At the end of Chapter 5, the Butterfly Babes were flapping around in the group chat, attempting to comfort an evidently distressed Bethany.
And so, Bethany opened up to us and told us what was wrong, in…
Chapter 6 – Let There Be Huns
Before reading Chapter 6 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.
“OMG, what’s happened hun?? ❤ < 3 ”
“Is everything okay, babes?? 😥 ”
“PM me hun, if you don’t want to talk about it here!! ❤ ”
Bethany responded with a simple: 😥
“Bethany, hun…instead of being cryptic, it would really help if you’d actually tell us!” said Scarlett.
Basically, Bethany had seen how well the other Butterfly Babes were doing, and it made feel like she wasn’t doing enough. No one on her friends-list seemed interested in her Beautiful Butterflies Cosmetics business, so she decided to think outside of the box.
She went into a Facebook “Buy & Sell” group for her local area, and had posted this…
Unfortunately for Bethany, the members of the Buy & Sell group did not take too kindly to her recruitment drive. Here is just a small selection of some of the responses Bethany said she received:
“Let me guess, its one of those bullshit pyramid schemes? 😡 “
“Seriously? People like you who post this shit BORE ME. Piss off with your MLM crap.”
“Oh wow, a work from home opportunity, eh? Let me guess, its a fully legit business, yes? You’re registered with HMRC and declaring your earnings too, right? Bugger off and get a real job. 😡 “
The Butterfly Babes were outraged.
“OMG, they’re just HATERS. I can’t believe they spoke to you like that, babes! ❤ “
“For goodness sake. Pyramid schemes are ILLEGAL. Don’t they even know that?”
“How dare they, we are just trying to work our businesses! They’re just JEALOUS, hun!“
Bethany took a little while to respond, but eventually came back to say that the admins had deleted her post, and given her a warning. If she tried to use their group to recruit again, she’d be banned.
“I don’t get it though, 😥 ” Bethany said. “I’ve seen Juice Plus and Forever Living reps post in there before.”
“Forget about that, hun,” said Scarlett. “We need to focus on where you’re going wrong.”
“Bit harsh, Scarlett,” I said.
“Elle, with all due respect, I’m meant to mentor and train you both to hit your goals. You haven’t even bothered to promote your kit yet. You both need to seriously get working on your businesses this month, or you’re never going to hit your targets.”
Well, I guess that was me told.
Being the mentor that she was, Scarlett kindly gave both Bethany and I a lesson in where we were going wrong.
“You both need to believe in the products, babes!” she said. “How can you expect to attract customers to invest in the product, when you’re not invested yourself? ❤ “
“But how can I do that?” said Bethany. “I try to wear the makeup every day – even when I don’t go out, just in case someone comes to visit – and I am always trying to take selfies. Even when the kids are keeping me busy. 😦 “
“I’m a mum too, lol!” said Scarlett. “But I’m also working my business and mentoring a PINK STATUS team – no excuses, Bethany! ❤ “
Obviously, James and I had no children in the equation, so Scarlett was going to come down even heavier on me.
“Elle, I know you’re studying, but its hardly like you’ve got kids to run around after. You’ve got no excuses either. So, I am going to set you both a challenge – choose a friend or family member, and invite them round for a cuppa with a free makeover thrown in. Easy! ❤ ❤ “
“I’ve barely got enough products to hand to warrant a makeover,” I said.
“Well, you need to build your kit up then, don’t you! I have a huge variety of products in my own kit; you’ve got to build your portfolio so you can show people just how AMAZING these products are! Encourage them to buy something to try, and remind them of the 14-Day Love It Guarantee! ❤ “
We both planned our homework that we had been set. Bethany decided to see if her Mum would accept a makeover, whereas I decided on my step-sister, Danielle. We may not be blood, but we were certainly close – I was banking on her being one of the first to support my business.
So, I sent her an invite to come visit, the general gist being, “fancy coming over for a catch-up and play with makeup?”
