Vector Marketing

Vector Marketing
Industry Marketing
Founded 1981[1]
Headquarters Olean, New York, US
Key people
Listen to this article (info/dl)

This audio file was created from a revision of the "Vector Marketing" article dated 2011-08-16, and does not reflect subsequent edits to the article. (Audio help)
More spoken articles

Vector Marketing is the domestic sales arm of Cutco Corporation, an Olean, New York based cutlery manufacturer. Vector Marketing Corporation is the company’s sales division. ALCAS Corporation is the parent company.[2]


Vector Marketing Corporation and Cutco Cutlery Corporation are wholly owned subsidiaries of Cutco Corporation. The firm originated in a joint venture between Alcoa and Case Cutlery known as Alcas Corporation. It completed a factory in Olean, New Yorkin 1947, and shipped first set of Cutco Cutlery that year. In 1974, Alcoa purchased Case Cutlery's share of Alcas.[1]

In 1982 members of Alcas management purchased the firm in a management buyout, and in 1985 they acquired Vector Marketing, originally an independent distributor of Cutco Cutlery. In 2009, Alcas changed its name to Cutco Corporation,with Vector its domestic sales subsidiary. The company remains privately held, and is a major employer in Cattaraugus County, New York.[3][4][5]

As of 2011, Vector has more than 200 offices throughout the U.S. and contracts about 60,000 student workers each year to perform entry-level sales work.[6]

Business model

Vector Marketing is a multi-level marketing company that builds its sales force through advertising via newspapers, direct marketing, word-of-mouth, posted advertisements, letters and various media on the internet.[7][8][9][10] They recruit sales representatives from high schools and college campuses in the United States and Canada, sometimes through misrepresentation of affiliation with the school.[6] Students are employed as independent contractors to sell Cutco products (mainly kitchen knives) to customers, typically their friends and family members, via one-on-one demonstrations.[6][11]

Some of Vector's former independent contractors have accused Vector Marketing of deceptive business practices.[12][13] The firm frequently advertises in newspapers and on fliers posted on bulletin boards at college campuses, but seldom do those advertisements explain the nature of the job.[14]

In addition to vague job descriptions, Vector Marketing's compensation policies are often criticized. Vector Marketing previously required sales representatives to make a refundable security deposit to procure a set of knives for demonstrations. However the practices have changed and representatives are no longer required to make a security deposit. They are loaned knives as well as given some as prizes for their "Fast Start" sales achievements.[12][13][15][16] Students who work for Vector Marketing as independent contractors are not reimbursed for transportation expenses and other common business expenses while working, or for the time they spend at training sessions.[9][12]


Vector Marketing has been sued several times. In 2003, a recruit who was successful in a lawsuit against Vector for failing to adhere to labor laws in New York, co-founded a group, Students Against Vector Exploitation (SAVE).[17] In 2008, Alicia Harris filed a federal class action lawsuit against Vector. Harris alleged that Vector violated California and federal labor law by failing to pay adequate wages and illegally coercing employees into patronizing the company.[18] The case, Harris v. Vector Marketing Corporation, is pending a final settlement approval for US$13 million before Judge Edward M. Chen.[19][20] Vector was sued in 1990 by the Arizona Attorney General.[21] In 1994, Wisconsin ordered Vector to stop providing dishonest information to recruits. Arizona and Vector agreed to a settlement that punctuated a series of state actions against Vector's Tucson manager that spanned seven years. Vector agreed not to misrepresent its compensation system as part of the settlement.[22]

Business memberships

Vector Marketing is a member of the Direct Selling Association.[23]


  1. 1 2 3 "Vector Marketing - Our Company". Vector Marketing. Retrieved 10 August 2011.
  2. Crittenden, Victoria L.; Crittenden, William F. (July 2008). "Building a capable organization: The eight levers of strategy implementation". Business Horizons. 51 (4): 301–309. doi:10.1016/j.bushor.2008.02.003.
  3. "Cutco Corporate Profile" (PDF). Cutco Corp. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
  4. "Cutco Cutlery: History". Cutco Corporation. Retrieved November 22, 2010.
  5. "Major Employers". City of Olean Community Development. Retrieved November 22, 2010.
  6. 1 2 3 Robbins, Rebecca (August 2, 2011). "The Company that Cuts Both Ways". Santa Barbara Independent. Retrieved August 2, 2011.
  7. Moret, Darrin (September 6, 2013). "Did I Participate In A Pyramid Scheme?". Popular Science. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
  8. Kellman, Beth Robinson (April 2, 2010). "Better Business Bureau offers advice on multilevel marketing". The Oakland Press. Oakland County, Michigan. Retrieved May 19, 2011.
  9. 1 2 Deal, A. Matthew (September 26, 2006). "High wages for student work – but beware". Campus News. The Carolinian. p. 1. Archived from the original on August 15, 2011. Retrieved June 5, 2008.
  10. Gunn, Eileen (August 5, 2008). "Summer Job: Nice Pay, if You Can Cut It". The Wall Street Journal. p. D4. Retrieved April 21, 2011.
  11. Episode 10. Street Cents, January 14, 2002 Online copy at the Internet Archive
  12. 1 2 3 Lucchesi, Nick (February 4, 2004). "Vector Marketing targets unaware college students". News. The Journal. Archived from the original on 28 June 2015. Retrieved June 5, 2008.
  13. 1 2 da Costa, Polyana (August 21, 2004). "Firm misled sales recruits to sell knives, students say". Salem Statesman-Journal. Archived from the original on July 4, 2008.
  14. Holt, Shirleen (February 22, 2004). "Help-wanted pitch may have surprise curve". The Seattle Times. Retrieved July 24, 2010.
  15. "Vector Marketing - Got Questions?". Vector Marketing. Retrieved 10 August 2011.
  16. Anderson, Matt (October 6, 2004). "Vector policies questionable". MTSU Sidelines. p. 1. Retrieved June 5, 2008.
  17. Gripenstraw, Kelsey (April 20, 2011). "Beware of Campus Scams". The Bottom Line. University of California, Santa Barbara. Retrieved May 18, 2011.
  18. Chen, Edward M. (September 4, 2009). "Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment". Harris v. Vector Marketing Corporation. United States District Court for the Northern District of California
  19. "Court opinion". Harris v. Vector Marketing Corporation. May 5, 2011. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  20. "Preliminary approval of $13 million settlement granted despite concerns". May 31, 2011. Retrieved Feb 5, 2012.
  21. Wellman, Paul. "The Company That Cuts Both Ways". Retrieved 29 August 2013.
  22. McKay, Peter. "For Vector Marketing, the Question of the Hour; Does the $12.05 Pay in Its Recruitment Ads Accurately Reflect the Wages or Are Respondents Being Misled?", The Washington Post, July 1, 1996, p.F08.
  23. "Company: CUTCO/Vector Marketing Corporation: DSA". Direct Selling Association (U.S.). Retrieved 4 June 2014.

External links

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/30/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.