The final curtain of my #Poonique tale is about to fall. How did I manage to escape the hunlife with my sanity still intact?
This takes us to…
Chapter 15 – The Hunlife is Not For Me (or Crouching #Lossbabe, Hidden #Huntrepeneur)…
Before reading Chapter 15 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 and identifying features have been changed to protect the individuals concerned.
There were certainly big changes in my world of #Poonique. Scarlett had delivered the biggest F-U she could muster, Camilla had buggered off to Maëlle and Overlord Tania decided to recruit Deputy Bianca to handle all of her new downlines.
Part of Deputy Bianca’s bright ideas was to start a Boss Babe Buddy System – in Chapter 14, I was introduced to Marisol, my sweet-but-deluded buddy. Thanks to her dogged determination, we had won the month’s challenge by achieving the most PRS (personal retail sales – the sum of the retail value of all commissionable products that month).
As you will recall, the prize for the winners was something truly to behold. Yes, due to Marisol’s efforts, we had earned an online coaching session with top UK Law of Attraction mindset coach, Lola Affirmation!
Bianca proudly messaged us with an e-voucher, and she wanted proof that we had both contacted Lola to sort out redeeming our coaching sessions.
I had taken a look at Lola Affirmation’s page, and really didn’t like what I saw. She presented this facade of being wonderful, kind and helpful to all network marketers…but that wasn’t the true vibe I was getting. It seemed that she was actually speaking total manipulative nonsense, in order to get people to pay her – just to tell them their negative mindsets are why they’re failing, of course.
However, to shut Bianca up and stop her pestering me, I contacted Lola. As you will note from my below screenshot, this is the first and only contact we had with each other, and my gift voucher remains “unredeemed” to this very day. If anyone wants it, PM me. 😉
I felt like Marisol was going to explode with excitement – she was genuinely happy, and I found that tremendously sad for a variety of reasons. I was sad because I didn’t share the same enthusiasm that she did, but I was also sad that something so ridiculous as getting a sale from her family members had made her so elated. I hope her mindset coaching was worth it.
However, now was my time of contemplation. As you will recall in Chapter 6, my step-sister Danielle had begged me to keep a spreadsheet of all my incomings and outgoings, just so I could keep track of what I was spending. It felt like the right time to look over it. I wanted to review how I was doing, whether I was even doing enough, and if there was anything I could do to put things right.
So, I added up all the columns; what I’d spent buying the items, postage, business expenses, the commission I received, the profit margin of what I actually ended up selling the items for…everything. When I received my answer, my heart sunk.
After all the orders, all the efforts, all the wall-spamming and ridiculous selfies. Yes, I had “got paid in three hours” from order commission and had money sat in my PayQuicker account…but as a “business”, I was nearly £200 in the red and still had a fucktonne of unsold stock sat in boxes. After Scarlett had assured me that I’d “easily make the £69 presenter kit money back“, I felt somewhat sick.
To this day, I am glad that I listened to Danielle, and kept track of everything that I put into this sad excuse for a business. I’ll bet good money that many huns haven’t – they may believe that they’re doing well by reeling the commission in, but are they really recording their true incomings and outgoings? To any huns reading this – perhaps you should try it, you may be surprised.
As I stared at that minus-figure, I felt a mixture of anger and panic. How the heck was I going to recoup that money back, and get rid of this unwanted stock?
This is when the penny finally began its descent – there was this awful acknowledgement gnawing at the back of my head: You’ve been an idiot, Elle.
However, dwelling on this mistake was not going to help the matter. It was time for action stations. I could still pull this back, couldn’t I? I had built up some Y-cash (presenter credit towards half-price/free items, as explained in Chapter 7), and made sure I used all that up by ordering the more popular sellers such as mascara, brow pencils etc, so I could sell those on for a profit.
I also recalled the raffle discussion from Chapter 5, when Scarlett was still our upline. Here’s a reminder of what she had said…
“[Raffles are] 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 had warned.
“Why is that?” I had asked.
“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??”
I didn’t like the idea of holding a raffle in my closed VIP Group, especially if there was a risk of getting in trouble for it. However, it was still an option.
In some of the fellow Butterfly groups I had been a member of, there were presenters doing auction-style posts. For example, they would offer a lipstick and “start the bidding off” at £1.00 for example, and then get people to comment to bid in set increments (i.e. 50p, £1.00 etc). Again, it was bordering on the territory of unlicensed raffles, but still a possibility.
I had to give it a go, right? It wasn’t like I was intending to make a habit out of it, but my mind was made up – I wanted to get rid of this unwanted stock, and I wanted to do it as soon as humanly possible.
I was going to need help to successfully run a raffle. This is where Kerri’s advice was needed. (Also, back in Chapter 12 I said I would elaborate further on raffles in an upcoming instalment – no time like the present).
“Kerri, I think I’m going to need your advice with this raffle stuff,” I messaged her.
“Sure, they’re not too hard to do, 🙂 ❤ ” she replied.
Thus began the lesson on hun-raffles.
Kerri showed me an example raffle she ran a few months back. Here is the screenshot:
In this example, Kerri decided to offer the prize as a £90 spend on her website as opposed to an actual product. You will note that she decided to offer 30 numbers, at £3.00 a number – in my opinion, that seems a bit steep for a bit of a gamble. Turns out that Kerri had to reduce the amount of numbers in the end, as she struggled to sell all 30!
Kerri said that all customers paid for their numbers via PayPal using the Friends & Family option (although as far as I am aware, PayPal frowns upon their service being used in such a way). As PayPal users will be aware, when a payment is made via Friends & Family, there is no buyer protection and no fees involved.
