The Younique Foundation – Charity or Travesty? Let’s look at the facts…

In the first of her collaborative articles, Elle and new anti-MLM blogger Maz Carrah discuss the hypocrisy and suspicion surrounding the so-called “good intentions” of the Younique Foundation charity.

I told you my anti-MLM mission wasn’t over. 😉

Here, I would like to introduce a new anti-MLM writer, Maz Carrah.  Maz is also a former #Poonique hun, and has kindly agreed to collaborate with me on this article.  She has some serious concerns over the charity known as the Younique Foundation, and is an anti-MLM voice that needs to be heard.

Back in October 2016, anti-MLM activists Timeless Vie produced an excellent article on the Younique Foundation called Younique: “raise awareness of sexual abuse” by buying our makeup, y’all.  

However, here we are a year later, and it would seem the huns are refusing to see what is blatantly staring them in the face.  Maz is new blood to the anti-MLM movement, having joined #Poonique in 2015 and leaving long after I had cut my ties.  She has some major concerns about how Younique is truly doing its bit to help abuse victims.

Over to you, Maz.

[Maz:] I am writing this article from the perspective of an ex-Younique presenter, just like Elle.  One of the main things that pushed me to join Younique is my passion for supporting women who are victims of abuse.  I had built a career on it already and I needed to supplement my income.   The lady who would soon become my upline used that very fact to lure me in, in her recruitment pitch.

younique foundation did you know

After feeding me all the usual bull of how much money presenters are making, how much I could make, car-bonus-this, commission-that, she mentioned the charity called the Younique Foundation (YF).  

When she said that 10% of all sales from Younique Products (YP) go to YF, I was blown away!  What a phenomenal contribution to such a worthy cause.  I was excited and proud to join a company so dedicated to supporting victims of abuse.

the haven retreat
The Haven Retreat [source: http://youniquefoundation.org]
On the surface, it seemed like such a wonderful charity.  For those of you who aren’t aware of what support YF provides, it runs a 4-day retreat known as The Haven Retreat.  It takes groups of 8-12 abuse survivors on a ranch in Utah, USA, where they do group activities, yoga, therapy sessions etc. 

There could never be anyone on this earth that would take issue with a charity like that, right? 


As a hunbot, I am ashamed to say I spouted all the usual propaganda that was fed to me by my upline.  I would share the pictures with captions about supporting sexually abused women, and showcase how this
amazing company donated 10% of its sales to women who had been sexually abused.  

Take this example below, to give you an idea.  As Younique started selling in new territories (across Europe, South America and Australia) I would post my eeeeks and yaaaaaaays about how this globalisation produces more revenue for this “amazing” charity. 

younique foundation did you know help purchase

I was not the only one doing this.  I had been added to my upline’s training group, her upline’s training group, and the Black Status upline above her too. 

Hunbots were in full force gushing and cooing about the 10% donation, how wonderful it was, sharing their self-made photo graphics created on the latest free photo-editing app.  Emojis and stickers were spread as far as the eye could see. 

[Elle:] Just cutting in, Maz. 😉  My Facebook followers were kind enough to share screenshots they found, relating to various nonsense uttered about YF.  Here are a couple of examples, to give the readers an idea of what Maz has mentioned.

[Elle:] I would also like to bring your awareness to the huns saying “100% of the proceeds go to the Younique Foundation” and “once we sell out, we will have funded 1,000 victims of childhood sexual abuse to attend The Haven Retreat“.  I have some concerns with that, which I will bring up further info the article.  I’ll hand you back to Maz.

[Maz:] Thanks, Elle.  Indeed, presenters were even sharing stories of their own sexual abuse, or that of friends/family members, either through videos on their Facebook walls or as sales pitches in their selling groups.  Oh yes, we were going to the top no matter what, and we were taking YF with us!

Well, after all that, I am no longer so sure that this charity is quite so amazeballs, hun.  Let us dig a little deeper.

According to their website, the Younique Foundation was founded in December 2014 by Derek and Shelaine Maxfield.

derek-shelaine.png
Derek & Shelaine Maxfield [source: defendinnocence.org]
It acknowledges Younique Products (YP) as a separate company, but as the primary donor – indeed, YP donated $3,534,560 in the year 2016 to YF (we will come back to this figure later).

