Welcome to my first attempt at a Younique News Bulletin! Read all about it – we’re well and truly into February 2018, which means that its time for our friends at Younique HQ to release a new Customer Kudos to get their presenters salivating (after all, presenters and customers are the same thing in multi-level marketing).
I don’t know about you all, but I can hardly contain my excitement.
February 14th hails the commercial ridiculousness of St. Valentine’s Day, so naturally, the theme of this kudos is going to be romance-driven. It also means that in terms of the way the presenters market this, social media will be flooded with “men, buy this for your ladies for Valentine’s” shite. Bletch. In case you haven’t noticed, James and I aren’t exactly a romantic couple…so none of that shit in our household. 😉
Look – the social media begging has started already.
“Our corporate team” – pah. Its not “yours” for the umpteenth time.
I’ll come back to the selfie kit thing in a moment. For now, without further ado, behold the “Be Loved Bundle“…
Beginning at 6 a.m. PST on Thursday, February 1, 2018, through 11:59 p.m. PST on Wednesday, February 28, 2018, you lucky sods can get your hands on their exclusive ‘Moodstruck Beloved‘ pressed shadow palette, a crease brush, and your choice of any ‘free’ Lip Bonbons tinted lip balm. So generous.
So, what’s the damage? A grand total of $67 USD, $81 CAD, $96 AUD, $93 NZD, £53 GBP, 73 € EUR, $1,166 MXN or HK$520.
Younique really seem to be going for a ‘limited edition’ angle now. Could this have anything to do with Coty‘s majority influence? Time will tell.
Oh, they can’t use their Y-Cash (product credit) or half-price items allowance to go towards the purchase of this bundle, alas. At least they’ll get 67 party points for the purchase though – every cloud!
Now, working with GBP (my currency), this set retails at £53. Let’s do some quick maths. For the USA breakdown, my good friend MLM Police has covered this in her Happy Valentine’s Day article which I highly recommend.
The crease brush is valued at £12 individually. The lip balm thing is a staggering £18, but for the purpose of this kudos bundle, it is ‘free’. That means that in theory, this limited edition super-duper palette costs £41 (the same price as their standard Quad Palette).
Is it made out of powdered unicorn turds or something? Just because there’s a ‘limited edition’ label slapped on it, Younique Corporate thinks it’s an excuse to rob its presenters blind.
Let’s quickly address this “I need to sell 6 of these sets” appeal in the screenshot above. Apparently, the generous folks at Corporate will send the successful presenter a little something called the ‘Younique Selfie Package’.
On MLM Police’s Instagram feed (@mlmpolice), she has spotted this interesting little snippet in the presenters-only Facebook group.
Note – you can find the original image on her feed, but for the purpose of this article, I have used my sterling photoshop skills to hide all names and identifying features. I may have gone slightly over the top with my editing though.
Its a GAME CHANGER!
To earn this, the presenter will need to sell 6 of the February 2018 Customer Kudos sets. That’s 6 x £53, meaning they will need to either part with £318 of their own money this month, or pester the hell out of their friends and family. Either way, that’s a hell of a price for something you could pick up from eBay or Amazon for a fraction of the cost.
For argument’s sake, just do a search for selfie equipment and accessories. At the time of going to press, you could buy this little kit for £13.99 in new condition, or £11.78 used.
Its not purple or Younique-branded though, which makes all the damn difference.
As you can guess, over in the presenter-only groups, the higher status uplines are whipping their minions into a frenzy, making them think that they’ve GOT TO HAVE IT. [Spoiler Alert]…they don’t.
You know what, if they really want it that badly, then fine – I just wish they’d bear in mind that there are far cost-effective ways to obtain a selfie kit.
That’s enough of that – back to the Kudos contents.
This palette comes with “four captivating colors for a fresh, romantic look” and have equally ridiculous names as the rest of their shades. Meet Unwavering and Alluring, to name but two.
I’m sorry, but even if I did buy into this whole Valentine’s Day bollocks, I wouldn’t be regarding those colours as even slightly romantic. I’d also be ultra concerned if James thought this would be a good idea for a Valentine’s Day gift – thankfully not the case!
That’s four average-looking shades for the lowly price of £41. Do you know what pisses me off the most about this though? If you compare it to their other Shadow Palettes at £38 for 7 shades, you’re actually paying more for less.
The only reason they’re getting away with this type of pricing, in my opinion, is because you can customise the standard Quad Palette to the shades of your choosing. Big whoop. (However, the ‘Be Loved’ palette CANNOT be customised – so they’re stuck with these). I must also mention, “FORO (fear of running out) is never an issue” when you can pay £11 a pop for a Moodstruck Pressed Shadow Refill. Bargain.
During my time with #Poonique, whenever a special Kudos or value bundle came out, our uplines would encourage us downlines to buy them out of our own pockets, and resell individually to ‘make a profit’. Of course, as I can attest, that 99% of the time, that didn’t always work out.
My Y-spies, still lurking in their presenter-only groups, assure me that nothing has changed.
I can see it now – uplines bleating about the benefits of shelling out £53 on this ‘Be Loved Bundle’, to then selling the individual items at a discounted rate to their customers in their closed-privacy Facebook ‘VIP groups’. Why? Because its against the terms of their Presenter Agreement to sell products below the retail price, don’t you know.
