In Chapter 7, there were many questions left unanswered. Why was Kerri pissed off after her lucrative party with the Juice Plus rep? How did Bethany expect to succeed if she wasn’t going to get herself a babysitter and take her business seriously? More importantly, what possessed me to spend £102 I couldn’t really afford on makeup?
All this and more will be revealed in…
Chapter 8 – One Giant EEEK for Hun-kind…
Before reading Chapter 8 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.
Oh yes, Kerri was furious.
“I am NEVER doing anything like that again! Next time I host a party, I am doing it ON MY OWN!”
This statement was accompanied by several furious emojis. 😡 😡 😡
The Butterflies flapped to attention.
“OMG, what’s happened hun?? < 3 ”
“Is everything okay, babes?? ”
“PM me hun, if you don’t want to talk about it here!! ”
Kerri launched into an explanation of the torrid affair.
“It was a COMPLETE waste of my time! I am absolutely FUMING!!! 😡 “
Allow me to condense the reasons for her anger here.
As you will recall, Kerri had quite the professional set-up in preparation for her party. Plenty of stock, a banner for her table, posters, and an extremely snazzy purple tracksuit.
I mean, how could it have gone wrong?
“For starters, when the Juice Plus rep arrived, she’d forgotten one of her tables so she had to take over most of my space…! 😡 “
Yes, apparently the Juice Plus rep had brought the whole kit n’ kaboodle with her. And only one fold-out table. That meant that Kerri had to rearrange and condense her product display, in order for the Juice Plus rep to comfortably lay out her wares. This included cardboard cutouts of her success stories, a mountain of stock and an 18.5″ LED TV, playing a slideshow full of the miraculous before-and-after photos of the rep’s customers.
“Then, only FOUR people turned up, when the hostess promised us at least FIFTEEN of her friends and family were coming!!! 😡 “
You see, Kerri was ridiculously excited at the prospect of having at least FIFTEEN potential guests to sell her wares to. That’s why she had gone to so much effort in her banners, displays and purchasing plentiful stock. Naturally, she was disappointed when the guest count dwindled to a miserable halt after the fourth guest arrived. Many had cancelled with the hostess at the last minute, citing that they had double-booked themselves, or simply forgotten and it was far too late for them to turn up now.
“If that wasn’t enough, the fecking Juice Plus rep completely took over and wouldn’t give me a chance to talk! 😡 “
“OMG really?? What a bitch!”
Ah, yes. This Juice Plus rep was a true professional, apparently. Before the party had even commenced, she had told Kerri that this was her fifth one this week. She’d also informed her that she had taken mindset coaching sessions with the revered Lola Affirmation, and invested in public speaking classes. Dare I say it, but I also expect that Kerri was somewhat intimidated by her.
“Plus, she turned up all glam and wearing this red cocktail dress. I felt like such an IDIOT in my tracksuit! 😦 “
“But you looked FABULOUS in your tracksuit, hun! ❤ ” assured Harriet.
“Wait. What do you mean, she looked glam? ” asked Scarlett. “What about you, weren’t you wearing the products??”
“Well yes, but compared to her, I felt so drab!” said Kerri. “She had a manicure, real hair extensions…and looked like her makeup was done by a professional! 😦 “
“That’s the wrong attitude, hun!” said Scarlett. “You’re a makeup consultant, you’ve got to OWN IT and ROCK IT!!!”
“You don’t understand, I tried! 😦 ” protested Kerri.
I think I would have been as equally helpless in Kerri’s position, especially when faced with a super-professional network marketer. Especially one that was apparently so self-assured, so confident and so absorbed in her belief for the products, that she received orders from all four party guests.
“Try not to focus on her for a minute, babe,” said Scarlett. “Did you get to show off your fabulous lashes? Did anyone comment on them?? ❤ “
“One woman did, but she said they looked like spider legs… 😦 She wasn’t trying to be horrible, but I was so taken aback, I wanted to cry.”
“OMG, what a rude cow!” said Harriet. “Ignore people like that, babe, they’re nothing but haters! ❤ “
“Yes, ignore the haters. How many orders did you get, hun? ❤ ” asked Scarlett.
Here was the killer – Kerri didn’t get any orders. Not a single one. Scarlett was incredulous.
“WHAAAAAT?? Not even any interest?? 😮 ” she proclaimed.
