Arbonne is a Swiss skincare and cosmetics line that’s sold via network marketing.
Based on the core concepts of botanical ingredients, green practices and cruelty-free products, the 40-year old business is considered a pioneer in bringing those concepts to the market in the US.
I’m all for keeping a minimal carbon footprint, so am I on board to distribute the products? Check the video:
Remember, we schedule 30 minutes for each call, so only schedule if you’re serious:
Okay, now on with the Arbonne review. Enjoy.
Consumers will find it very easy to love Arbonne, even without the benefit of trying their products. That’s because this company possesses all the right characteristics, as far as what women are looking for in a skincare and cosmetics line.
Arbonne has been way ahead of the curve since 1980, when they first entered the US market with cruelty-free, botanically-based formulas. That’s way before The Body Shop® entered the scene. As you may know, The Body Shop® is known for spearheading the cruelty-free, botanically-based skincare movement in the 1980s.
But skip ahead 35 years and The Body Shop® is just another store in the mall and Arbonne is forging ahead, growing ever larger and ever better.
For example, here’s what this forward-thinking company is up to these days:
- Their shipments are certified carbon neutral.
- Most of their product packaging and shipping material is recyclable.
- Soy-based ink is used for most of their print materials.
- They use biodegradable ingredients whenever possible.
- Business reports are distributed in electronic form, not mailed.
- Their statement of purpose includes wording about improving the environment.
As you can see, Arbonne has done a thorough job of trying to capture the green-minded customer. They’ve been doing it for over three decades, too, so it’s believable.
As far as management and corporate signals go, Arbonne looks great from those angles as well. The son of the founder works as the Managing Director, and has served in the past as a DSA Board Member. He also has a MBA from the University of San Francisco. In network marketing, it’s not unusual to find executives whose only frame of reference is previous network marketing experience. Not so here.
On that note, CEO Kay Napier hails from no less than Proctor & Gamble Company. She was head of the North American Pharmaceutical division, which contributed the largest profits for North America.
She was also Senior VP of McDonald’s, where she played a major role in the complete turnaround of that company’s image in the world…from a greasy fast food joint to one where you could maybe find a healthy meal.
Even their Chief Creative Officer is wildly impressive. He comes from perhaps the most highly esteemed marketing outfit in the world: Ogilvy and Mather. He also worked at Donna Karan International, L’Oreal, and Unilever Cosmetics, where he was VP of Global Marketing.
I can’t say I’ve ever seen a more impressive executive team running an MLM.
The first thing you look for in skincare and cosmetic products, if you’re a “green” consumer, is the list of ingredients. Therefore, only those companies who have a policy of complete transparency will survive in the long run.
Arbonne is completely transparent. Their product listings not only list all active ingredients, but inactive ingredients as well. Not only that, but they make it easy to find the list of ingredients on each product page.
In addition, their website features a handy and fascinating “Key Ingredient Guide”, a glossary of ingredients. You can browse or search any ingredient they use, and come up with why they use it. For example, Apricot Kernel Oil has a listing, and we learn that its purpose in their products is to moisturize.
This is not only informative and trust-building, it’s loads of fun…that is, if you’re a girl, you love green skincare and cosmetics, and you pay attention to ingredients.
Arbonne wants to improve the environment. That includes the social environment, according to their mission statement. So let’s see how far that statement goes when we hold their compensation plan up to the light.
The Arbonne compensation plan consists of the following:
For Independent Consultants:
- Retail profits at 15% of MSRP on Preferred Clients’ purchases
- 35% profit on personal retail sales.
- Overrides on product sales (8% on 1st generation) (For District Managers)
- $200 cash bonus (For District Managers)
- 2% on 2nd generation override, 1% on 3rd generation (For Executive District Managers)
- Mercedes-Benz cash bonus program (have to be very high up)
- 6% override on Central Area OV (high up)
- Other sales bonuses (upper levels)
The average IC earns $515 per year, and only at the Regional Vice President level does the average annual salary amount to a living wage. 3% of ICs are currently at that level.
IC’s must purchase a $29 starter kit, and to earn they must sell at least 150 qualifying volume each month, or 1,200 PQV each year. There is also an annual renewal fee of $15.
Arbonne’s Chief Sales Officer, who is the director of all operations concerning the Independent Consultants, is a crackerjack lawyer. That means you can expect a tight ship when it comes to the compensation plan, and no tricks or scams.
Would a crackerjack lawyer with a fabulous career want to get involved with a scammy operation which stole money from its independent consultants? This woman was named General Counsel of the Year in Orange County, for goodness sake!
With a legion of Independent Consultants approaching the quarter million mark (240,000) and fully operating in the USA, UK, Canada and Australia, there are a lot of people buying these products. As of the end of 2013, Arbonne reported 450,000 Preferred Clients.
With so much going for this operation, it’s hard to believe I’d never heard of it before. While they do seem to be an amazing company that’s got integrity, quality, and highly pedigreed management going for it, maybe their marketing department needs a little help getting the word out.
Don’t get me wrong: branding is superb. However, for the Independent Consultants to really prosper, it’d be great if their leads had heard of Arbonne somewhere before. It’s hard selling a totally unknown brand, after all.
But that’s the only negative about Arbonne. In fact, I’d consider this company the benchmark against which all other online skincare companies should be compared. I haven’t even mentioned the usual markers of a great business:
- They have an A+ rating with the BBB and they are accredited.
- They are members of the DSA.
- They have a very active charitable foundation.
- Their compensation plan it tight and fair, with an emphasis on selling, not recruiting.
Arbonne isn’t just the gold standard of MLM skincare companies. It’s also growing (opened in Poland last year and opening in Taiwan next year). And this year they launched their first sports nutrition line called PhytoSport™. It’s hard to imagine what this company cannot accomplish.
They’re hot and they’re growing… that’s a given.
But in the end, it’s still the sad story of selling hype and chasing the hot opportunity.
In case you just scrolled to the bottom, I decided to not roll with Arbonne even though I have one of the biggest network marketing blogs on the internet. I have since quadrupled my income, travel the world and make more money than most doctors and lawyers.
In other words, you might like our training because it teaches the “good life” without peddling cosmetics to your family and friends.