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Is Arbonne a Pyramid Scheme?

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Arbonne International, LLC is a multi-level marketing (MLM) company that produces beauty essentials, personal care needs, and health & wellness products through research and scientific innovation. It was founded in 1975 by Petter Mørck, a Norwegian entrepreneur. They claim that their products are organic, vegan and particularly worth buying than any other health and wellness products out there. They are based out of California USA while operating internationally in the UK, Poland, New Zealand, Canada, Australia and Taiwan. The company is also following a comprehensive Purity and Safety Ingredient Policy, making them one of the most patronized MLM institutions in the world.

How it all started

Since 1965, Petter Mørck had been in the Norwegian skincare industry. He then moved to Arbon Switzerland in 1975 to start his own skincare line together with Pierre Bottiglieri, an employee in the same industry. They collaborated and decided to formulate products that were cruelty-free and with no harmful chemicals. Another side of the story was that Mørck bought the formulation from the company Laboratoires Cosmetiques Arval where Bottiglieri first worked for.

Rita Davenport, the first president of the company, served from 1999 to 2011.

It was the year 2004 when Levland, Inc. became Arbonne’s holding company, which later on became the primary manufacturer of their products.

In 2005, established private equity firm Harvest Partners, bought both companies, and renamed it Natural Products Group, LLC.

Mørck was hands-on with the business up until his death in 2008. He is survived by his son Stian Mørck, who is currently the VP Brand Ambassador of Arbonne International.

Fast forward to February of 2018, Natural Products Group sold Arbonne to Groupe Rocher together with Nature’s Gate.

Demonstrating high social and environmental performance and meeting excellent standards, Arbonne achieved B Corporation certification in January 2020.

As of today, Arbonne has more than 300,000 beauty consultants marketing their products worldwide.

Product Line

Arbonne’s product line is categorized into 5:

  • Skincare
  • Nutrition / Health and wellness
  • Beauty and makeup
  • Haircare
  • Bath and body care

The Drill

Arbonne does not only sell products to people. It has business opportunities as well that can make one earn money from it. How do they do it?

“Consultants” are the ones marketing the products and they earn commissions for doing so. Sounds familiar, eh? That’s the basic concept of the MLM business model.

There are two ways to earn money here:

  1. You get a commission from every product you sell.
  2. Recruit people to join and be members of the MLM business and a percentage from their commission as marketers themselves goes to you.

Members will only have to pay for the membership fee and then they will be given discounted product packages to start selling. Sounds simple but here’s the catch: a certain quota each month is needed to maintain membership. They call this “Qualified Status”. Members must reach a minimum of 150 PQV or Personal Qualifying Volume monthly. More about this can be found in their compensation plan.

We can simply refer to these earnings as commissions and overrides. Commissions are the profits you earn from your personal sales to your clients, while overrides are the percentage you receive from the sales made by your team.

Arbonne consultants may also receive awards and recognition on top of these business opportunities. They can be eligible for incentives depending on their performance. These can be in the form of a monthly allowance or sometimes, paid vacation trips.

Now you might be thinking…

Is Arbonne a pyramid scheme?

This question always comes up when we talk about MLM businesses. To answer this, Arbonne is not a pyramid scheme. You won’t earn money without doing anything. There are products involved here and one needs to make a clear sale before the commission is earned.

Arbonne has been in the market since the mid-1970s. If it’s a pyramid scheme or scam, then chances are it must have already ceased its operation a long time ago. Up until today, it continues to circulate to different parts of the world and even expands more. It has also conquered the social media world, making it way easier to reach out to a wider audience.

However, it is inevitable to think that MLM companies can also be pyramid schemes in disguise. How can we tell? You can easily spot one if they happen to sell their products at a very high cost when there are lots of alternatives out there that you can purchase at a much lower price. This may mean that the company is trying to pay their consultants to recruit more people rather than just producing sales.

Is Arbonne worth a try?

While MLM businesses may not be for everyone, it is still safe to say that Arbonne is a reputable company given its proven history and legitimacy over the years. That said, if you think you’re good at marketing or have a particular interest in beauty and wellness, then this can be a perfect way to get that extra income you’ve always been thinking about.

 

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Written by Aiza Day

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