Have a look around you, on your Facebook walls, on other social networking sites, and have a think about all the bots you have ever come across.

How many of them are men?

I will bet that most of your bots are women – accurate statistics are hard to find in the shady dodgy secretive world of MLM, but our research conservatively estimates that somewhere between 75 and 85% of bots are women.

And that isn’t surprising. As we previously covered in this post the easiest targets for bots when they are looking to recruit, are women who are stay at home mums wanting to make some extra cash, or women who have recently had a child and would like to replace her paid employment with another source of income.

Bots are instructed to prey on these women in particular, pressing emotional buttons to make them feel bad about going back to work.   Read thisthis,

and this.

They use false statistics, such as 80, or sometimes 90% (depending on the “inspirational” meme du jour) of women earning 6 figures are doing so via network marketing. Hmm. We can take that one with a giant pinch of salt, and despite querying it again and again no-one has ever been able to back this up for us, other than by referring to a book in which it was written. (Because we should always believe everything written in books, right?)

They are telling women that they can easily make extra money (they start by saying a couple of hundred a month but soon ramp up the sales pitch) for just a few hours of work and spend the rest of that time with their precious children. And we know that is a lie.  Read this.


You shouldn’t be aspiring to full time or part time hours with a set salary, workplace benefits, a pension, a promotion ladder that actually doesn’t involve desperately spamming your friends and family.

You should become a #bossbabe, selling overpriced junk to other women and honing in on insecure women to recruit to your cause, with none of the advantages of being employed (guaranteed income, a certain amount of security, workers’ right etc) and all of the disadvantages – limited freedom, stress being piled on you by your boss, sorry, upline, and a good dose of bullying.

^^You get we are joking right?

We believe pyramid schemes, because we all know this is, in essence, what these organisations are designed to keep an awful lot of people right at the very bottom.

Watch this:




Or this:




The top feeds from the levels below, every level feeds from the levels below. And who is at the bottom of these schemes?

Predominantly women.

And who is at the top?

We haven’t been able to check every single MLM (seriously, have you seen how many of them there are now?) but other than Stella & Dot and Rodan & Fields we’re having trouble finding women at the top.

YES, some women have been successful in these schemes, and are held up as examples of successful women, women to aspire to.

But you have more chance of making similar money if you get qualified, get a job, get promoted or even draw up a business plan and start your own business. You can do all that. There is nothing wrong with being in paid employment. Nothing wrong with having a career and a family.

And ask yourself this: would anyone expect a man to pin his hopes on a multi-level marketing scheme?

The answer is no.

The MLM industry targets and exploits women. Almost every email we have received since we started Timeless Vie have been from women desperate to share their story with us. Very similar stories of having been sold a lie about a life of wealth and abundance, having been bullied, having lost friends and family, having gone into debt in certain cases, being encouraged to spend time AWAY from their children (they don’t tell you that when they recruit you). MLMs keep the vast majority of the women in their schemes unsuccessful, and actually limit their choices.

This is why MLM is a feminist issue.



Younique: “raise awareness of sexual abuse” by buying our makeup, y’all

But shouldn’t you tell people if the money ISN’T actually going to fight sexual abuse?

Here’s the ad:



But…the money ‘raised’ by the bundle isn’t going to charity:





For those of you whose eyes glaze over at the sight of FB screenshots, here’s what happened:

  • Younique releases “Defend Innocence” bundle with special makeups & stuff to ‘raise awareness’.  Bots and customers are under the impression any money raised will go to the Younique Foundation, cos why would you do it otherwise? Right? Right? AmIrite?
  • Turns out no money is going to the Foundation cos IRS blah blah blah
  • Unless you round up your purchases to the nearest dollar/or just give Younique your commission (if you’re a rep).  Classy.
  • People are pissed off & feel used
  • Younique apologizes but does nothing … like, say, giving the money raised to one of the many other charities that support victims of rape and abuse.


  • Younique makes major coin from people’s goodwill.


Here are some charities that actually help victims of rape and sexual abuse in the UK, and who are currently looking for donations.  We’re sure they’d be glad for some of the money you raised from “defending innocence”:

The Survivors Trust

Another list of charities working in the area of sexual abuse

Looking forward to those donations.

