Timeless Vie Facebook page target of malicious reporting attacks

Sept 17, 2017 – Timeless Vie’s FB page was taken down by Facebook on Thursday without explanation.

The team behind Timeless Vie always knew there was a risk of retaliation by either pro-MLM industry participants or others who were unhappy with the campaign’s ability to change the conversation around women, Mormonism, feminism and multi-level marketing companies.  For examples of previous successes, please read this  or this.

Supporters are now working with Timeless Vie members to get the page back but as of writing there was still no response from Facebook.  Popular Facebook pages like Athiest Republic (1.7m likes) and Women Without Religion have been the target of coordinated attacks by opponents on the social media giant in the past. They have asked Facebook to take steps to prevent this kind of harrassment.

Timeless Vie used the Facebook page mainly for outreach and humour, as well as support to victims of the MLM industry.   Part of their mandate is to provide help to women starting their own businesses by providing free advertising and also encouraging businesses and community groups to become MLM-free.

 

Please sign our Petition and ask Facebook to bring the page back.

 

Thank you.

 

TV team

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Major Charity Foundation drops MLM “Safe Girl” from awards after outcry

Friday, Sept 1:   Charity  OneFamily Foundation dropped multi-level marketing company “Safe Girl” from it’s Community Awards after a social media outcry today.   Safe Girl is a company that was launched in 2011 in the UK by founder Andrea Clark that claims to provide security devices and empowerment for women, however, critics say that the multi-level marketing model it uses is anything but empowering.

Safe Girl first came to the attention of Timeless Vie and others in the anti-MLM movement some months ago.  Like many MLMs, it advertises itself as a way to make a flexible income from home by selling products and recruiting others into a team.

Timeless Vie supporter and anti-MLM activist Michael Foley alerted us to Safe Girl’s inclusion in OneFamily’s community awards.  They were asking for 10,000 pounds and competing with genuine charitable organizations for the money.  We felt this was wrong but we also felt it was very likely that OneFamily didn’t realise Safe Girl was an MLM.  It’s not unusual for MLMs to try and distance themselves from the rest of the industry.

We collaborated with  Talented Ladies Club, Elle Beau Blog and other members of the anti-MLM movement on social media to raise the issue with OneFamily.  Many supporters also complained directly to the organization.   Result: OneFamily announced they were dropping Safe Girl from their awards late Friday afternoon.

Timeless Vie was started to create awareness of MLM as a feminist issue and to provide support for victims of the industry.  With the increasing public backlash against MLM, it is more important than ever that companies, charities and government orgs make sure their partnerships are with ethical businesses not MLMs.  Please contact us if you have any questions about a potential partnership.

 

 

 

 

 

SHEER NONSENSE – LIPSENSE

by Anne Onymous, across the pond

 

If you’ve been on Facebook or Instagram lately, and not living under  a rock, you’ve probably heard of LipSense — an amazing smudge-proof, long-lasting liquid lipstick. This stuff actually works.

LipSense

 

I first encountered LipSense last year, when a young friend added me to her new LipSense group on Facebook. I don’t normally like people adding me to groups unasked, so I was about to say ‘Thanks, but no thanks’, but then I looked a little closer, and went ‘Oooooh … weeeeeell, maybe I’ll give this stuff a try.’

 

I ordered some LipSense from her, and was sunk. It works. For me, it lasts well over 12 hours. Over 70 colors! Heaps of different glosses (which are part of the ‘system’). You apply the color in three layers (topped by gloss), so you can use a different LipSense color for each layer, and create your own custom colors. That bit is pretty cool.

 

I quickly became a bit obsessed with the stuff, and after a few months of buying more colors, and wearing it, I started to think about signing up. Unfortunately, at that time, there weren’t any blogs, articles or videos that were critical of SeneGence (it trades as SheerSense in the UK), but I did research it as best I could. I had never been in an MLM before (and was generally anti-MLM, with good cause), but despite this, and feeling that it was all a bit cult-ish, I decided to sign up. I’ll trust my gut next time.

 

Now, I’m writing this blog post for Timeless Vie, so you know things didn’t turn out well. I have been a distributor for nearly a year, have around 80 happy customers, but will be lucky to break even. I will not be renewing my membership once it runs out.

 

I don’t even know where to start describing the problems with this company. TLDR: My basic advice is, if you want to use LipSense, go for it, it’s good stuff — but be a customer. Don’t sign up as a distributor.

 

SeneGence was started in 1999 by an American women, Joni Rogers-Kante. She was a high-level consultant with Mary Kay (see the excellent blog Pink Truth for the low-down on MK). She basically duplicated the Mary Kay set-up into SeneGence. Even their annual ‘rah-rah-rah-go-team conferences’ are both called Seminar. Almost everything on the Pink Truth site also applies to SeneGence.

 

It’s currently in very early stages in the UK — in February 2017, one UK distributor said there were only around 200 distributors. The official SheerSense Facebook Page doesn’t seem to have a great deal of activity at the moment.

 

In North America they have roughly 160,000 distributors at the moment, and are approaching saturation level in some states (SeneGence claims there’s ‘no such thing as saturation’, which is laughable). In the States, many distributors are now unable to sell their product, as demand has waned, and are discounting heavily to try to recoup some of their outlay.

 

They say that you can join as a ‘personal shopper’, or decide to sell, but really, they’re expecting that you will always eventually end up selling. You will definitely lose money if you sign up as a personal shopper. The discount you receive will probably only be 20%, unless you order heaps — over £199 in a month (and this discount is reset at the start of each month). This minor discount will be wiped out by the steep postage and handling costs they whack onto every order.