Doesn’t stop these clowns from listing below RRP on eBay though…
How they get away with it, I don’t know – selling on auction sites is also against the Presenter Agreement (at least, it was when I was a presenter). I don’t even know what this achieves, as they all end up undercutting each other and sacrificing an already paltry 20-30% commission. Perhaps its just a desperate attempt to hit sales targets, in order to maintain their presenter status? I can only assume they are Pink Status or higher, as those lot will also be making money from their downlines’ sales.
Either way, its not good. Do Younique Corporate care about all these multiple breaches? Obviously not – why would they? As long as these overpriced, sub-par products are getting shilled, I’ll bet they couldn’t care less.
I was a presenter when the Lip Bonbons first launched – I was foolish enough to order the Vanilla Milkshake one for myself.
In essence, I had just paid £18 for a poor-quality version of a ChapStick®. I persevered with it for a time (after all, I had Green Elite Overlord Tania constantly blathering about how we should “believe in the products“), but I think I ended up throwing it in the bin. Even from brand new, it smelt like aged Play-Doh (turns out MLM Police agrees), and had that distinct “meh” appeal. Younique describes it as a “creamy, smooth, and extra-nourishing tinted lip balm“, but I found it lacking. Maybe I just wasn’t applying it correctly, eh? 😉
“…According to Younique’s website the first ingredient listed is castor oil, which is used as a skin conditioning agent. Apparently some people can have an allergic reaction to [it]. The second ingredient listed is coconut oil. If you have dry skin, coconut oil will not help rehydrate your skin; it will just irritate it further…”
MLM Police also adds, “there doesn’t seem to be one straight answer on the internet. Some claim it hydrates lips, others say it drys out lips. Feel free to comment and let me know…”
It will be good to see what she finds out.
Whilst we’re on the subject of ingredients, MLM Police also wants to talk beetles. Not of the motor vehicle or musician variety, may I hasten to add.
“…Younique’s website doesn’t list the ingredients for this [Be Loved] palette,” explains MLM Police. “However, if you look up the other [Pressed Eye Shadows] on their website, you can find [their particular] ingredients…”
So, what is it on the ingredients list that caused her particular interest?
A little something called ‘carmine‘.
“What is carmine you ask? Carmine is dead bugs, specifically beetles. Yup that’s right, people are putting dead beetles on their face…” says MLM Police.
UPDATE 11/02/18: When I first searched for a ‘cochineal scale’ insect, the results that came back typically looked like this little chap below. However, Redditor /u/anopholes had some interesting information for me.
As an entomologist (a scientist who studies insects), they informed me that there’s a significant difference between a cochineal beetle (like the cute little chap above) and a cochineal bug.
“You have a scarab beetle pictured [above] for cochineal, which I think are objectively cute, bumbling insects but aren’t cochineal bugs, which are objectively gross insects (even for me as an entomologist, and my insects of study are mosquitoes). These are the female cochineal bugs that are ground up for dye, the males have wings and I don’t think they’re used for the process:
“I think that since there’s a family of beetles called coccinellidae (ladybirds!), a lot of sources get them mixed up with cochineal bugs. I don’t want to be pedantic, I just think it’s important that folks who think carmine is gross know it’s a hell of a lot more gross than they thought!”
I was grateful to /u/anopholes for the information, and let them know my confusion arose from an initial search for what a ‘cochineal scale’ insect was. They kindly checked this out for me:
“I actually just reverse image searched the scarab and it’s everywhere as a source for cochineal, that’s a crapload of misinformation and I totally see why that happened! If you google cochineal you’ll see lots of images of white, flaky patches of insects in groups on the surface of cacti – those are what you’re looking for!”
“Anything that looks like what you’d think of as a proper beetle (hard wings, etc) isn’t correct; cochineal aren’t beetles; even though a lot of people call them that, they’re true bugs.”
Thanks /u/anopholes! You learn something new every day.
So, this brings us back to the age-old battle of Younique presenters constantly claiming they are cruelty-free (they are certainly not) and vegan-friendly (debatable). Vicki Li of Ethical Elephant says its important to remember that “the terms ‘vegan’ and ‘cruelty-free’ do not mean the same thing.”
In respect of this ingredient, she has this to say in her article ‘What Vegans Need to Know About Carmine‘:
“…Carmine is Not Vegan. Anything that contains carmine or a derivative from the cochineal insect is not vegan. For cosmetics, if a product claims to be cruelty-free, natural, or organic, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is carmine-free…”
“…Carmine is derived from the insect, cochineal, therefore it not considered to be entirely cruelty-free. According to PETA, about 70,000 beetles must be killed to produce one pound of this red dye…”
So, please tell me again why presenters keep spouting such tosh? I would assume its because they have such fantastic role-models in the Younique co-founders, Derek ‘Duh-rek’ Maxfield and Melanie Maxfield Huscroft:
With such feckless attitudes towards obtaining Leaping Bunny certification, even back in 2013, can you really blame their presenters for having such inconsistent information?
I’m sorry, I have strayed away from the original point of this article (to discuss the February 2018 Customer Kudos), but as you can appreciate, this is a subject that both MLM Police and I really don’t want to back down from.
Thus concludes your Younique News Bulletin on the February 2018 Customer Kudos – thank you for tuning in, and we’ll be back soon with more Poonique news!
Also, if you are interested in speaking to Anti-MLMers from the vegan community, my friends here are happy to do so.
Chris Pert (@wildjuggling)
Connect with @AcroTrekker on Twitter.
Jon Donnis (jondonnis.co.uk)
Connect with @JonDonnis on Twitter.