You’re welcome.


Timeless Vie Q&A with Kate Dyson of The Motherload

We know all too well that MLMs target women when recruiting and that women comprise an overwhelming majority of MLM victims, so we are delighted that our next Q&A is with the founder of The Motherload, (, a website/community that addresses parenthood frankly, honestly, non-judgmentally and occasionally irreverently.



Kate, thank you very much for being a Timeless Vie supporter and for taking the time to answer our questions.  Firstly, perhaps you can tell us why you and The Motherload team decided to make your community an MLM-free space?


Ah, I’m a loud and proud supporter of Timeless Vie!


Initially, we limited MLM companies from posting on the group to ensure that our members were not bombarded with adverts and the like when we were initially building the community. Unfortunately, where you allow one MLM to advertise many, many others follow and so timelines in groups get increasingly overwhelmed. We want to know about our members, hear their funny stories, allow them to have a space to share advice and support and that is very difficult with a timeline of adverts running through the middle of the group, and eventually members would disengage.


However, we now operate a zero tolerance because the more I researched MLM businesses, the more alarmed I became at their exploitation of women, especially of new mothers and stay-at-home mums.

I feel very protective of our members, and I respect their loyalty to our group and brand. Many of them are vulnerable – whether as recently new mums, single mums, and we have many members with PND, anxiety and other maternal mental health conditions that make them easy fodder for exploitative companies.


We know that pregnant women/women on maternity leave/stay-at-home mothers are heavily targeted by MLMs and that spaces that attract mothers (both online and in the ‘real world’) are like magnets to network marketing recruiters.  Do they attempt to flout your rules and how do you keep them out?


Oh goodness, YES. All the time. We are very careful about checking profiles for new member requests but we find that often MLM will restrict access to their profile as groups are less accommodating/ more aware than they once were. Our members list is like GOLD to a network marketer and they – and we – know it. So we operate a zero tolerance approach to MLM – if we know you are a MLM rep, then you won’t be allowed in, and we delete any posts alluding to the sale of MLM products, recruitment, networking or any other promotion that we find on the group.


It takes a lot of work to manage, from checking every new request to join, to running searches on the group on a regular basis. Despite warnings on our page description, and clear guidelines within the group, MLM often ignore this and increase their activity regardless.

Network marketers will use a variety of tactics and they change all the time. Aside from the obvious ‘advert’, we find that some play the long game, whilst others are more obvious with their networking and will start ‘introduction’ threads to ‘make friends’ on the group and the clincher is always when they ask people to add them as a friend. Regardless of the method, we always remove the member immediately and block; we find without blocking they come back!


We also work with admins on other groups that we know our members like, and pass information and new tactics over to help each other out. Finally, we rely on our members to help us keep on top of this policy as well.


You have over 10k members.  Would you say that they are generally supportive of your MLM policy?


Very much so, and in fact, we have frequent feedback that they absolutely support it and are relieved we have such a hard line approach to it. I think many people are really tired of seeing MLM ‘adverts’ etc on groups and on their timelines, and their feedback definitely acknowledges that.


Why do you think that so many mothers are sucked into MLM schemes and what do you think that we as a wider community should do about it?


Loneliness, lack of income, an opportunity to try something new, or to use the products themselves; how many of us have bemoaned the fact that we can no longer afford all the lovely beauty and makeup products any longer once the baby comes along? But more than anything, I think a lot of mothers would give anything to stay at home that bit longer in the early days and so they look for something – anything – to allow them to do that.


Being an entrepreneur, developing an idea and bringing it to market is a minefield, so I can well understand why women see these adverts and think that’s for them. On the face of it, making new friends, low start up costs and these far fetched but often promised incomes sound like a very low risk way of ‘being your own boss’ and running your own business. If only it was genuinely that easy.


What advice would you give to a woman who is struggling with the eternal work/life balance question and who is considering joining an MLM?