“Oh, if another presenter is running a raffle at the same time as you, you can also do number swaps! 🙂 ” said Kerri. “That means, they get a number on your raffle in exchange for you having a number on their raffle! 😮 ❤ “
That seemed quite obvious, but thanks, Kerri. Seemed a bit weird that a presenter would want to take part in another presenter’s raffle, but I supposed it was a way for them to get further stock to make profit on etc.
Once all numbers have been sold, its then time to do the raffle draw.
“Its best to do a video when you’re doing the draw,” elaborated Kerri. “That way, people can see you’re doing it in an honest way. I either go old-school and put the numbers into a hat, or sometimes I film the screen when I use a random number generator, like on Random.org. Either way, once you’ve got your winners, you sort out the prize with them. Easy as that.”
It was worth a shot, I suppose.
I made this ridiculous photo-collage, and decided to sell 45 numbers at £1 a go – that way, I’d be getting rid of some unwanted stock, covering postage but still making a little bit of a profit.
It took a reasonable amount of pushiness and not-so-subtle begging in my VIP Group, but I managed to get those numbers sold. I didn’t want to use my PayPal account just in case, but fortunately my online banking meant I could be paid via my mobile number.
My draw was done via the old-school names/numbers in a hat, via a video filmed by the exasperated James. I haven’t touched on James’s opinions of my time with Poonique too much (yet), but I can tell you that he was getting fed up with it all. At least he humoured me by helping with the prize draw.
Salima was overjoyed to have won the first prize, with my other lurking VIP members bagging themselves the other prizes.
I attempted one of the auction-style raffles to get rid of the lipsticks in my stock, also. I figured they wouldn’t be as tempting as a raffle prize, as folk tend to be particular about their shades etc.
Another ridiculous photo-collage was created.
I did this for the three lipsticks that still sat in my stockpile after all this time. They sold for the grand totals of £8.00, £9.00 and £7.00 respectively, two of which were won by the same customer. It was a tiny profit on the original cost to me, at least.
I didn’t tell anyone what I was truly trying to do. Not even Kerri knew why I was suddenly making this huge push in my VIP groups. Tania was in there lurking as a “supervisor”, and posted a status about me to her main wall – it proclaimed how proud she was to watch me “rocking my business“, interacting with customers and “getting the products out there“. She didn’t know that I was doing my utmost to get out of this damn “business” with as little financial damage as possible.
So, I had managed to shift a handful of unwanted stock using the raffle technique, so I attempted a second raffle. This time, with an ambitious 60 numbers and yet another silly photo-collage. This included a boxed makeup organiser I had purchased from a discount store and never ended up using.
Unfortunately, my VIP group had run out of enthusiasm for my raffles by then. I struggled to shift those 60 numbers, and had to approach people on my friends-list that weren’t even part of my VIP group. I felt embarrassed by it – I hadn’t spoken or interacted with some of these people for a long time, and here I was popping up just to ask them to take part in my bloody raffle.
Even poor Pip (remember mascaragate of Chapter 11?) agreed to buy a couple of numbers, but I think it was because she almost pitied me.
It took a week of frustration, but finally those numbers shifted and I was able to ditch more unwanted items as prizes. I was seriously done with raffles and auctions by this point…there had to be another way.
It was lucky I had a good memory. There were some particular snippets of information I recalled. One came from Chapter 6, when I was grumbling about the prospect of us making our own samples.
“…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….”
The other memory came from Scarlett’s video-rant of Chapter 14, where she condemned Camilla and Tania. It was the part where she had said this:
“…I also know why Tania manages to maintain her Elite Green Status. Yes, Tania – I know all about how you’re bulk-buying products, and then selling them at cut-price to other presenters in closed-privacy Facebook groups. The world of Younique presenters is smaller than you think….”
I think I had found the answer – I needed to get myself an invite into those groups and sell the rest of my unwanted crap, but now Scarlett had deserted the Y-life, I had lost that particular invite.
I figured Tania would be a good starting point, but how could I get her to add me into these closed-privacy presenter groups, without rousing her suspicion?
Well, if there was one thing my time in the Butterfly Babes had taught me, it was the fine art of bullshit. So that was exactly what I had to do.
I messaged our Green Imperial Elite Overlord, cringing at myself for the incessant crap that was flowing from my keyboard.
“Hi Tania, thank you so much for your recent shoutouts, 🙂 ” I simpered.
“You’re very welcome babe, did your training session with Lola Affirmation help change your mindset? ❤ ❤ “
Yeah…I had completely forgot about redeeming my wonderful prize.
“Oh, haven’t had a chance to book some time with Lola yet, as our schedules have been sooooooo busy!” I said. “We’ll have our coaching session I am sure, I am so looking forward to it!”
“Okay hun. Well, how can I help you today? ❤ ❤ “
“I want to try and take my business more seriously. You know, actually getting hold of sample packs for prospective customers etc. I remember Scarlett mentioned there are special presenter-only groups where you can get stuff like this – can you add me into any?”
“Oh fantastic hun, I am so pleased that you want to push forward with your business. Perhaps it was Scarlett holding you back, as I’ve noticed you’re coming on leaps and bounds now she’s gone! ❤ ❤ ❤ Yes, there are actually several groups I can add you into – would you like me to add you into all of them?”
“Oh yes please! 😀 ” I said, resisting the temptation to punch myself in the face.