“Play with makeup??” came the response. “Who are you, and what have you done with Elle? 😀 “
“I know, I know, its a little venture I am undertaking,” I replied. “Just thought you might like to come over and see what you think? 🙂 “
“You know I’m usually just happy with good ol’ Superdrug, Elle – but anything for my little sister!”
Danielle came for her visit and a coffee. We hadn’t seen each other for a good couple of weeks, so it was great to see her and find out how things were going. However, there was this niggling little feeling lurking in the back of my mind. It was the impulse to drive the conversation away from finding out how Danielle was doing, and push her to instead try out my makeup.
I felt almost ashamed of myself. It was like I wasn’t even absorbing what she was saying, just waiting for my moment to jump in and talk about this amazing opportunity I’d undertaken. However, Danielle gave me my cue.
“So, that’s enough about me. What have you been up to, Elle?”
Think positive, be positive, think Law of Attraction, get her excited about these products…
Honestly, that was all I could think about.
“You know how it is. College is going well, James and I are doing great. I’ve started a little makeup business and I am super-excited about it all.”
Danielle raised an eyebrow.
“How’d you get into this business, Elle?”
“My friend Scarlett was doing really well out of it, so I joined her team and-“
“Wait, did you say ‘joined her team‘? Like one of those pyramid schemes?”
In response, I found myself uttering the most commonly-used phrase in hunbot language…
“Oh, its not a pyramid scheme!“
Danielle’s eyebrow returned to its raised position.
“Okay…so you’re not having to pay anyone a percent of your earnings or anything?”
“Oh no,” I smiled. “Everything I make is mine. Plus, pyramid schemes are illegal, Dani. You know that.”
“Sure, sure. So, what kind of money are you making?”
“Not much yet, I’ve only just got started. I’m White Status at the moment, which means I get 20% back on all orders. That’s more than Avon reps get, you know. Eventually I’ll work my way up and earn more.”
Danielle sighed and took a sip of her coffee.
“Just be careful, Elle,” she said.
“What do you mean?”
“Look, if you’ve found an income that makes you happy, then great. Just…just promise me you’ll keep on track of everything, yeah? Keep a spreadsheet of your ins and outgoings, please promise me that?”
She placed her hand on mine and gave it a little squeeze.
“Yes, Dani,” I said, confused at this exchange. “I just need your support, is all.”
Her eyes had a tinge of sadness in them.
“Okay, sis,” she smiled. “Well, you’d better show me your wares then.”
Thus, the rest of my afternoon catch-up with Danielle was spent playing with my kit (remind yourself of a list of the presenter kit contents in Chapter 4).
As you will recall, I was already doing a pretty piss-poor job as a presenter – I hadn’t given any items in the kit a proper social media demonstration, prior to this moment. Well, now was my time.
The first thing we focused on was the Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes+ Mascara, you know, the ones that the hunbots go into an eeeek-frenzy over.
Obviously, in the interest of hygiene I don’t advocate sharing brushes amongst people, but on this particular occasion, both Dani and I tried playing around with this famous, ground-breaking mascara.
The instructions were simple enough…
Step 1: TRANSPLANTING GEL Apply an even coat of Transplanting Gel to lashes.
Step 2: 3D FIBERS Immediately apply 3D Fibers while Transplanting Gel is wet.
Step 3: TRANSPLANTING GEL Seal the 3D Fibers with Transplanting Gel. Repeat until you’ve reached desired fullness.
Admittedly, yes it does give your lashes length. Those pesky little fibres just happened to be extremely annoying. If they didn’t stick to the gel, they’d settle on your cheekbones and give them a slightly fuzzy appearance. 😉
We persevered, but unfortunately Danielle ended up looking like a slightly milder version of this:
“Can’t say I’m impressed, Elle. Looks like I’ve got cheap falsies on.”
“Perhaps you applied it wrong?” I offered.
“Elle, I’m 33 years old, I think I know how to apply a mascara. This isn’t good, sis. I hope the other stuff in your kit is better.”
I felt hurt, as if Danielle’s disdain of the mascara was a direct insult to me. Yet, Scarlett my mentor-extraordinaire told me to remain positive about the products, so I bit my tongue and smiled.