Oh goodness, without a doubt, DON’T. But if you really think this looks good to you, then for goodness sake research as much as you can. MLM companies tell you in their ‘training’ to learn their business inside out – well, you know what, take them at their word and DO that. Look into everything, request information that isn’t in their cheesy front facing websites and emoji-filled ads; find out from the horse’s mouth what you can ACTUALLY expect to earn, what the real compensation plan is and importantly, what the REAL risk is as there is ALWAYS one. But be warned, it won’t be easy to find this information because they don’t want you to know it –knowledge is power, and in this case, the power to walk away.


Don’t be lazy, and for goodness sake, don’t trust Wendy who has just joined up and is posting pics of ‘her’ white Merc and telling you she’s about to move into a McMansion because I promise, she is faking it until she is making it. There are very, very few successful network marketers, and you are unlikely to be one of them. You will most likely be one of the thousands who try, and fail within MLM businesses every year. The odds are proven to be stacked against you – in fact, the business is designed to be stacked against you.


One of the things that keeps us motivated and active at TV are the personal stories people share with us.  We have heard from a lot of women who have been financially and emotionally damaged by their participation in a scheme. Have you been affected personally – directly or indirectly – by an MLM?


It goes without saying that MLM has never, and would never be a business model that I could get on board with so I don’t have that particular tale of woe to share. What  I have experienced, however, is the sheer vitriol of network marketers when we refuse to allow them access to our group, or we pull their posts, or query their motives. We have an ethos on The Motherload of being non-judgemental, honest and supportive (about motherhood!), and this is used against us all the time. My team and I regularly have our Facebook profiles ‘stalked’ and posts about feminism that I have put on my timeline have been used against me because I’m not ‘supportive of women’ and apparently, a ‘judgemental bitch’. I’ve been called names, had threats made against me and recently, was informed by one disgruntled network marketer that she was going to do anything she could to ruin my business – because I removed her post and asked her to refrain from contacting our membership. Eyeroll ahoy. We have around 150 member requests every day on The Motherload group and we block around 15 -20 of these, or member profiles from our group daily. I get at least 2-3 direct messages from MLM reps per week that range from mildly irritated to downright aggressive.


Despite all of this, I don’t blame the individuals. MLM companies are a modern cult phenomenon, with typical brainwashing and herd tactics used on reps. They make it personal, they encourage it to be reflective of the individual in many ways and so it’s understandable that those working within these businesses feel so defensive when your ‘why’ is your children. Leaders of these companies are revered as modern day heroes, and the ‘trips’ promised are nothing more than motivational rallies, designed to further instill the company rhetoric – and after all, if you, as many network marketers DO legitimately – have a little bit of success at the beginning, then of course you will start to believe it is a fantastic opportunity and that you have found your niche.


However, how many reps still believe that 1-2 years later, when their friends have distanced themselves, their income is lower than ever and their opportunity that was once so glittering now resembles a stagnant failure, with the blame squarely directed at them? I’ve read so many accounts where women leave network marketing disillusioned, with low self esteem, sometimes having lost all of the money they put into their ‘business’ and feeling like a failure.


Finally, our position here at TV is never to judge or to blame people who have been sucked into network marketing schemes – it can happen to anyone.  We prefer to directly target the MLM companies themselves and to educate & inform people so that they can avoid being mislead.  What do you think is the best way that we can help women to make more informed choices about MLMs?


We have to get information out there and we have to start talking about the reality of working for an MLM company. Their soaring popularity is based upon a lack of knowledge and fair representation and it’s incredible how quickly a new MLM can spread. I would like to see social platforms remove the ability for these companies to post on them, and to prohibit and fine the companies if they do so. I would like to see governments taking conducting more research into the reality of MLM companies, and ensuring that companies are prohibited from making false claims about income levels and the health and medical claims that these companies make about their products.


Thank you very much for talking to us.  We love The Motherload and hope that we can continue working together to advise and support parents


We love Timeless Vie! What you are doing is so important in bringing about change and understanding of the MLM industry.

‘But RICHARD BRANSON is a big fan of Network Marketing…’

We’ve all seen the arguments and the memes demonstrating that some of the world’s best known, richest businessmen and entrepreneurs think that MLMs are Very Good Things.  These facts & quotes are often used to support 2 classic MLM recruitment lies, namely:


  1. Network marketing is NOT a pyramid scheme! It’s totally legit, look – Branson/Buffet/Trump have been involved in them!
  2. My scheme will definitely make you rich! Look – Branson/Buffet/Trump say so and they are BILLIONAIRES!