“Okay, but I must make you aware – these groups are ultra-secret, hun! Technically, stock-swap groups are against Younique’s compliance, so please keep these to yourself. ❤ “
“Of course. My lips are sealed. 😉 “
And so we have it, I was invited into a shedload of Younique presenter-only Facebook groups – all with secret privacy. In fact, I forgot I was a member of this particular one – would you like a look at the group and its description?
Well here it is anyway: 😉
Here are the rules…eeeek.
Ah yes, this was the perfect place to finally shift my unwanted crud. No more raffles, no more stupid auctions – I could just make back as much money as I could, and leave.
These secret Facebook groups were a mixture of worldwide, Europe-only and UK-only presenters. All were the same though: full of huns trying to flog excess stock, undercutting each other on prices and selling for far, far less than the RRP.
Huns also had to prove they were not mis-selling, by ensuring all photos displayed a handwritten note of their name and the date. Like this very, very recent example here, where they’re already trying to flog their awful August 2017 kudos. This image was very kindly sent to me by a page follower, Maz Carrah (watch this space for more on Maz – she’s new blood in the anti-MLM movement, and has a lot to say!)
Back to my mission – get rid of all my unwanted Poonique stock. So I did. Using my trusted spreadsheet, I calculated how much all this stock had cost me, how much the other presenters were selling their nonsense for, and comparing how much I’d have to charge to ensure I still made a profit. That gave me a headache, but it was worth it to make sure I didn’t come out with minus figures.
On the pretence of “having a stock clear-out” I flogged literally everything: the presenter box, what was left of my foundation samples, catalogues, leaflets, exclusive bags, even half-used demo items…I got rid of every scrap of that damn makeup that I could.
There were some exceptions though – I decided to hold on to two of the Moodstruck Addiction Shadow Palettes, as I had already began using them when I started as a presenter.
Even though they are ridiculously overpriced at £38 each, I will give them credit – they have lasted. Mine are still going strong now…but when they do run out, I’ll be heading to my nearest department store for something of far better value!
When the last stock bundle was sold and posted, I worked out that I had eaten into that minus figure enough to make approx £167. There – that was my Poonique profit after 7 months. Just over £150 bloody quid, and that was just from being savvy in these secret Facebook groups.
It was amazing how quick these other presenters were lapping up each other’s cheap products. Why are they doing it?
Likely, a lot of the hardcore huns will sell them on at a profit. Yes, some of them even sell cut-price via eBay and Amazon, just so they can keep their qualified presenter status for the month. It was really, really sad to see, and thus enforced my decision – I had to get out of this damn company.
My Y-cash was used up, my PayQuicker account had been emptied (oh, including bearing the brunt of their ridiculous fees!) and my unwanted items were now winging their way to new homes. But what’s this? A message in my ‘Others’ inbox from one of the presenter-only group members?
I thought it may have been a straggler who wanted to buy my remaining items but was too late. I was wrong. Instead, it was so much more delightful.
Well now, it would seem that Maëlle huns were lurking around in these presenter groups too, looking to recruit fed-up Youniquers into their downline. Needless to say, I did not respond to that message. Upon looking at “Jane’s” profile, it would seem that things with Faëlle really worked out for her (but they will rise again, huns – rumour has it!!)
No, I was absolutely and unashamedly done with network marketing. I never wanted to touch that shit ever again.
How did I feel? I felt relieved at my decision, but I also completely drained. It was over, at least. Well, there was one final thing I needed to do – I wasn’t going to wait to go inactive, I wanted to make sure that my presenter status was fully terminated.
So I emailed their compliance department. The response I got was something along the lines of:
“…We can definitely cancel your account as a Younique Presenter. However, I also want to ensure your experience with Younique is a positive one.
Are there any questions or concerns I could assist you with, or issues that have not been resolved…?“
Oh goodness, where do I even begin with this one?
I was brutally honest – honesty is the only thing I had left. I told them the products were disgustingly overpriced, the reps were full of nonsense about their income, and it was turning me into a person I really didn’t like.
Naturally, I got the “we’re sorry to see you go” generic response, but also more interestingly, this:
“…As you have decided to terminate your Younique business, we would also suggest reviewing Section 10.6.3. This policy does not allow the use of any social media site through which you have promoted your Younique business as a means of recruiting for another direct selling or network marketing program.
We would also encourage you to review Section 220.127.116.11.5 of your agreement, which states that any domain name used to redirect to your Younique website must be removed or forwarded to www.youniqueproducts.com after your account has been cancelled…”
The reason I mention this, is because I recall Bianca eventually jumping ship to Valentus (oh boy, the fun that we’ve had in the UK with Valentusgate!) She was quite crafty, in that she kept her Younique social media page, and simply changed everything to reflect her coffee crap “business” – I wonder what on earth Younique’s compliance could actually do about that? Not a lot now I reckon, considering Valentus’ current standing in the UK. 😉
Back to the matter in hand – Tania was known to watch her back office like a hawk (this is explained in Chapter 12.5). She would soon notice that I was no longer part of the fold, there was no doubt about that. I was going to have to tell her, and I did feel a sense of dread.
“Hi Tania,” I ventured. “Is it okay if I have a quick word?”
“Of course, hun – what’s wrong?”
“Well…I just wanted to let you know that I’m no longer a presenter.”
“Oh no, is it something I’ve done?? 😥 😥 😥 “
I felt guilty. I don’t know if Tania just happened to be very good at manipulation, but in that moment she made me feel like a terrible person.
“No, its nothing you’ve done, you’ve been great! 🙂 ” I offered.
