At the time of writing this, it is lockdown. Many hundreds of thousands of people have been furloughed, many more have either lost their jobs or face losing them when (if) the country returns to normal. It is understandable that people turn to the internet to find alternative ways to make money from home, to support their families and keep food on the table. Unfortunately, this has also seen a rise in people signing up to MLM companies to try and accomplish this. On my own personal timeline, the company of choice is…The Body Shop at Home!
Yes, The Body Shop at Home is an MLM
Let me answer this straight away, so those of you who have found this post purely for this answer can continue to go about their day. The Body Shop at Home is a multi-level marketing company under The Body Shop brand – just the same as Ann Summers and Neal’s Yard who have physical stores, as well as their representatives.
What Is An MLM?
MLMs are companies who have a product to sell but rather than doing it in a shop they pay people a % of the sales to do it for them. Normally it costs the representative to join these companies which comes as a “Starter Fee” or an “Admin Fee”. The larger fees tend to come with a kit such as Younique or Forever Living, the smaller signups tend to be a “free” website or admin set up such as Juice Plus and Avon.
Many people refer to these types of businesses as “pyramid schemes” and technically they’re not because they are illegal HOWEVER, they are barely legal ones. A pyramid scheme doesn’t have a product – they recruit people on the promise of making money but offer nothing physical for their signup cost, they just get them to sign other people up under them for the same promise of money…it’s all really technical and stupid! The way companies such as Younique, Juice Plus, Avon, Ann Summers and even The Body Shop at Home get around is by selling a product BUT the real money is in the recruitment of others where they’re either given a recruitment fee or a % of the earnings of anyone on their team.
So, that’s the difference between MLM and pyramid schemes – they operate similarly, the only difference being the product. So no, The Body Shop at Home is not a pyramid scheme but yes, it is an MLM.
About The Body Shop at Home
It pretty much looks like your standard signup deal. You pay £49 to join and for that, you get a “Beauty Kit” with a selection of products which is aimed at helping you sell them to your friends and family. You also receive digital tools which will be access to your website and apparently “on-going training” which if it’s anything like what I got from Younique then it’s not worth the paper it’s written on. Most likely several different Facebook groups to join, one for each of your upline, and the higher up ones telling you to push push push and spend spend spend because “you need to build you kit”.
In return, you get 25% commission for orders up to £599.99 per calendar month and up to 30% on orders over that amount, again per calendar month. This isn’t taking expenses into account such as mileage to travel to home parties, host discount offers, marketing materials such as a vanity URL (if you take that route) and business cards. My research (basically reading through forum posts) has found that the average earnings from a house party is about £50 though it is very hit and miss, depending on the hostess’s friendship circle and your expenses for the party. The typical line to get someone to join up seems to be that you only need to host 4-5 parties a month to be earning £1000+ however, their maths doesn’t quite add up.
And I’ve been told doing 4-5 parties a month will easily get the £1000 figure. – member from The Money Shed
This is how many total sales you’d need to make, per month, calculated at the higher rate of 30%. In order to hit that £1000 doing 4-5 parties a month you’d be looking at between £700 and £875 in sales per party! Obviously, this doesn’t take into account any sales you make outside of parties but it’s still how much you need to make in sales to earn the same as you would working 28 hours a week for minimum wage. Note: this commission example is a guide, if you’ve not hit the 30% marker then you’ll earn less than the amounts featured.
No Issues with The Body Shop Products
I would like to, at this point, say I have no issues with The Body Shop itself. I’ve used many of their products over the years which I just grabbed when I’ve walked passed their stores or made use of online sales, vouchers and *cashback. My issues, as always, lay with the MLM practice themselves who tend to be pushy, greedy and mean – not caring about the person they’ve just recruited or their welfare. Now, not all reps are like that, my sponsors for Jamberry and Younique we’re amazing ladies who I’m still friends with today, BUT their upline wasn’t always the same. I’ve had multiple (now ex) representatives from other MLMs reach out to me for help and advice because they’re too scared to leave and get out. Just take a look at my friend Elle Beau’s Younique journey as an example.
Thinking About Joining The Body Shop at Home?
Regular readers know my thoughts about MLM after being in several myself, but if you’re visiting for the first time then why not read about my MLM Makeover or my thoughts about MSE featuring MLM’s as a top way to earn money from home. So, my straight-up advice would be not to join them. Look at all these articles on my website alone, which can help you earn money from home; this post continues beneath.
Don’t Get Into Debt
The whole point of joining a business to earn a commission is that you’re doing so to make money. Yes, many businesses have start-up costs but this is NOT your business – you are selling on behalf of another company, earning those above you money through every sale you make. These people are also under pressure to make sure you make your targets (every MLM has targets) so many of them won’t be shy about telling you to spend your own cash in order to hit those targets.