 

For starters, the Distributor Application Fee (£85) isn’t a one-off cost — there’s an additional £39 annual fee. Not all uplines clearly state — or even realize — that there’s an annual membership fee.

To make money in this business (and most of us don’t, even with a downline) you really need to be prepared to ‘hustle’ constantly, be on social media almost constantly, push sales, work long hours, and build a significant downline. It’s hard work.

All the usual MLM stuff applies. Here’s a quick run down.

All hail Joni

There is near-religious adoration of the founder, Joni Rogers-Kante. She is very Christian and right-wing (her husband, Bennie Kante, was the biggest Oklahoman donor to Trump’s inauguration fund, and I assume she has similar loyalties). Distributors treat anything she says with utter reverence.

LipSense and Jesus

In America, the company has a very Christian vibe. It’s big in Texas and Utah and among Mormons . At least the religious aspect is not so obvious in the other countries where SeneGence operates (Canada, Australia, the UK, Indonesia, Brazil, Poland, and Switzerland, at the moment).

Never be negative!

All the ‘always think positive’ crap. Anything that doesn’t work well is your fault — you were thinking negatively, limiting yourself, not hustling hard enough, not keeping going against the odds, giving up, not ‘Wowing’ random people in the street with your stripes, not following the rules (oh, the rules — so many rules). Never say anything negative, ever! Right in line with cult behaviour.

Stripes

Old fashioned. In a bad way.

The cringe-worthy amateur design. Some of us ‘rebel’ distributors remove the labels, apart from the color name stickers. They look so much nicer that way! The appalling old-fashioned, clunky website (the ‘Back Office’ area for distributors is particularly bad). Their logo, packaging, corporate publications, and advertising material have this 1990s amateur feel. If you want to sell that 3-in-1 Cleaner for £30, it ought to look like it’s worth that much!

SeneGence-products

Filling the debt wagon

 

The push to front load is not good. SeneGence’s income is based on sales to distributors, not to customers, and so of course they push you to buy heaps. Mary Kay and SeneGence both say ‘You can’t sell from an empty wagon’, in exactly the same words. SeneGence covers its legal backside by stating:

‘… the SeneGence program is based on sales at retail and not on the stockpiling of products.’

(Distributor Policies and Procedures (P&P), Section 8:B)

 

But the distributor groups include regular exhortations to front load:

FrontLoading

 

Impossible income

 

I won’t go into the details of the math behind how you can’t make money at this game. There are high fees for postage and handling. You have to order a certain amount to stay in the game as an active distributor. Your customers will quite quickly have enough colors, and not be ordering all the time. Any downlines you have are in competition with you. You have to ‘pay to play’ to earn any commission income (ie you have to place an order that month at a certain level, amounting to hundreds of pounds, to earn any monthly commission from your downline) … trust me, like for any MLM, it ain’t gonna work.

 

Nothing doing

 

In the last few years, SeneGence has had massive growth, especially in North America, due in large part to LipSense hitting social media in a big way. If you search for ‘LipSense’ on YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram in particular, you will be swamped. They had a huge influx of distributors, and then sold out of all their products (in the USA, especially — other countries also suffered, but to a lesser degree). They had NOTHING. And they don’t just sell LipSense. There’s heaps of other cosmetics (also long-lasting and smudge-proof), and a whole overpriced skin care range. Everything was out of stock. Many products are still out of stock.

 

With NOTHING in the warehouse for distributors to purchase, they kept on taking sign-ups. Which, to my mind, defines a pyramid scheme. The company was making so much off sign-up fees that it didn’t matter to them that their new recruits had nothing to sell. Then they suddenly cut the color range from over 70 colors to 36 (when we lamented the loss of favourite colors, we were told to ‘Get a new favorite’). And instead of focussing on just making more LipSense, which is what our customers mostly want, they brought out new products. Perfumes, for heaven’s sake! Sun screen! Why didn’t they focus all their energies on just producing more of what we actually wanted and needed?

 

The stockpiling that American distributors in particular did during the ‘Out of Stock Crisis’ is horrifying … one color would come in, and it would be sold out within three minutes. Distributors would be buying vast amounts at once (like 20 tubes of one color) to be able to trade/swap for other colors with other distributors (swapping between distributors is allowed, while selling between distributors is against Compliance).

 

The company has never applied order limits (for example, limiting orders to only 5 tubes of one color at a time). Many distributors are now dumping their stock at massively reduced prices, in going out of business sales, to try to claw their way out of debt and just get rid of the stuff. Customers are starting to expect below-wholesale prices, which only makes things harder for us, as there’s no way we can sell at retail and recoup our costs of buying the stock in the first place.

 

Run not your own business

 

The reality is you do not own your own business at all. They pull the strings. They can forbid you from doing something that they don’t like. The Policies and Procedures (P&P) rules are quite restrictive and often unclear, and it’s all too easy to fall foul of them.

 

There are also hefty associated costs. We also have to print all marketing materials, business cards, flyers, posters, purchase tester products and disposable tester wands and so on ourselves. We have to bear the cost of providing hostess discounts and gifts at product parties. The starter kit doesn’t include any samples of actual product. You also have to handle all packaging, shipping, and returns, and ship out orders (many newer MLMs now handle all this for you, and you never have to handle stock or orders at all). It’s all part of ‘having your own business’ as they so noisily proclaim. You don’t.