I wasn’t really feeling up to crushing her spirit, even if she was a Queen #Bossbabe.
“Oh, I’m glad it isn’t my fault. I do always hate to see you girls go, 😦 ” she said. “I am sure you have your reasons, but it is a great shame. Isn’t there anything I can do? 😥 “
“No, I’ve requested for my account be deactivated,” I said. “I don’t think network marketing is for me, that’s all. Plus, I really don’t like the person its turning me into…perhaps I’m just not cut out for this.”
“That’s fair enough, hun,” said Tania. “Please don’t forget me if you ever want to place an order, or come back as a presenter. ❤ ❤ “
“Of course, 🙂 ” I said.
The rest of the Butterflies weren’t so supportive – nobody likes a “traitor” to the Y-life, after all.
Tania had instantly reported my departure to Deputy Bianca, who then ensured I was swiftly removed from all training groups and chats. Kerri noticed, and was instantly flapping away in my inbox.
“Why has Bianca kicked you out, Elle?? 😮 “
“I’m no longer a presenter,” I told her.
“Whaaaaat?? I didn’t even think you were anywhere near going inactive?”
“I wasn’t. I asked compliance to terminate my account.”
“Whyyyyyyyy? 😦 😦 “
“Because I just don’t want to do this shit anymore.”
Kerri knew how to make me feel so much better.
“Bianca and all that lot are going on and on in the chat – saying you’re a failure, and that you didn’t work hard enough at the opportunity, 😦 ” said Kerri.
“Even Marisol? “
“No, she actually tried to defend you, but the others just talked her down.”
“That’s nice of them,” I said, feeling annoyed.
I should have expected it really. They ripped Scarlett to pieces, then Camilla, now me. Those bitches.
I went through my friends-list and deleted every Butterfly that ever added me, even Marisol. I kept Kerri though, for old time’s sake.
It was actually over. My time in the hun-life was well and truly done with. Now was the time for making amends with all those who had been avoiding me like the plague.
Like my step-sister, Danielle.
“I have stopped selling Younique now, Dani,” I messaged her. “I know I’ve made a mistake, can we talk?”
And with that first olive-branch, I worked on getting the friendship with my sister back.
A few days after sending that message, we met for a coffee and talked it over.
“I wasn’t happy about you selling that crap,” she said, taking a sip from her mug. “I know that these schemes are no good – I’ve seen enough Ann Summers and Juice Plus reps to figure that one out.”
She was right, I knew she was right – but it felt really shit having to admit I had made a mistake.
“You know what hurt me the most, Elle? Not being able to have a conversation with you, without you bringing your bloody ‘business’ up. It felt like you didn’t care about my news or seeing how I was doing. All you wanted to try and do was sell shit to me.”
Fuck, I could see why she thought that. In our training groups, the uplines were drumming it into us to bring up the opportunity wherever possible – in reality, we were royally pissing people off.
“You’ve got to realise with these pyramid schemes, the only winners are the people sitting at the top. The people rubbing their hands with glee, whilst all the idiotic minions underneath them do the dirty work for them. Honestly – you’re so smart, why did you fall for that shit?”
Well, that’s not entirely true. I did know – its predominantly because I saw Scarlett projecting this image of being a successful businesswoman and making good money, and I wanted some of that for myself. Of course, it was all a lie.
“It changed you, and not in a good way. How you were always posting inspirational trite, posing in those damn makeup selfies. That’s just not you, Elle.”
“Dani…I’m…I’m just so sorry.”
That lead me to my next train of thought – the disgust with myself, at bullshitting my own friends in turn. People that trusted me, like Mia, Salima and Pip – I’d persuaded them to spend good money on shit makeup, just so I could get a paltry, pathetic commission. What sort of person did that make me?
At the time, whilst all these thoughts were dashing around my head, I resented Scarlett. I was angry at her – how could she deceive us like that? We were meant to be her friends.
Nowadays, I can see that Scarlett was merely mimicking the behaviour she’d witnessed from Camilla, and in turn, Camilla had witnessed the same from her upline. See how the “fake it til you make it” mentality spreads like a virus?
In seriousness, it tore me up inside knowing the effect I’d had on my loved ones. Pip, James’s little sister, had always looked up to me. Now, I had shaken the confidence she had. Jackie, my future mother-in-law, was also wary – so sad, when we had previously had such a good relationship. Then, there was the effect on acquaintances like Trinity (who I visited in Chapter 11) – I looked like an ignorant joke to people who barely knew me.
It was going to take me a long time to build up that trust again – all thanks to the fact I thought it would be a good idea to get involved MLM selling.
And what about James, my partner – what did he think? We sat down and discussed how shit I was feeling about it all.
“Elle, I feel like I’m partly to blame,” James said.
“How on earth is it your fault? I was the idiot who chose to sign up!”
Now, James has actually asked me if he can write a guest post on here, where he gives his perspective on when your partner is involved in MLM, but for now I’ll give a brief overview on why he feels that way. (Read James’ full thoughts here!)
Way back in Chapter 1, James recalled saying the below:
“What about what Kerri and Scarlett are doing? I saw Kerri post something the other day about waking up to a nice little payday in her inbox.”
James feels like he encouraged me somewhat, but I don’t blame him. How could I? He wasn’t the one that signed me up – I did that all by myself. No one had a gun to my head.
As the weeks went on, I felt twisted up inside. I was working on rebuilding my relationships with my loved ones, but I still felt pretty wretched about what had happened. That’s when I discovered the anti-MLM writers that are out there – thanks to a Facebook friend sharing a post on my newsfeed, I found Bot Watch and Timeless Vie.
