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Despite my parents’ skepticism and my own hesitation, I went from selling $6,000 in my first 10 days to later becoming the #1 rep in my division and then moving into a management position with $475,000 in career sales. Vector has given me the confidence and knowledge to create my own success, rather than hope someone else does it for me. I went from someone who never looked outside his comfort zone to someone who does it daily.
—Pete Karney, Bishop Canevin High School
I remember when I told my mom I wanted to start selling kitchen knives in high school.
“What kind of brainwashing cult did you join?” she asked, as panic and fear spread across her face.
Turns out, my mom isn’t the only parent concerned about their kid(s) selling kitchen knives—even if they are really phenomenal knives, handmade in America.
I digress, though.
If you’ve made it to this page, then it’s likely you have a few questions—or maybe a few dozen—for us to answer before you let your child start selling cutlery (even if it can be done virtually from home). The good news is: we’ve got answers—good ones.
What’s the story behind Vector Marketing?
To understand the story behind Vector Marketing, you first have to understand the story behind CUTCO.
In 1949, two companies (ALCOA and Case Cutlery) started a joint-venture with the goal of producing the absolute best houseware knife on the market.
They succeeded, and the result was the first CUTCO knife, created with the help of Industrial Designer Thomas Lamb.
Two things made CUTCO’s knives particularly special.
For one, it has the perfect handle, custom designed by Lamb.
Two, its knives are made in America and come with a “forever guarantee,” meaning, at any point in time after purchase, you can send it back, and CUTCO will polish and sharpen it. If it’s defective, send it back, and they’ll replace it.
This is how the mantra: “Buy once; use everyday; never replace,” came to be.
So CUTCO had this phenomenal product, now, they had to figure out how to sell it.
At the time, the encyclopedia direct sales model was a popular way of selling products because it was very convenient.
You had a product expert visit your home, where you could try the product before you bought it, and the expert would answer any of your pressing questions about the product.
CUTCO adopted this direct sales model and worked with a bunch of independent companies that sold its products for them. One company stood out among the rest—Vector Marketing.
Vector Marketing was so successful because of its systems and processes, so CUTCO acquired Vector Marketing as its own direct salesforce.
“Our two sons have had very different, yet positive experiences. Seth continues to make Cutco a career choice. He has grown into one of Vector’s many success stories, winning awards and enjoying his work. His younger brother, Kyle, no longer works with Cutco but continues to benefit from his experience as he applies it to other opportunities. Despite our initial skepticism, we now highly recommend both the product and the work opportunity.”
— Steve & Debbie Kinzer, Parents
My child can work from home (remotely). How does that work?
Certain reps may be invited to interview, train, or work 100% remotely. All they need is a cell phone and an internet connection, as the position will require using (no cost) virtual tools and apps—Zoom, Skype, facetime, etc.
Our virtual programs have been developed over many years (and tens of thousands of hours) of effort, testing, and customer feedback. There is no difference in pay for a work-from-home (remote) rep than an in-person rep.
During the Covid pandemic, we required all Cutco representatives to work virtually. We discovered that our virtual sales team was just as successful as they had been when doing live demonstrations. We’ve maintained a strong virtual-only workforce, even as Covid restrictions have lifted and some sales reps have started doing in-person sales events again.
How does Vector Marketing pay?
Reps earn a guaranteed base pay of $16-$22 every time they show Cutco to a qualified prospect, whether that be in-person or virtually. This is NOT an hourly rate. People sometimes think it’s $16-$22 per hour because most appointments take between 45 minutes to an hour. This is incorrect, though. It’s $16-$22 per qualified appointment given.
Why does Vector Marketing guarantee pay?
Our product sells itself. We don’t need (or want) reps to pressure someone to buy from them, so we offer the base pay as a guaranteed incentive. Even if no sales are made at the time, representatives are still compensated for the time they spent demonstrating the knives.
Will my child earn commission too?
Yes. While the guaranteed base pay fluctuates between $16-$22 per appointment, commission percentages are the same across the country.
We offer 10 to 30% commission with bonus opportunities all the way up to 50%.
The percentage you earn is based on your overall career sales. You can see how much you have to sell in order to get each percentage.
The nice thing about this is once you make it to a certain level—even if you take a selling hiatus—you never earn less than that percentage going forward. Once you make it to a certain level, you stay there until you make it to the next one.
Is my child classified as an employee?
No, your child is classified as an independent contractor, aka a freelancer, which 50.9% of America’s workforce will be by 2027 (or 86.5 million people).
Being a freelancer, or independent contractor, your child has the luxury of setting their own schedule around classes and extracurricular activities. They can also adopt the skills they learn with Vector Marketing to build their own freelance career in the future.