“This eye pencil is alright,” she said, running the Moodstruck Precision Pencil Eyeliner across the back of her hand.
“Perhaps you’d like to order one?” I beamed.
“Maybe. How much are they?”
I quickly grabbed the copy of the catalogue that came with my kit.
“They’re only £12,” I said, finding the page I needed.
Danielle sucked in her breath.
“Christ. Seems a bit steep for an eyeliner pencil, Elle,” she frowned.
“This is high-quality stuff, Dani, aiming to rival MAC, Urban Decay etc. Of course its going to command a respective price tag.”
“Yes, but MAC and Urban Decay are established brands, Elle. This…well, I don’t even know what this is.”
“Consider it like Avon, but on a high-end scale,” I replied, still trying to keep a positive little trill in my voice.
“It just seems a lot of money to spend on things that we may not like,” she said.
“Well, rest assured you’ll be covered by the 14-Day Love It Guarantee,” I said, my face starting to hurt from all the smiling.
Danielle simply smiled back, but the warmth in that smile did not reach her eyes.
She then had a look at the eye-shadow palette, and dabbed some of the Tenacious cream shadow on the back of her hand. Generally, she seemed just as underwhelmed as I was when I first opened that box. However, I had Scarlett’s advice whizzing across my brain.
Love the products, believe in the products, invest in the products…
“So, would you like to buy the eyeliner pencil?” I prompted.
“I’ll think about it, sis. Perhaps you’ve got some samples I can take away with me, I’ll see if any of the girls at my work might be interested?”
I felt deflated. I was relying on Danielle to be supportive, and help me get started.
I told her I didn’t have any samples, but I would check with my team leader to see how I could go about getting some.
“No worries, Elle. Well, it was nice catching up with you today.”
When she stepped out of the door, she turned around and looked at me, the same sadness in her eyes.
“Elle, remember what I said. Keep a record of everything – what goes in, what comes out. Keep track of it all, yeah? Promise.”
It wasn’t something I’d really thought about, but being my big sister, she’d usually been right.
“I promise,” I said.
That seemed to give her a sense of relief. I bid her farewell, and returned to the Butterfly Babes chat to check-in with the girls.
Bethany had already completed a makeover on her Mum, and was sharing the pictures in the chat.
As you are aware, I won’t share photographs of any of the individuals from my tale, in order to protect their identities. However, to give you an idea of what her Mum’s foundation looked it, it was something like this…
Scarlett went straight for the jugular.
“Bethany! You’ve used way too much foundation, didn’t you put our primer on her first??”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t have any primer. 😦 “
“Haven’t you bought any?”
“I can’t keep buying more stock, Scarlett babe. I’ve already spent a fortune on building up my kit, and I still don’t have any sales! 😦 “
“But you MUST use primer, hun!! Poor woman, you can see her fine lines and everything!!”
“But, my Mum liked it! 😦 ” replied Bethany. “She doesn’t usually wear makeup.”
“Then she doesn’t know any better,” said Scarlett. “Does she want to order anything to try at least??”
“She said its too expensive. Especially as she never really wears it. 😦 “
“Didn’t you mention the 14-Day Love It Guarantee???”
“I forgot! 😦 ” said poor Bethany.
“Well that’s not good. You really need to be making more effort in working your business, babe!”
Scarlett certainly wasn’t pulling any punches today, and I was up next.
“Right, Elle, let’s see your pictures from the makeover with your sister!”
“I…I didn’t take any. We tried out the mascara and the eyeliner though.”
“WHAAAAAT? Elle, you missed a vital opportunity there!! Hun, how do you expect people to see how well these products work, if you’re not going to take photos???”
“The mascara didn’t look very good on her, and she didn’t like it. Plus I couldn’t do a proper makeover because I only really have those silly foundation samples, its not enough.”
“You need to be building your kit, Elle! Haven’t you even ordered anything from the website for yourself yet??”
“Not yet, no.”
“And did your sister even apply the mascara properly?”