Younique is quickly becoming a global seller of cosmetics using the pyramid MLM sales method.  When I joined there were approx. 200,000 presenters in the US and UK.  At the time of writing this there are almost 900,000 across multiple countries. 

The estimated NET sales by Younique last year (2016) is $400,000,000FOUR HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS.  There is no denying that is a lot of revenue.  So, going by the information that drew me in to sign up, that should be an astounding $40,000,000 to YF right? 

I mean, that’s a life-changing amount of money for thousands of women.  Well, let me remind you of the figure I quoted previously from the YF website, in the year 2016 Younique donated $3,534,560.  That is less than 1% of the net sales.  I have tried looking for any confirmation of how much Younique had pledged to donate, and cannot find any solid answer.  I certainly cannot find a promise of 10%.

EDITED Facebook Discussion Defend Innocence Bundle
I don’t think anyone can get a solid answer, Maz! [source: a discussion of the Younique Foundation on Elle Beau’s Facebook page]
I thought that maybe I am just being harsh, perhaps YF was just one of many charities that YP donates to?  I therefore looked into it a little more and found that YP is also the primary donator to Defend Innocence (DI).  Imagine my surprise when I saw that Derek Maxfield is also the founder of this organisation, as well as YP, and YF!  

Defend Innocence is an American charity that raises awareness of child sexual exploitation (CSE).  Now don’t get me wrong, I fully support and advocate raising awareness for CSE and the supporting of victims.  I am however slightly cautious and curious of the fact that a global company with sales of $400m+ only donates to two charities, both of which the founder of the cosmetics company, also founded himself.  Call me a cynic, but I feel very cynical.

[Elle:] Speaking of cynics, I also find it very strange that YF have to state the following on their “Our Story” page.  I’ll just leave this here…

“…The Younique Foundation is profoundly grateful for the relationship we have with Younique Products.  Younique Products, LLC was founded by Derek Maxfield and Melanie Huscroft.  One of the original purposes of founding the cosmetics company was to fund the Foundation.  Younique Products mission is to Uplift, Empower, and Validate women everywhere – including sexual abuse survivors specifically.  The generous support of Younique Products and their Presenters is tremendously valuable and it is impossible to calculate the amazing impact of their support.

Although the Younique Products company is deeply committed to supporting The Younique Foundation, it is important to note that the Foundation was not established to support the company or sell cosmetics.  Inevitably the two will be linked, but the Foundation is 100% focused on helping abuse survivors and is not distracted by the need to promote Younique Products…”

cynical

[Maz:] Words fail me.  Now, let’s return to our thoughts on this Haven Retreat, as both Elle and I have very similar concerns.  

[Elle:] Indeed I do; concerns which many of my Facebook followers have voiced.  In the screenshots provided, I noted that the huns are saying  “100% of the proceeds go to the Younique Foundation” and “once we sell out, we will have funded 1,000 victims of childhood sexual abuse to attend The Haven Retreat“.  

My first argument is, if the YF is so wonderful and generous, why can’t it just send those 1,000 poor victims to the retreat anyway – why do the huns have to bust a gut selling an overpriced bundle?  As Maz has researched, they’re clearly making astronomical amounts in funding.  Why does the future of 1,000 abuse survivors depend on crap bundles of makeup being sold?

EDITED Facebook Discussion Defend Innocence Bundle 100% goes to charity
It gets weirder and weirder [source: a discussion of the Younique Foundation on Elle Beau’s Facebook page]
Secondly, as you will note from the screenshot, my followers are confused by these inconsistent hun-utterings.  Like Blue says – if 100% is going to the charity, then the presenter, her various uplines and Younique themselves won’t actually be making any money on the sales.  Pink also makes an interesting point, which Maz is going to follow up with – YF only really benefits those with viable access to Utah, USA.

[Maz:] Exactly my point.  YF runs up to 3 retreats a month and is open to any survivor of CSE; you just have to fill out a form on their website and someone from the foundation will contact you to complete an application.  The catch?  You have to make your own way there. 