How do taxes work for independent contractors?
Independent contractors do not get taxes taken out of their regular pay, so they are responsible for handling their taxes at the end of the year.
Because an independent contractor is like a small business owner, they have the benefit of writing off business expenses when tax season rolls around.
We encourage reps to save year-round so they are prepared to pay their taxes once tax season rolls around. Additionally, we prep reps with filing best practices. Learn more about filing taxes with a 1099 here.
How often is my child paid?
Reps submit their orders and timesheets, which includes a list of their appointments, every Monday. They are then paid the following Monday through direct deposit or paper check, which takes about two days longer to process.
What will my child be doing?
Work varies from day to day, but usually involves:
- Scheduling appointments with prospects
- Demoing the product for prospects (virtually or in-person)
- Submitting order forms and completing timesheets
- Reviewing performance and receiving feedback with their local office manager (either virtually, over the phone, video calls, or in-person)
- Attending an optional weekly team meeting at the office or virtually (Zoom, Skype, facetime, etc.)
Are there any upfront costs?
No. None. If your child will be meeting with customers in-person, we’ll loan him/her a Cutco sample set at no cost. IF they want to buy their kit, they can for a massive discount. Sales reps conducting virtual presentations do not need a sample set. They simply use a tablet or computer to walk through product options with customers virtually.
Do you provide training?
Yes, we’re one of the few companies who provide professional training.
Fun fact: In 1979, young workers got an average of 2.5 weeks of training a year. While data is not easy to come by, around 1995, several surveys of employers found that the average amount of training workers received per year was just under 11 hours, and the most common topic was workplace safety—not building new skills. By 2011, an Accenture study showed that only about a fifth of employees reported getting on-the-job training from their employers over the past five years.
Depending on where you’re located, initial training takes place between two and three days, but there’s also ongoing training opportunities. Virtual training options can be discussed with the local manager.
My child is studying [insert major]. How will this benefit her?
Today, ~50% of managers feel recent grads are prepared for a full-time job while 87% of grads think they’re more than ready. That’s a big disconnect.
Employers see the biggest need for improvement in the “soft skills” arena. Soft skills are skills that are useful across industries, and therefore sometimes referred to as “transferable skills.”
Students learn a wide array of valuable transferable skills working for Vector, including:
- Presentation skills
- Public speaking skills
- “People” skills
- Goal setting
- Time management
- Positivity in the workplace
These skills are vital to any professional today, in a world where jobs pay an average of a $8,853 more than those that don’t require “presentation skills.”
Likability matters in the professional world, yet many young people have little to no experience professionally interacting with people in real-life situations.
Fun fact: “Likable people are more apt to be hired, get help at work, get useful information from others and have mistakes forgiven. A study of 133 managers by researchers at the University of Massachusetts found that if an auditor is likable and gives a well-organized argument, managers tend to comply with his suggestions, even if they disagree and the auditor lacks supporting evidence.” Source
Vector teaches reps everything from how to make eye contact, confidently present themselves, ask questions, and stand up for themselves in a friendly manner. They’ll learn how to network effectively as well, which is so important when you consider the fact that most jobs are secured through weak ties.
Is training paid?
No. Your child will not be compensated for the two- to three-day training. We believe we are providing a massive benefit to students by teaching them these basic, but difficult to acquire, soft skills that employers highly value yet aren’t training young people for.
What type of people succeed at Vector Marketing?
Not everyone will succeed at Vector, and we don’t accept everyone.
The right person for this job is someone who can present well, has a positive attitude, is eager to learn, committed, and shows evidence of motivation and grit.
And just because your child is more of an introvert doesn’t mean they won’t succeed in this position. The right people can be coached to succeed very well at Vector.
In fact, Adam Grant proved it’s actually not the extroverts who succeed at sales, but rather the “ambiverts,” which are people who can operate in both modes whether they are naturally one way or the other.
How does my child find customers?
Reps start by practicing demos (either virtual or in-person) with close family and friends so they feel comfortable and relaxed in a safe, low-pressure setting.
On average, each customer refers five people to a rep after the presentation. So while they start with friends and family, they’re quickly introduced to friends of friends. As such, reps are far from running “friends and family businesses.”
Is Vector Marketing a scam or a pyramid scheme?
No. Vector Marketing is not a scam. Cutco is not a pyramid scheme or an illegal MLM (multi-level marketing business).
We’re well aware that many MLMs or pyramid schemes are illegal, something we staunchly support as they are harmful to people who enroll in them.