It was amazing – I had stumbled across a group of people who were speaking out against MLMs. As I poured my eyes across their articles, I began to realise something – I wasn’t the only person who had been shafted by these companies. It wasn’t because of my negative mindset or not working hard enough – it was because 99.9% of people are doomed to fail.
I found myself messaging them, and they all kindly gave me their time to talk about my experience with Younique. These people, they listened. They helped me deconstruct what had happened, and they made me realise it really wasn’t my fault.
The wonderful person behind Bot Watch gave me some fantastic food for thought – they said to bear in mind that we are all victims of MLM. Even the unscrupulous uplines – they may not realise it yet, but they are victims too. They’re so desperate for sales and recruits, they will do and say almost anything. Like I said, the fake-it mentality spreads like a plague.
With this fresh outlook, I eventually stopped feeling angry at Scarlett. I realised just how much of a victim she was too. I even found an overwhelming sense of pity for Bethany, Harriet and even Kerri. It was almost cathartic, to have this bitterness lifted from my shoulders (I felt like a damn #negferret beforehand). 😉
Bot Watch and Timeless Vie inspired me and helped me let things go; I wanted to do my bit too. If I could share the ugly truth of what MLMs did to me, perhaps it would stop others from falling into the same trap.
Both Bot Watch and Timeless Vie suggested getting my experience down in writing, perhaps through an article or feature. However, I am a creative writer at heart – I wanted to tell my story, in my way. That’s how this blog was born.
Bot Watch and Timeless Vie both kindly gave me a helping hand by sharing the early chapters, but I never expected it to have the reach that it does now. Its grown slowly, and is now being read by my UK brethren, and way across the pond – to the USA and Canada, and down-under to Australia. I’m even welcoming readers from Europe and Asia, who are getting plagued by MLMs in their own countries of residence.
I set up Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so that I could interact with my followers between blog posts. I’m now in touch with some fantastic people, and its great to know that an anti-MLM movement is developing.
When I started to receive messages like this (before my #Poonique story had even finished), that’s how I knew I was doing the right thing:
So what happens now, that I have shared this final chapter with you all?
Well, I’m not going anywhere – I am part of the anti-MLM movement whether I like it or not!
There are still articles to write and knowledge to share. I have some guest posts in the pipeline (look out for new anti-MLM writer Maz Carrah!) and will also be sharing stories that other former MLM reps would like to be heard. This blog will continue to be a source of anti-MLM information, and I hope you will all continue to be a part of it. MLMs are a bigger problem than some folk will give them credit for, and I will do my bit to fight them – to stop more Bethanies, Harriets and even Scarletts from getting financially and mentally shafted.
Speaking of them, some folk are curious to know – what happened to the rest of the Butterflies? I will collectively answer your concerns the best I can…
Bethany – She seemed to strike a chord with many of you, as she was a young mum in a vulnerable position. Although she deleted every one of us, I did have a look at her Facebook profile – she looks happy and refreshed in her profile photo, and it appears her hubby is still right there by her side. I hope this alleviates your concerns for this lady.
Harriet – Not sure on Harriet – she was removed from my friends-list when I went on my deleting spree. Again, I had a nosey at her profile, she looks well, and has no sign of getting involved with any other MLMs.
Marisol – Well, all I can tell you is, Marisol appears to have jumped ship from her beloved Younique to Acti-Labs. Yes, that’s yet another MLM. I took some great screenshots from her profile, which can be seen in one of my Poonique epilogues: Whatever Became of Marisol?
Kerri – She’s still in my friend-circle. She stopped pushing Younique so much on her profile, and just ended up placing orders for herself and her mum. She’s since gone inactive, and admits that generally it was a waste of her time being a presenter,
Scarlett – I am pleased to say that Scarlett and I are back in contact with one another – I kept thinking about her, and reached out. She is aware of my blog, there are no hard feelings, and has given it her blessing – in her words “it was all a bit of a big fuck-up, wasn’t it!” In fact, she kindly provided an interview in my Poonique epilogue. She took some time out due to mental health, became a qualified MUA (makeup artist) and has since launched indie-brand Kapow Cosmetics – that’s what she’s good at, after all.
Camilla – Obviously, Faëlle didn’t work out for her. A quick nose of her social media accounts tells me she’s jumped ship to LipSense…say no more.
Tania – Has stopped posting about Younique, appears to have started peddling Valentus coffee crap along with Bianca…obviously they’ve now removed any mention of Valentus from their profiles. 😉
Mia – Has forgiven me for my sins, after we had a heart-to-heart and I grovelled. She’s cool, we’re still pals, and she’s become an active anti-MLMer.
I think that’s everyone of import – if I have forgotten anyone, let me know in the comments.
If you have enjoyed my story and anti-MLM mission thus far, please consider becoming my Patron. Any and all support is very much appreciated.
What’s next for Elle Beau?
On reflection, I do feel that I would like to rewrite my Poonique story into a proper novella – whether its an ebook, or if I find someone who would put me in print. The main reason being, I missed out “the smaller stuff” for the purpose of keeping the reader interested and driving the tale forward. When I wrote this blog, I wanted to mainly focus on the dodgy tactics I experienced, but on reflection I would like to talk more in-depth about everything I can remember.
I would like to rewrite my tale with the spreadsheet as more of a prominent reference point – it will also help me recall things in chronological order (i.e. when certain monthly kudos were released, little paltry orders etc). Mia is still lurking in some of the training groups, and is finding me screenshots to illustrate certain chapters. So, as well as writing anti-MLM articles, I will be working on producing a full, comprehensive story in the interim.