Lets break this down.  Starting with the obvious:


  1. None of these men made their fortunes through their brief flirtations with MLMs. Their money came from finance, investments, traditionally structured companies and in the case of Trump, from his inheritance and a stint on TV.
  2. All of these men were briefly involved in MLMs… which failed. None of them are involved now. If Network Marketing is so bloody brilliant boys, why are you not running one and why did your attempts fail?


The obvious aside, here’s something else to consider.  MLMs really are a brilliant way to make a tonne of money.  But only if you are the person who owns the company, not if you are a recruit.  Here’s why.


I’ve worked extensively in consumer marketing and retail.  I know what it takes to develop a brilliant product line, launch it, sell it in, distribute it, advertise it to consumers.  I know how hard it is to compete on the global retail market.  I understand how tough it is to get your product listed by a decent retailer and what they will expect from you in terms of margin, deals, support.  I know that you need to spend millions on photography, brochures, advertising, in store display, staff training, PR campaigns….


But what if you didn’t have to do all that?  And what if you could just buy product off the shelf from a contract manufacturer, shove it in low-rent packaging and charge a massive mark-up on it and PEOPLE WOULD STILL BUY IT???


And what if you barely had any employees? Had no salary, benefits, pensions to be responsible for? What if you found volunteers who would act as your sales force, your retailer, your marketing department, your administrative team, your recruiter? And what if those volunteers not only promised to personally buy X amount of your crappy over-priced product every month but also to recruit other volunteers to do the same?




And Branson, Buffet & Trump presumably knew that.  MLM is a license for immoral business owners to make vast amounts at the expense of others.  There are dozens of MLM-owning billionaires over in the USA and those billions have come at the expense of hundreds of thousands of MLM recruits around the world.


So yes, MLMs are a brilliant, evil way to make money.  If you own one.

Mäelle hasn’t even launched yet & reps are already lying

your lips r moving

your lips r moving

your lips r moving

& you lie lie lie lie

This just in from an informer.

Here are some excerpts from the Mäelle  dementor “Mentor” agreement.  Note that it pretty much says this: do not make shit up about how much income you can make selling Maelle.  Do not pretend you don’t have to work your arse off and have amazeballs selling chops.  Do not pretend you don’t have to bug your friends endlessly, work 24/7, and not see your kids.  (okay it doesn’t say that, but it should.)    Etc.   Here it is, in boring but necessary legalese:



Ha, ha.

I guess no one read the “mentor” agreement, or  they don’t care, or (more likely) their upline told them to say this:

Lie One, which breaks rule 10.5.1 (f) and (g)



Lie Two, which breaks rule 10.5.1 (f) and (g)



Lie Three, which breaks rule 10.5.1 (f) and (g)


Which is it?

In our experience, it’s most likely the latter.

You just can’t trust them.

This is why we demand that network marketing companies be legally responsible for what their ‘reps’ say.




25k beauty-lovin’ women can’t be wrong: a Q&A with Julia Langton, the founder of Mrs Gloss & the Goss

Thank you so much for agreeing to talk to us.  We at TV are all big fans of your Facebook community ‘Mrs Gloss & The Goss’, home to over 20k makeup, fashion and beauty-loving women (and men) and its friendly, supportive, informative and entertaining content.


Mrs Gloss has a very strict no MLM policy.  Can you tell us how you became aware of MLMs and why you put the policy in place?


I first became aware of MLMs a couple of years ago. I could no longer shoehorn myself into my size 12s and I lamented this fact on FB. Next thing I know, I’m being inundated with kind offers of detoxes from Juice Plus and Forever Living reps. On a quick read through, I could see straightaway that the claims were a nonsense but I’m very aware that there are those who are less cynical by nature than me who’d be blown away by the talk of support and the promised results. 


When I set up Gloss, one of the very first guidelines was ‘ No MLM promotion’ and this was something I wanted in place to protect our members from spurious claims. 



The Mrs Gloss Facebook group has over 20k members who love hair, fashion, health and make up.  That must make it a magnet for MLM recruiters.  Do you find that they are employing devious tactics to get past your rules?


