Well, here we are again for the next instalment of my tale. When Chapter 8 came to an end, I had a very irate future-mother-in-law demanding to know why I had charged £23 for a mascara that was selling for £7.99 on eBay. Jackie was not a happy woman at all, and she wanted her money back. I had already processed the order on my Younique website, however, and was determined to fight for my first customer order.
This takes us to…
Chapter 9 – #Drossbabes and #Lossbabes and #Huns, Oh My…!
Before reading Chapter 9 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.
“Elle, I said we’ll be wanting our money back NOW! ” repeated Jackie.
“Erm…can you give me just a moment Jackie?” I said, feeling my hands shaking as I typed.
I hurriedly brought up the Butterfly Babes chat.
“I have a bit of a problem, guys… “
The Butterflies flapped to attention.
“OMG, what’s happened hun?? ❤ ”
“Is everything okay, babes?? ”
“PM me hun, if you don’t want to talk about it here!! ”
All the while, Jackie was relentlessly messaging me in the background. She could be somewhat of an angry Jack Russell when she was cheesed off, and I was beginning to fear for my life.
“Look, guys,” I forwarded them the eBay link from Jackie. “That’s James’s mum, and she’s pissed that the mascara is going cheaper on eBay. She wants a refund, but I’ve already processed the order on my website. What the hell do I do?? 😦 “
“OMG!” exclaimed Harriet. “I had no idea selling on eBay was allowed, otherwise I’d be doing that myself!”
“Whaaaaaat!” said Kerri. “Scarlett, how the hell are people selling mascara for that price? They’re undercutting us reps big time! 😡 “
“Calm down, huns,” Scarlett waded in as the voice of reason. “We’re definitely, definitely NOT allowed to sell on eBay, its against the terms of the Presenter Agreement. The people on eBay are selling FAKES from China, that’s why they’re so cheap!!!”
“Well that’s just fucking great, 😡 ” I fumed.
“Younique Compliance are doing what they can to remove the fakes from eBay and Amazon, hun! 🙂 ” assured Scarlett.
Well, they obviously weren’t doing a very good job. There were thousands of these cheap-arse mascaras listed on eBay alone, not including Amazon!
Jackie was still messaging my phone furiously. Next thing I know, James is hovering by my shoulder with an extremely confused expression on his face.
“Elle, what’s going on between you and Mum?” he said. “She’s messaging me saying you’ve conned her and Our Pip out of money or something?”
“Conned her??” I spat. “James, I’m trying to make a Younique sale – they were going to be my first customers! But Pip had to go whinge about the price and look it up on fucking eBay, didn’t she!”
Whoah. Even James was taken aback at how quickly I had gone from 0 to 100.
“What on earth has got into you?”
“Nothing! I am trying to sort this out for them, and it doesn’t help that your mum is being bloody irrational!”
“That’s my family, Elle – have some respect. Pip is upset and Mum’s just panicking about her as usual, that’s all.”
I was about to retort with a cutting remark, but checked myself in time. My mercury felt like it was going to smash through the roof.
“James,” I breathed. “Please just tell her I am sorting it, she doesn’t need to constantly message my phone.”
“Okay, but why can’t you just give her the money back?”
“Because I want to try and sort it first, OKAY??”
James huffed, shook his head and strode out of the room. I was thoroughly wound up by this point. Didn’t James understand I was trying to make my business work?
[Elle’s note: and this was evidently the point when the hunlife started to manifest itself in me, to my shame…]
Putting James’s feelings firmly to one side, I returned to the Butterfly Chat.
“Well, what advice do you have, Scarlett?” I typed. “She’s even got James on my case now, trying to get her money back. It just doesn’t seem fair! 😡 “
“Right, babe, you can still save your sale. ❤ You need to explain to customers that we’re not allowed to sell on third-party websites, only through our own Younique webpage. You also need to explain that there’s no way in hell that they can get a genuine product so cheap, and they’d simply be buying fakes with no way of telling what harmful ingredients were in them. Tell them about the Love It Guarantee also, as they won’t get that with their fakes, let me assure you! Be professional, be positive, believe in the products – YOU’VE GOT THIS, HUN!! ❤ ❤ “
“Okay…I’ll give it a go,” I said.
