At the end of Chapter 4, I was at a point where my mercury was well and truly rising.
Of course, it was mainly thanks to Scarlett scolding me like I was a naughty child, despite the fact we were both women beyond our mid-twenties.
That was starting to irk me; what had happened to the casual way we’d speak to one another? Now, it felt like I was talking to someone in the boardroom of The Apprentice.
So, I decided to take a step back and observe. Observe what, you ask? Well, it seemed prudent to look at the way my fellow Butterflies conducted their closed-privacy Facebook “VIP” groups.
After all, the minute I joined Scarlett’s team, I found myself added into practically every Y-sister’s VIP group under the sun. I’m sure that many of you have received a fair few invites to these in your time, be it Jamberry, Younique or any other MLM scheme. 😉
This takes us to…
Chapter 5 – Groups, Glorious Groups!
(of the VIP variety)
Before reading Chapter 5 of my experience with MLMs (namely Younique), please remind yourself of my mission statement here. In a nutshell, all views presented in this blog are mine, and mine only. Your own personal experiences with MLM companies may differ, negatively or positively. All names have been changed to protect the individuals concerned.
You’ll also recall in Chapter 4 that I was prompted to choose a butterfly-related brand name, and discovered what some of the other girls had named theirs. As Bethany and her Beautiful Butterfly Cosmetics group was as new as mine, she wasn’t much use for my observational research. So, I decided to take a look at what Harriet was up to, with the elaborately-named Hatty’s Butterfly Bonanza. She had been a presenter for around a month or so longer than I.
Upon checking Harriet’s VIP Facebook group, I was dumbfounded to see that she already had nigh-on 1000 members. How?
Scrolling through the group content, it was easy to see how she had reached such a soaring member count.
“Welcome to my Butterfly Bonanza VIP group, huns! ❤ Here is where you can take part in raffles, competitions and receive special discounts on my beautiful products. I am running an extra special competition today – for every VIP who adds 50+ of their friends to this group, I will enter them in a draw to win our amaaaaaaaazing Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes+! Eeeeek!!! ❤ ❤ Get adding, ladies!”
Harriet’s competition post had a small assortment of responses. Most were from other presenters, with exclamations of “good luck, huns!” A couple were from Harriet’s “VIP customers”, with “how exciting, hope I win!”
However, one lady’s particular comment had a quite different vibe.
“FFS. Well done for encouraging people to add me and others into this stupid group, regardless of whether they actually want to be here or not. 😡 ”
This was evidently one of the 50+ friends that Harriet’s VIPs had been encouraged to add.
“Well, just leave the group if you don’t like it!!!” Harriet had responded underneath. “I am just trying to work my business and share beautiful makeup with my customers; your comment is totally RUDE and unnecessary!!!”
Harriet had also decided to further drive her point home, by posting this meme as a response. It looked like the disgruntled lady had already left the group though, due to her further lack of comment.
Hater-aside, I was curious how Harriet would decide who the lucky winner of her mascara would be, and indeed, how she could afford to give it away. There was only one way to find out, so I dropped her a little message with my query.
“Well, sometimes I offer things for half price, dependant on whether I got any freebies with my Y-cash etc,” explained Harriet.
“But your group says you’re giving away a mascara in a draw, to anyone who adds over 50 friends?”
“Oh that? That’s just a little incentive hun, so I can get loads of members into my VIP group – more exposure to the products! It’s a tactic some of Camilla’s girls have used to work their business. I can’t be affording to give stuff away lol.”
“What about if they want to know who won the draw, though? ” I asked.
“I’ll just make something up, lol,” she replied. “Most of them will forget about it by that time anyway. You’re looking way too much into this, hun.”
I thought that was an odd thing to do, but shrugged it off. As Harriet said, she was just trying to work her business, right?
“Oh, Elle, whilst we’re chatting – do you want a go in my raffle?”
“Yes, hun – I’ve just posted it in my VIP group. Prize is a £75 spend on my Younique website. There’s 15 numbers, £5.00 a number. You can pay me via PayPal.”
£5.00 a number seemed a bit steep, and it seemed like the other VIP members agreed because not one number had been ‘sold’…but, I didn’t want to be rude.