Gloss has approximately 25,000 members and I understand that this is a great temptation to MLM reps! There’s a huge audience there and they all have one thing in common – a love of beauty, so yes, it’s a bit of a Mecca for reps. We are all very switched in the admin team and our first ‘line of defence’ is to check potential new members profiles, and yes, we really DO check each one. This is despite receiving up to 200 requests to join Gloss a day.  This is a relatively recent thing though, and some will and do slip through the net. The check itself is cursory, but we have a scan through and if we see any hint of MLM, we block the request. Some may argue that how do we know that this potential new member, who just so happens to sell Arbonne for example, will attempt to sell in the group? We don’t of course, but our experience shows us otherwise. The reps themselves can be very devious, we have some who will not mention their products but post a photo captioned ‘do you like my make up today?’ and of course, members will say they love it and ask what products were used. Some of the more wily reps won’t say but they’ll be storing away all of the members names who have complimented them and yes, they’ll then friend request them or send them an unsolicited message, both of which are against our guidelines. This is why we regularly ask members to drop the admin team a line if they receive anything unsolicited. It really does take us just a moment to check. We also ask our members to hit the report button if they see a MLM product being recommended in Gloss. If the person mentioning it is a seller, they are immediately removed and blocked. If they’re not, we politely point them in the direction of our guidelines and keep an eye out for future. 



Whenever we have seen posts on Mrs Gloss complaining about MLMs, they always seem to have a lot of supportive comments! Do your members welcome the fact that your community is an MLM-free space online?


Yes, our members LOVE the fact that we are a MLM free zone. They know that they are free to ask for recommendations without fear of being hounded by people trying to sell them tat products with an agenda or recruit them. 



One thing that always strikes us about Mrs Gloss is that the women (and men) are very respectful and supportive of one another.  MLMs use the word ‘empowering’ a lot but our research has shown that they really do the opposite! How do you maintain a kind, constructive atmosphere in your online community?


Gloss proves that you can have an empowering, uplifting and supportive environment without having to actually ever mention those words. We also do not share ‘motivational’ memes or pointless quotes. We achieve this by ensuring our members stay on topic at all times. This goes a long way in keeping the environment and tone relevant, accessible to all and fun. You won’t find people sharing deeply personal stories or wildly off topic subjects. You really can dip into Gloss at any time and find chat, advice and recommendations centred around beauty, Skincare, haircare and make up. We achieve this by removing anything that falls foul of our guidelines. If it’s something upsetting or personal that a members has shared, we always drop them a line explaining why we’ve removed it. Gloss really does work better when we stay true to what we do best. 


You personally must be a make-up and skin care lover.  We think we can guess the answer to this, but would you ever consider buying/using Forever/Arbonne/Younique/Maelle etc etc etc…  and if not, why not?


The reason I set up Gloss was to share my deep passion for all things beauty! I’m a HUGE fan of all things make up and skin care and this has been a life long passion of mine. I wouldn’t use a MLM product if I was paid to do so or given it for free – and this has happened many times! I obviously have some brave reps contacting me trying to change my mind. This hasn’t happened yet though ; ) 


As for why I wouldn’t use any of these products. I don’t care how good they may or may not be..when you have to rely on harassment, recruitment and exploiting women to sell your product, then I’m absolutely not interested 


Finally, if you knew someone who loved cosmetics/beauty and was considering joining one of the beauty MLMs, what advice would you give them?


My advice to someone who was considering joining a MLM company would be the following .. Do your research.  Make this research independent, not just listening to the ‘upline’ or those already flogging it, these people will have an agenda. Join Timeless Vie and ask questions. Ask yourself this… ‘do I REALLY believe that I can get rich by selling mascara/ face cream / capsules/ etc etc.’ Try and see through the faux positivity and really cannot make a living in your pyjamas, nursing a glass of wine and fondly gazing at your two year old*. Oh and join Gloss! That’s a given right? 



Julia, thank you so much for your time and your support of Timeless Vie. We’ll see you over on Mrs Gloss on FB, Twitter & Instagram!