 

SenePolice

 

Most of the management of LipSense downlines is done on Facebook, in large secret or closed groups. There are groups for graphics, groups about how to use social media (the company is clueless), and then the huge upline groups run by the Princesses and up (yes, princesses. I’ll get to them in a minute). These groups are great for the ‘Kool Aid drinkers’, but not for any distributor who has legitimate questions or criticisms of anything, finds that some products aren’t working as advertised, or, heaven forbid, doesn’t like one of the products. That sort of ‘disloyalty’ isn’t allowed.

 

The very large ‘SeneSisterhood’ groups quickly turn into mean girl clubs, with bullying, and people reporting each other to the SeneGence Compliance or Legal sections, when they see people doing anything against the standard P&P. Any distributor can be Compliance Police, and snitch on you. In fact, emails from Compliance are about the only quick response from SeneGence you’ll ever get. The company is infamous for not bothering to reply to most other emails or phone calls.

 

You’re not supposed to discount products by more than 15% — if you do, the secret Compliance Police will report you. Selling on any website with a checkout system, like eBay? You’ll be reported. Sell a tube of LipSense to another distributor? You’re in trouble. And there’s heaps of other ways you can overstep the mark.

 

The ‘sisterhood’ sort of language that’s used burns me up. Maybe it’s my age (I’m in my 40s), but all the ‘hun, bae, babe, girlboss’ sort of talk just feels demeaning and dismissive to me. I hate that when I have a serious problem, my Crown Princess will just say, in effect ‘Just be positive, hun’. Does. Not. Cut. It.

 

Who wants to be royal

 

One of the biggest turn-offs for me is the ranking system. It’s based on royalty, and prom queens. If you rise through the SeneGence ranks, you become a Maiden, and higher ranks include Lady, Duchess, Princess, Crown Princess, or even a Queen. What, are we all 14?

 

They wear ballgowns at special events, and wearing ‘SeneBlue’ (royal blue, their official color) is ‘strongly recommended’ at all SeneGence events, especially Seminar, their annual ‘re-indoctrination’ hypefest. They hand out tiaras and sashes, and it’s all damned beauty pageant demeaning. It takes feminism back to 1917. For a company that claims to be ‘empowering women’, they have a weird way of showing it.

 

They shower flowers, trips and gifts on their highest ranked distributors. The vast unwashed masses of distributors get pathetic 1¢ plastic ‘gems’, made in China, as recognition on reaching various milestones. Here’s a crazy idea — give those of us who advance and do well (despite the awful odds) something like increased commissions, or free shipping?

 

Spin a yarn

 

SeneGence HQ has taken to telling what seem to be out and out lies, and is losing the trust of many of its long-term distributors. They claim they had a ‘warehouse robbery’, with thieves stealing masses of LipSense. We can’t find any police or newspaper reports to this effect.

 

They cut heaps of red and orange colors from their range, claiming that there was a worldwide shortage of red pigments in the cosmetic industry. Any other cosmetic companies or industry bodies claiming this? Nope. The only thing I could discover was that cosmetic red pigments recently got more expensive.

 

They say they will buy back your products if you decide to leave — the reality is they’ll buy back 30% of your last order (as you have to tick a box vowing that you’ve sold 70% of your previous order), and they charge a restocking fee.

 

They claim that their expensive skin care is their biggest seller. Well, maybe it sells well to distributors who are trying to get their Points Values up each month, as the stuff is so expensive, but in a year as a distributor, I’ve sold one tub of moisturizer (and not for want of trying), and over $12,000 of LipSense and gloss to customers. The other distributors I know have similar stories to tell.

 

They change how they apply their own policies and procedures, seemingly at random. They ignore well-meaning advice on how to improve things. They treat some distributors very shabbily indeed. Many of us have ‘lost faith’. This company isn’t listening, and can’t be trusted.

 

Not so unique

 

The LipSense patent runs out in April 2018. There are other long-lasting lipsticks out there that are much cheaper and aren’t that bad. More are coming out. The patented formula will be public in less than a year, so expect to see even more LipSense-like lippies out there. I’m betting that SeneGence will suddenly bring out a ‘new improved alcohol-free formula’ around the time the patent expires. Bet you anything.

 

Many of us feel that if SeneGence continues as is it going now, it will crash and burn. The leadership has consistently ignored advice on how to improve their running, for years.

 

To read more stories from real distributors, visit the Crownless Princesses blog.

 

For the SeneGence apologists among you

 

I am an experienced small business owner, running my own business for over 13 years. I did work hard at this. I am not a bully or a crybaby. I didn’t expect it to be easy. I did read the P&P before I signed up. I did the ‘Wow-ing’ and attended trainings, approached strangers, held open houses and parties, got all the gear, the whole nine yards. I really tried to make this work.

 

My upline was good and supportive (although she quit even before I did). I had several downlines, and gave them all the support they could need, and they all quit before I did. I have around 80 customers, and regular sales, and am still thousands away from breaking even. I still like LipSense and many of the other cosmetics, and still use them. But I should have stayed a customer.

 

If you still want to sign up, after reading all this, please don’t front load, only place orders as you receive them from customers. Be cautious and conservative in what you order. Be sceptical and don’t buy stock on credit. Don’t drink the Kool Aid. Be careful out there.

 

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We researched Women’s business groups & events to see how many allow MLM reps to join. Here’s what we found.

Some time ago we promised we’d look into the many women’s business networking groups and events out there and figure out which ones are MLM-free (and which aren’t).  Many women had complained to us of going to networking events to make contact with other business women, only to discover they were full of MLM reps from Juice Plus or Arbonne etc trying to recruit.

