When you think of direct sales, the image of two bearded men trying on lip color likely does not come to mind, but for James Goodrich and his husband Jason Kramer, this is a normal Tuesday working their business.
As men working in a primarily female-dominated industry selling products marketed to women, the pair have faced some challenges, but they’ve built a successful model and have fun doing it.
“There is a novelty factor that we use to our advantage. However, it is not how we define ourselves and why we are successful. It is our effort and love of what we do that does!”
James wasn’t on board at first — Jason initially launched the business on his own. James told us: “I actually had zero interest, but after a month of seeing him be successful, I decided to jump in myself!”
For James and Jason, this partnership is natural. James says: “For us, working together comes naturally because we each have different, complementary approaches and skill sets. We are both strong-willed and success-oriented so having separate roles helps us stay focused on the end result instead of wasting time and effort on who is going to do what.”
Jason is the creative mind in this dynamic duo: he loves being in front of people and entertaining. James, on the other hand, is focused on strategy, planning, and growth.
Challenges as men in the direct sales industry
The husband team has also faced their fair share of challenges, including not having real-life experience with most products they sell. They have also discovered that their ideal customers may not find them as approachable as their female teammates. Women may not approach them at vendor events and are uncomfortable hosting an event at their home. “We work diligently to be welcoming and approachable because we never want our customers to feel uncomfortable with us,” James says.
Turning disadvantage to advantage
At first, James and Jason didn’t think much of their unique situation. “We were just doing our thing and having fun with it,” says James. But then Jason started rising through the ranks of the company and people noticed. Their team leader recognized this as an opportunity and recommended them to home office to provide training for the entire company. James said, “That event made us feel welcome in the company and it opened a whole bunch of connections with other consultants.”
“Being men who were successful became something we could use to our advantage because there were a lot of ‘firsts’ for us,” says James. “We used that to motivate ourselves.”
Although there was a lot of attention focused on their success because they were men, James explains they didn’t want that to take away from all the success their female colleagues were experiencing. “At the end of the day, we are business owners just like everyone else in the company.”
James and Jason have also brought some tangible impact on the company itself. Prior to joining and rising into leadership ranks, their company was female-focused and used female pronouns and terms like ‘girlfriend’ and ‘hostess.’ “Now the branding has become more gender neutral and inclusive,” James says. The company has also released a men’s line. “There is still a large focus on empowering women and it 100% should be,” explains James.
“Cisgendered white male [achievement] is common and status quo. It is the achievements of the strong, smart, entrepreneurial women around us that need more recognition.” — James Goodrich
“We are just doing what many others have done before us and we hope that we can use the platform we have now to empower other individuals to jump and try for themselves no matter what their gender is,” James concludes.
Ultimately, James and Jason owe their success not to their gender or their relationship, but to their ability to recognize both as a unique asset and utilize their personalities and skills to stand out. They have learned how to work together and provide their customers with an incredible experience that keeps them coming back for more. We are grateful to have them be a part of our community!
If you enjoyed this story, please click the 👏 button and share to help others find it!
We would also love to work with you on future blog posts. If you would like to share your story and experience, send us a blog submission!