Some people may get confused when they hear that Vector Marketing representatives sell to friends and family. While this is true, there are some very important things that make a job at Vector safe and financially secure:
- Vector representatives are not required or expected to spend their own money on products. Many predatory MLMs require their sales reps to purchase their own products. We provide new sales reps with a set of knives for in-person presentations (and virtual tools for remote workers) at no cost. If representatives want to purchase their own knives for personal use, they are welcome to do so at a very large discount. But we will never ask or require them to spend their own money on the products. There are no quotas. And they do not carry inventory.
- There is no sign-up fee when starting out (or ever). Some MLMs require their staff to pay exorbitant fees when starting out. This is in addition to any products they might be required to buy. With Vector Marketing, there are absolutely no up-front costs. Representatives earn income from their very first demonstration or first sale.
- Vector representatives are not required or expected to recruit other salespeople. In a pyramid scheme, you are required to find and recruit other sales people who will be in your “downline.” This is what gives pyramid schemes their name: Your downline pays a commission to you, and you pay a commission to the person who recruited you, and so on. Working at Cutco, your child will tap their own network for sales demonstrations, but will not be required to recruit anyone else to work at the company. We do offer incentives for team building referrals, but this is by no means a requirement.
You can also take comfort in the fact that Cutco has been around for more than half a century. Illegal MLMs and pyramid schemes do not have long histories like ours, because they collapse or are dissolved due to their fraudulent behavior.
Is Vector Marketing safe?
Yes! We protect reps by having them start with their immediate network of friends and family.
They don’t knock on random doors, and there is no cold calling.
Instead, reps work on referrals offered by their friends or family members and speak with the customer prior to the appointment. This puts the reps in control of who they see and when they see them.
From there, they can expand their network through friends-of-friends and aquaintances who are interested in the products.
Will my child’s grades suffer due to working at Vector?
Vector strives to teach skills to students that will inevitably improve their grades.
For example, reps set up their own appointments, learning time management from their first day of training.
The practice of time management becomes a habit, so representatives waste less time because they know how to reliably manage a calendar and schedule.
“C” students often become “A” students simply by acquiring these foundational professional skills.
By becoming more efficient, they procrastinate less, and productivity, parallel to grades, increases.
Is Vector Marketing affiliated with any colleges?
Eighty-five percent of our reps are students.
And every year, we donate a total of $40,000 to full-time undergraduate students, who excel at selling CUTCO. In the fall and spring, the top 25 students are awarded, and during the summer, the top 50 are awarded.
We proudly support and sponsor many colleges across North America. Currently, our sponsorships include: DECA, which prepares students to become leaders and entrepreneurs and Pi Sigma Epsilon.
And we’re also a member of the following organizations:
Does Vector Marketing have good reviews from professors?
Regardless of career path, sales skills are crucial in any job or industry. University professors are quick to acknowledge that experience in direct sales builds the business acumen needed to succeed in the modern workplace. Our representatives develop new-found confidence, effective communication, and time management.
But don’t take our word for it—see what these professors have to say about building sales skills with Vector Marketing.
Can my child receive internship credit working for Vector?
Yes. Vector offers internships to their representatives, and they are paid. The Campus Recruiting Team is happy to help Vector representatives navigate their school’s requirements. If eligible, the college or university may offer internship credits.
Here are more Vector Marketing reviews.
Glassdoor is an authority on what it’s like to work for various companies. Former employees, who have no reason to say anything untruthful, will often post about their experiences and Glassdoor requires them to say the good and the bad. Here’s are more than 5,800 stellar reviews of Vector Marketing on Glassdoor.
To put this in perspective here are reviews of other prominent companies:
Working at Vector Marketing prepares you for life.
Working at Vector has helped a massive number of students discover who they are and what they’re good at, all while gaining hands-on professional experience and making money.
Jacob Gordon, a Vector Marketing Assistant Manager (CK), shares his experience:
Because of this job, I’ve met all kinds of people, from all walks of life. I’ve seen new and exciting parts of the city I grew up in and reconnected with a huge chunk of my distant family. I was able to pay my way through school, and I had the opportunity to teach and develop reps of my own. Today, I realize what it truly means to be independent of the environment around me.
Cameron Brown, son of former Cavs head coach Mike Brown is another success story. Watch him share about his CUTCO experience below:
Vector is a platform for opportunity.
Your child doesn’t really want to sell knives; they want to grow professionally and earn while they learn in-demand skills.
They want to do well in school and succeed and be happy with their professional life. They want to make something of themselves, but they just can’t find the help or training they need to jumpstart that process.
That’s why selling knives isn’t so bad to them—it will get them closer to who they want to be. They see it as an invaluable stepping stone.
Want to learn more? We’re happy to answer any and all additional questions.