Be your own Boss. There’s no other phrase sounds more attractive than that. Especially if you’re in your mid- 20s to 30s — a time when you’re starting and building a career, and making your own money, and chasing your dreams.
Most likely, you have chanced upon Arbonne. The Arbonne MLM company is definitely one of the most well-known network marketing programs on the planet. Arbonne people are taking into social media to promote to a friend and advance this so-called business opportunity that vows to give people financial freedom while making money right out of their mobile phones.
Does that ring a bell? Well, a great deal of multi-level marketing companies like Arbonne employs similar catchphrases on their social media posts. They sound like your average elevator pitches. And it works… After all, who doesn’t want to have their own business, own their time? Work from anywhere and gain financial freedom?
It sounds amazing, right? And it definitely sounds too good to be true, and you must have heard that adage from other people —if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
If that has piqued your curiosity about Arbonne — get cushy, and let’s dig in.
What is Arbonne?
Arbonne International LLC is a multi-level marketing company or network marketing that markets beauty products tagged as “cruelty-free.” In 1975, Arbonne was established in Norway. However, five years later, Petter Morck, Arbonne’s founder, built its international HQ in the United States, particularly in Irvine City, California.
Quick Facts on Arbonne
Company name: Arbonne International LLC
Founder: Petter Morck
Name history: Arbonne was based on Arbon, a lush, nature-centric village in Switzerland.
Headquarters: 9400 Jeronimo Rd, Irvine, CA 92618-1907
BBB Rating: A+
What do Arbonne Consultants sell?
Arbonne markets and sells itself as a health and beauty company. Arbonne sells and retails beauty products, including nutritional supplements, skincare, makeup, and hair care products. Arbonne purports that all — as in everything — of their products are completely and wholly vegan and only utilize the best incomparable and unsurpassed ingredients. Arbonne says that their premium quality components are the reason why their products are so costly and expensive. In fact, if you check their website and go to their FAQs, you will find the question — “Why is Arbonne so Expensive?”
Arbonne actually does not have brick-and-mortar or physical stores where one could buy their products. As an alternative, their products and commodities can be found online, where their ‘distributors’ sell and advertise on their social media accounts. Most of the time, these distributors would show themselves using the products. They also create videos to showcase how well the Arbonne products are.
The brand has partnered with some independent third-party certification organizations to back up its claims and formulation standards.
Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO)
This organization has certified more than 50 products of this vegan MLM to be “gluten-free.”
Known as the gold standard in cruelty-free certification for household and personal care product companies, Leaping Bunny has certified that Arbonne does not use animals in testing their products at any stage of product studies.
Arbonne worked its way to secure a Vegan trademark on the labels of all its products. This certification confirms that the entity did not use any animal as an ingredient. Vegan Society also confirms the entity did not use animals in their testing.
The Orthodox Union has certified this brand to be OU Kosher. This means that the entity complies with kosher requirements in its manufacturing facilities.
To cater to the Muslim customers, the entity also acquired a certification to be “Halal.” This Arabic word means lawful. If a product is certified as Halal, it is free from any prohibited factors from consumption, per Islamic Law.
Non-GMO Project also certified this brand for conforming to the non-GMO standards for ingredients.
Will it be easy to sell these products of Yves Rocher?
This MLM company boasts that they only use plant-based ingredients in all their products, claiming to offer 100% Vegan Certified items, which are all backed by clinical research. Arbonne collaborated with the best experts in integrative medicine, focusing on improving people’s wellbeing.
This factor probably caught the attention of the prominent cosmetic brand Yves Rocher. In 2018, Yves Rocher, the famous health and beauty brand, took ownership of Arbonne.
Having a prominent Yves Rocher name linked to Arbonne, it would be easier to sell these plant-based cosmetics, skincare, nutritional supplements, and hair care products.
Now, you will find consultants promoting these vegan products in the United States, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, Poland, and New Zealand.
Is Arbonne an MLM?
As mentioned earlier, Arbonne does not have a physical store. The ‘distributors’ are the ones that push their products online or on their social media accounts. Through this platform, Arbonne reps earn commission from selling their products. In addition to that, the distributors also can make money by recruiting or signing up other people into the MLM scheme.
There you go, Arbonne is definitely a network marketing or MLM company. Each individual that the Arbonne reps recruit will become their ‘downline.’ After several promising sales pitches, the one who recruited or asked that potential recruit to sign up is called the ‘upline.’ Of course, it should be noted that the consultants also collect bonuses for each person that they ask to sign up. Consultants will also get a bonus for every person their downline signs up. Also, they get bonuses for every single item that their downline sells.
Therefore, the more folks join you and sign up, the more money you can earn. Then you get to harvest the advantages of passive income produced by your downline. For this reason, it is called MLM.
Is Arbonne a pyramid scheme?
Believe it or not, this question is actually the most popular question you would come across online. The same thing goes with other MLMs out there. Needless to say, this question is often met up with heavy justifications and defensiveness from seniors of MLMs.