 

In some cases, the speakers at these ‘women in business’ events would also be MLM reps.   For women trying to launch genuine & original businesses, and for professional women,  this is a frustrating state of affairs.  That’s why we decided to step in and at least try and clarify which groups do and which groups don’t allow MLM.

 

We do not claim this is an exhaustive list of all groups out there.  If there are groups or events we’ve missed, please let us know.  If we’ve incorrectly labeled your group as a group that allows MLM, please also let us know.

 

How did we determine which groups allow MLM and which don’t?

We checked each group’s member directory.  If there were network marketing reps in the directory, that was a sign the group was pro-MLM.   For those groups without a public directory, we emailed and asked directly.   For events, we checked to see which exhibitors were allowed and which weren’t.

Here it is!


Firstly, here are the groups we found that don’t allow MLM.  If you are looking for an MLM-free group or event, these are the ones to join.

MLM-FREE

 

Women at Work

Talented Ladies Club

Molopreneur Collective

365 Badass

Ebony Inspired UK

from 2018

Mums Enterprise Roadshow – From 2018 they will be MLM free

 


Allow MLM

 

Women in Business Network

Company of Women

Business Babble

Networking Women

Stroud Business Women

1230

Wire UK

Women in Business Hull

Women Mean Biz

Forward Ladies

Metis Women UK

Savor the Success  – named as one of FORBES 100 best sites for women, crawling with mlm

Handbags and Briefcases sent email – does accept MLM

Women in Business NI sent email – does accept MLM

Every Woman sent email – does accept MLM

W X Network– email sent, they said they were interested in talking more about my MLM experience

Ellevate Network   sent an email – yes they welcome MLM network marketers

CMI Women sent email – yes they accept MLM

Mums Enterprise Roadshow – 2017 only. From 2018 they will be MLM free

Parentpreneur networking

 


UNKNOWN

 

High Flying Divas sent email

Norwich Business Women’s Network no contact info

Rural Women UK sent email – email failed

Business Women in Surrey  sent email

Women in Business Sussex sent email

Women in Business  sent email

Women into the Network sent email – email address failed

Crave Company  sent email

Business Womens Link

Association of Scottish Business Women – EMAILED

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social Selling company Stella & Dot loses partnership after outcry on social media

Multi-level marketing company Stella & Dot lost a big promotional opportunity last week after a public outcry led by us – Timeless Vie.

 

 

At Timeless Vie we regularly see MLMs hoodwink legitimate businesses and charities into giving them additional promotion and partnerships.  Earlier this year Great Run UK backed away from it’s partnership with Herbalife after a similar outcry lead by Stephen Morrison and with help from us.  Partnerships like this infuriate us because they give MLM companies an aura of respectability we don’t believe they deserve.  We take the stance that multi-level marketing (also called network marketing, social selling, relationship selling) – is an unethical business model that leads to participants, mostly women, losing money, time and resources.

 

 

Just last week Bloom & Wild, a hugely popular internet flower delivery service announced that they’d partnered with Stella & Dot to do a series of events in the UK.  Bloom & Wild has been featured on Facebook groups like Mrs Gloss & the Goss (100,000 members) and The Motherload (35,000+) so had access to a large audience of women.  They had built a great reputation within this market – a market we believe Stella & Dot would be keen to enter.

 

 

At these events, Stella & Dot would release details of their new jewellery line and, we were concerned, perhaps recruit more women into their MLM.   Did Bloom & Wild know that Stella & Dot was an MLM?  It seems unlikely.  S & D positions itself as a ‘social selling’ company even though there is no discernable difference between it’s business model & that of other MLMs.

 

 

One of our supporters tipped us off to the Bloom & Wild/S&D partnership.  We knew we had to warn our readers so we shared the info to our FB page.     We didn’t stop there, however – we then let our friends and MLM-Free Network members know – The Motherload, Mrs Gloss & the Goss & The Talented Ladies Club.  With their help, the news spread quickly via Facebook, Twitter & Mumsnet. Women were contacting Bloom & Wild to complain and threatening to cancel their subscriptions.

 

 

Bloom & Wild did a great job responding to our concerns. They initially said they’d look into it and not long after, pulled the event! Take that S&D.  We were thrilled at their quick response.

 

 

Timeless Vie works tirelessly to stop the exploitation of (mostly) women by MLM companies. Stopping S&D from getting free publicity and probably more recruits is a big win for us and by extension, for women.

 

 

If you’re interested in learning more about MLMs and the damage they do, please share this post and check out our site and sign our petition.

If you would like your business or organization added to our MLM-Free Network, please contact us at timelessvie@gmail.com.

Thanks again to all those who participated in this campaign.

 

 

 

 

 

The Pyromaniac Chef talks about real empowerment and real charity work

 

Concentrate or it might sound like MLMs have a point

 

One of the greatest challenges presented by MLM myths is that they tap into something true. The advice I’ve been given by some very successful people is the same content as on the motivational posts favoured by bots. Something I do to great effect is ensure I surround myself with positive people, particularly at the beginning of a project. My husband, my mum and my best friend are my absolute cheerleaders whereas my mother-in-law is one of life’s worriers and points out everything that could go wrong. Haters gonna hate so keep your distance from them when it comes to being an entrepreneur.

Knowing your why is also vital to success. I run one of the world’s smallest restaurants and the night’s I have bookings, I have a sixteen-hour day. It’s stressful and exhausting but my why carries me through. My reason for why I do what I do is because I’ve been able to avoid putting my son into childcare. The motherhood experience is so personal and I believe there is no universal right way to raise a family but what is essential is to seek out the balance which is right for you. I miss out on some family time at weekends but the compromise is worth it for me for all the midweek trips and adventures I have with my son.