“Oh, and if that doesn’t work, send them this…!”
“Ouch!” I said, wincing at the photo of the woman on the right. “Is that a real allergic reaction??”
“Its not my photo, but probably, 😉 ” said Scarlett. “There are worse reaction photos than that, though…but only use those ones if the customer is being exceptionally difficult. ❤ “
[Elle’s note: I won’t share the worst photos with you – I am sure you don’t want to see infected eyes].
Armed with my new information, I went back to the very angry future-mother-in-law. Scarlett said to remain professional, be positive, believe in the products…and use the reaction photo if all else failed. So, that’s what I’d do.
“Thanks for waiting, Jackie,” I typed (once I had scrolled through the barrage of angry messages).
“Honestly, Elle, I am fuming right now. Our Pip is in a right old state. What on earth are you doing, I didn’t think you were like this! 😡 “
“What do you mean, Jackie?”
“Well, you lied to Pip, for one. You took good money off her, and our James said you weren’t being forthcoming in giving it back! 😡 😡 “
“I didn’t lie to Pip, quite the opposite actually. Allow me to explain-“
And so I did. I explained to Jackie everything Scarlett had described about the “fakes from China“, including the dubious quality that a fake would have, and of course the famous Love It Guarantee that you only get with genuine Younique products.
I explained, and explained, until I had nothing more to explain! I even threw in the allergic reaction photo for good measure. By the time I had finished, I think she had started to mellow.
“You see, Jackie? Younique are high-end products. There’s no way in hell that any of us could sell a genuine Fiber Lash mascara for £7.99, honest. I can’t even get it for that cheap!”
“Hmm, I see what you mean, I suppose, ” replied Jackie. “Pip was really excited about trying that mascara, too. It just seems so bloody expensive, especially for what we can afford.”
I launched into my spiel about the fecking Love It Guarantee, assuring Jackie that if they were not happy for any reason, they were promised a full refund within the first 14 days of receipt. Jackie unfortunately wasn’t convinced, though.
“Look, I don’t want any bad feeling between us, Elle. Perhaps we’ll just put it down to bad experience, eh? Can we get our money back and be done with it?”
“But…but I’ve already placed the order…” I found myself responding. “I have to buy all of my stock in, I’ll be out of pocket! 😦 😦 😦 “
Well, that wasn’t entirely a lie – but I was hoping the sad-face emojis would further drive my point home. For those fleeting moments, it appeared that I had lost my morals.
“Elle, I’m in a difficult position here,” said Jackie.
“What about if I just refund you for one of the mascaras? 🙂 ” I hurriedly typed. “Then, you’ll have one to try – and if you’re still not happy with it, you’re under the Love It Guarantee! Perhaps I’ll even be able to do you a special deal on future orders!”
I had said “Love It Guarantee” so many times I was starting to feel like a parrot.
I bristled with frustration and annoyance as I waited for Jackie’s response. I couldn’t believe how wound up this simple sale had made me feel. In fact, not even my college work had wound me up this much!
Finally, my phone pinged with her response.
“Okay, we’ll give it a go, as long as you give us our money back for the other mascara, Elle…”
The mascara situation was saved! In order to not invoke further wrath from Jackie, I refunded Pip £23 via PayPal, then reported in to tell the other butterflies the good news.
“OMG, well done hun! ❤ ❤ ❤ ” said Kerri.
“Fantastic job, babes, ❤ ” said Scarlett. “Knew you’d sort it.”
“Yeah, I’m just going to have an extra mascara to flog when it arrives,” I grumbled.