[Elle:] Hence why Purple in my screenshot below says:

The retreat in Utah.  Which people in Hull thought was useful to them…”

(For our transatlantic friends, Hull is in East Yorkshire, UK)

EDITED Facebook Discussion Utah Hull
Purple knows [source: a discussion of the Younique Foundation on Elle Beau’s Facebook page]
[Maz:] That’s right.  So, for survivors outside the US (and indeed plenty within the US) this is an incredibly costly endeavour.  It is not particularly accessible support for their market base.  A quick search on Skyscanner as I am typing tells me the expense for this from London (UK) to Utah would be £1,499 return. Eeeeek, that is a LOT of mascaras.  Better make sure you upsell, Hun.

So realistically, the retreat is not a viable option for UK-based CSE survivors, i.e. my target market.  The average counselling session costs between £35-£50, so for arguments sake lets round it up, that is 30 counselling sessions a survivor could access here for the cost of flights. 

This led me to investigate if this financial barrier meant YF offered support services in all the other territories Younique sells their products in.  The quick answer is No

not surprised.gif

YF applied for Charitable status in the UK and it was declined as it failed to meet 5 out of 20 requirements.  From my research, I can see no other support services for victims of CSE, or awareness raising, apart from Derek Maxfield’s two charities.

something is not right

I am now left with more questions than answers:  

  • Why does Younique only support charities that one of the founders has set up? 
  • If it is so passionate about supporting survivors across the world, why is this support not accessible to all
  • Why are presenters so adamant so much more of the sales goes to this support, when in reality so little does? 
  • Why doesn’t Younique reach out and support other charities in both the US and the other countries that are already established and supporting victims of abuse? 

After all, this is their ethos, this is what inspired them start the company in the first place.  Uplift, Empower and Validate.  They want to share this globally… Or so they say. 

From what I can see the only thing ‘global’ is the profit they are making.

Here in the UK, there are plenty of charities that are crying out for funding.  Government funding cuts mean that these vital support networks are constantly bidding and battling for the pot that is forever shrinking, and being expected to offer more services at a lower cost to get it. 

Younique could have a real impact on this, but it isn’t. 

I have worked for a charity supporting abuse victims.  More donations meant that new roles were created, more staff employed, more people supported.  Charities with highly skilled experts in their field are opening charity shops to fund them, and others are collapsing completely.  Services are being lost. 

I had to stop and ask myself why

Why is this happening, when Younique, the company I am selling for, has said that it is their mission to prevent this?  I had to stop, I couldn’t lie to myself or those who needed and deserved that support any longer. 

I wasn’t helping them.  I wasn’t funding services to empower and uplift them.  I was flogging overpriced mascara that clogged after 2 uses.  

I no longer wanted to be a fraud, or part of the deception.  So, like Elle, I quit Younique.

And just in case the bigwigs at Younique happen across this article , here are a few charities in the UK who support victims of childhood sexual abuse. You know, so you can use the donations from the UK presenters sales to help victims actually in the UK.

The Children’s Society
Pace UK
The Survivors Trust
NWG Network
Barnardo’s
Parents Protect

If you’re not going to help international victims access your so-called retreat in Utah, then what on earth are you doing?

[Elle:] Maz has made some truly powerful points here.  There are so many inconsistencies and discrepancies with this so-called charity, it is giving me a headache.  For people like Maz who are so emotionally invested in helping CSE victims, this is breaking her heart to see the term bandied about so loosely.

To finish, I would also like to show the distaste people have towards some of the presenter’s ridiculous claims about this charity.  The Reddit community are particularly disgusted by this monstrosity.

My Facebook followers are equally passionate about deconstructing the bullshit.

Reddit Facebook Reactions

I would like to thank Maz for her time and efforts in contributing her words for this article, and allowing me the pleasure of hosting her.  She truly is one to look out for – keep an eye out for her on Twitter and Facebook.

If you like what I do, and wish to support my anti-MLM mission (and turn my #Poonique story into a detailed novella), please consider becoming my Patreon.

I’ve also updated my recommended reading page, check it out!

If you would like to share your opinions like Maz has, just drop me a line below.  I look forward to hearing from you.  

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Author: Elle Beau

Ah, hello there. My name is Elle Beau, and I am a former Younique (Poonique) presenter. The aim of this profile will be to anonymously share my experiences of multi-level marketing – something that may create a backlash, outrage, flounces…you name it. However, if my writing can help at least one person from making the mistakes I did, then I’ll be happy with that.

7 thoughts on “The Younique Foundation – Charity or Travesty? Let’s look at the facts…”

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