“Then she must clearly have a negative attitude towards the products, hun. The mascara is GORGEOUS, hun. Don’t let her damage your business with her negativity.”
Maybe Scarlett was right. Danielle seemed as if she’d put up a wall of resistance the moment I’d got my presenter’s kit out. It was like she didn’t want to support me at all.
But, she was my sister in all but blood. Why wouldn’t she want to support me?
“Its usually jealousy, hun. ❤ You’ve made steps to change your life and run your own business – she’s probably stuck in a boring 9-5 and hating life.”
“Well, in fairness she did ask if I could give her some makeup samples so she could show the girls at work. Can I order samples from my website?”
“Samples? Younique don’t do sample packs, you need to make your own, babe. ❤ “
Another area where I’d failed to do my research.
It transpired out that Scarlett, Kerri and Harriet had been buying these little sample pots from eBay, filling them with makeup from their kit (eyeshadow cream, foundation etc) and selling them in sample sizes to their customers.
Apparently, there was also a “secret” Facebook group by invitation only, where Younique presenters were selling their own little sample kits they had created, to other Younique presenters only. Scarlett assured me that she’d invite me in if I needed the help.
Another additional expense I hadn’t accounted for.
“Its a great way to get someone to buy the products, hun,” assured Scarlett. “Once they sample how wonderful it is, they’ll want to buy their own!! ❤ “
Great, so we had to make our own samples. Which meant, I’d have to buy-in things that I didn’t need, just in case people would want to try them.
“It’s called having stock, babe! People don’t want to wait ages for an order – if you have what they want already to hand, you’ll have a happy customer. It’s business sense!!”
“Yeah,” Kerri chimed in. “I’ve been buying loads of stock in because I am going to be hosting my first Younique party at the weekend, eeeeek!! I’m teaming up with a Juice Plus rep on my friends list, its going to be amaaaaazing!! ❤ ❤ “
“OMG, congrats babe, eeeek! ❤ ❤ ”
Well, it seems that Kerri was storming ahead, working her business and smashing her targets.
Bethany, however, had gone quiet. I noticed she had sent a private message to my inbox.
“I’m so upset about what Scarlett said,” she typed.
“Awww. She’s just trying to get you to hit targets, 🙂 ” I replied.
“I don’t get how she does it. I’ve spent a fortune on buying the products for myself, I just can’t afford it anymore. Especially when I have my kids to think of. No one wants to buy anything from me, and I just don’t know what to do. 😦 “
“Why don’t you do a video, demonstrating how the makeup works on you?”
Bad advice coming from me, considering I was still resisting against making any videos myself.
“I could try, 🙂 ” she said. “I’m a bit nervous though.”
“Its okay. Do a video and share it with us first, I am sure Scarlett would give you some pointers. And be positive, remember what Scarlett says about the Law of Attraction?”
Not that I even knew what the Law of Attraction really was, but hey, that seemed to give Bethany some food for thought. I wasn’t quite sure why she came to me, though, but my thoughts soon turned to how I was going to have to buy some makeup to use on myself.
The magical “liquid gold” foundation was still out of stock, leaving only the cream or powder options…plus I had no idea how to decide on my shade. Organza, Velvet, Taffeta, Satin…not many clues there. I also gave myself a bit of a kick, realising how foolhardy I was signing up to this without even properly reviewing the price of the products. I mean, Love-It Guarantee or not, who really spends £30 on a foundation that they can’t even sample first?
On that note, I think I shall draw this instalment to a close here. Head over to Chapter 7, where I cover how Bethany got on with making her makeup demonstration video, Kerri’s fun and games hosting a party alongside a Juice Plus rep…and of course, the distinct lack of “support” I thought my family had for me. (Now, I see it was actually the complete opposite).
See you next time, keep smashing it, huns. 😉
Have any of you found yourself in a similar position to my step-sister, where you are concerned for a loved one who is wrapped up in MLM? My friends at Bot Watch have produced an interesting article on what to do and how to remain supportive – read it here.
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, join in the discussion with 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 and interesting lifestyle bloggers I think you will enjoy, such as Chammy in Real Life.
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.