The Importance of Being Mormon: Younique

Interesting article on the significance of MLMs being Mormon in origin.

Timeless Vie

In this series of posts we explore the religious backgrounds of many of our favourite MLMs’ founders.  We think this is important to talk about for reasons we’ll get to later in the post.  But first, we want to make one thing clear: we don’t really care what religious beliefs someone has, but we do think when you are selling your MLM as a good, honest, ethical enterprise you should fully disclose your agenda.

For now, read on.

  1.  Younique.

According to Younique’s website, Younique was founded by a brother-sister team of Derek Maxfield and Melanie Huscroft.  Derek is Founder and CEO, Melanie is “CoFounder” and “Chief Visionary Officer”.    Younique’s tagline is to “Ulift, Empower, and Validate” women.   Younique.

Sounds great, right?  Hitting all the YEAH THE WOMANZ POWER notes right there.

Let’s dig a little deeper.

Derek and Melanie are both from Utah, a state where the majority (source: wikipedia)…

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Lifetree World

Note, any changes to this article since it was written have been added in red.

You may have heard of Lifetree World. Maybe you’ve been sent a message from a friend-

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Maybe you’ve seen adverts like this on Instagram or Facebook?


Maybe you’ve been browsing Netmums or Money Saving Expert and read about people in an amazing scheme?

From Netmums’ board-

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As of July 2016, this Netmums thread no longer exists. Hopefully, it is because they are clamping down on the promotion of schemes like these.

This all sounds very intriguing. So you go to the Lifetree website and see things like this-

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‘Daily use products’? They want everyone in the world to be a member? This is starting to sound a bit odd!

Reading about the scheme, you learn that LTW aim to buy products with long shelf lives direct from the manufacturer and sell them to you (now known as the IBO- Independent  Business Owner) within 3-5 days. The profit made by cutting out the middlemen is shared between the IBOs. Ok, that sounds interesting.

As of July 2016, the website has been stripped of most of the information. There appears to just be the address and the most basic information on some products they sell. No description of how the business works, no policies, just an address and pictures of smiley people in fields.

But then you learn that you have to spend 100 points (which is roughly £160) a month and so do the three people  beneath you and at least one person beneath each of them. Hang on? This sounds a bit  Pyramidy!!!! No, not at all, you are told. LTW are in the DSA so it must be legitimate! Pyramids are illegal, don’t you know?

The DSA has this to say about their membership.

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So they are not full members yet. They are being watched to check they are compliant with their rules. They are not being compliant. The recruitment adverts break their rules.

As of July 2016 LTW are no longer prospective members of the DSA.

Here is a great explanation on how these types of schemes work. Much thanks to Chuckingstones on Mumsnet for this-

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Let’s see if it is a pyramid scheme. A basic test for pyramid schemes is the Fair Trading Act 1973 section 120 (3)- This act makes it a criminal offence to persuade someone to make a payment to a scheme by promising benefits from getting other people to join a trading scheme.

You have to make an payment of £35 to join.

You have to recruit others.

You tell the people you are recruiting that if they pay £35 they can join your scheme but they will only earn money if they recruit others.

Hmmm, I wonder if this is a pyramid scheme, you decide for yourself.


What about the company finances and business plans? What do the records from Company House have to say about that? Much thanks to Tiimeless Vie for providing this information ( Blog, Facebook). Here is a little summary of what they say-

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What have LTW members been saying? For now, let’s not listen to the successful people just in case they are exaggerating to recruit new people.

This was on Netmums-

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And from a different person-

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This is what people have been saying to Bot Watch on Facebook in messages-

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Bot Watch was also told that an LTW seller was seeking recruits on Money Saving Expert where people go for debt advice and who can ill afford to get involved in this sort of scheme.

Money Saving Expert delete any thread promoting this scheme as a way to save money.

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(name deleted by me to maintain confidentiality)

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If you decide you think it might not be a pyramid scheme and maybe those people just had bad luck,let’s look at the products and see what you will be buying. Oh, you cannot see the prices for the items until you have joined up and paid your £35. That doesn’t sound fair. You don’t know what you are letting yourself in for! They said the products are all branded and that I use anyway so it must be ok.

Here is an example of something you can buy

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Hmmm, not really a branded, every day product. And the claims here break the law for advertising rules. Aloe vera does not do any of these things. No one is allowed to say their products do this. This can be reported to the Advertising Standards Authority.


How much does it cost? You can’t find out until you join up and pay your £35.

That’s ok though, someone who is a member has sent me some images showing the prices of some items.