“See if any of your VIPs want to take part first, Harriet,” I said. “If you’ve got any left after that, I’ll consider. I’d feel bad if I win, when I’m a presenter already.”
“Fair enough, hun,” she replied.
So I went back to scrolling through Harriet’s group posts, just for more research of course.
She had posted selfies where she was demonstrating how amaaaaaazing the eyebrow pencil was, the wonderment of the miraculous lip stains, but…let it be known; nothing, absolutely NOTHING could compare to the legendary “liquid gold” foundation. No, not even the 3D Mascara!
For the avoidance of any doubt – to the average Younique hunbot, THIS is liquid gold.
Harriet had also posted this before-and-after photo, proclaiming how even the worst acne scars could be camouflaged with the right shade. I presumed it must be one of her customers.
The coverage did look pretty fantastic, I had to admit.
Unfortunately for me, despite the fact my teenage years were well and truly over, I think my skin often forgot my true age. Alas, I often got horrible, spotty flare-ups and tended to avoid foundation as I thought it made it worse. According to Harriet, however, the products were full of “lovely ingredients” that would actually benefit spotty skin in the long-term.
“Is the lady in the picture one of your customers?” I asked her.
“Oh goodness no, another presenter shared it so I copied it to use myself ❤ ” Harriet replied.
“Do you have any photos of you using the liquid foundation yourself?”
“No, hun, not yet. 😦 I am gutted; I’ve only got my samples and they’re way too tiny. I’ve been using the pressed powder foundation instead, its just as nice.”
The liquid foundation post had appeared to capture a couple of her VIP members’ interest. They had left comments on the post, asking Harriet about whether they could have a sample to try.
“The foundation has been sooooo popular, that Younique are currently experiencing a huge backlog, huns 😦 ” lamented Harriet. “However, you can order the pressed powder or cream foundation from me TODAY, its just as lovely! ❤ “
“But I really want to try this liquid one out before I commit,” replied Harriet’s potential customer. “When will they have it back in stock?”
“As you’re all my VIPs, I promise I will let you know as soon as the foundation is back in stock and ready to order! It truly is liquid gold! ❤ “
Harriet then drove the point home with this charming image.
I headed into the group chat for a pow-wow with the Butterflies.
“Does anyone actually have a bottle of the liquid foundation?” I asked them.
“I do!! 🙂 ” chimed Scarlett.
“Is it as good as the photo of the lady with acne, in Harriet’s VIP group?”
“Its AMAAAAAZING, babe. ❤ ❤ Honestly, its the best foundation I have ever used. Its in such HUGE demand that practically all shades are out of stock, can you believe it!! Just shows what fantastic products this company produces! 🙂 “
“So I’m guessing that we as presenters can’t even order it, then?”
“No, babe,” Scarlett replied. “Tania said she will give us a heads-up as soon as she hears the word from corporate.”
Well, that was a shame. This “liquid gold” was one of the products I was actually eager to try – the ridiculous little sample blisters we were given in our kit would barely cover a porcelain doll, as I mentioned in previous chapters.
I kid you not; look…
However, Scarlett still had her professional-businesswoman-mentor head on.
“Now girls, just because the foundation is out of stock doesn’t mean you can’t be pushing other products!” she scolded. “There’s pressed powder foundation, cream foundation, BB cream…get the customers hyped up and interested in the alternatives!”
“Its hard to get them interested,” grumbled Harriet. “I mention the powder foundation to them, but all they want is the liquid foundation.”
“Well, try harder, babe! ❤ Its our job to promote the products and share how great they are!”
Why was the liquid foundation in such high demand, you ask?
Do you remember the great Younique surge of 2015, when reps were promoting the foundation by covering up tattoos (and ‘comparing’ the results with other cosmetic brands, like the sample below)…?
Not ringing any bells? Surely you remember; these types of tattoo cover-up images were all over Facebook (Elle’s note: and still are, it would seem)!!
Still no wiser? Okay. How about when the hunbot reps began drawing on their faces with marker pens and posting before-and-after photos? Or, in more extreme cases, videoing it? Like this lady…
Yes, you’re with me now, right?