Before we go back and answer that question, let’s define what a pyramid scheme is.
What is a pyramid scheme?
What’s the first thing that comes across your mind when you hear the phrase “pyramid scheme?” It probably conjures up images of scams and trickery. Rightly so, a
pyramid scheme is a business model that recruits and signs up its members by laying hold of a primary investment from the members. These people are then promised that once they register others to join the scheme, they will also get paid. Essentially, recruitment is the main thing, instead of supplying or selling products. As members or, in this case, representatives or distributors grow in number, recruiting swiftly becomes impractical and unfeasible. In the process, most of these distributors do not get any financial gain or even get their initial or primary investment back.
Obviously, pyramid schemes bad. They are designed and created only to benefit those at the top while making it beyond the bounds of possibility for those down below to succeed and make it. Those who are into pyramid schemes push a dream to the people with promises that “anybody can achieve success and anyone can make it.” Unfortunately, based on research and statistics, this promise is definitely impossible. It’s the classic case of all sizzle and no steak — or an empty promise.
The more folks invest their cash into the program, the more money the ones on top get. While the ones down below never get to collect their initial investment back. Let alone fulfill their dreams.
Pyramid schemes are, in fact, illegal in many countries. They say you can earn more money through wager and placing bets than putting your money into a pyramid scheme.
So is Arbonne Illegal? a Pyramid Scheme?
Let’s look into how Arbonne works.
Arbonne distributors or sellers, more often than not, find themselves getting defensive. People accused Arbonne of a pyramid scheme. Many folks who are against MLMs, lump all MLMs together — and collectively call them pyramid schemes. This vexes a lot of MLM sellers to anger and defensiveness.
Think about it, if you are always and persistently defending your company against all accusations that it is a pyramid scheme — do you think it’s probably one? People say if there’s smoke, then there’s actually fire.
Being rude or cheeky aside, it’s fairly easy to look at Arbonne superficially and face value. But can you really tell if it’s a pyramid scheme or not? Isn’t Arbonne just a beauty and health company that sells beauty products? They happen to use a different business model in marketing their products. Think about it — does that make Arbonne a pyramid scheme?
Don’t jump the gun just yet.
While the rules of Arbonne are thoughtfully created, and they appear as if it is a legitimate multi-level marketing company, they may be circumventing the law here. Just follow where the money trail leads to.
Let’s follow the trail now by answering the next question.
Is Arbonne UK a pyramid scheme?
Since these reps come from the UK, let’s break these numbers down and see for ourselves.
Of 21,000 Independent Consultants, 88% (18,400 people) earned nothing.
7% (1544 people) earned £42 per month or £503 per year.
3.7% (777 people) earned £167 per month or £2004 per year.
0.9% of Arbonne Consultants (that’s 190 people) earned £909 a month, or £10,908 a year.
0.3% (just 70 people) earned £3445 a month, or £41,340 a year.
0.08% of people (18 people) earned £12.366 per month, totaling £148,392 per year.
Now, these numbers alone are quite a bit of a shock and appalling, but let’s dig in a little further.
The 88% of those consultants who did not make any money in Arbonne would have actually lost money because, in the first place, they had to pay to be an Arbonne consultant. If the idea sounds ludicrous, then you’re not alone. To be able to join Arbonne, you need to buy or purchase something from them. Arbonne consultants will be quick to defend this — they would say that joining one means you own a small business, and any business owner, whether it’s small or not, needs to invest some money into their business.
How much can Arbonne Consultants make money?
Arbonne consultants often blow their trumpets a great deal. They talk about their luxurious living and that so-called ‘financial freedom.’ You can check out Arbonne’s website. It promises to give you “the liberty to live your dreams” and “get to have your own fortune or your own business.”
But the bigger question is — can you actually achieve these things with Arbonne? Let’s have a look and see the income disclosure statements of Arbonne. If you look closely with unbiased eyes, you will soon realize that the numbers look dismal.
Let’s talk about Arbonne in the UK. In 2018, Arbonne had 21,000 reps or Independent Consultants in the UK, but according to no less than Arbonne themselves, only a little over 10% of their consultants got to earn income from Arbonne monthly. So if you do the math, only a little over 2,000 people earn from Arbonne.
Check out the income disclosure statement below. It shows that only 12% of Arbonne reps made any money at all. These Arbonne reps are recognized as ‘active consultants’ by Arbonne. However, the term ‘active consultant’ is deceptive because it suggests that the person is not actually trying to actively sell their products and work. However, these reps are probably the ones putting in the work and working like horses. But is woefully not generating any income.
Considering the expensive price tag, it seems to be flashing a red flag for me. A huge markup on prices would mean the entity is not focused on selling their commodities but gives more importance on the recruitment side.
Another negative factor for me is the regular hidden charges. The entity requires its consultants a minimum of 150 PQV every month to qualify to receive commissions. Non-compliance will automatically suspend one’s account.
However, if you are passionate about promoting the value of being vegan, this brand can provide you with the products you need. With several global certifications, it would be easier for you to push your advocacy.