If you like the anti-MLM aims I am working towards, please consider supporting me via Patreon. Anything is gratefully received.
I think that wraps up my final chapter of my #Poonique tale – what a ride, and thanks for sticking with me. Stay subscribed for upcoming anti-MLM news and articles, and of course the ever-popular #ShitHunsSay screenshots.
I can’t believe the #Poonique tale is over…but its definitely not the end of Elle Beau’s mission. 😉
Don’t forget to join 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. I am also on Instagram now – look for @ellebeaublog!
Are you stuck in a MLM and are looking for a way to leave? My friends at Bot Watch have produced a fantastic guide on how to get out – read it here.
Or, are any of you concerned for a loved one who is totally and utterly wrapped up in MLM? Bot Watch have advice for you on what to do and how to remain supportive – read it here.
Please, also check out the good work of the people of Bot Watch, Juice Plus/MLM Lies Exposed 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.
This blog, WOW. I stayed up almost all night reading this. You got mentioned over on an Essential baby thread, and well, Even I had to take a pause in my writing to read this! I’ve never been a fan of MLM, and you have written a brilliant blog. I hope to see it in book form, it’s worth it for sure. Best of luck!
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Wow loving your blog. Thanks so much for sharing. It was intense. Oh and I’m in South Africa so you’ve probably reached people further than you realise. Take care
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As a man, I find it so ridiculous what these Younique women are doing and the lies they are selling. I know quite a few whose every picture features a coffee mug with “boss babe” on it or some other stupid saying so when I read it here it made me laugh. Literally every woman who does this is a carbon copy. Claiming they run a makeup empire and ridiculous things like this. I recall so many times seeing women brag about their sales and color level, and I’m looking at the commission schedule realizing that her “success” is literally measured in hundreds of dollars, yet they claim it has changed their lives. WHen I see “woohoo it’s the last day of the month and I just made yellow status I’m so empowered and badass” and I’m thinking okay so you made what $250 in the last 30 days and you likely spent all of that on things to feature in your incessant selfies? Here in the US holding a starbucks cup in a daily selfie is apparently a sign that you’re a boss babe?!
I can’t imagine the life of a husband whose wife has been sucked into this. Every time he walks into the room she is posing in front of her cellphone in full makeup, even though it’s thursday night at 10pm and she’s been home all day. Just ridiculous. They go from talking about how simple it is to run a business from your smartphone in your free time and literally anyone can do it, to claiming how hard they work often staying up all hours of the night and are entrepreneurs running empires. Which is it?!
I literally fear meeting a woman who succumbs to this garbage because I would NOT put up with the delusion deceit and denial that this mlm business requires from the women. I would break off a relationship over it, and if I was married, it would be bad. These women can’t be wives mothers or anything but younique drones once they get sucked it. And any husband/boyfriend who objects or tries to get them to stop is slammed for being the dream crusher and the unsupportive jealous troll. One presenter who I know she and her husband, he was inflamed about it all, the constant selfies, the cellphone addiction, the fact that all she did was breathe Younique and for very little upside (less than $1000 month after over a year of it) his complaints led her to drag him to couples counseling where his opinion and thoughts were buried and the girl had the nerve to advertise to all of her followers that they had been going to counseling “because you’re never too good to grow” is what she said. Poor sap. Like who goes to counseling to ‘grow’? That’s not why they were there at all! It was directly and only about the Younique cult garbage lifestyle that she took on. Of course she made the post segway into how you can grow yourself by selling Younique… I literally cussed at my computer screen and shed a tear for him.
Younique has particular appeal to young women because they all want to be posting glamorous selfies all day anyway, livestreaming themselves to audiences, patrolling a smartphone like their life depends on it, and Younique is a custom made recipe that includes all of these ingredients with the added promise of fame and riches for doing it. These founders really knew what they were doing when they concocted this one. It’s like a drug that comes with a cult of other drug users for you to be sisters with.
I still can’t figure out the Uplift Empower Validate part. These are nothing more than buzz words. How does buying or selling makeup uplift anyone? Empower – the corner store sells makeup and employs people, does that make it empowering too? Validate? Oh my goood. Like you’re only valid if you are validated by buying or selling Younique. I could vomit. Instead of Uplift Empower and Validate it should be Pictures Posts and Profit. Would still be a bit of a lie, but much more fitting
I really enjoyed reading your blog. It is very nicely done. Interesting to hear the differences similarities in this cult between the UK and the US. There they call it “rocking the business” here they call it “slaying the business”. Yep slaying. Ridiculous. And they call the downline their “squad”. “Squad goals!” “Slay girl slay!” The phrases are mind numbing and every single presenter uses them. When one of the posts goes up, every presenter replies to it with “Yassss girl Preach” and a host of emojis.
I’m done, I’m ranting, but it was a fun read and would have loved it being an actual conversation with you. I’ve watched this go down and observed so much, and really never spoken about it to anyone except the hubby of a Y girl. I can only imagine how many relationships have been trashed by this MLM garbage. I hope it never infects my relationship in the future, I actually worry about that.
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[…] Indeed, former Younique presenter Elle Beau got a nasty shock when she calculated her expenses: […]
I really enjoyed reading your blog about Younique. I have bought a couple of things to try from a presenter friend in the past and she gets annoyed when I compare the items to something else, especially if I have a better and cheaper product in my make up bag. She always comments on how long lasting the splash liquid lipstick is and I always comment on how much better kat Von D (everlasting liquid lip) is!
