ABSTRACT

The second half of this study explores the role of motivational literature, which CPC used to teach its scattered female workforce to manage their direct-selling businesses. Motivational literature was an essential component of the California Perfume Company's strategy. Using an evangelical style, company literature assured women that a career in direct selling would provide the power to create and control their own wealth. Company leaders promised to democratize business and to support equality, opportunity, and fairness, while defending the role of an ethical business in an economically depressed society. CPC's motivational literature appealed to durable American values supporting ideals of work and ownership, and built a relationship with its representatives that reflected a peculiar combination of paternalism, compassion, self-help, and economic self-interest-a mind-set that characterized CPC's and, indeed, the entire direct-selling industry's management style throughout the Depression.