“No, 😦 ” responded a dejected Kerri. “They were all too interested in the Juice Plus woman. She was giving out free samples for them to try, even!”
“Well, didn’t you give away any samples? You need to think on your feet, babe!”
“I can’t afford to give anything away for free right now, not even samples! 😦 I’ve spent enough money on stuff for this party as it is!”
Scarlett was unrelenting, though.
“Well, didn’t you have any spare products to demonstrate on the guests??”
“No! 😦 I brought all brand new stock, I didn’t have any demo items apart from the stuff in my own makeup bag!”
“Why didn’t you use that, hun?? ❤ “
“Because its MY makeup, its not hygienic, babe!”
“Why didn’t you do some demos on yourself then?”
“I…didn’t think… 😦 “
The chat was getting quite uncomfortable. I decided to pipe up.
“Kerri, don’t beat yourself up,” I offered. “This was your first proper party, wasn’t it?”
“Yes, my first proper one with people I didn’t really know. 😦 It was a lot harder than when its just your Mum and Grandma sat at the kitchen table.”
“Well, take this as a learning curve in your business, hun,” Scarlett interjected. “You must always, ALWAYS plan a party if you’re going to make it a successful one. ❤ “
“Hmm…you know…I think I’m just going to go to bed,” said Kerri. “I feel like shit, and right now this isn’t helping. 😥 “
“Okay, I’ll PM you tomorrow, babe. ❤ We’ll do a Zoom call and discuss how you can improve for next time,” came Scarlett’s response.
Zoom? Now, that was yet another new term I wasn’t familiar with. I asked the Butterfly Babes what this Zoom was, much to Scarlett’s annoyance.
“Seriously, Elle?? You haven’t downloaded Zoom yet??”
Well, I was duly informed that Zoom would be an essential tool in the building of my business. What exactly is it though, I hear you ask?
It was an app that I simply HAD to download onto my mobile phone, assured Scarlett. In our cases, it was essentially a way of making super-duper-swish conference calls with fellow Y-sisters in your team – for collaborating, training and sharing ideas. This was extra important for situations where you were unable to just meet for a coffee. [Elle’s note: For a more thorough explanation on Zoom, check out the Wikipedia entry here.] Green Imperial Elite Tania had started using it, and its absolute usefulness spread amongst her downlines like wildfire.
Well, at least I could now call myself educated on such matters.
After all the excitement of Kerri’s party failure, I realised just how late it was getting and called it a night. Before I drifted off to sleep, a thought occurred to me…Danielle hadn’t even texted me back…
A few days passed, and eventually my order of makeup that I couldn’t really afford arrived. If you recall, it was the “Kudos” of three Splurge Cream Shadows and exclusive Liquid Eyeliner, Cream Foundation and Liquid Concealer.
I informed the Butterfly Babes that my parcel had arrived, as it seemed to be the social norm in our chat to inform each other of every small Younique-related happening.
“EEEEEK, exciting! ❤ ” said Harriet. “I LOVE delivery day!”
“Make sure you post about how excited you are on Facebook, hun!” reminded Scarlett. “Get people hyped up!”
I really, really didn’t want to do that. It felt so…false.
“Fake it til you make it, hun!” declared Scarlett. “Get people intrigued as to why you’re loving life and loving your business! ❤ “
“Oh, and if you’re planning on using any products for yourself, keep their empty boxes! 🙂 ” said Kerri, who had fully recovered from the trauma of the Juice Plus rep.
“Why though? ” I asked.
It seemed a bit of an odd thing to do.
“Kerri’s right, babes. The more empty product boxes you have, the more you can mix them with incoming parcel contents to make it look like you’re placing huge bulk orders! ❤ Even better, you can even take photos of the empty product boxes to fake deliveries on Facebook, and pretend you’ve got a steady stream of orders arriving! 🙂 “
“Why would I want to do that? ” I asked.
“Hun, I am trying to guide you to succeed in this business, just like Camilla and Tania are for us all. Just trust the process. 😉 “
It didn’t make sense to me at the time, but further down the line, it would. More on that in future chapters, though.
Back to my parcel.