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It’s not too clear so here are the prices and how much these products cost according to Mysupermarket-

Tropical Sun Jamaican Callaloo 540g £1.29  ASDA-£1.28.

PG Tips tea bags 160s £2.99        Unavailable in supermarkets in this form. Newer packaging for the same product costs £4 in ASDA.

Nescafe Original 100g £2.80    Unavailable in supermarkets in this form. For the same product in different packaging, it costs £2.74 in ASDA.

Kellog’s Fruit and Fibre 375g £2.19   Unavailable in supermarkets anywhere in any packaging.

Kellog’s Co-Co Pops 350g £2.19  Unavailable in supermarkets anywhere in any packaging.

Kellog’s Cornflakes 500g £2.10 Available in ASDA for £1.75 but in newer packaging.

Weetabix family 24s £2.10- Unavailable in supermarkets anywhere.

I don’t think I need to go on. Look up the rest if you like, but I suspect I know the answer…


To conclude-

The company might be a pyramid scheme.

They recruit people who have debt problems.

People have complained about not getting their money back.

People have complained about not getting their orders.

The credit status of LTW is very poor.

The business sounds unrealistic.

They claim to buy products from the manufacturer. In reality they are buying up old, presumably very cheap stock from somewhere.


Do you still want to join up? If you do, you might want to jot down this number for if it all goes wrong-

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If you have joined this scheme and they are not delivering your products or giving you a refund or you are concerned about it, please call the above number. They will pass on the details to Trading Standards who will investigate.

To read more about this type of thing or to keep yourself informed about Multi Level Marketing schemes, visit Mumsnet for the ongoing discussion and support. Or Like Bot Watch and Timeless Vie on Facebook for people’s stories and information.

Just launched with Jamberry? Wanna know how much u will earn? READ THIS.

Some shocking number crunching done here by Timeless Vie. I hope this gets people thinking.

Timeless Vie

In honour of the UK launch of Jamberry today, we put together this little post showing how much a Bot is likely to earn in a year.

Did you know that in Canada, MLMs have to fess up about how much a “typical participant” i.e. your ordinary, average Bot – is likely to earn?

Unfortunately the UK doesn’t seem to have the same concern about it’s citizens, but here’s what we did to give you a rough idea.

We took the Jamberry Comp Plan for Canada – (hard to find, TBH.  We’re sure that’s not deliberate…)

Jamberry Comp Plan

Pulled out the “Typical Participant’s Earnings” statement:


Here’s the actual numbers in more detail:


Then we threw the numbers into a currency converter run by the Bank of Canada:


So, the lowest typical earnings is £19.34 a year.   Wahoo!  we be rich huns.  Well, in the 15th century, maybe.


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Why Forever Living don’t sell Aloe Vera products for health purposes

I have established in previous posts that Forever Living do not hold the correct licences to sell products for health purposes. I detailed the laws covering the regulations for this in the UK and stated why it is important to follow these rules. Previous blog posts here and here.

But WHY don’t Forever Living hold the correct paperwork to sell their products for health purposes?  Surely, if the products are as good as they say they are, a licence should be easy to come by?

A possible explanation was put forward by a Forever Living rep on her team’s facebook page-


She thinks- “The reason we can’t make medical claims is because, we as a company would need to hold a pharmaceutical certificate…If you hold one of these- you cannot sell products outside of a pharmacy”.

I disagree. It is possible to obtain a licence called a Traditional Herbal Remedy (THR) from the MHRA (The government body responsible for licencing medicines, medical equipment and herbal remedies.) Website here. This is granted for herbal remedies that are used for minor ailments such as colds that don’t require medical input. Also available are licences for products that treat symptoms of more serious conditions. Theses licences are called a marketing authorisation.

If a product has these licences, they do not need to be sold in a pharmacy. Think of the products you can buy in health food shops, or even Tesco-

These products have been through the proper channels. Evidence was produced that they were not harmful, the strength had to be proved to be consistent and contain what it said it contained. There is monitoring and reporting systems and proper information is provided to users of the products.


Importantly, as part of this registering and licencing process, it has to be shown that the natural ingredient has traditionally been used for this purpose. There is a database for products used in Europe for this purpose. I looked for the part of the database for Aloe Vera on the European Medicines Agency, who hold all the data.