This applies to all MLM not just poonique. I also knew someone who did Utility Wherehouse and peddled it like mad and then suddenly one day abandoned it.
What are you doing at college/uni? I definitely think you should write a book. I stayed up last night reading this blog because it was very entertaining 😄.
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Hello Gemma, thank you. Don’t forget to check out mlmtruth.org 😊
I studied English Literature, always been my favourite academic subject.
Really awesome to read the perspective of someone who experienced MLM stuff and figured it out eventually. I’d never understood how people could get involved in such things, but after reading your blog I can really see how easy it might be for people to fall for these traps, and how tough it can be to get out with so much “positive reinforcement” from everyone else involved.
It can be hard to talk about things you’re embarrassed or ashamed of, so cheers for sharing it in all of its glory. I really feel like I learned something today.
Also kinda makes me chuckle about all the mums that were “doing the avon catalogue” when I was a kid… oh dear!
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I found your blog following a link on DDR (fb rant group :P) and have spent ALL DAY reading it!
You have a flare for writing, I’d love to read some sort of fiction if you’ve ever written any? Your humour strikes a chord, if you’ve not written a novel/la yet ~ do it!
Thanks for an entertaining, educational days reading 🙂
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I’ve just spent two days reading your story and quite frankly, that was one of the scariest thing I’ve read. There is so much mental manipulation going on that it was painful to read and I’m actually relieved you got out of that.
I’m afraid I have a friend in a similar situation with another brand ….
Keep writing, you’re really good at it, and good luck !
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I’ve never been involved in an MLM but know people who have been and still are. These companies prey on women especially those in somewhat vulnerable financial positions and that just galls me.
I read your Poonique blog over the past 24 hours. You’re a wonderful and entertaining writer who has provided a public service with your Poonique series. I intend to share it with anyone considering or already involved in an MLM.
Now i’m off to read all the comments I skipped!
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This was a very enlightening tale! I have never been involved in a MLM but I have cousins who are and growing up my parents had been involved with Amway (barf), even from a young age I always thought they were a scam. It was really awesome to read about how it was so easy for you to get sucked into the cult of Younique.
I’m in California and found you through a post on r/antiMLM on Reddit! I have a feeling you will be getting some serious traction on your blog because of the post on Reddit!
Well done and continue to share!
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Here’s the link for the Reddit post you are mentioned in…
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Wow I just binge read every chapter of this story! Major “page turner”. I lived in the Mecca of MLM’s (Utah) for about 10 years (just around the corner of Younique actually). I’ve fortunately never fell prey to one but know A LOT of friends who have. Utah is the perfect spot because due to the predominant religion there, there are A LOT of stay at home mothers without an education. It’s pretty sick that these companies prey on such a vulnerable women but this is why they’re so successful there. I’ve purchased a couple overpriced things here and there (bc I actually make an income) and truly feel bad for some of my friends, but perhaps I’m doing a disservice to them. These companies’ predatory tactics really disgust me because motherhood is so challenging on its own right. I never feel bothered by these women bombarding me with sales pitches and status updates because I know they’re truly victims. I do feel quite angry at the founders though. Part of me just wants to be like “well I’ll give you a $50 donation (instead of purchasing some overpriced item)” but know that wouldn’t go over well. Thank you for fighting the good fight!
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What a great read! I have to admit to being slightly taken in by the makeup hype, although I knew better than to try to be a presenter! Cannot be ars3d with all that!
A friend became a presenter back in February and although I was sceptical and had NEVER spent more than 12 for either mascara, foundation or lipstick, I decided I ought to help her out to start her off, so I bought an Epic mascara for £15.80 (she was doing a ‘promotion’). My favourite up to then had been by Boots No.7 (and had been a freebie in a gift set!!). To my surprise, I actually really loved it, so when she said she was having a Younique party at her house, I agreed to go along. At the party I shelled out £30 for the liquid foundation, but actually won a free eyeliner!
I know people have slated the foundation and I agree it’s overpriced, but I do like the coverage on my skin, and how light it feels compared to the Perfect Match type ones I had been using – and I did buy another last month, but ONLY because of the shade guarantee, where I could get another for free if I ‘didn’t like it’, which I treated as a BOGOF to get two for the price of one.
By this time, the Presenter Kit had been upgraded and I worked out that I could, indeed, get £230 of their makeup for £69, which seemed like a bargain, especially since it would be a birthday present and opening a sh1t-ton of new makeup is one of my favourite things 😀
The 3D mascara is crap. Flakes everywhere and gets in my eyes. Awful. Still love the Epic, concealer and foundation. Fixing powder is no better than the £1.99 Rimmel face powder I use. Lip stains and Splash feel nice but come off everywhere, hopeless compared to the 12hr Maybellines and L’Oreals. I like all the eyeshadows and eyeliners I have.
Basically, as a buyer, I do not regret my foray into Younique. I got a ton of stuff I enjoy playing with. But I do feel sorry for my two friends who are trying desperately to make some money. One has made it to yellow status but I feel that they’ve exhausted the goodwill and spare cash of people on their friends lists and seeing the spam multiple times a day on my wall does get wearing. Now I know exactly why they’re doing it to death! Rather them than me!
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Oh my. That was like being on the most adrenalin-pumping ride at Alton Towers. I’m sad there aren’t any more chapters in this saga – I was thoroughly engrossed in this saga. I can imagine flogging something 24×7 can be quite enervating, and how exhausted you and those who love you must have been by it all. The pressures to gain orders and recruits – wow! I’m surprised half the MLMers aren’t clinically depressed by it all.