*Just a reminder that independent research has repeatedly demonstrated that more than 90% of participants in MLM schemes lose money.  Do not believe reps claims about incomes and average earnings: these figures are exaggerated and do not include personal purchases, expenses, samples, catalogues and publicity materials or training (for which you will be charged).

Younique: Ships Don’t Lie

Younique is a Mormon-owned makeup multi-level marketing ‘business’ out of Utah, and we’ve written about them before here and here.

One of the lines Younique reps/bots like to spin is the “it’s such amaaazing quality, huns!” as they fling younique products at you on Instagram.   But the truth is, it’s not – it’s not worth the price.  Real makeup artists know this.  Any half-decent makeup group knows this and bans Younique reps –  like Mrs Gloss & the Goss, a group also mentioned by British Beauty Blogger here.   Apparently the only people who don’t know this are Younique’s prey – the women trying to sell it.

And how do MUAs and anybody seriously into makeup know this?  Ships.  Ships don’t lie.

According to Port Examiner, Younique has been regularly importing products from China, Hong Kong, and Italy for years.


  1. They use the contract manufacturer Regi SRl in Italy for cosmetics





2.  Regi SRL also provides cosmetics for other small brands like Julep Beauty, Laura Geller…and a company called “HCT Packaging”.







3.  Younique gets packaging from China & Hong Kong







So, if you’re a Younique bot you’re probably thinking SO WHAT HATERS.   Well, if you’re charging £30 pounds for a pot of moisturizer, you should really be of a higher quality.    Like MAC.  Or Bobbi Brown (we put “bobbi brown” into the port examiner website and found shipping from Germany only, but nothing recently, as befits a brand that manufactures it’s own cosmetics in North America).   Or (insert name of decent makeup brand here).  For cheap packaging and contract cosmetics, your price point should be a lot lower.   But as we know, it’s not really about the products – it’s about the Younique rep buying the products, buying the hype, and believing she can make money by selling them and #stayhomewiththekids.

Hence the mahoosive price disconnect.




Younique.  Totally not worth it for the price.



PART 3: An Arbonne seller asks our informer to use her NHS position to convince women to join. She also offers to pay for it. Read on…


A few weeks ago I got to see from the other side an example of how some of these MLM people tick.

I work part time in the NHS and two days of my week are spent working in private practice.

I was approached by an Arbonne seller.

She would be classed as a success in Arbonne terms as she has the White Mercedes (no doubt paid for on a month by month basis until the day she misses her targets).  She is a friend of a friend, she know what I do but doesn’t know my opinions on what she does, in fact as far as she’s concerned I don’t know anything about her.


Her proposal was that if I could make them see the light through psychological means (I think she had the idea that I practise some sort of mind control) then we could split the difference on what we charged them for me seeing them.  She proposed we charged them £80 for the hour, I keep £60 and she have £20.


She came to me with a proposal saying that she had a training company that teaches women (ah, that demographic again) to have the confidence to take up opportunities (clearly not quite true).  She was finding that some of them ‘really need a confidence boost’ and how would I feel about her referring some of them to me?

Her proposal was that if I could make them see the light through psychological means (I think she had the idea that I practise some sort of mind control) then we could split the difference on what we charged them for me seeing them.  She proposed we charged them £80 for the hour, I keep £60 and she have £20.

This could be sold as therapy ‘because you really need to sort yourself out’ (but would be carefully modelled coercion).  ‘I can pass lots of work your way’ she told me.


She said that the emphasis was to help them to sell this opportunity on to other people as an exercise in ’empowerment’.


I asked her what she expected me to do exactly and what exactly was the goal?  Basically, she wanted me to manage away any rational questioning about joining Arbonne and to use an aggressive and didactic argument to get them to sign on the dotted line.

She wanted to give me a tight script full of persuasion and counter argument to any doubts.  She wanted me to use my position as a psychotherapist (and she was keen to flag my NHS status too) to basically bully people to join Arbonne by using her crib sheet of false promises and keep them in the system under pressure by using a particular form of victim blaming, ‘tell me, what is your particular negative self talk that means you could walk away from this really amazing chance?’.

She said that the emphasis was to help them to sell this opportunity on to other people as an exercise in ’empowerment’.  I asked her what would happen if it was clear to me that someone was not in a position to take part because they were emotionally vulnerable.

