Okay, let’s begin.
Every story needs to begin somewhere, so it makes sense to start with how I got embroiled in the “Y-life”.
So, in this first instalment, I will tell you how I was reeled in like a carp on a fisherman’s hook, in…
Chapter 1 – Getting Reeled In
Before reading my Not Quite Fairy-Tale about my experience with MLMs (namely Younique), please remind yourself of my mission statement here. In a nutshell, all views presented in this blog are mine, and mine only. Your own personal experiences with MLM companies may differ, negatively or positively. All names have been changed to protect the individuals concerned.
To set the scene, its late autumn of 2015 and I am browsing through Facebook. You know the drill; you just absentmindedly scroll through your newsfeed when you’re bored. My eyes were instantly drawn to a selfie posted by a pretty friend of mine called Scarlett. She was always into her makeup and new trends, and she was showing off some glittery eyeshadow and super, crazy long eyelashes to boot.
“Loving this Tenacious Splurge by Younique, ❤ ” she posted. “And can’t believe the results from just ONE coat of the 3D+ Fibre Lash Mascara – these products are AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😮 ❤ ”
Hmm, yes she does look quite nice, I thought, before scrolling on. I’ll be honest, I never was the type to drool over MAC or the latest YSL lipstick. However, Scarlett had always been talented at doing her makeup, so I had to give her credit there.
That was the moment when I first noticed Younique.
I’d never heard of it, prior to this point. I didn’t even know what an MLM was. The closest contact I’d had with such a company was when my Mum would buy things from Avon.
Over the coming weeks, Scarlett’s posts increased in frequency. More beautiful makeup selfies, more praising “Younique this, Younique that”, and next…she began mentioning her “business”, her “team of wonderful ladies” and how successful it all was.
For example, she would post photos of herself sitting in a beauty salon, having a pedicure or her nails done.
“This is what makes it all worth it – living the #Ylife and treating myself!!! ❤ ❤ ”
I would love to treat myself too, I thought, before scrolling on by. I had decided to return to college after a few years away from education by this point, so most of my finances were going towards class fees and books.
Next, Scarlett began declaring how grateful she was that she didn’t have to rely on a 9-5 job or waiting weeks for payday. Especially, so she could stay at home and spend time with her young children.
It would appear that she was getting paid several times a day! The post was always accompanied by a screenshot from some website named “PayQuicker” (which I rightly assumed was similar to PayPal), with a tagline saying “congratulations, we are proud of your success” and the monetary value of what she had earned blurred out.
“I’m so glad I took a leap of faith into the unknown, Younique has changed my life! ❤ ❤ ❤ ” she’d write, usually alongside a photo of her pouting with a sultry lip stain, or fluttering a magnificent set of lashes.
She posted photos of herself with a cup of coffee, notepad and pen, telling us how she was putting together a business plan and coming up with ideas for the next few months. It all seemed very involved and, dare I say it, exciting.
Her Facebook “job title” was updated to “CEO at Butterfly Babes”, and I’d see other women commenting on her statuses, congratulating her on “rocking her business” and how she was “going all the way to the top”.
Good for her, I thought. Scarlett got pregnant whilst she was still in high school, and had had two more kids since then, so I thought it was nice she had found something to suit her situation. I still had no idea exactly what it was, mind you.
Next, came a very excited post welcoming a new lady to her “team”, announcing how fabulous she was going to be, and that she knew she’d “smash this”.
This new lady was Kerri, a mutual friend of Scarlett and I. She, like me, wasn’t much of a girly-girl. Thus, my interest was somewhat piqued to see Kerri getting involved in something that I still wasn’t actually 100% clued up on.
You can guess what popped up in my newsfeed next. Kerri began with posting a video, saying how excited she was that her “Presenter’s Kit” had arrived, and showing the camera all these various products that came with it.
“Wow, the quality is amaaaaaaazing,” she cooed, dabbing some glittery eye cream on the back of her hand and waving it in front of the camera.
My newsfeed then saw an abundance of Scarlettesque posts from Kerri, all posing with lashes so long that they looked like she might take flight if she blinked, with the hashtag #nofalsiesrequired. Kerri would then start announcing to us when she’d been “paid”, just like Scarlett, blurring out the monetary value and posting an abundance of emojis.
During this time, I was still plodding on with my college work, and trying to find part-time employment that suited my course hours. I couldn’t seem to find anything that didn’t involve nightshifts, and was having a bit of a grumble about it to my other half, James.
“What about what Kerri and Scarlett are doing?” said James. “I saw Kerri post something the other day about waking up to a nice little payday in her inbox.”
“Nah, it’s all makeup stuff,” I said. “Not really my thing.”
“Well, maybe you should ask them anyway, might be worth it.”
I thought about it, but I didn’t.
That is, until Scarlett posted a video on her Facebook called “My Business Journey”. It had quite a substantial amount of views, and plenty of comments telling her what a successful businesswoman she had become, and how this whole experience had been “soooooo good for her.”
So, I sat down and watched it. All 12 minutes and 24 seconds of it.
During the course of the video, Scarlett described many things. How she began with no confidence, how she didn’t believe in herself, how she felt lonely and isolated. However, all thanks to her business, she now felt empowered, uplifted and validated (does this sound familiar?).
Now, she said, she has a business of her very own. She can now spend more time with her children, she could fit in her work around them and choose what hours she works, all from the comfort of her home. She could help empower other women too, sharing her love of makeup by representing a “cool brand of high-end products”.
Notably, she said she could afford treats for herself. “Including this iPad that I am presenting this video to you on, which I would have never been able to afford without Younique,” she emphasised.
Wow. Scarlett looked so cool, so self-assured, so…business-like. I wanted that too. So, its fair to say that her fishing line had been cast out, and I chomped down on that hook like a foolish carp.
Tapping the Messenger app, I scrolled down until I’d found Scarlett’s name…
Well, that draws Chapter 1 to a close.
Continue on to Chapter 2.
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Please, also check out the good work of the people at Bot Watch and Timeless Vie. They work tirelessly to expose the truth and lies of the MLM industry, so anyone considering this line of work can make a fair, informed decision .