There wasn’t really much here that I could consider ‘stock’, as the liquid eyeliner, foundation and concealer were intended for me to use on myself. As Scarlett assured me; the more product demonstrations I did and the more photos I took for Facebook, the quicker people would become intrigued by the products and want to know more…maybe even place an order.
So, using the selfie function, I took a photo of my bare face from front and sides. I was very tired, and felt zombie-like. Admittedly, I was curious to see if these products could make my face look even remotely human.
I started with the Liquid Concealer.
Quite a small little tube, but in its credit, you only needed to dab a little amount on blemishes and other impurities. However, it was certainly not worth the £23 price tag, even with my 20% commission back. It did do a good job of covering my offending spots, but it did feel like you had to cake it on to get results even close to the one below (which is unfairly biased against bareMinerals in my humble opinion).
Regardless, I was told to trust in the process, so I carried on.
Next on the agenda was the Cream Foundation – supposedly, a viable alternative to the wonderful and mystical Liquid Gold that the Y-sisters were falling over themselves for.
It came with an applicator sponge, which I used to apply to my skin. It did feel nice and soft but again, despite the product’s aesthetically pleasing appearance, it did not seem worth the £25 price tag. The process still had to be trusted, though.
Once I was finished applying the cream foundation, I stepped back to take a look at my handiwork. I was expecting to be blown away, but instead I felt indifferent. I mean, yes the appearance of my blemishes had been reduced and my skin was less sallow…but where was this magical airbrushing effect that the other girls raved about?
Perhaps I was doing it wrong. I fired off my before and after photos to the Butterfly Babes.
“I think it looks good, babe, 🙂 ” offered Bethany, who had been very quiet as of late.
“What did you use to apply it, Elle?” asked Kerri.
“The sponge it came with, what else?”
“Ah, I use the Powder Puff Brush to apply all of my foundation,” she said. “I don’t bother with the sponge, as the brush gives a much better coverage. 🙂 “
“Oh, and don’t forget the Primer, babe!” Scarlett piped up.
More stuff to invest in, really? I hadn’t even made a sale yet, despite Scarlett’s assurances on making my £69 + postage investment back in no time.
“So basically, are you saying I look crap? ” I asked.
“Nooooooooo, babe!” said Scarlett. “We’re saying that you just need to go for the WOW-FACTOR – make people really want these products! Perhaps finish putting all your makeup on, and put a filter on your photos before you post them…”
“Cripes, I’m not doing that,” I said.
“Oh, I just mean for this one time!” said Scarlett. “Just fake it til you make it, until you have more products to get the whole airbrushed look! ❤ “
“Nah. For now, I’m going to work with what I have,” I insisted.
The thought of using filters where I was meant to be demonstrating a foundation seemed a bit wrong, dare I say.
I looked at what I had to play with in my Younique repertoire. There were so many items in this kit that I was originally hoping to sell as stock, but now realising I would have to write them off to use as demos for myself.
That included the Moodstruck Addiction Shadow Palette, which commanded an eye-watering £38 price tag.
There was also a handy little cream shadow brush in my kit, perfect for applying aforementioned eye shadow, and allegedly worth £12…
The eye shadow was pleasant enough in quality, and the little brush had a sturdy wand with soft bristles, but I felt annoyed knowing that both products had a retail value of £50 and I was having to use them on myself instead of selling them.
Never mind, I assured myself. This was all necessary, in order to serve as a walking advertisement for the products. I needed to take a good ‘after’ photo, and I’ll be damned if I was going to use any filters on it.
Once I had finished blending the various shades of the Shadow Palette, I tried the liquid eyeliner that came with my kudos.
As someone with a black eyeliner obsession, I was not impressed with its quality. It felt like I was using a felt-tip pen that was on its last legs. I wanted dramatic, bold, statement! This was anything but. I had to quickly delve into my makeup bag and draw over it with my old faithful They’re Real! Push-Up Liner from Benefit Cosmetics.
I finished off the look with that bloody Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes+ mascara…but I opted out of using those horrible little fibres. I just used the mascara’s base coat and left it at that – I should have just not bothered with it at all, and used my No7 Velvet Lash mascara instead! Scarlett said it was important to love the products though, so I was going to have to give them a chance.
I felt okay, after my little makeup session. I felt very little difference to using my original brands, though…but perhaps I was still being resistant to the opportunity. I ran my look past the Butterflies.