She felt that this was an ideal exploitable area in that we could demonstrate the great positive hope they would gain by joining up and any depression or anxiety could be used to our advantage.  The more vulnerable the better.


This was totally unethical, outside the ethics of the professional body the governs my work and something I would never ever entertain.  I have yet to respond to her but I will and I doubt she’ll be happy to hear my thoughts.  What it did do is confirm all of my beliefs about the real danger these schemes pose to many people but particularly women.  This isn’t empowerment, it’s deceitful fraud and whatever these schemes say about the ethical standards they insist upon, it’s very clear they encourage something something very different at ground level.

The End.

This is why we need real data about the effect multi-level marketing, network-marketing, social selling, whatever the fuck-schemes have on communities. This is why. 

Studies by Direct Sales Associations will claim these schemes create money for communities, but is that really true?  What is the true impact? No one knows.  Maybe it’s time we found out.



“She no longer leaves the house unless with her mother and her mother has to take the children to school.” another story from our NHS insider about the negative impact of network marketing schemes on women, PART TWO

*names and locations have been changed to preserve privacy


This could be done from home, only required social media skills, a relatively small outlay and the profits were good; the woman at the nursery had made £800 the month before and was offering to train her.


Kelly* was a stay at home mother with two under fives.  I first spoke to her during a telephone assessment soon after she was referred.  During the conversation she said that she’d always struggled with lack of confidence and in recent years had struggled to leave the house.

Taking her oldest child to nursery had been a big struggle every day.  However she confessed that she was not sure she needed our help now as things had got a lot better and she felt a bit of a fraud taking up my time.

I asked her what had changed.

She told me that she had been approached two weeks previously by a really friendly mother at the nursery who had invited her to a gathering where make up was being sold.  It was more expensive than she could afford to buy but there wasn’t much stopping her selling it.  This could be done from home, only required social media skills, a relatively small outlay and the profits were good; the woman at the nursery had made £800 the month before and was offering to train her.

My job isn’t to tell people what to do or not do, I’m not a debt advisor so I all I could say to her was that she should do her research, look on the Internet at alternative opinions, adopt a cynical head.   She said that she would do her research but everyone was saying what a good idea it was.  She asked to be discharged.


Six months down the line and she’s now back in the system


Six months down the line and she’s now back in the system.  She’s had another telephone assessment with someone else and been assigned to me.  She no longer leaves the house unless with her mother and her mother has to take the children to school.  She says she needs to sort out her anxiety as she needs to get a job.  She had her own business but unfortunately it went wrong leaving her with some debt and difficulties with former business partners…


 I’ve had a number of clients tentatively try to recruit me


These are just two examples of interactions I’ve had with clients involved with MLMs.

I’ve become increasingly angry about the culture they’ve created that means people act in increasingly desperate ways to recruit and to sell.  I’ve had a number of clients tentatively try to recruit me and I’ve heard some desperately inaccurate and downright dangerous health claims.

I don’t blame these people, I blame the dishonest and unethical MLMs who target and draw in vulnerable groups and it’s a scandal that these companies’ tentacles reach into the NHS, whether it be setting up stands in hospital foyers, donating ‘wellness’ snacks to blood donation services or misappropriating research in order to promote their baseless products.

To be Continued.


“She had considered suicide…” an NHS therapist speaks about the impact of social selling schemes on women, PART ONE

*names and locations have been changed to preserve privacy


What I have seen during my time in mental health services has led me to really loathe theese organisations for their secrecy


Two or three years ago if you’d asked me what I thought of multi level marketing I wouldnt have had an opinion and being naturally cynical I probably would have dismissed it as ‘too good to be true’ and not given it too much more thought.  But that was before I started work as a High Intensity Therapist within the NHS in the North of England.

What I have seen during my time in mental health services  has led me to really loathe these organisations for their secrecy and lies at the recruitment stage and their culture of shifting the blame to the individual when their unworkable scheme is unsuccessful.

Since MLMs have come to my attention I’ve started to look more closely at their practices and the behaviour they encourage in their ’employees’.


