Direct selling has exploded in the past decade, with sales growing 78 percent to more than $30 billion, according to the Direct Selling Association. The number of people, 80 percent of whom are women, who take the direct-selling route has more than doubled to 14 million from 6.3 million in 1994.

Sellers aren’t just pitching their products as a side gig. They are pulling in six-digit incomes, marketing a wide variety of items including kitchen tools, scrapbook and skin-care products and, yes, underwear.

“Direct selling is definitely taken more seriously as a profession today versus some little hobby thing the wifey does,” said Cheri Semple, an independent distributor with Homemade Gourmet, which sells dry mixes that users combine with fresh ingredients for easy-to-prepare meals. “There are a lot of million-dollar mavens out there.”

delawareonline ¦ The News Journal ¦ Direct sales explode, becoming career path