“Don’t be silly, hun. The mascara is our BEST-SELLER! You’ll sell that in no time! ❤ ” my upline assured me.
In the meantime, though, Scarlett had some exciting news.
“Girls, there’s going to be a HUGE announcement in Tania’s Green Elite training group, at 7pm tonight! ❤ ❤ ❤ “
“EEEEEKKKK, I wonder what it could be!” said Harriet.
Well…we wouldn’t find that out until 7pm.
7pm finally came, and we all flocked to Green Imperial Elite Overlord Tania’s training group, otherwise known as Tania’s Butterfly Boutique Boss Babes. She had set up a live video, where she was smiling from her cream leather sofa and drinking latte from a mug that looked a little bit like this…
“Well, hello you gorgeous Butterflies!” she beamed, taking a long sip of her latte. “Hope you are all smashing your targets and rocking your businesses this month! Now, I have a very, very exciting announcement for you all. THE BLACK FRIDAY BUNDLE, EEEEEEKKKK!!!”
She was so excited that I thought she was about to spill latte on her glittery jumper.
Well, what was this Black Friday Bundle? Apparently, Younique Corporate often throw special offers into the mix, to tempt customers and help presenters sell the products. This was one of them. As Tania was a Green Elite, she got to hear about special bundles and news before we did, or so Scarlett said.
Here is a visual of this magical bundle. Apologies for the rubbish image, but I couldn’t find the UK version of the promotional photo.
“Isn’t it amaaaaazing??” Tania squealed. “Its a fantastic opportunity to make a sale, especially if you’re new to the business. This bundle will help you make PROFIT!!”
Tania went on to explain that this Black Friday Bundle was £69, and the best value bundle she had seen in a long time. Should we purchase this, we would get…
- The famous Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes+ Mascara worth £23
- Moodstruck Minerals Lucrative Lip Gloss in our choice of shade, worth £12
- Moodstruck Precision Brow Gel in our choice of shade, worth £15
- Uplift Eye Serum worth £50(!!!)
- Limited edition Kudos bag.
“You’d be MAD not to take advantage, ladies!” Tania cooed. “I mean, the Uplift Eye Serum is worth £50 as it is, and you’ll be paying a mere £69 for this set!! O-M-G, think of the profits you’ll be making if you get this!”
Needless to say, when Tania’s live stream was over, Scarlett was hyped.
“OMG this is brilliant, huns! ❤ ” she proclaimed in the Butterfly Babes chat. “I can’t believe what a fantastic deal this is, its madness!!”
“I know!” said Harriet. “This could be just what I need to pick my business up!! ❤ ❤ ❤ “
“Right, so Tania said it will be available to purchase on our websites shortly, babes. Are you guys hitting that refresh button, Kerri, Harriet, Elle??”
Seriously…Scarlett wanted me to spend more money?
“Look, I don’t know if it would be a good idea, Scarlett. I still haven’t made my £69 back yet…”
“Oh, I’ll come back to you, Elle. Now, what about you, Bethany? You’ve been very quiet these past few days!”
Ah yes, Bethany. She had kept a very low profile as of late.
I wonder where she had gotten to? Scarlett was persistent with wheedling her out of hiding.
“Come on, Bethany, hun – I know you’ve been lurking as I can see you’re reading our messages. 😉 You’ll be going inactive as a presenter if you don’t make a sale this month – you NEED this! ❤ ”
Bethany stirred into life, for the first time in a long while.
“I just can’t afford to, hun,” she responded. “My youngest needs new shoes desperately, so all my spare cash is going towards that. 😦 “
“Oh come on, Bethany!” said Scarlett. “Don’t you care about your business, hun? You’re doomed to fail in this industry if that’s your attitude. ”
“I just can’t, babe! 😦 ” she replied. “No one wants to buy off me, I never made my kit money back even though you told me I would easily. Its not that easy and I can’t afford this! 😥 “
“Negative attitudes and excuses are not good enough, hun!” scolded Scarlett. “You can’t blame others – you only get back what you put in. Positive thinking, Law of Attraction! Haven’t you been listening to any of Tania’s team training?”