Well, we can blame those marker-wielding hunbots for the surge in liquid foundation interest. When I look back with wiser eyes, the key problem is, the results really weren’t realistic, honest or feasible. I realise now that a lot of hunbots were actually using the liquid concealer on the tattoos, not the foundation itself. Others were using the concealer and then literally caking the foundation on like cement to cover up the pen stains.
Naturally, when some people received their foundation and realised it wasn’t going to cover a massive pen mark on their face, they got suitably irked. That is where the #Poonique hashtag was born, thanks to this hilarious Facebook video by a young woman named Gracie Dudley. Gracie made a video satirising the way the hunbots drew all over their faces, and inspired me to resurrect my current favourite hashtag.
Yes, I digress. Allow me to return to my original topic – its far too early in the tale for reflections and lessons learned! They’ll come later. 😉
Back to where I was.
Did I feel suitably inspired by Scarlett’s mentoring advice? Had Harriet’s VIP group given me some ideas to push forward with my own one? I still wasn’t sure.
“Have you guys had much success with raffles?” I asked.
“Yes, its a fabulous way to get sales and boost your monthly PRS, especially if people are reluctant to buy something at full-price. Just make sure you keep the raffle in your closed group, hun!” Scarlett warned.
“Why is that?”
“Because technically you could get suspended as a presenter, babe, and lose your business. Plus, you could also get in trouble for holding an unlicensed raffle. Its against the terms of your presenter agreement, didn’t you read it??”
Obviously, I had not.
“Okay, so how else can I drum up interest in my VIP group?”
“Oh, Elle! Hun, surely you can see what we’ve all been doing? Positive posts, all the time. Selfies and videos of you using the products. And NO NEGATIVITY! This is the Law of Attraction, remember? You want people to gravitate towards you. If you’re having a bad day, DO NOT POST IT ON YOUR FACEBOOK! Now, get started on building your empire, you’re a month behind and I’d hate to see you fail!!! ❤ ❤ “
With my Y-sister mentor’s advice firmly ringing in my ears, I went into my VIP group and posted an introduction.
“Hi all, its Elle here. I am super excited to say that I am now a White Status Presenter for Younique. This is an amazing company, helping women to feel uplifted, empowered and validated. Plus, the makeup products themselves are absolutely gorgeous! I’ll be posting some photos and reviews of the products in this group especially for my VIPs, so you can see the results for yourselves. Even better, if you’re local, feel free to come visit for a cuppa, chat and play with makeup! ❤ “
Admittedly, it felt quite forced, typing that. I was certainly not operating within my preferred lexis. However, it was nice to see my Aunty Pat and step-sister Danielle ‘like’ my post. Perhaps they would even be my first customers!
Meanwhile, some frantic notifications were popping up in the Butterfly Babes group chat.
It was Bethany – the lady who had joined Scarlett’s team at the same time as I.
“I’m trying to work my business, but people are being so horrible!!!!” 😥 ” she typed. “All I was trying to do was get my VIP group going! 😥 😥 😥 “
“OMG, what’s happened hun??” came the response from the Butterflies.
And, I think that I shall draw Chapter 5 to a close here.
Poor Bethany really got a rough deal, and I feel that at some point during a future chapter, and her part in my tale deserves to be elaborated on.
Head over to Chapter 6.
This explores where I took the first lumbering steps towards alienating my family and friends. Ah, the fun of being in a pyramid scheme…I mean, MLM. 😉
Until then, keep smashing it, huns.
Oh, and don’t forget, you can subscribe to my blog and get email updates whenever I make a new post – you don’t even need a WordPress account.
I would also like to add that I am now fighting the MLM fight on social media – if you’re on Twitter, please give @ElleBeauBlog a follow (and help me get the #Poonique hashtag trending again!). Alternatively, find Elle Beau, the Anti-Blogger on Facebook.
Please, also check out the good work of the people of Bot Watch and Timeless Vie. They work tirelessly to expose the truth and lies of the MLM industry, so anyone considering this line of work can make a fair, informed decision . In fact, I now have a Recommended Reading page for Anti-MLM writers.
For something a little different to pyramid schemes, I would also recommend a look at what Bad Psychics are up to. Award-winning and seen-on-TV, they have worked to expose false claims made by psychics, mediums and the paranormal since 2003.