Well, here we are again for the next instalment of my tale. I covered a lot in Chapter 6, including concerned relatives, pressures on stay-at-home-mums, and buying-in plentiful stock (at the insistence of your uplines).
This takes us to…
Chapter 7 – Just a Small Town Hun…
Before reading Chapter 7 of my experience with MLMs (namely Younique), please remind yourself of my mission statement here. In a nutshell, all views presented in this blog are mine, and mine only. Your own personal experiences with MLM companies may differ, negatively or positively. All names have been changed to protect the individuals concerned.
I was already starting to have doubts, after finding out I would need to make my own sample pots for prospective customers – and buy a shed-load of the products, of course. It should have been common sense really, but hey, at least I can pass on this knowledge to you all. 😉
I’m sure you’ll also remember how excited Kerri was in the last instalment – she was co-hosting a home party with a Juice Plus rep. Well, the weekend of her party had finally arrived and she was making the final preparations.
“EEEEEEK, I can’t wait!! ❤ ” she declared in the Butterfly Babes chat.
She then started a live video stream, to show us all just how prepared she was.
As the camera panned over her table, it became obvious that she had really gone to town.
Turns out, she’d gone to a graphics company and got them to do her a branded Purple Butterfly banner, which stretched across the length of her table. She also had plastic displays for her “stock”, and two large posters showing “before and after” pictures of her using the makeup.
“Dang, how much did all that cost? 😮 ” I asked.
“Enough, 🙂 ” she replied. “All I need is a couple of orders and I’m sure I’ll make my money back.”
Apparently, the Juice Plus rep would be arriving in about an hour, which gave Kerri enough time to try on her fabulous new outfit that arrived in the post.
“Look how AMAAAAAAAAAAAZING it is! EEEK, I am SO excited!! ❤ “
I suppose you’re intrigued about Kerri’s outfit? Well, I can’t show you her wearing it, but I can show you the product photo…
Glorious, isn’t it? Apparently, she bought it from a hun who was part of a huge Facebook group selling (unofficial) Younique presenter tools and other custom merch.
“I’m also going to buy one of these gorgeous hoodies she’s selling, as a treat to myself. Which one do I go for?? ❤ “
“OMG!!! Both of them!! ❤ ❤ ” declared Scarlett.
“I want one too, hun!” said Harriet.
“We should ALL get one!” Kerri chimed in.
Me, I really didn’t want to strut around wearing that kind of thing. Especially at those rip-off prices.
[Elle’s note: I can’t remember their exact price, but it was something terribly pricey for what it was – a bit like the makeup!]
Kerri had decided to get both of the hoodies, just in case you were interested.
“Right, huns, better love you and leave you for now – my Juice Plus friend is here and we’ve got to set up before the party, EEEEEK!!! Wish me luck!! ❤ “
“Good luck, babes, you’ll smash it! Oh, and DON’T FORGET TO PUT ALL OF YOUR ORDERS THROUGH A PARTY LINK!!”
“Oh gosh, yes! Will do, babes! BYEEEEEEEEEE!!!”
So, that was Kerri over and out for the evening.
“Kerri is really rocking her business,” Scarlett said. “You should all take a leaf out of her book, she’s doing brilliantly and has already hit her first promotion to Yellow Status. She’s enjoying her payrise of 25% commission, what are you girls doing to get past White Status??”
“What do you mean, when you say to put orders through a party link?” I asked, ignoring her dig.
“Seriously, Elle?? Well, I guess you wouldn’t know that yet, seeing as you haven’t actually had any orders. Well, allow me to explain…”
Basically, a ‘party link’ is a little something like this…
It is a special link you set up for either yourself or a hostess, whether the “party” is conducted online or in the home. The more orders that are placed through this link, the more “Hostess Rewards” are earned. These rewards come in the form of Younique Cash (aka what the girls called “Y-cash”, aka product credit) and Half Price Items.
If a Younique presenter decides to set up a party link just so she can place her customer orders through it, she’ll be laughing as she’ll also be earning rewards for herself as she does it.
Each party link is valid for 10 days, so if you’re expecting orders in their droves, that means more party points, yippee!
