One of the reasons why I deactivated my Facebook account was the sheer number of folks in my network who had jumped on the Arbonne wagon, gushing about their new pension plan. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for people making a living through sales, but to call it your own business is a bit of a stretch. I have friends who have done well from it, and many go to Las Vegas for the annual conference, but when they write they are so grateful and lucky to go, who do they think has actually paid for it? The friends and family who buy out of guilt or from pressure sales; that’s who!
One of my friends has her white Mercedes, and she was a good pal before this and later on when I got voice messages and Facebook messages, I thought she wanted to meet up for a chat, or was giving me a tip about a gig, but no, she wanted to meet to talk about Arbonne. Now she didn’t actually mention Arbonne in her messages, but all her Facebook posts were about Arbonne, so it didn’t take me long to figure it out. I never responded, and I really liked her, and wish her well, but I do feel she has been brainwashed.
I did go to one introductory meeting as another friend had convinced me to go with her, and she had to pay £5 for me, and £5 for her to attend. I said no one should have to pay to go and listen to someone pitching a potential sales job, and I didn’t know about the fee until we left and felt bad because I already knew I would never be interested. She never told me it was Arbonne until we got there, but at that point it was still fairly new in the UK and only a handful of actors, models, and dancers had been recruited.
The thing is, once people see I have a huge network on social media and that I have a beauty background they pounce on me. I have since learned and now hide my friend’s list, only because I can no longer trust people not to abuse my network. My friend didn’t push me, but gave me samples to try, but from then on I was apprehensive. I could see gullible girls around me nodding and falling for the spiel; I mean Arbonne are clever in that they make consultants pay for their kit, to attend meetings, and if they don’t hit target to buy products to maintain their consultant status.
I fell for it again, this time with a male friend who asked to meet up for coffee as he had a new venture and wanted to see if I was interested. As he had several ventures going on, I went along until he started to use the same phrases I had heard in the meeting. I said immediately if it was Arbonne he was on about to stop there as it was not for me and several other people had already tried it. Needless to say, we finished out coffee and I never heard from him again.
The thing is why are Arbonne consultants when they approach people afraid to say they are promoting Arbonne? If they just say Arbonne straightaway they know people will shut down and not be interested, so they use phrases to draw people in, such as an ethical company with no animal testing, that is 100% vegan, and owning their own business to lure people in. If you are proud of being a consultant, then why not just say, “I work for Arbonne, I think you’d like it so let me tell you more about it.”
I do think it’s misleading for them to think it’s their own business because it’s not. They earn commission on everything they sell and that’s a fact; if they don’t sell they don’t get paid. They don’t have a company number, and as far as I ‘m concerned if you don’t have that, then you haven’t got your own business. What the consultants are to me are high-pressured sales people, under the guise of working for themselves by them having a sub domain online.
Sometimes I want to say to them, these cars, and incentive trips, how do they think they are paid for? They are off the profits of family members and friends who have been guilt tripped into buying products, and don’t they feel bad about that? It’s no better than a used car salesman that needs to make a sale for the sake of it. Of course there are some genuine customers too, but the model is target based, and if you don’t hit your targets you have to buy enough products to make up those figures. I don’t see that as flexible or an easy way to make money on the side when you have constant targets. I worked on beauty counter for years and had targets and if I didn’t hit them then I wouldn’t get much commission. I’ll admit there were days I sold items to hit target and I felt dirty and underhand, but at least I still got a small basic. There is no way I would pay a fee to become a consultant, and then have targets to meet, and I simply can’t see the appeal at all.
I was prompted to write this as someone sent me a message on Instagram saying they liked my beauty blog, and that they were setting up their own business with ethical products and would I be interested in hearing about the venture. As I like to help people I said she could email me, and then I looked at her profile and yes, the magic word Arbonne was there, and all her images were of Arbonne products. She sent me an email, and again there was no mention of the word Arbonne, but what seemed to be a carefully structured email that was full of too many fluffy words that said very little, but that it was too difficult to explain what the venture was in an email asked for a skype chat, and ended with a link to a YouTube video. Needless to say it doesn’t warrant a reply, because it’s deceptive to say the least. First, it’s not her own business, she never mentions Arbonne, and why would I want to click on a YouTube link when you can’t even tell me what you do in a sentence. A good business has a tag line and can say what they do in a few words.
To be honest I was angry and felt violated that someone had tried to trick me. There is no honesty in Arbonne and these tactics are encouraged to expand the network, because if you didn’t know how it works; if A recruits B, then all of B’s recruits make commission for A. The problem is once their own network has been exhausted they need new leads and networks, and while approaching people on social media is similar to cold calling, it’s disingenuous. I have made a friend on social media who has her own line of organic skincare coming out, and I am more than happy to support and promote her as we have become friends, but not people who use devious MLM (multi level marketing) techniques to make money out of me and can’t even say who they work for.
Most of the Arbonne speak sounds like brainwashing and is a cult, as they all use the same phrases such as it’s networking marketing, and people have to buy products, so you make it easy for them as they don’t have to leave the house, and there are no limits to what you can make, just keep introducing the products and people will buy!
People do believe they can make money from it for life, and I daresay some can, but that’s at the expense of others. The products are over priced for what they are, and are no way luxury products. The consultants are not trained except how to pressure people to buy, while never mentioning the brand name. I have worked for premium cosmetic houses and so I have used plenty of luxury products so I can compare the difference. As for animal testing, in the EU that’s banned full stop anyhow, so it’s not a huge selling point, and many products are vegan friendly these days, so again it’s not a USP.
I ask any Arbonne consultant to think twice about taking money for products from family or friends who do it to help you out. Some may end up buying budget food that month because they can’t afford what they usually have, or maybe they can’t go out that weekend because they have spent the money on products they didn’t want because they felt pressured to buy. That’s how the Las Vegas convention is paid for, so think about that…
I don’t begrudge anyone making a living from sales, as I did it, but I was upfront about things and people knew what brand I was selling and what the products did. I gave them advice on what was best for their skin type, and that was my job and to promote new items and link sell. What I do take exception to are underhand and deceitful sales methods Arbonne seem to promote, and while it’s not a pyramid scheme, it’s seems pretty close to it. A pyramid scheme is a scam where there is no service or product, and so while there are products with Arbonne, the model is designed to be high pressured and coercive. In short, consultants are encouraged to recruit constantly rather than sell because that’s how they make more money in the chain. I just read this article on Arbonne, https://www.talentedladiesclub.com/articles/how-much-money-can-you-really-make-working-for-mlm-arbonne/, which just confirms my thoughts. It’s no wonder many beauty groups ban MLMs, but I don’t remember Avon or Mary Kay ever being this pushy.