Aloe Vera is allowed to be used as a traditional herbal remedy for constipation. There is adequate evidence that it has been used for this purpose for many years. Scientific studies show that it is safe for this purpose. Link to the Aloe Vera information page here. Here are the conclusions-

V. Overall conclusion Well-established use: short term use of occasional constipation.

There are no clinical studies available, which evaluate the clinical efficacy of barbados aloes and cape aloes in patients with occasional constipation. The postulated laxative effect is mainly based on pharmacological data, experts’ opinions and clinical experiences. Clinical and pharmacological data obtained on other anthranoid-containing laxatives (primarily senna leaf preparations) support the efficacy of these anthranoid-containing herbal substances for short-term use in cases of occasional constipation. The current level of evidence1 of the available scientific data for “the short term use of occasional constipation” can be identified as level IV because well-designed studies with mono-preparations of aloe are missing. The conditions determined in the pharmacovigilance actions for anthranoid-containing laxatives have to be maintained for the moment because further investigations are needed to clarify the carcinogenic risk. The results of the most recent studies are inconsistent. However, a risk was also revealed for constipation itself and underlying dietary habits. 1 As referred to in the HMPC ‘Guideline on the assessment of clinical safety and efficacy in the preparation of Community herbal monographs for well-established and of Community herbal monographs/entries to the Community list for traditional herbal products/substances/preparations’ (EMEA/HMPC/104613/2005) @EMEA 2007 24/24 The use in children under 12 years of age is contraindicated and use during pregnancy and lactation is not recommended. Traditional use Besides the use as a laxative, the use as an emmenagogue and the external use for wounds and abscess are described in most references mentioned above. But as already mentioned in the Dispensatory of the United States of America 1918, it is extremely doubtful whether aloe exercises any action upon the pelvic organs which is not attributable to its cathartic effects. There are no plausible pharmacological data for this indication, nor for haemoptysis, jaundice or gout etc. Furthermore, the preparations used are not described exactly, even for the external use In view of existing possible risks, such traditional uses cannot be recommended and referred to in the ‘Community list of herbal substances, preparations and combinations thereof for use traditional herbal medicinal products’. This is in accordance with the German pharmacovigilance actions for anthranoidcontaining laxatives. 

To translate the above paragraph-

  • Aloe Vera can be used as a herbal remedy for occasional constipation.
  • Children under 12 must not use aloe vera.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women must not use it. It has affected unborn rats in studies, and their fertility. (this info is from the main body of the report).
  • There is insufficient evidence that aloe vera is useful as a remedy for anything other than constipation.


I have shown that it is not easy to simply obtain the relevant herbal remedy for aloe vera products for Forever Living. And that you do not need to be a pharmacist to sell it.

Maybe there is another way to obtain licencing? A company could start from scratch with clinical trials and prove that their product does what they say it does.  This would take years and a lot of money. Here is a chart showing how much it costs to do one clinical trial.


This information is from this site.

So, for example, if Forever Living wanted to show that their aloe vera gel helps with asthma and pain (as has been widely reported by FL reps), it would cost $240 million to carry out the research. Then they would have to hope that the findings were in their favour. This would take years to do and there is the very real and probable risk that the product would not have the effect that is being claimed by some reps.

A lot of time and money could potentially be wasted on these studies.

Which begs the question, why bother with all the effort needed to properly test these products when your independent reps will make these claims illegally on your behalf? If they are called on it, they can be blamed as individuals and the company will be blameless because they keep telling their reps not to make false claims. Just like the above rep “our products work”. Do they? Where is your evidence?







The Truth behind Forever Living Adverts

9c84aa745cc8d32e79a3b2965cddae86This advert is pretty common and very easy to find on Google. On the face of it, the advert shows Forever Living in a pretty good light, making it look like a good, solid choice for a way of making an income. However, if you look at the claim a little critically, you can see it is not that great after all.

Let’s look at the points one by one.

  1. Uncapped and willable income

Uncapped pretty much means nothing.  You work harder and harder and you get more money.  This is not an unusual concept.  It is capped by your finances, time available, effort put in, opportunities for recruiting, home circumstances, performance of your downline, availability of customers etc etc etc.

Willable presumably means that when you die, the money being generated by your downline can be given to your dependents. People think this is great and it does sound good.  You’ve put in all that work for a few years and built up a good downline and the money is trickling in.  It would be nice if this could keep trickling to your children when you are gone. It’s not true though. The Forever Living Policy book details exactly what the reality is.