Confused yet? The rewards earned for Younique parties are calculated purely through a points-based system. While you are shopping from a party, the points that any given product will contribute are shown right next to the product’s price. Here is also a handy little chart, showing just what kind of rewards awaited us…
[Elle’s note: All information given was correct on the Younique website at the time of this chapter going to press. You can read further information about Younique parties on their website here].
Well, I hope that explanation was somewhat clear (as mud). It will be relevant as the story goes on, I promise.
“So there you have it,” said Scarlett. “If you build up enough Y-cash for yourself, that means you can earn yourself free and half-price items. You can either use them for yourself, give them away as gifts or sell them on for profit. Good business sense, ladies – that’s what being a professional businesswoman is about! ❤ ❤ “
“Yes, I’ve got some Y-cash building up nicely, 🙂 ” said Harriet.
“So basically, Ellebabes, there’s a golden rule. Whenever you’re placing an order, DO IT THROUGH A PARTY LINK!”
Yes, that information was duly received and noted.
Despite the fact it was the weekend, Scarlett wasn’t done with us yet.
“Right, ladies, its time to sharpen up our skills so we can all get to the same level as Kerri. This is where the real mission begins. That includes you, Harriet – I’ve noticed there’s been a dip in your sales. “
“But you said this wasn’t a job where I’d be judged on my sales, 😦 ” said Harriet.
“You know what I mean, babe. Your performance – your PRS [personal retail sales]. I just don’t want to see you go inactive after all your hard work, sweetpea! 🙂 “
That’s when Scarlett decided that she was coming down hard on us, and that we had to take her guidance and training seriously.
“Now, I want to see ALL of you doing this,” she insisted, posting this accompanying image…
I balked at the sight of that. Every day? I didn’t feel comfortable using my profile for something that sounded so forced. However, it was clearly working for Scarlett, so there must be a method to the madness…
“But…I already do all that!” proclaimed Harriet.
“Well in that case, you need to ramp it up, babe! 🙂 ” said Scarlett. “You need to be adding at LEAST five new Facebook friends a day, and making sure you like and comment on all of their posts to ensure you appear in their newsfeed. ❤ “
“Okay…” came the reply.
“Yes, and once you get an interaction going with them, you can then start discussing the opportunity and products! So, so simple!”
Quiet little Bethany, who had been inactive for most of the evening, suddenly popped up in the chat.
“Girls, sorry I’ve been quiet all evening. I really need your feedback on my video! 🙂 “
“Ooooh, what video is this, hun? ❤ “
“I did a makeup demonstration video, will you all let me know what you think?”
Bethany uploaded her video into our group chat, and I hit play.
Again, I can’t show you her video in order to protect her identity, but I can certainly let you know how it went.
The video rolled to show Bethany stood in her bathroom; makeup off, door closed, Younique kit in display of the screen. She was struggling to make eye contact with the camera, and as she opened her mouth to speak, you could hear the unease in her voice.
“H-hello. My name is Bethany, of Beautiful Butterflies Cosmetics. I-I would to speak to you a-about these beautiful p-products…”
The poor little sod was trying, she really was. Unfortunately, she was no Scarlett. Whilst applying foundation and lip-liner was second nature to our upline, Bethany had that typical clumsiness that most of us average girls do when doing our warpaint.
Regardless, she was doing her utmost to tell the camera how brilliant and wonderful each and every product was, despite the fact her expression said otherwise.
The worst part? Hearing Bethany’s little children outside the door, calling for their Mum.
“Mummy, when coming out?”
“In a minute, bubba – so sorry about this,” she said to the camera.
“Mummy, want cuddle!”
“I’m doing something important, sweetheart. Give Mummy a minute,” she pleaded, before returning to waving the miraculous Fibre Lash Mascara at the camera.
Bethany sighed, and muttered, “sorry girls, just let me know what you think so far,” and turned the camera off.
That was Bethany’s makeup demonstration drawn to a close.
“Well, what did you think?” she typed. “Sorry about the kids in the background.”
“Hmm,” typed Scarlett. “You really need to make sure you won’t be disturbed when you do your business videos, hun. Its not very professional. ❤ “
“I know, I just didn’t have anyone to watch them today, 😦 ” said Bethany.