These truths are what make MLMs so insidious. Talk to any small business owner enjoying some success whilst enjoying what they do and there’s a high chance they’ll sound like a bot.

 

So how can you tell a bot from the genuine article

 

In a word, empowerment. My own story could be told to the backdrop of a few violins. My husband got very ill and this hit our finances hard. I was desperate and needed to make money and fast. I opened my restaurant, Gloucester Studio and in the process of becoming stronger and more confident as I began to take control of my life and our financial situation I became empowered.

It’s a journey that the bots like to claim to be on but there’s a crucial difference. I won’t get demoted if I don’t hit some arbitrary target. Empowerment comes from within and can’t be taken away from you. When you’re empowered, you set the rules. My restaurant closes in July and August; my diners sit around a fire pit so it’s a bit hot but also, I don’t want to. It’s the school holidays so I’m busy with my kids. Because my business is actually my own business (there’s a clue in the way I pay tax as a director of the company) not only do I not get penalised but it makes me more successful. A couple of months’ rest means travel and visiting other restaurants. Come September I’m refreshed and inspired for the next ten months of service.

 

Let me shed some tears while I talk about money

 

A recent video from a bot demoted for breaking the rules included a charming reference to losing her stepfather. There has also been a flurry of activity surrounding charitable donations from the top of various pyramids and bots saying how proud they were to be part of such an amazing organisation.

My ill husband is better than he was but it has been a hideous few years. As we began to come out of this my grandad was diagnosed with dementia. His decline has been so fast and I’m not coping. There’s a weight on my chest that sees me endlessly catching my breath as I fight the tears.

The good news is I’m not a bot! The best news is as I run my company as I see fit so in June I’m attempting a gigantean challenge. I want to make £5,000 (that’s diamond studded flappy pigeon level income for those of you who want it in proper figures) for the two dementia charities who have helped my family.

What is exciting about working with a beautiful company like Pyromaniac Chef is that I’m the one who’ll be writing the big juicy cheques. When I hand that money over it won’t be as a result of causing stress and upset to a downline but rather be the result of the parties I’ve thrown and the crowdfunding I’ve done in order to do something productive with the tangle of love and pain that without a project, might actually break me.

So, if I may talk to you from the heart for a moment let me say this. Dementia is a cruel disease but Alzheimer’s Society and Lilian Faithful Homes are doing great work. I’m taking the advice of the late Carrie Fisher and taking my broken heart and turning it into art; I’m writing a book whose proceeds will go to these amazing charities. You have an opportunity to help me reach my goal and in return receive a beautiful book, gorgeous hamper or attend an experience day. See crowdfunder.co.uk/hygge-huts for details.

Thank you.

“The leader stood over all of us saying we had to call someone NOW and talk to them about Forever, and she was standing over us waiting for us to call.” – A new graduate speaks about her experience in Forever Living

Here we go…

Straight after I had graduated from university (STRAIGHT after), my
long-term friend joined Forever and was really excited about it. We
were really close at the time and spent a lot of time together, and I
trusted her completely. Somehow at that time I had never heard about
MLM at all let alone Forever, so it sounded quite good to me. A
business I could do from home while I looked for my first proper job
after uni? Perfect! She took me to the local Business Presentation and
I didn’t understand much of it but it looked super exciting. Lots of
smiley women around, lots of beauty products, it just looked to me
like I could have fun with a brand new friends and get a discount on
some awesome stuff. My friend told me the business training was worth
more than the £200 investment needed anyway and would help me
career-wise too, no matter what area I worked in. It sounds silly, but
this was the first I’d heard of anything like this and I was super
happy to join even though it was a LOT of money on my part-time
waitress wages.

“We had to contact everyone we knew about the company…”

I soon learnt we had to contact everyone we knew about the company and
ask them to join our team, in various scripted ways. I felt really
uncomfortable about this and would have rather sold the products
themselves or got people I didn’t know to join, but I was told it was
the only way, that I need to get motivated, etc. I was given links of
mindset training on Youtube and some motivational books to read very
day when i woke up. I was told to create a dream board of all the
things I wanted in life, and that other people’s opinions shouldn’t
mean more to me than the things on my dream board, so I shouldn’t be
hesitant to talk to anyone about the ‘opportunity’. I struck up a few
conversations with old friends and led them into talking about the
business. I felt deceitful and hoped they wouldn’t think I had only
spoken to them because I wanted them to join (I had in that instance,
but I did care about them too). No one signed up.

After my failure to create a team I was told to go round to the house
of someone who was very successful in Forever. There was a small group
of us newbies there, I was the youngest by a mile. The leader stood
over all of us saying we had to call someone NOW and talk to them
about Forever, and she was standing over us waiting for us to call.
Everyone else picked up their phone. I said I don’t actually call
anyone, I just message (no one I knew at my age randomly phoned their
friends anymore) so it would look weird. She closed off from me and
said I was making excuses, and that she couldn’t stand excuses. I
still didn’t want to call anyone and said I’d rather do things a
different way, and I tried to reassure her I really wanted to make
this work.