There was no response from Bethany.
“Right,” said Scarlett. “I’ve got something I need to do. I’m logging out for a little bit, huns. If you have any business questions, speak to Camilla. Try not to bother Tania, unless its really urgent.”
Well, none of us remaining Butterflies had any business questions, so off we went to the real world. I went to speak to James, who was sitting sullenly in front of the TV.
“You calmed down now?” he asked, his eyes remaining fixed on the screen.
“Yeah, I’m sorry about earlier. I just really want this venture to work out, you know?”
“Just don’t let it get in the way of what’s important, Elle.”
“What do you mean? I need to be bringing in some money, James. This job fits well for me, around college work and my stupid illness.”
“I know, I know, its just…”
“Look,” he eventually said. “As long as this makes you happy, I’m happy.”
We played on the PlayStation together for a bit, and we seemed to be at ease with one another again. I eventually returned to the internet world to check on my messages and other business happenings. There was the usual chatter in the assorted Butterfly Babes groups, but I also had two other messages. One from Bethany, and one from the Imperial Green Upline Overlord, Tania herself!
Naturally, I responded to Tania first.
“Hello, Elle 🙂 We haven’t spoken properly before. As you know, I am the Green Elite for our fantastic Butterfly Boss Babes, and I am here to support you and help you succeed.”
Of course, I was polite in my response and patiently waited for her reply.
“Scarlett has had a chat with me, and feels you may need some extra support with getting started in your business. Now, I predict big things for you, and I have a feeling you’re going to be one of our brightest stars. So, its important I give you as much advice to help with that. ❤ ❤ ❤ “
“Wow, really? Thanks! 😀 “
[Elle’s note: Yes, I was genuinely in awe, and clearly getting my ego stroked in the process.]
“My first piece of advice is, making smart business decisions. The Black Friday Bundle is one of them. Don’t you remember me saying, the Uplift Eye Serum is worth £50 alone? For an extra £19, you’re getting an extra £50-worth of stock you can sell at full profit! Now, doesn’t that sound like a good business decision? 🙂 ❤ “
“It does, but so far I’ve only actually sold one mascara. Everything else has been purchased by me and its getting quite expensive.”
“See it as a positive, hun! You’re ensuring you have stock at-the-ready for when those orders come in. You will make that money back, in no time. Trust me when I say, YOU’VE GOT THIS! 🙂 ❤ “
“Elle, you haven’t got long to take advantage of the bundle, hun,” Tania continued. “Think, you could sell the Uplift Serum and Brow Gel at FULL PRICE, sell the mascara and lipstick at DISCOUNT, but still make a PROFIT! ❤ “
Well, she did make a fair point. And she was a Green Elite, so she must know what she’s talking about, otherwise she wouldn’t have made it this far.
“Perhaps you’re right…” I said.
“I know I’m right, hun, 😉 ” she replied. “Together, as a team, we’ll help you smash your targets and rock your business. Eeeeek, these are exciting times, hun! ❤ “
Next thing I know, I am doing the unthinkable. I am asking James if he can lend me £40, so I can put it towards my dwindling funds and purchase this Black Friday Bundle. At least, I didn’t tell him that’s what it was for. I told him it was to cover some new textbooks, ones I had to buy for next term’s modules at college nonetheless.
It was okay though; I would be able to make a fantastic profit from the stock I was purchasing, and pay him back straight away!
But, why did I feel this awful sense of guilt as I proceeded to order the Black Friday Bundle though?
That guilt quickly turned into annoyance, as I remembered that only orders over £75 qualified for free shipping, but the bundle was £69. Grumbling, I swiftly added another lipstick to my order, bringing the total up to £81. There was just about enough funds in my account to cover that, so I hit ‘Confirm Order’ and tried to put what I had just spent out of my mind.