9.10. The inheritable rights to a Distributorship are limited and are subject to the following conditions: • Written confirmation from a legal body must be sent to Head Office detailing who the heir is in accordance with any will or probate decision. • The heir must be someone who has been, or can be, registered as a Distributor. 9.11. Since the heir must be an adult individual, a trust or guardianship may have to be established for multiple heirs or minor children. In the event a trust is established, a copy must be placed on file at Head Office and its terms must clearly allow the trustee to act as a Distributor. In this case, the Distributor may be a corporation, if acting as the trustee for such multiple heirs or minor children. However, the Executive Committee must approve the corporate officer assigned to represent the trust. In the event a guardian is appointed for minors, such a person must qualify as a Distributor. The guardian must be appointed by the court of proper jurisdiction and receive specific approval to be a Distributor on behalf of the minors. 9.12. A trustee or guardian shall retain the Distributor status provided the Distributorship agreement is not violated and until the beneficiaries have attained the age of majority, and an heir accepts the responsibility of operating the Distributorship with prior approval of the court of the trust document. 9.13. A trustee, guardian, spouse or other representative-type Distributor shall be responsible for the actions of the beneficiary, ward, or their spouse for purposes of complying with Company Policy. A violation of Company policies by any of the above individuals may result in termination of the Distributorship. 9.14. The inheritable Distributorship position within the Company Marketing Plan is limited to recognition at no higher than that of Manager. However, bonuses shall be paid at the same levels and requirements as held by the deceased. Distributorship positions below Manager shall be inherited at that level. Heirs who inherit a Manager position will be considered Inherited and would have to re-qualify to receive Gem Manager status.”

To reduce that down to simpler points-

  • What is ‘willabble’ is the position in the scheme, not the income.
  • The inheritor will have to work the business to gain any income, as the deceased person did.
  • except the rank is reduced to manager, any extra promotions (gems etc) will be wiped, meaning that a high earning person will be passing on a lower position to their heirs.
  • and the heir has to be 18 or over so if they are a child, another adult has to do the work for them.
  • You have to go through the courts to obtain this position.

It doesn’t seem so great when looked at in detail does it?


2. Time and freedom to build your own life according to your dreams.

Much is made of your dreams and being able to achieve whatever you want in life,


as long as you work for it. If you want to actually make any money at all (and most people make nothing, or less than nothing), you need to spend every minute of every working day doing it.  You won’t be told that at the beginning though. Have a look at this youtube clip that starkly shows the reality versus the image presented to new recruits.maxresdefault

3. Puts you in charge of your income and career.

I would argue that you aren’t in charge of your ‘income’ at all. Firstly, your income is dependent on how your downline perform, how much time you have available and how many of your morals you are willing to sacrifice.  How many people are you prepared to lie to in order to get the CC’s (case credits- a way of counting revenue) and what lies you are willing to spread about the health benefits of the products.

Of course, on  a more basic level, you are set to fail anyway because that is how Multi Level Marketing schemes work. More details here.

4. All products carry a company financed 30 day money back guarantee so no risk to you or your customers.

This isn’t quite true.  If a distributor buys a product and sells it to a customer and they subsequently return it, they do not get their money back from the company. The distributor has to pay the customer with their own money.  The distributor can return the product back to Forever Living and they will replace the product. This could cause problems if it is a difficult to sell, expensive item.

“6.3. The Distributor who originally sold the Products, and who thereby received the proceeds of the sale, shall be responsible for refunding 100% of their retail Customers’ purchase price for any Product sold by them within the previous 60 days if a Customer is not satisfied with the Product. Customers must be able to prove that they purchased the Product originally by returning the retail sales receipt and any remaining Product and packaging (including empty containers) with which they are dissatisfied (this will not affect their statutory rights). 6.4. Any partially used or otherwise unmarketable Products (or empty containers) should be returned by the Distributor to Head Office or to a Product Centre, within 120 days of its original purchase from the Company, supported by retail receipts or other proof of purchase. The Company will then replace the Product. The Company will not exchange it for other goods, offer a credit note nor will it refund the purchase price paid.”

If a distributor buys a product, either for personal use or to make up stock to sell, they do not get their money back.

Any Distributor who is dissatisfied with a Product they have bought will be given a like for like Product. Please Note: the Company will not offer a refund, exchange or credit note.”

Please see the Policy handbook for these terms and conditions.

5. Start part time and build to full time.

See point 2.

6.Global franchise operating in over 160 countries worldwide. 

I fail to see what this has to do with choosing a place to work. The NHS, police and many, many other employers only operate in one country. This does not make it bad to work under them! Likewise, organisations that operate in many countries include Al Qaeda, Nestle, lots of banks and criminal organisations.