“You need to get yourself a babysitter and watch some videos by Lola Affirmation,” said Scarlett. “Perhaps consider investing in a one-to-one training session with her sometime. She’s such a rockstar.”
For the benefit of those not in-the-know, Lola Affirmation [obviously not her real name] is a well-known lifestyle coach in the MLM world. A firm believer in the Law of Attraction, she provides an abundance of inspirational quotes, videos, and offers one-to-one mindset training. She also indulges in motivational speaking at networking events. According to Scarlett, she had quite the following and was looked upon by the hun community in awe.
More on her later though.
“I can’t just get a babysitter like that, babe, 😦 ” said Bethany.
“What about your Mum? I always get my Mum to mind my kids when I need to work on my business.”
“She’s not been well, babe. I don’t want to be a bother.”
“Nonsense, what grandma doesn’t want to see her grandkids?”
“Maybe I’ll ask her next time, then…” said Bethany.
“You will if you want to take this business seriously, ” insisted Scarlett.
After that dressing down, both Bethany and Harriet had gone quiet, which meant it was my turn to receive Scarlett’s scrutiny. However, she was quite upbeat.
“Now Elle, I have just the thing to get you started and building your kit! ❤ “
She posted this…
“Eeeek! Its this month’s kudos! You like eyeliner, right? Well, Younique are launching a liquid one! Exciting, isn’t it?? You can get one before they go on general sale in the spring, by purchasing three Eye Splurges!! ❤ “
‘Kudos’, in Younique language, roughly translates to ‘special offer of the month’.
So, how much was this month’s kudos going to set me back?
Yes, you read that correctly. £54.00 for the set. That makes them £18 a pop.
That’s when another niggling doubt started to eat away at me. So far, I was £69 + postage down, and was now expected to spend another £54.00 for what felt like very little.
“You’ve got to make an investment in your business, hun!” said Scarlett. “How do you expect to make a return, otherwise! You can sell the Eye Splurges, use them as demos, sell samples of them…the opportunities are endless!”
It didn’t feel great, and I wasn’t even remotely exited at the prospect of receiving a new and exclusive liquid eyeliner to play with.
Perhaps Scarlett was right, though. Perhaps I was still being negative, and resistant to the opportunity…?
“Every successful businesswoman knows that you have to spend money to make money! ❤ ” Scarlett continued.
“Alright, I’ll sort out the order!” I replied.
And yes, I ensured that I had set up a “party link” so I could take advantage of the subsequent Y-cash. With a sigh, I put my order through the checkout, considering how lucky it was that I had some birthday money left to put towards this.
However, I noticed Younique wanted to charge me £6.95 postage and packaging, for the privilege of shipping this kudos to me.
“Oh Elle, shipping is only free if you order over £75 of goods! 🙂 ” said Scarlett. “That’s why its always worth putting big orders through at a time.”
Oh dear, another area where my research had failed me.
I don’t know about you, but it really bugs me when I have to pay postage for goods. That meant I had to choose at least £21 of products to make this worth my while.
My mentor was on-hand to offer her infallible advice.
“I strongly recommend you buy a foundation and concealer. That way, you can show people the awesome coverage, and do before-and-after photos of your complexion! ❤ “
It made sense, I suppose.
The only issue was, the famous “liquid gold” foundation was still out of stock and unavailable on back-order. That meant my only other options were the cream foundation, and pressed powder. As Scarlett was adamant that the cream would give the closest result to the liquid foundation, I opted for that. No idea what shade I was, though.
“Quickly, post a current selfie of you in here and I’ll tell you, hun, 🙂 ” Scarlett kindly offered.
Moments later, I was duly informed that I was ‘Chiffon’. According to Scarlett, she had done so many makeovers that she now had an eye for colour-matching – so much so, that even Camilla’s girls would send her their customers’ selfies for her opinions.
So, that was the shade I ordered, for £25.00. Oh, and the liquid concealer at £23.00, which Scarlett wouldn’t let me forget.
My basket total now stood at £102.00. Goodbye, birthday money.
With some air of reluctance, I pushed the payment button. Scarlett must have been watching her presenter dashboard like a hawk, as it didn’t take her too long to realise I had finalised my order.