I recalled that Bethany had earlier messaged me, but I’d neglected to respond in favour of Imperial Green Elite Overlord Tania. I figured it was time to get back to her – that would take my mind off things, surely!
Turns out, Bethany was not in a good place.
“I’ve had enough, Elle. 😥 I know you don’t know me very well, but you’re the least horrible out of that lot and I figured you’d at least understand.”
Well, turns out Scarlett had got Tania to speak to Bethany too. However, their conversation did not leave Bethany uplifted, empowered or validated.
“I told Tania I could’t keep affording to buy the products. 😥 She said I would benefit from mindset coaching with Lola Affirmation, but I can’t afford that either. She said I was letting my team down and letting myself down. I ended up blocking her.”
“You blocked Tania?? 😮 “
“Yes. I’m blocking them all, even Scarlett! I’ve made so many mistakes, I can’t take it anymore! 😥 “
Bethany went on to tell me she had used their children’s birthday money to pay for her kit, and the subsequent makeup after that. She was so sure of Scarlett’s assurance that she’d make her money back, that she justified the decision. However, she never had a single customer order, and thus didn’t replenish the birthday money pot.
“My husband found out I had spent the kids’ money, 😦 ” she said. “He had wanted to get them a garden play-house with it, and found out it was all gone. It was a LOT of money, Elle. 😦 He’s now sleeping on the sofa, and barely speaking to me. 😥 ”
I wish I could have reached through the screen and hugged her.
“I don’t know why I’m telling you this,” she continued. “I mean, its not like you know me. I’ve been so stupid. Scarlett may be doing well, but I wish I never had anything to do with her or Younique!! 😡 “
I would have offered her some comfort, or encouraged her like Tania had kindly done for me…but alas, before I could even type a letter, she had blocked me too.
I mentioned this to Tania, as our chat window was still open.
“Oh goodness! 😦 ” Tania was full of concern. “That’s such a shame. Unfortunately, Bethany seems a very troubled girl, and her heart simply isn’t in this business.”
“She seemed upset with what you said to her?” I ventured.
“I don’t understand why, hun. I offered her the same advice as I did to you. However, its obvious to see she’s not as talented and business-minded as the likes of you and the rest of Scarlett’s girls. ❤ Such a shame. I was going to suggest she booked herself in for some Law of Attraction mindset coaching with Lola Affirmation, but I guess this business is just not for the likes of Bethany. Don’t let her negative attitude bring you down – you’ve got this, hun. ❤ “
And that was all Tania had to say on the matter.
Back in the Butterfly Babes chat, Scarlett had discovered Bethany had blocked her and was fuming.
“Who does she think she is? I’m her upline, she can’t block me!!! 😡 😡 😡 “
I explained that I had heard from Bethany, before being blocked also, and relayed the sorry story to the remainder of the Butterflies.
They were not sympathetic.
“Well its her own fault if she decided to take her kids’ money!” said Kerri. “She’s only got herself to blame; no one forced her to do it!”
“Well, I’m glad she’s gone,” said Harriet. “She was such a negferret, always moaning and bringing our group vibe down.”
“Enough, girls!” said Scarlett. “Look, let’s not waste any time or energy on her. She didn’t care about her business enough, she didn’t want it enough, and she failed. Let’s use that as an example so we don’t end up like her.”
“Aren’t you going to try and talk to her though?” I asked. “I thought you were both friends.”
“No, I’m not going to. Between us, she was starting to get on my tits anyway,” admitted Scarlett. “Now, let’s focus our efforts back on our goals, girls!”
Bethany was promptly brushed under the carpet, just like that.
The conversation turned to a photo Scarlett had posted on her Facebook wall that afternoon, bragging about what her “little purple card” had bought her. Her business was doing so well that she had purchased herself a brand-new jacket and shoes from Superdry, “all thanks to her little purple card“, of course.