“You look good, babe,” said Scarlett. “Imagine how good you’ll look when you’ve got the full range of products under your belt. 😉 “
“Yeah, eventually, ” I said, hoping that it wouldn’t come to that until I actually made a sale.
Scarlett had some advice for me before posting my makeup photos.
“Now, avoid using any salesy language when talking about the products. Just talk about how amaaaaazing they are, how much you’re loving them and how confident they’ve made you feel. That’s all you have to say, simple as that – you’ll lure interest in that way. ❤ “
“Thing is, though, I’m not really feeling like that about them at the moment, ” I admitted.
“Oh, Elle! You need to get out of that negative mindset, hun. If you don’t act enthusiastic about the products, how can you expect anyone else to want to buy them?? I think they’re amaaaaazing and all my own customers think so, too. ❤ “
Okay, she had a point, and I wanted customers too…so I went with her way of thinking.
I posted my before-and-after photo to my Facebook profile, blathering on about how conscious my blemishes made me feel, and what an uplifting and amaaaaazing confidence boost I’d received simply by putting my Younique makeup on.
Immediately, I received a flood of likes and comments from Scarlett, Bethany, Harriet, Kerri, Camilla and even Green Elite Overlord Hun Tania herself.
“OMG you’re stunning, babe!”
“Those products look fantastic on you!”
“GAWWWWJUS, hun!!! ❤ “
Granted, the other Butterflies were the only people to comment, but it was a start.
A thought popped back into my mind. Danielle still hadn’t texted me back from the other day. I sent her a nudge, and she sent me back a brief response.
“Sorry, I didn’t see your message. Been busy with work, Elle. Hope you’re okay.”
“All good, enjoying my new venture! 🙂 Did you see if any of your colleagues wanted to try anything out?”
It took her a bit longer to reply, with an even shorter message.
“Not at moment. Bit busy now, speak soon.”
“Oh, okay. Are you alright though?”
“Am fine, sis. Speak soon.”
Perhaps she was just a bit stressed with work, I told myself.
Pushing thoughts of Danielle aside, I carried on with my week. When I wasn’t preparing for the next term of college (or the rapidly approaching Christmas holidays), I was religiously applying my makeup, taking selfies and gushing about how wonderful and marvellous Younique makeup was making me feel.
When I didn’t feel like posting photos of myself, I used shared-to-death photos that were passed around by Tania and Camilla in their Facebook training groups, like the one below for example. All tended to be plucked from Google Search, and many of the other girls often tried to pass off the images as their own.
Scarlett had also began making regular makeup tutorial videos and posting them to her Facebook business page, so I found myself sharing those too. I still didn’t want to make my own videos.
I was also following Scarlett’s daily post tasks she set us: making out I was loving life, never putting anything negative on my profile, always praising up the products like they were the best thing since sliced bread. A reminder of what Scarlett was constantly pushing upon us here:
The reality was, I was becoming very frustrated by the lack of interest from my friends, and extremely disappointed with the Cream Foundation. I commented to the Butterflies about how shiny it was making my skin look.
“Cream Foundation is better suited to mature skin,” said Scarlett. “Yours is quite combination, so its not playing well with the texture. You should have gone with the pressed powder, babes. 😦 “
“Wish I’d known that before ordering it,” I grumbled. “I was told that the Cream would be the closest result to the Liquid Gold.”
“You asked the question, so that was my answer. If you were concerned about skin types, you should have mentioned it, babes. ❤ “
The Liquid Gold was still out of stock, at this point, may I hasten to add.
“I really, really can’t afford to buy yet more products right now,” I said.
“Well, look on the bright side, Elle – you can use the Cream as a demo product!” said Scarlett. “When you do a bulk order, get yourself a pressed powder instead! 🙂 “
“Yes, goodness knows when that will be,” I grumbled. “I feel like I’m raving about these products, but getting nowhere.”
“Someone is ALWAYS watching, hun, trust me! Eventually they’ll get so intrigued that they’ll want to find out more. 🙂 “
In Scarlett’s defense, she wasn’t wrong.
Lo and behold – later on that day, James’ 18-year-old sister, Philippa, dropped me a line to enquire about the products!
“Hey, Elle! 🙂 Mum and I saw that you’re selling Younique now – what’s that mascara like out of interest? I’ve heard a lot about it.”