While selling Younique, I was often told to buy the monthly “Kudos” offer and not just one – multiple! There was one month where the offer cost £100 and we were encouraged to buy TEN, yes 10, of them to hit our targets! Many of my fellow teammates did but had to put it on their credit cards – absolutely certain they’d make it back before the bill was due. Most didn’t.
Listen to Your Gut
If something doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t. You might be asked to do things that are morally questionable and in some cases outright illegal. You do not have to do them, and certainly don’t do it because “everyone else” is. A few examples:
- Exaggerating your earnings. You are not allowed to disclose your earnings when trying to recruit new people, anyone who does is breaking the law and their contract. However, it is a tactic regularly used by recruiters who exaggerate their earnings to convince you to sign up. See the quote from earlier. You may be told by your upline to do the same.
- Run raffles. Raffles are technically gambling and without either a gambling licence or a special license offered to those who do charity work you are NOT ALLOWED to run them.
- Fake it til you make it! You may be trained to say things like “My inbox is blowing up” or “I’ve so many orders I just can’t…” when in fact you have zero interest. What this does is give false hope to others who might decide to join you because you’ve said you’re doing well…this might leave others worse off and that just isn’t right.
Your Team are Just That!
Many MLMs try to lure you in with their “we’re one big family” promises, telling you that no-one has got your back like your upline and team members. If anyone doesn’t want to buy from you or tries to tell you not to do it, that they’re “just haters” or “jealous of you”, so get rid of them out of your life, please do not listen to them! The kind of team members who encourage this are the same ones who will drop you as soon as you don’t agree with them. If you call them out for doing something wrong then they will gang up on you, forcing you out or even bullying you into depression.
One lady who reached out to me while I was still working for Younique did so because she felt so alone in her team. She’d called them out about bad practice, she refused to do the same as them and they turned into a nasty, vile group of bullies and she had nowhere to go. Even after I reported them to the company for their behaviour they continued to act in this way, but told team members to “be careful who they invite into their groups”.
Also, if you decide to leave, you may be shunned by your “so-called family”. You may have spent months or years getting to know these people and building friendships but as soon as you are no longer in their inner circle, they will drop you.
Realise that Some People Just Aren’t Interested
You will be trained to push your products on people, this is the “best practice” when it comes to MLM. Often you’re given daily targets such as privately message 10 people every day and they’ll even incentivise it to encourage you to take part. This is the fastest way to lose friends, no matter what they say. Even if you want to meet up with friends with no interest in trying to sell to them, they might assume that is all you want from them and they’ll ignore you.
It’s Not Easy
If it were then everyone would be doing it! It can tear you away from friends and family because your team needs you. It can have you working all hours and often you’ll work for hours and hours on end with no guarantee of any money.
Imagine this scenario: you spend an hour chatting to a friend who agrees to host a party for you, great! She lives an hour away so that’s 2hrs travel plus time to set up and pack away your kit. You offer her a booking gift which is worth about £5 plus 10% off total spend on the night. You decide to play some party games which need prizes say another £5. You then spend 3 hours at their house showing products, giving samples, answering questions and collecting orders. Five friends turn up and they each spend £10 = your commission is £12.50. Minus 10% for the hostess = £7.50. Minus the £5 gift and £5 prizes = -£2.50 then fuel costs and the costs to replace samples/order forms/catalogues….you can see where I’m going. On that scenario, to make £50 in profit you’d be looking at making £400 in sales each party.
Also, from personal experience…the feeling of guilt because you’re not working on making sales can be overwhelming. Every day pleasures such as reading a book, watching a movie or even having a bath can soon be ruined because you feel the need to work.
You Are Self-Employed
This means you need to register with HMRC and do a self-assessment each year – even if you are employed too. You need to pay your own tax and national insurance contributions and there is no sick or holiday pay. If you’re not working then you’re not earning. If you do find that you are successful enough for it to be a full-time income you need to remember that if you have to take time off for say, having a baby, and you claim maternity allowance then you cannot work – which may harm your business.
The Body Shop at Home is an MLM, it’s commission-based and can be very pushy sales, depending on who you join up under. Ultimately, what you need to remember is that 99% of people who signup under an MLM will fail which means they’ll either break even, make a very small amount of profit or actually lose money. This isn’t because the person isn’t doing enough, they are set up to only make money for those at the very top of the company – that’s their design. If you don’t make any money it’s NOT YOUR FAULT!
As someone who has real-life experience with three MLM companies I’m always available to give you advice or help. So feel free to drop any messages in the comments or reach out to me on social media (links in the sidebar). Also, check out the MLM Lies Exposed group on Facebook for more information regarding MLM companies.