I did not have a little purple card, but I knew it looked something like this…
Yes, this is the Younique debit card. Its a way of spending your hard-earned commission in the shops (there are fees for practically everything on it, especially when you use it as a debit card, but of course they keep that relatively quiet in the hope you don’t notice…!)
When a Younique presenter receives $50 (or their country’s equivalent) in commission, they receive this magical little purple card to use in the shops. Its not a chip-and-PIN, its just flimsy plastic. Of course, you can also transfer your commission into your bank account, but – you guessed it – there’s fees for that too.
Scarlett assured me that the more commission I built up, the sooner my little purple card would come. Of course, we were getting paid 3 hours after any “sale” we made, which was nice, so I was sure I’d reach that figure in no time.
Whenever Scarlett got paid, she would promptly EEEEKKKK about it and announce it to all of her Facebook friends.
She would even tell her friends-list about how she was “getting paid in her sleep” and how grateful she was to be in a job where “every day was payday“. Kerri was starting to copy her, often pasting screenshots of her emails from “PayQuicker” with a well-placed emoji concealing the value of what she’d been paid.
[Elle’s note: The Younique PayQuicker account is briefly explained in Chapter 3 – Enter the Charlat-huns].
“Do we really need to tell our friends-list every time we get paid? ” I asked.
“Its your choice, hun,” said Scarlett. “Me, I choose to as I am following the Law of Attraction! I want my friends to see I am loving life, and rocking my business. Thus, I will attract people towards me. Its how you build intrigue up, Elle. I mean, who doesn’t want to get paid every 3 hours?? ❤ “
Clearly, Kerri and Scarlett must have been doing really well to warrant bragging to their Facebook friends – the most I had earned from a single order was £14 from the Black Friday Bundle! I just simply wasn’t trying hard enough, I told myself.
Whilst I was waiting for my recently-placed orders to arrive from the warehouse in the Netherlands, Scarlett found some new knowledge to impart on us. Since Bethany had gone AWOL (and soon-to-be-inactive), Scarlett decided to dissect Harriet’s presenter techniques instead.
“OMG, Harriet – that picture you shared today – take it down, NOW! 😮 “
“What’s wrong with it? ” asked a bewildered Harriet.
In case you were wondering…this is the picture…
“You CANNOT say that we’re cruelty free, hun – we haven’t got the legislation in place to say that yet. Derek even released a statement about it, don’t you know!”
[Elle’s note: ‘Derek’ is Derek Maxfield, one half of the Younique founders, as noted in Chapter 4 – Hundora’s Box]
“But…but…other presenters are saying it! ” protested Harriet.
“Well, that’s their upline’s problem, but I want OUR team to keep their noses clean!”
“What am I going to do now, though? 😦 ” said Harriet. “My vegan friend has just ordered nearly £200 worth of makeup, because I told her it was cruelty-free!”
On that note, I will draw this chapter to a close.
No, my Younique saga is not over yet…there’s still lots more to tell you, and information about bad hun practises which must be revealed. I hope you will stay with me for the journey. 😉
Here are some questions with answers that may or may not be revealed in Chapter 10…
- Will Harriet come clean to her vegan friend that Younique is NOT cruelty-free?
- Will we find out whether Bethany reconciled with her husband?
- Will Our Pip actually enjoy her overpriced Younique mascara?
- Will I manage to sell something and get myself out of the red?
- Will my step-sister, Danielle, continue to avoid me?
Well…I guess we’ll find out soon, won’t we.
Thank you for your continued support, each and every one of you. Before you click away, please also cast your eyes over the important information below. Until next time – keep rocking it, huns. 😉 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.
Do you know anyone in a similar position to Bethany? Or perhaps you’re trapped in an MLM and are looking for a way to leave? My friends at Bot Watch have produced a fantastic guide on how to get out – read it here.
I am 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.