“I was already paying out for things I hadn’t expected…”

The leader told me if I really wanted to succeed I’d be at the next
official training event, which was too expensive for me and I didn’t
have transport to get there. I was already paying out for things I
hadn’t expected, having four monthly payments to access training and
so on (QLS group, Forever Knowledge, Forever 360 and Smart Pod). I was
told to ‘buy the ticket now and figure out how to get there later’,
which turned out to be a common phrase I heard a lot. To try to get in
everyone’s good graces again I borrowed money for this training event
(taking four train journeys on my own at the weekend), hoping it would
be enough to get some more help. In my Facebook group women were told
if they didn’t have a sick day off work or leave the kids with a
babysitter in order to attend training events they were losers who
made excuses and wouldn’t succeed. Mums often got stressed out with
the lack of time they now had with their kids but where told to ‘make
your kids the reason to succeed, not your excuse’ and to find them a
babysitter as it would all be worth it when they were living life like
a millionaire.

At the training event the leader came on stage to loads of applause
and cheers, like a celebrity. She told us we need to brand ourselves
and take lots of pictures and make our profiles public so everyone can
see how great our life is and want to join. She said yesterday she
posted about going out somewhere, but she actually didn’t go anywhere-
she took the picture of herself in the car a few days earlier and
posted in when we was still in bed feeling tired and ill, but no one
outside Forever needed to know that. She told us it doesn’t matter how
we feel, we need to make people want our lives, that’s what our job is
now.

By this stage my sponsor was basically unrecognisable from the girl I
once knew. All she talked about was Forever. When someone wasn’t
interested she said to me ‘no just means not right now’ and asked them
again next time she saw them. She gave my sister a face cream which
triggered a big allergic rash and pressurised her to keep using it ‘as
its just the toxins coming out’. My sister pretended she was using it
to shut her up but had to stop as it was so painful. Everyone my
sponsor knew who was not involved with Forever she fell out with as
they were ‘negative’ and she ‘needed only supportive positive people
in her life now’. She had quit her successful, well-paid job and was
staying at home all day, posting a perfect calm ideal life on Facebook
yet being crying and stressed when anyone close to her saw her.

“Only losers are employed…”

The mentality in Forever was that only losers are employed, and that
everyone who is smart and ambitious knows better than to take on a
full-time job. I was shamed into not getting a full-time job and it
got to the point where I saw it as a failure. This lasted four years
while I tried to do MLM alongside minimum wage part time jobs, ruining
my best job prospects straight after graduation, but I knew if I got a
‘proper’ career I would be looked down upon as weak, and I believed
people outside Forever would look down on me as a failure too.

I wanted to keep my work and personal life separate to hang on to the
tiny bit of respect my old friends had for me, but this made me be
seen by my Forever group as someone who was lazy and didn’t want to
work hard for success, which hurt me and make me want to prove myself.
My group had stopped talking to me and my sponsor got stressed and
said we needed to go contact marketing instead. I was told it was fun,
we would meet in the city centre and just be friendly and people would
naturally be curious about the business, that I was being paid to hang
out and shop, essentially. I was excited, thinking this is how I would
get my team without alienating the people close to me. I honestly
believed at that time, thanks to all the training, that recruiting
people was doing them a favour and saving them from their stressful
J.O.B.s which would give them miserable lives. We were told that every
time we didn’t approach someone about the business we were just being
selfish by not helping them, and didn’t we want to help people live to
their full potential? The first place we went was Boots. My sponsor
pointed out a lady looking at the shampoo and told me to go and talk
to her about our shampoo. I was shocked and said I couldn’t just go up
and do that, and that I didn’t know what to say. Suddenly my sponsor
got irate and shouted ‘talk to her NOW! With this attitude you’ll
never make manager!’ She didn’t seem to care that everyone heard us. I
was so embarrassed. The poor lady looked over to us in sheer confusion
and terror. My sponsor tried to carry on arguing, but I’d had enough
and walked out the store in sheer panic. My sponsor and long-term
friend stopped speaking to me after that and seemed to hate me. I
started to feel very humiliated and alone.

“My question kept getting passed between departments…”

I decided I was going to try and work the business online by myself,
and wanted to make a health blog talking about how wonderful our
products were, as I completely believed they were. I couldn’t find any
information about them apart from a short paragraph on the official
website, and needed a lot more information to sell them online
successfully. I messaged head office asking why the honey was so
expensive (even organic raw honey was a quarter of the price), why the
tea bags were so expensive, and so on. I honestly believed there was a
reason, and was excited to be able to explain it to people. My
question kept getting passed between departments and finally I
received a reply with a standard blurb about the products. I replied
back repeating my question about the difference in price, I wanted to
know why it was so much higher, what the quality differences were. The
answer was just that it was ‘high quality’. My emails were ignored
after that. I started I worry that the prices were inflated with no
reason. At this point a cloud of panic set in as I started to wonder
if I’d been duped all along. I was scared the dreams of a perfect life
and success I’d built up in my head were not going to happen after
all, and that the time I had spent on the company had been wasted when
I should have got a ‘real job’ after graduation as I’d planned and
studied for. This was a really horrible feeling and I tried to push it
away.

“I was terrified to think
anything negative or feel negative incase it made the thought real.”

 
I quit Forever but still felt MLM was the answer and didn’t want to
admit I had gone down the wrong path after all. I joined a couple of
other companies but after the initial excitement at everyone being
nice to me because I was new and trying out the products, they all
worked exactly the same underneath. I kept wasting my days at home by
myself watching mindset videos all day on Youtube as I kept being told
mindset was the reason I wasn’t succeeding. Everyone was talking about
the Secret and the Law of Attraction, and that the thoughts you have
control your life and create your reality. I was terrified to think
anything negative or feel negative incase it made the thought real. I
was told if you think you aren’t going to make it, then you won’t make
it, and for instance if you wake up and feel sad, it will cause sad
energy to be attracted to you and something bad will happen to cause
more sadness, so you had to be careful and always watch your thoughts.
You always had to remain grateful, patient and positive and to believe
you are already living your dream life right now, which will make it
more likely to happen. I couldn’t air any doubts with anyone otherwise
I was labelled as negative and causing my own problems.

