review is for you. From the quality of their clothes to the variety and selection... Agnes and Dora are making their mark on the direct selling industry. But, the cost of getting started may be too much for most people.
Please note, I am not a member or an affiliate of Agnes & Dora. This review has been researched with information and testimonials that are available online in the public domain. Any conclusions drawn by myself are opinions.
What is Agnes & Dora?
Agnes and Dora is a direct sales clothing company founded in 2013 by Buffy Bandley, the niece of LuLaRoe founder, Deanne Stidham. Having contributed to various family businesses, Buffy was familiar with the entrepreneurial lifestyle and wanted to share it with other women.
As a direct sales company, Agnes and Dora has so far stayed away from the multi-level-marketing business model. I’ve read several articles, comments and social media posts that say they may be moving in that direction, but currently the primary focus of independent reps is on retail sales… not recruiting.
Fun Fact: The name Agnes and Dora comes from a 1960’s book written by Buffy’s Grandmother called “The Secret Power of Femininity”. Agnes and Dora represent the Yin and the Yang of a woman… both fun loving and playful, as well as confident.
Agnes and Dora has a diverse catalogue of clothes, and they are getting great reviews. Here’s just one example.
Their selection includes tops, leggings, skirts, dresses, as well as tunics and cardigans. Prints range from florals and geometrics to solids and stripes.
In addition, everything except the leggings are made in the US... although, similar to the discussion of becoming an MLM, there is also chatter online that production is moving overseas.
Regardless of where they are made, the variety and quality of their clothes are a big positive and whether you are a consumer, a seller or both... this is good news.
How to Become an Agnes and Dora Rep?
Currently, Agnes and Dora are only accepting new reps in the US. If you live in Canada, you’ll either have to wait until onboarding opens up again, or look at other opportunities.
As mentioned, they are not a multi-level-marketing company, but you can apply by choosing a referring representative who will act as your sponsor or coach. The benefit to your referring rep (at this time) is that they’ll qualify for credits they can put towards future purchases.
Also, it’s assumed that once Agnes and Dora becomes an MLM, you will become part of your referring rep's organization (and those who you brought in will become part of yours). Whether they become a traditional MLM like LuLaRoe for example, or choose a hybrid model similar to Chloe + Isabel is uncertain.
At this stage, you will join a wait list. How long the wait will be is also unknown as Agnes and Dora control when new reps are brought on board.
How Much Does It Cost To Get Started?
Once chosen, you will need sales tools, materials and of course, inventory. They have start up packages that range from $3500 to $5000.
Now, there’s a couple things to be said here. $3500 to $5000 is not a lot of money to start a business like this… compared to similar business opportunities and traditional stores.
But, $3500 to $5000 is still a lot of money. Before investing thousands of dollars, research is important, and it's also critical to ask yourself if this is what you really want.
Not just whether or not you want a fashion business. But... do you like selling? Not many people do, so unless you know for certain, this might be a concern. Do you want to recruit people if they become a multi-level marketing company? Do you want to set up, do home parties, deal with no shows, and haul inventory around?
Do you see yourself doing videos online to promote your business?
What about space to store your inventory, as well as hangers and racks to keep them organized?
These are important questions because success will require your absolute commitment as well as a lot of time. If you don't enjoy it... just like a strict diet, it will be difficult to maintain.
If you're uncertain about these questions, or about spending thousands of dollars... you have other options if building a home-based business is something you're determined to do.
Is It Your Business or Just Another Job?
While we’re discussing potential downfalls, another topic is what your idea of owning a business is.
In the case of Agnes and Dora, you are an independent contractor for a single client (Agnes and Dora). Better than being stuck in a job you hate (provided you can earn enough money to replace it), but it’s not quite the same as owning your own business.
To be absolutely clear… this isn’t a problem that’s unique to Agnes and Dora. It’s still an opportunity for the right person, but again, it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into.
Being an Agnes and Dora contractor means your income is still coming from a single source. You are dependent on one company… which is the same situation you have with a job. Personally, that feeling drives me crazy… but that’s just me.
In addition, you are bound to specific rules and restrictions... also like having a job.
For example, you are not allowed to run your own promotions. Agnes and Dora want full control over that part of your business. And, to their credit, the reason is to maintain equality between reps so no one gains an advantage over another in a particular area, or online.
At the very least, an Agnes and Dora business is closer to buying a franchise. But, franchise owners who don't hire someone else to run their business are bound to long hours and corporate control... often saying they've just bought themselves a job.
Also, unlike a business that sells multiple brands… here you are limited to just one. This isn’t a problem as long as they continue to provide quality pieces at prices people are willing to pay.
But that’s not always the case. Many people join these opportunities only to become frustrated by customer returns, poor service from head office, or the changing of policies to include strict quotas or active status mandates.
If for any reason you want to leave or change suppliers, you’re effectively giving up one business and starting over from scratch. If you’ve also built a network of reps that you’re mentoring, you will also be leaving them behind.
The inventory you’ve accumulated is not refundable here from what I understand. You have 30 days from the time you quit where you’re still licensed to sell Agnes and Dora product, but chances are you’ll still be stuck with some of it.
Again, I wouldn’t consider these things deal breakers… and they are the same issues you’d find with similar opportunities. But it's important to go in with eyes wide open because these are the things that may end up frustrating you in the long run.
How Do You Sell Agnes and Dora Clothes?
YouTube and Facebook Live
Video is the hottest trend in marketing today, and currently, the two biggest channels are YouTube and Facebook Live. Having said that, if you don’t already have a following, it’ll be difficult to get noticed unless you pay for advertising.