7. Established company of over 33 years, cash rich and debt free, so totally financially secure.

Companies a lot older than this have gone bust before. Woolworths had been in operation for 99 years before their shops were shut, TWA 71 years, Pan Am 64 years, Barings bank 233 years.

Likewise, all companies start somewhere and a company that might be new now may well be very successful in the future.

Forever Living Products may be cash rich and debt free but this means nothing for the distributors.  It is the distributors that are buying the new business boxes, the products and they are selling the products. The distributors get a small percentage of this, the rest goes to FLP. FLP do not pay pensions, wages, sick pay, maternity leave, training, health insurance. FLP charge for their success days, trainings, leaflets, post and packaging, samples, in fact, anything. They do not even pay for coffee at the success days that the distributors drive to , pay admission, pay for their own food, hotel stay, childcare and all the rest.

How cash rich are they? A slide that is regularly used by FLP to show their success is this-


Is there any evidence to support this?  There are pro-MLM websites that gather information on MLMs. This one has compiled a list of the top 100 performing MLMs in 2014. FLP does not feature on this list. Number 100 has a turnover of $63 million. If the chart above were to be re-written with the figures from non-biased sources, the last bar would only be a bit taller than the very first bar!

If you look at the above chart closely, you will notice a few things. The teeny tiny writing at the bottom says “based on calculated retail sales of worldwide affiliated companies”. So if a distributor buys a product f0r $10 wholesale and the RRP is $14, FLP has calculated their revenue for this sale as $14. Never mind if this item is never sold on to a customer or if it is used by the distributor. The chart bears no resemblance to actual money going to FLP.

This still doesn’t account for the massive discrepancy between real figures and the chart.  Maybe the ‘affiliated companies’ include the website companies that distributors are encouraged to pay for, the mindset training provided by outside people, the sales of pro-planners?  Who knows? what is clear though, is that none of it is clear.

8. Excellent product and business training- members of the Direct Selling Association and awarded the International Aloe Science Council Seal of Approval.

The Direct Selling Association. What are they? Is it impressive to be a member?  Here is their website.  It is an organisation made up of MLM companies who oversee their members’ conduct. Here are the current council members-

“Current Council Members 
Lynda Mills Director General UK 
Andy Smith Chair and General Manager UK & Ireland – Amway 
Bob Parker Vice Chair and Managing Director – Forever Living Products 
Mimi Bogelund Managing Director – Captain Tortue 
Mark Franklin Marketing Director UK, Europe & Canada – Usborne Books At Home 
Penny Farish Director, Europe – Morinda 
Clive Norton Business Development Director – Cambridge Weight Plan 
Sandra Whittle Managing Director – Partylite 
Lisa Burke Network Managing Director – Kleeneze 
Andrea Slater General Manager – Avon 
Mike Roberts General Manager UK – Mary Kay 
Gavin Aley Senior Director UK, Ireland and Iceland – Herbalife 
Kathleen Mitchell Vice President EMEA – Stella & Dot 
Vicky Beckett UK General Manager – Arbonne 
Simon Bowler Regional Director – The Juice PLUS+® Company “


Membership into this association is granted on only a few criteria. I do not think any MLM will find it difficult to gain membership of this association.

International Aloe Science Council Seal of Approval. Who are they? Is this seal of approval impressive?

You can visit their website here. Their chairs and board members are from companies that sell aloe vera products.


Look at the third name up, bottom right corner.

Have a look at the ‘scientific research’ link and then ‘bookstore’.  There you can find some books on how amazing aloe vera is and a webinar on how to market aloe vera without actually making any health claims. Only one bit on actual science and that is for a conference itinerary.

This association does not fill me with confidence that it is science based. It seems more like a trade organisation aimed at sellers of aloe vera, and run by those same sellers.


9. Unique product range- World leaders in aloe vera products.

What does this actually mean?  Many similar products can be bought from other retailers. Cheaper, more accessible, organic.

They brag about being the largest growers of aloe vera. So what?  Has it had good product reviews? Is the product in demand?  Are the prices competitive?  Are the products backed by science and medical testing with the correct licencing?

10. No joining fee or minimum activity level.

The New Distributor Pack (NDP) costs £199.75. But you don’t have to buy this, you can ‘just’ purchase £100 worth of products at a higher price than people who have purchased the NDP. Once you have purchased enough products, you are then allowed to participate at the same level as other new members.

To be paid anything more than pennies, you need to meet all sorts of minimum activity levels. And you might get harrassed by your upline to keep bringing in the money for them. I’ll just leave this here…

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A final note- The DSA and International Aloe Science Council demand that their members only ever put out truthful adverts.