I was tired out and had no friends left both inside and outside MLM
groups as I hadn’t been successful, and felt both groups saw me as a
failure in life. I had no money whatsoever (not even enough to buy a
bag of crisps on a whim) though I felt I was working every second of
every day and felt like a total loser, which hurt me as I was
naturally very ambitious and sociable with big plans for my life, and
had graduated with so much hope for my future. I also felt I couldn’t
admit I was lonely or poor as it would attract more loneliness and
lack of money to me, and that I needed to have an ‘abundance mindset’
and to carry on working hard. I believed success was always just
around the corner and soon I’d have my ideal life, friends again, a
business of my own and regular travel, like all the others I saw on
social media who were doing MLM. I honestly didn’t understand why I
hadn’t made it like they had, although from the outside maybe it
looked like I had too, due to all my inspirational posts.

If I just had a cup of tea for 5 mins I felt guilty as I should be
‘working’, and I didn’t want to go out and enjoy myself as I thought
this would mean I was being lazy and not working on my dreams hard
enough. I lost contact with almost everyone but thought it would all
be worth it one day. To cut a long story short, with absolutely no
exaggeration, this led to me having a full-blown panic attack as I
couldn’t stop the negative thoughts and was terrified I was making
them real. I then ended up having panic attacks every week. I
collapsed on the floor, felt like I couldn’t breathe and honestly
thought I would faint or die. I was exhausted and thought I was
actually going crazy. I developed obsessive compulsive disorder to try
and ‘control’ my thoughts and to stop bad things happening. My
boyfriend was very supportive and told me I needed to relax and get
away from all the stress and find a job so I could make regular money
and meet people again.

I took a small job at the local college and with the wages I earned we
went on our first holiday in years. Getting out the house and feeling
like I had a normal life, slowly I started to recover, although it
took about 2 years in full for the anxiety and OCD to completely
simmer down. I was worried because I had no job experience in the
subject I had graduated in and didn’t know how to explain to employers
what I had been doing all this time, so I was convinced I wouldn’t get
a job in the field I wanted anymore. After all my studying and
ambition I was devastated I had wasted my twenties, alienating my
friends, having no money to do the travelling I wanted and looking
lazy on my CV.

“My friend is still in Forever and becoming increasinly unhinged…”

It’s now a few years later, and my heart goes out to those in MLMs. My
friend is still in Forever and is becoming increasingly unhinged
(whenever I see her, which is rare, she seems to start screaming or
crying about something and is very controlling of those she knows,
despite her life looking successful, luxurious and happy on social
media). She is retraining to be a life coach. My cousin, who joined
Forever initially with no success, has been in about 4 different MLMs.
Before all this she started off trying to get her own business in
accounting set up, which had been going well, and stopped that for
success in MLM, which has still never come. If you saw any of these
people on Facebook you’d think they were rich and happy with loads of
friends and not a care in the world, but I know they are struggling
desperately with money and spend all day inside the house, alone,
working on their ‘mindset’ and making the perfect posts for social
media, which never get any interaction.

If only I could go back in time and get a full-time job straight out
of uni, but at last I’m here now (yes, in the industry I always
wanted- turns out my detour into MLM didn’t affect my employment
prospects as much as I dreaded as luckily people seem to assume I was
just travelling and taking it easy in my early twenties- thank god
they don’t know I was actually being brainwashed). I took about a 6
year detour until I had the confidence to go for my ideal job and now
I’m where I should be. Don’t get sucked in to the hype, if you want a
great life go for your dream career at last or set up your own
business yourself and you’ll make it with far less money and time you
would have wasted in an MLM.

*

Wow.  What a powerful and enraging story.  Thank you so much for sharing with us.

“After nearly seventeen years in the hair and beauty industry I have been approached by ‘reps’ for pretty much every MLM company going…” Guest Post

This is a guest post written by one of our favourite #manhuns, Andrew Rowe-Henney.  You can check out his skincare business here

 

After nearly seventeen years in the hair and beauty industry I have been approached by ‘reps’ for pretty much every MLM company going. All offering me the same dream that they offer many people, which is apparent long term financial freedom and escaping the ‘rat race’. Here is where they fall down in establishing any major foothold in my profession. A survey carried out by City and Guilds in 2008 found beauty therapists and hairdressers were the two happiest professions in Britain. So creating an escape for people to run to does not really work.

 

The main issue that any kind of MLM business selling in or to my industry faces is lack of knowledge.

 

When you are trying to sell moisturiser to a beauty therapist or conditioner to a hairdresser, you better know your stuff. Some people do think they know their stuff and approach someone like myself, leading to an often harsh sounding rebuttal. Because they have been told their moisturiser is scientifically the best thing out there and people will be snatching it out of their hands and throwing money in their face, they truly believe this. I have the benefit of years of training, experience and sound knowledge of cosmetic chemistry and biology to challenge the claims made by these companies. Even companies I sometimes deal with that are not MLM’s, make me roll my eyes sometimes with cleverly worded advertising. It is not unique to that industry but, in my opinion, it is by far the overriding factor in making people believe they are entering a solid business ‘franchise’.

 

I recently had a message from someone trying to recruit me.

