“Hi, Paige. It’s me ___ who never spoke to you in high school! I wanted to tell you about a wonderful business opportunity and also add you to my Facebook group where I sell [essential oils/health shakes/ cleaning products/nail stickers/false eyelashes/candle]. Also, you should totally host a “party” for me at your home so you can get [tupperware/crap jewelry/spices/children’s’ books/toxic skincare/more essential oils].”
No, nope, and why are you bothering me? Multi-level marketing is notorious, but at the same time, I am open-minded enough to give almost anything a fair shake, which is why I have explored MLMs like Advocare and Young Living, taking the good and the bad from each experience.
Multi-level marketing (MLM) is the age-old yet growing practice of selling products by recruiting independent distributors who are promised they can earn money not only be reselling the products, but by recruiting more distributors who will also recruit more distributors, and so on.
And it can be annoying as fuck. Which is why, while intrigued, I avoided becoming a BeautyCounter consultant for two and a half years.
Back in September 2013, while attending an environmental health conference, my friend Lindsay Dahl, formerly with Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, gave me the scoop on a new venture she was involved in. Mia Davis (formerly of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics) and renowned clean makeup artist Christy Coleman were leading up the team behind BeautyCounter, a new beauty company with the mission of getting safer products into the hands of everyone.
She gave me some truly excellent products to try and I was keen on learning more. And I actually thought it was pretty cool that a truly non-toxic beauty company would be utilizing the MLM-model – hey, if ladies were gonna push products on their friends, let’s get them to at least trade Mary Kay for something with noncarcinogenic ingredients!
But would I become an early adapter at the top of the food chain? No.
Firstly, I was already representing several organic skincare brands in a PR capacity. Second, I just….couldn’t. It felt weird. I’ve handled public relations for dozens of natural beauty brands and international retailers – how would I explain hocking an MLM brand on the side?
But as the years went by I continued to see impressive progress by BeautyCounter. This summer, Beautycounter brought a hundred of its representatives to Capitol Hill to lobby for the government to better regulate beauty products. They became a certified B Corporation, and worked to truly educate their consultants about the cosmetic industry’s lack of safety regulation. They support nonprofits I love like Breast Cancer Fund, Environmental Working Group, and Healthy Child Healthy World.
They also built their platform on safety, rather than “natural” or “organic,” an important point underlining the difference between “chemicals,” which are essentially in everything, and “toxic chemicals.” Most importantly, they are transparent – you know exactly what is in your personal care products and can make informed decisions, confident that you are avoiding the 1500 harmful or questionable ingredients on their “never list.”
But what finally tipped me over the edge was the shampoo. I have been using natural and organic shampoos for a decade, but my thick, unruly hair always felt weighed down. It was only the very occasional top-secret rinse with Pantene or similar that would get it back to a more manageable state. So I was not too optimistic when I tried out the BC hair products. But after blowing out my hair and feeling a remarkable difference, I texted Lindsay and said, “I’m in.”
So here’s the deal:
So, yeah, I probably missed my shot at a bigger piece of the pie back in 2013. And, sure, I’m technically in a legal pyramid scheme. But if I can play a part in getting safer personal care products in more people’s hands and the greater movement for stricter cosmetic safety legislation, I’m all in.
Want to shop? Sell? Just learn more? Check out www.beautycounter.com/paigewolf. Ask me about any product and I’ll give you my honest opinion. And, in all seriousness, if you want to get in on a direct sales/social sales/word-of-mouth-marketing/just-call-it-MLM program, this is one where you will actually be doing some good in the world. There is an $85 buy in – that’s about it. You won’t end up with a garage full of unsold beauty products. You won’t be penalized if you don’t sell enough eyeliner. You don’t have to be the most annoying person in the world – but if it takes a bit of nudging to switch your sister-in-law to a phthalate free foundation, there are worse things you could be pushing.