I absolutely loved Philippa and my future mother-in-law(!), Jackie – I wanted to tell them the truth: that it really wasn’t worth the hype, the fibres were annoying and all-in-all it’s grossly overpriced. However, the hunlife was starting to take its hold on me, and I found myself gushing something entirely different.
“Hey, Philippa! Good to hear from you. The mascara is absolutely AWESOME – you’ll never need to worry about having falsies. I wear mine aaaaaaaaall the time! 🙂 “
Wait – did I really just type that?
“Oooh, sounds cool. How much is it? 🙂 “
“£23 🙂 ” I responded, feeling a tingle of anticipation for my first sale.
“Each? Oh, that’s a bit pricy, ” said Philippa.
Anticipation turned to annoyance.
“These are high-end products, Pip, 🙂 ” I said, repeating the same stuff I’d picked up from the Butterflies. “You’ll be getting the same quality as MAC, YSL and all that.”
“Oh, I see. That’s understandable I guess…I don’t usually buy the expensive brands though.”
“You get what you pay for, Pip. You’ll get your money’s worth with this – no falsies required!”
“Its a lot of money for me though, Elle, can’t you give us a discount or anything? “
Philippa was off to University next year, and currently working in the local pub whilst she was saving her pennies up. Now I was in hun-mode, that was irrelevant to me. I found myself bristling with irritation. I wasn’t in a position to offer discounts yet, especially when I hadn’t built up any Y-cash credit, and was still in the red.
I tried to explain to her that as I was still new to the business, I wasn’t able to offer decent discounts as of yet. However, I assured her that the more sales I made, the better discounts and half price products I could offer in the long run.
She still wasn’t sure. I was on the edge of a sale, though – I wasn’t to be deterred.
“Ah, treat yourself and your Mum, Pip, its nearly Christmas. You’re covered by the Love It Guarantee if you don’t get on with it. 🙂 “
That seemed to sway her somewhat.
After a little more sweet talk, Philippa sent me a PayPal payment for £46 so I could put the order through on her behalf. My first official customer order!
I reported in immediately to the Butterfly Babes.
“EEEEEKKKK, exciting!” said Harriet.
“OMG, well done babe!” declared Kerri.
“I just knew your hard work promoting the products would pay off, hun! ❤ ” said a relieved Scarlett.
Then I remembered, I would have to pay postage on any orders under £75. It really didn’t seem fair, me having to pay £6.95 postage for two measly mascaras. Scarlett said the postage was so high as the Younique European Warehouse was based in the Netherlands, but still…!
“Don’t you know anyone else that would like to make a bulk order up?” asked Kerri.
“No, I haven’t had any other interest yet, 😦 “I said.
“Well, perhaps you could buy yourself the pressed powder? 😉 ” suggested Scarlett.
Great, more purchases for myself.
“That still leaves me £4 short though. “
“Oooh, I know, Elle – get the Precision Pencil Sharpener, its £4.95!” piped up Harriet.
Okay, that would work. No doubt my Grandma would give me money for Christmas – I could use that to justify buying the pressed powder for myself. Plus, I’d get my commission back – and also ensure I place the order through a party link, of course!
I processed the order on my website, feeling a sense of relief. It was a relief that was short-lived.
A message from Jackie popped up.
“Elle, I believe our Pip has just sent you some money for some mascaras or something? She’s feeling a bit upset at the moment. She said you told her they were £23 each, but she’s found them being sold on eBay for £7.99 – what are you playing at, Elle? “
“Are you sure? As I have absolutely no idea how that’s even possible, Jackie. I didn’t even know Younique sellers were allowed to sell over eBay… “
What the hell was going on?
Jackie sent me a link, which opened up to this… Yes, a UK seller was offering the mascara for a ridiculously low £7.99…just…how?
“Believe me now? What you’ve done to our Pip is not on, Elle – I didn’t think you were like that. We’ll be wanting our money back NOW. 😡 “
Head over to Chapter 9, and see how I handled my angry future mother-in-law, the advice the Butterflies had for trying to save my first sale…and of course, the wave of unscrupulous huns selling knock-offs over eBay and making life difficult for honest huns trying to make a living.
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Thank you for taking the time to read my posts, please also cast your eyes over the important information below. Until next time – keep rocking 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.
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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.