 

I recently had a message from someone trying to recruit me. She was a school friend and wanted to come and see me when I had some free time (actually not a friend as such, but in my year and dated my cousin kind of friend. One you would not pass in the street, but one you would not get a nice birthday card for either). This was not to catch up on old times, it was because she had discovered this wonderful bunch of products. I did not share her enthusiasm for these products. I normally just ignore messages from this kind of business, as I find engaging in conversation about the scientific merit of their products claims can be confusing for the representative as they have had ‘training’ in the product, but understand little of the science, which in itself can be presented by the company in a very biased format and without links to external studies which verify the claims. The company in question sold a multitude of cosmetic products and their star product was a ‘Galvanic Spa machine’ which this representative had been ‘trained to use’ (more on that later). Understanding a great deal about galvanic current used for cosmetic purposes, I decided to respond with why I thought her company’s machine was comparable to one which was £220 cheaper and offered not a sufficient level of controllable and ‘true’ galvanic current to make any real difference. I also stated I used the world’s largest salon skin care brand which is part owned by the world’s third largest company, meaning I was happy with the level of research that goes into the products I use and retail. This was enough to dissuade her from contacting me about joining her any further.

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF PROFESSIONAL INSURANCE

 

I would say the biggest disappointment for me was discovering she (at the time) did not have professional liability insurance. You see when you go into a salon or have someone visit your home to perform a treatment, they will be insured with a policy from a specialist insurer or insured through a trade body like the one I am a member of. Specifically my trade body BABTAC (British Association of Beauty Therapy And Cosmetology) will require submission of certificates from a recognised educator working under an approved framework (City & Guilds, VTCT etc.). There are many insurers who require this and who will not insure non-qualified practitioners.

 

 

If you go into a store like Superdrug, for example, they have insurance that covers them for what they do. You are the person picking something up off the shelf, therefore it is your responsibility to check ingredients for any allergens that are specific to you. These products will also have legal notices printed on them advising against use if you have specific conditions and notices if you require a sensitivity test (like with hair colour products). That is how standard high street retail of products work.

 

THE RULES FOR SALON-ONLY PRODUCTS

 

When we look at salon only products a different set of rules comes into play. I am responsible for checking allergens, I am responsible for contraindications to use (like salicylic acid during pregnancy), it is me who is responsible for checking professional only products are suitable for use. Unfortunately, my industry is largely unregulated and as such anyone can pop up in a shop and call themselves a beauty therapist or hairdresser. Some councils are now moving to combat this by making sure people have licences for treatments like massage, but it is still not getting to where it needs to be. The problem of MLM companies advocating those without qualifications both perform and recommend products only complicates the matter. Remember that the MLM representative is advising you from the point of a business now. In this circumstance they are not your friend offering their opinion on a moisturiser they like, they are advising your purchase from them in their capacity as a ‘trained’ individual.

 

 

Remember the second someone is recommending you something or performing a treatment on you, they are declaring that they are qualified to do so and as such should provide you with proof of qualifications and, importantly, proof of insurance. If they do not have either, please be sensible and refuse their advice.

 

To the people who think it is ok to inbox me with these offers;

 

I have years of practical experience, backed up by extensive education in my field, including qualifications in anatomy and physiology and many CPD hours each year. I am a member of a professional trade body and I am qualified and insured to provide each treatment I perform. Please do not compare three hours of ‘training’ to this and consider yourself a professional. I quite frankly find it insulting. If you truly wish to enter the field as a professional, please seek out your local careers office or college who will advise you on which path of training is best for you. It is not too late, or indeed too early to leave MLM behind.

Thanks very much for sharing this post with us, Andrew.  You make a compelling case for men and women to use professional, trained beauty therapists.

Get your 2017 MLM-free summer shopping here!

Grab a glass of prosecco, put your feet up & enjoy our latest MLM-free shopping guide.  We have an eclectic bunch of vendors, selling everything from farm machinery, hand-cut jewellery, to offering HR services.  Check it out and know that none of them will try & recruit you to their team! 100% #lossbabe free.

 

starsandscarsbanner

Hand-cut and designed jewellery

 

 

 

sussexzest

Ethical, MLM-free personal trainer

 

 

 

rainbow

Gorgeous hand made glass objects

 

 

 

valentina

Original & adorable hand-made bears for babies

 

 

annata

Stylish and vintage stationery

 

 

halohairoxford

Exceptional hair salon in Oxford

 

 

 

littlebowbee

Bows!

 

 

 

WW-Intimate-Wax-Perfect-WEB

Just in time for summer! Intimate waxing services

 

 

 

croneandcrane

Rich and beautiful vintage clothes

 

 

 

carpediem

Need some pampering? check out Carpe Diem mobile spa

 

 

 

MKH

We’ve got your farming needs covered

 

 

 

spinsonic

Wanna hula? love hoops? check us out

 

 

 

icanplaysport

Teaching kids sports skills – from 4 to 7 years of age

 

 

 

hollyjewellery

Holly makes lovely jewellery in precious metals

 

 

 

sensaround

A social enterprise helping people lead healthier lives through using their senses

 

 

 

tread the boards

A theatre school in York

 

 

 

marthasbow

One of our original viestars, Martha sells bows for little girls and boys!

 

 

 

hrsolutions

Need HR help? click here.

 

 

 

doodlepipdog-e1461318767848

Hand made wear for dogs that’s MLM-free

 

 

 

chippenhamdogwalker

Chippenham dog walkers for walking your BFF

 

 

 

360pole

Pole dancing keeps you fit and also, it’s really sexy

 

 

 

helpingbare

Does a loved one need some help around the house? Click here

 

 

revolingerie

We love lingerie. Pretty. PRETTY