I’ve always wondered why on earth the makers/founders/owners choose not to sell in shops, but only through people. Surely the former will get their name out there, and, if the product is good, bring about more success than what can be brought about by a few people flogging them? My Dad got taken in by a business partner’s wife and ended up buying enough Tupperware to fill the kitchen, and Mum threw a hissy fit and flung the lot at the wall. She then fell for an Avon lady’s talk, and ended up buying lipstick only to throw it away because it reeked of wax a few weeks later (the Avon lady accused Mum of “burning it in the kitchen since that’s the only way it can stink of wax”). Ever since then, my parents had this “Not in store, not to buy” policy, and I suppose that’s why I haven’t been interested.
Some of the flogging is incredibly stalky, though. Some months ago, Dad got bitten by a grass snake, and had some swelling and inflammation. I posted that Dad got bitten on my Facebook, and some complete stranger who wasn’t even on my friends’ list promptly messages me, saying her amazing “essential oil” will promptly cure snakebite, “even that of a poisonous cobra”. Don’t they teach any science to MLMers?
Anyway, I look forward to browsing through the rest of your blog, and then going through some of the other links including the MLM Truths blog. Thanks again for an honest, eye-opening, and utterly engrossing read.
Wild ride, gal. Just wild. I’m so glad you got out. It’s amazing how these companies can just chew people up and spit them out. I knew those Butterfly Babes would be bad-mouthing you. In the Deep South, where I lived for some years, they had a saying that applies: If someone will talk about others behind their backs to you, then they are probably already talking about you behind your back with others.
I only briefly joined an MLM – didn’t even get the intro kit, thanks to a snafu – but I’m thankful for that snafu. I saw it destroy the life of a young man in my friends circle, and he’s still a total fuckup last I heard. Thanks for what you do and for spreading the word. You’re an amazing resource.
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Not ashamed to say that I flaked on studying and work this weekend to devour every post of your Poonique saga. Fucking incredible stuff, Elle. You are an amazing writer! I am in a few Anti MLM groups on Facebook but the content on this blog has trumped all of the stuff I could ever read there, I always wanted to know the inner workings of things like this. I am sorry that you and your fellow MLM-ers had to go through so much stress, but the fact that you are shining so much awareness on this makes it worth it.
Going to have a look through the rest of your blog now!
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Im a younique presenter and slowly discovering what it all is truly… they are some products i love and some i dont… we are preach to fake it till you make it… i never felt comfortable telling lies like how my inbox was blowing up etc… i am and will always be honnest. Your blog open my eyes about the true nature of this mlm. it might not have started with bad intention but now its all about the sell and recruiting.now i monstly will buy for me and friends since they are some good product. thank you for this amazing blog!
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I found your blog via the anti-MLM subreddit, and oh my goodness, I LOVE it! What started as a cursory glance at your story turned into me staying up far, far past my bedtime to read every last word of your story. I have had close family members get into MLMs and (awkwardly) pressure me to buy their wares, but I don’t think I ever truly appreciated the magnitude of damage these awful pyramid schemes inflict on their victims. Thank you so much for putting words to your story (and telling it so well).
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Wow this blog is amazing!! I became a poonique presenter around the same time as you (as a kitnapper and made it to yellow status) for about 6 months. My experience was so similar to yours and I felt the exact same way after I got out, guilty and ashamed for falling for something like this! I guess I was somewhat naive because I didn’t think “poonique” was a pyramid scheme at all, judging by the way my “recruiter” posted all the time. It legit seemed like a real business. Thankfully I wised up and got out, but I still to this day feel like an idiot. Your blog has helped me feel better though because I see how cookie cutter this whole company is (and not in a good way) with their training “techniques” basically they just want the presenters to buy everything to keep them in business!
I was also not impressed with the products especially the holy grail of foundations that was backorder forever (it had a strong smell to it as well) There were a few ok products but not worth the $$ or hassling my friends. I was never one to message random people.
Anyway just wanted to say thank you for the blog, I will check out your other stories and keep up the good fight!!
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[…] people they know to buy their products and even join them in the ‘income opportunity’. This experience by ex-Younique rep Elle Beau is just one […]
i found your blog thru one antimlm article as i was googleing about younique and finished reading just now. Thx for putting your story into words.
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Thanks for writing all this, Elle!
These MLM schemes prey on stay at home moms, students, and disabled people who are unable to gain steady employment. I am deaf, and I see many people in the deaf community push Young Living, Body Boss, and Arbonne. Sadly, I have a reputation for being “negative”, so I don’t seem to have any credibility when I warn people that they’ve gotten involved in a pyramid scheme. I don’t want to hurt my friends’ feelings.
The more I learn about MLM scams, the more frustrated I become. I can’t stop reading about it though, it’s all so fascinating to me!
I loved reading your story! It’s incredibly fascinating and very well written. But being a grammar fan myself (you mentioned your love for punctuation), I have to point out that there’s a huge difference between “its” and “it’s” 😉 so, Kerri became Kerry a couple of times.
This was soooo enlightening to me. I’m an affiliate marketer, and was researching MLMs for a blog post, when I found this. I’ll be linking to you in the article when I publish shortly. Good luck with whatever you’re doing now.
Wow that was a journey, honestly what a fantastic bit of writing and thanks so much for giving as much detail as you did as to how these things work! I’ve seen a few friends start with various companies and took part in a few raffles to help them out but can see that none of them last. It’s so important people speak out about them, so thank you! Brilliant stuff.