My client group is 70% female and of that percentage most are women with new babies or young families….looking back over the last few years I realise how often my clients have been targets for MLMs.


I work with people experiencing depression (such as post natal depression) and anxiety disorders (OCD, GAD, social anxiety, health anxiety, PTSD).  My client group is 70% female and of that percentage most are woman with new babies or young families.

I see a high number of clients and looking back over the last few years I realise how often my clients have been targets for MLMs.  Names kept popping up, paricularly Juice plus, Forever Living and Younique.

The people I see are no fools but they tend to be from low income families and often without a background that will equip them to ask the right sort of questions when a big shiny pushy MLM comes along and makes them promises about the level of income they’ll earn for a few flexible hours.

Some of my clients have already been struggling with their mental health when they have been targeted but some have ended up being referred to my service by their GP as a direct result of falling foul of these organisations.


One client had been recruited by Forever Living through a baby group


One client had been recruited by Forever Living through a baby group formed through the hospital where she had given birth.  Her experience of birth had been traumatic and she was struggling, feeling guilty and depressed that she wasn’t ‘a good enough mother’ and wondering if she’d ever get back to normality.  FL had quite a presence in the group and as it wasn’t feasible to return to her job in retail when her partner was away a lot with work, she decided to give it a go.


She said she hadn’t understood recruitment was key..


When I saw the client she was a year down the road, quite seriously depressed and now socially isolated, having suffered severe bullying by her up line and then social media exclusion when she couldn’t or wouldn’t push hard to recruit.

She said it was like a feeding frenzy; everybody panicking, trying to recruit everyone in their circle.

She said she hadn’t understood that recruitment was key.

She had quite considerable money worries and the few hundred pounds a month she said she’d earned initially trickled away in expenses.  Her partner was angry with her for making their precarious financial position even more so and she felt that there was no hope for her as she was ‘useless’ and ‘everyone hated her’.


She had considered suicide during the worst of the bullying


She had considered suicide during the worst of the bullying but her daughter was a protective factor and she’d stopped just short of following through with a specific plan.

She’d tried to seek some support from within FL but had been offered further costly training and told that ‘you’ve been given a great opportunity don’t waste it’.  She felt that she had all the responsibility to make it work but in the end no authority and when it was clear it wasn’t working everyone held her at arms length.

She was told quite categorically not to discuss problems with anyone and found this very isolating.

It took quite a few sessions to reframe her experience and for her to see that she was not 100% responsible for the lack of success and that she needed to reconnect with her family and friends so that the people bullying her from FL had less power.

To be Continued.


3 spectacular updates on some of our fave social ”selling” companies: Younique, Forever Living, & Maelle

We’re folowing so many social selling companies at this point that we’ve decided to combine all the updates into one spectacular post.


1. Younique’s new charity – look! look over there! we help people

new charity

Their new charity is called “Defend Innocence”, and it’s ostensibly to help stop the sexual abuse of children.   Sigh.  Obviously anyone with a heart would be in support of that.

However, we have this question for Younique: if you want to do right by women and children, why don’t you provide those women (who often join to support their kids) the truth about a Younique presenter’s typical earnings?  So they don’t waste money they can’t afford and end up #lossbabes?




In the meantime, here’s a slideshow of some of the women trying to swap, sell, or get rid of their Younique stock.  #lossbabe


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2.  Forever Living targets NCT groups

For non-UK readers, NCT is the National Childbirth Trust linky here.  It’s an organisation set up to help parents and new babies.

One of our supporters sent us this email from NCT – there’s a big-ass ad by a Forever Living bot in it.  Not that you can tell.  Strangely lacking in bottles of aloe, no?



The ad is deceptive as it’s not until you click on it that you realise that it’s advertising for a multi-level marketing company.

Holy crap NCT.  DOn’t you have any ethical standards for who can advertise?   As we’ve blogged previously, new mums are particular targets of MLMs and are vulnerable.  Start here.


3. Maelle mentors are excited about being at the top of the triangle, and hoping it’ll be better than Younique i.e. they’ll actually make money this time.

Life is gooooood in the triangularity.

(‘cept hmmmm.  They don’t even have any products yet. )






And on that note, I’m off to play with some lipstick and cheer myself up.