There are entire courses dedicated to paid online traffic, but if you’re new to online marketing…paid advertising is not something I recommend. It’s easy to blow through hundreds… even thousands of dollars quickly with zero results.
You have to know what you're doing.
But, the potential is real. If you're serious about your business this may be some additional training that interests you.
The skills you learn are not limited to your Agnes and Dora business. You can use them with any business, even to provide a service that other business owners would be willing to pay your for.
One place I’ve used to get free training is through a company called Clickfunnels. Although their free training is focused on marketing the Clickfunnels software, the strategies are comprehensive and can be also be used to market your Agnes and Dora business. Also, this is Clickfunnels AFFILIATE BOOTCAMP training, and it's taught by one of the best online marketers in the business. [Learn More About Clickfunnels BOOTCAMP]
Of course, another challenge with video is that you may not like being on camera.
Start A Blog
If video isn’t your thing, starting a style and fashion blog is another option.
One advantage to a blog is that it doesn’t have to be dedicated to Agnes & Dora only. You can write about your experiences as an independent merchandiser, the challenges and the triumphs. Or, you could have a do-it-yourself jewelry section for example.
With this strategy you can set yourself up to easily transition between businesses if you ever decide switch from Agnes and Dora to another brand.
As your blog grows in popularity, you can build a mailing list and send out information to your subscribers about upcoming styles, prints and promotions.
If all of this sounds difficult, it’s not. I use a company called Wealthy Affiliate to build my websites. Using their platform to set up a website is just a few clicks, and they provide step-by-step training for everything else. Like Clickfunnels, getting started here is also free, including access to the community and free websites.
Social Media Advertising
Setting up your own Agnes and Dora Facebook page, or accounts on other social media such as Twitter and/or Instagram only takes a few minutes, and you can grow your followers through outreach, paid advertising or a combination of both.
How to do that is beyond the scope of this review, but there are also great tutorials you can find online.
People with large followings were finding their posts no longer being shown to their subscribers. In 2015 for example, Facebook made changes to show fewer promotional posts in people’s newsfeeds. YouTube has also made changes that have meant far fewer views for many popular channels.
It’s good to make use of these platforms, but it’s also important not to depend on them.
Face to Face
Although the web is a great way to build your Agnes and Dora business, most of your sales (at least in the beginning) will probably come from traditional face to face sales. Friends and family as well as home parties.
Another face to face strategy used by some Agnes and Dora reps, is to partner with small businesses such as gyms, yoga or dance studios etc.
Through the corporate office you have access to sales tools such as banners, sign templates, business cards, bags, receipts and flyers.
Is It A Scam or a Pyramid Scheme?
If you’re just skimming quickly to get to this question, the answer is no, Agnes and Dora is not a scam. Of course, if you’ve been reading.... this is clear.
They are also not a pyramid scheme.
Although there is talk that they are moving towards becoming an MLM (pyramid type) business, it’s not certain what that structure will look like. They may use a business model where reps are still onboarded through applications and interviews, and then assigned to an organization or upline. Or, they may use the traditional pyramid shaped structure we've all come to know.
Either way, Agnes and Dora is a legit business with a lot of potential.
What I Like About Agnes and Dora
- The quality of their product. It has received good reviews online meaning you as a seller won’t be fighting an uphill battle.
- The focus is on retail, not recruiting.
- They limit the number of reps. This isn’t good if you’re on a waiting list, but for those that get in, the market is less saturated. When you’re in an MLM, and most of your money comes from retail… every new person that joins is potentially a competitor… as well as someone who can damage the company’s reputation by being too pushy for example.
- Diverse catalogue of clothing that has broad appeal. While there are advantages to being in a small niche market, your overall profit potential is larger with products such as those sold by Agnes and Dora.
- Unlike some competitors, except for your initial order… you get to choose what you order ($100 min order).
What I Don’t Like
- You are still working for every dollar. For example, you can earn passive income with an online affiliate business and wake up every morning to commissions. On the other hand, with a retail business such as Agnes and Dora, you are always dealing with inventory, orders, invoicing, complaints, returns, home parties, no-shows and so on. What starts out as the pursuit of freedom turns into another job.
- Dependency on a single company and brand, as well as being bound to their rules and restrictions.
- The relatively high cost of getting started. It’s less than many of Agnes and Dora’s competitors, but when you compare it to other opportunities such as affiliate marketing (which does not require you to purchase or carry inventory)… the up-front investment is high.
- You pay for shipping, and if you quit there is no buy-back program.
Of all the fashion opportunities out there, Agnes and Dora is one you should consider. Although there is a wait list (and Canadian’s are left out in the cold here), it’s hard to overlook things like not having to recruit and being able to order specific items.
As mentioned already though, you are buying a job. You're gaining freedom from traditional employment (if you can earn enough to replace you income), but it will come with long hours, and corporate oversight.
There is saying that entrepreneurs are the people who work 80 hours a week… just so they don’t have to work 40.
Is The Cost Too Much?
If the cost of getting started is too high, if you’d rather not wait… or if you’re Canadian, another recommendation is to start an online business. In addition to creating passive income, you have the freedom to run your business as you like and in any niche you choose.
Many people partner with companies like Etsy, Amazon and Shareasale to market fashion related products… and it’s easy to learn how. For free tutorials and videos, you can check out my number one recommendation [here]
I hope my Agnes and Dora review was helpful, and if you have any questions or comments… or even a review of your own you'd like to share, your insight will be helpful to others. You can enter your comments below.
Also, if you found this review informative, or think it may be useful to others… please share 😀