“Well done on your first sale, babe!” said Scarlett. “You’ll get paid your commission within the next 3 hours! Oh, and you’ll build up towards your Y-cash too because you used a party link!! ❤ “
“Its not really my first sale, Scarlett. I’ve technically bought them for me… “
“No, you’ve made an investment, Elle! Goodness me, I think you need some mindset coaching with Lola Affirmation yourself – you’re always putting a negative on things! 🙂 Wear the foundation when it arrives, and you’ll be like a walking advert for how amazing the products are – the orders will come flooding in!! ❤ “
Before I knew it, Facebook notified me that Scarlett had tagged me in a post…
“EEEEEK!!! OMGGGGG, CONGRATULATIONS TO MY TEAMIE, ELLE, FOR PUTTING THROUGH HER FIRST ORDER!!! ❤ ❤ YOU’RE GOING TO SMASH ALL YOUR TARGETS, BABE!!! ❤ 🙂 “
Well, I wasn’t going to say otherwise – her post made it look like I was doing something productive with my business, even though the truth was that I’d just spent £102 on makeup. Yes, even if I was going to get 20% commission back as a White Status Presenter (and build up my Y-cash), I’d still just spent £102 that I couldn’t afford on makeup.
I tried to put that thought out of my head, and remembered my promise to my step-sister, Danielle. In Chapter 6, she’d asked me to keep a spreadsheet of everything relating to this business, so that’s exactly what I did.
I hopped onto my laptop and made a basic spreadsheet of my business ins and outgoings, and filled it in with my first purchases (including the presenter kit). At the moment, I was glaringly in the red. I tried to put that out of my mind, and closed the spreadsheet.
I still needed to push for customer orders, and get back in the black. How was I going to do that?
I texted Danielle, asking her if she wanted to order anything, or if she had any colleagues that did. I even asked James to see if either of his sisters or his Mum would be interested in the products. I posted in my Facebook VIP Group to see if anyone wanted to make an order and give things a try. Hell, I even posted on my own personal profile, despite my better judgement.
A feeling of unease bubbled under my skin like an itch. I had just used my birthday money to buy this stock. One part of me was disappointed – that money was meant to go towards a new handbag to replace my tatty old one. The other part of me was trying to reassure myself – that money has acted as a solid investment towards something big and exciting!
I didn’t get left with much time for dwelling. The Butterfly Babes chat began pinging with frantic notifications, and I saw that it was Kerri. Wasn’t she meant to be hosting a party?
“I am SOOOOOOOOOO pissed off! 😡 😡 ” she wrote.
“OMG, what’s happened???? 😮 ” asked the Butterflies.
It turned out that the party she was co-hosting with a Juice Plus rep was…well, a bit of a shambles.
“I am NEVER doing anything like that again! Next time I host a party, I am doing it ON MY OWN!”
We’ll find out why Kerri’s party was such a disaster in the next instalment. We’ll also find out whether Bethany finally manages to find someone to buy her wares…and we’ll explore some of the “fake it til you make it” ideologies.
Thank you for taking the time to read my posts, please also cast your eyes over the important information below. Until next time – keep rocking it, huns. 😉
Have any of you found yourself in a similar position to my step-sister, where you are concerned for a loved one who is wrapped up in MLM? My friends at Bot Watch have produced an interesting article on what to do and how to remain supportive – read it here.
Oh, and don’t forget, you can subscribe to my blog and get email updates whenever I make a new post – you don’t even need a WordPress account.
I would also like to add that I am now fighting the MLM fight on social media – if you’re on Twitter, please give @ElleBeauBlog a follow (and help me get the #Poonique hashtag trending again!). Alternatively, join in the discussion with Elle Beau, the Anti-Blogger on Facebook.
Please, also check out the good work of the people of Bot Watch and Timeless Vie. They work tirelessly to expose the truth and lies of the MLM industry, so anyone considering this line of work can make a fair, informed decision . In fact, I now have a Recommended Reading page for Anti-MLM writers and interesting lifestyle bloggers I think you will enjoy, such as Chammy in Real Life.
For something a little different to pyramid schemes, I would also recommend a look at what Bad Psychics are up to. Award-winning and seen-on-TV, they have worked to expose false claims made by psychics, mediums and the paranormal since 2003.