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Should you join Close To My Heart? (full review)

Close To My Heart’s Operation Smile: sounds kinda insidious but turns out to be one of the most heartwarming MLM ventures yet.

Formed in 1996 by founder Jeanette Lynton, it took them 12 years to become the scrapbook brand they are now, going international with US and Canadian distributors. So am I involved?

This video explains:

 

We schedule 30 minutes for each call, so only schedule if you’re serious:

Make sense? Now here’s Close To My Heart, at a glance:

Overview

Close To My Heart follows the usual formula of distributors sponsoring new distributors through weird product parties, here called “Home Gatherings” like the worst Thanksgiving dinner in history, who then sell products and earn money based off who they recruit as well as what they sell.

Close To My Heart is aimed at stay-at-home mothers and women looking for extra income. The brand also comes stocked with flexible hours and a lack of the usual stipulations, rules and regulations that come with MLM compensation plans.

I couldn’t find any minimum quotas which makes for a refreshing change, so you’re not required to fill your house with odd scrapbook ends to meet a minimum order amount.

More importantly, that heartwarming venture I mentioned?

Say hello to Operation Smile – a campaign aimed at fixing children’s cleft lips and palates in deprived areas of the world. (1)

Go and visit the site, and then buy the hell out of Close To My Heart’s merchandise. You know you want to. It’s the right thing to do.

…Or just donate direct. That sounds black-heart cynical but maybe it’s kind of, a little bit, just a touch true? If you love a charity, you’ll donate. There’s no need for the scrapbook middle man.

So, what bits of scrapbook washi tape and glitter paper can go towards making the world a better place?

Products

They organize their products a bit differently on the site, which is cool. It still makes enough sense to be easily navigated. They’ve got a bunch of idea hubs called…

  • Idea Books
  • Workshops
  • Cricut Collections
  • How-To Pattern Books

Nice, very color-coordinated. The kind of thing that would get you a high grade in art class so long as you can justify the modern farmhouse vibe.

Probably more the kind of thing you see year after year if a relative rediscovers arts and crafts, and forevermore you receive handmade Christmas cards and gifts.

Everyone has a relative or friend like that. Don’t deny it. At least with that relative you’ll never be stuck for a gift.

Actual stuff you can buy is pretty plentiful. There’s paper. You know. The stuff you write on. Comes from trees. Or there’s embellishments, like white twine and everyday life washi tape with never-ending arrows on it that you can use to customise everything it’ll adhere to.

I can see this being a divisive brand. Either these products are right up your street and you’re happy to spend half your monthly income on sparkles and patterns, or you’re yawning so hard the top of your head is about to invert. No judging either way – arts and crafts can be scarily serious business.

You remember the relative? How they scoff at the inferiority of someone else’s homemade birthday card, or the outrage when someone – GASP – buys a card from the store.

Filthy heathens, amirite?

The prices per item aren’t crazy. They look like the kind of price you’d get in an artsy store, so maybe a vote of confidence from a distributor friend would actually result in big sales to the right homemade buddy. Particularly if there’s a charitable outcome. You can feel good about the smiling kids without feeling empty and hypocritical, and that’s genuinely awesome.

Still, after the first sale with the distributor, you’d be more likely to donate directly to Operation Smile and bypass Close To My Heart. Are they just using it as a tug on the heartstring ploy to generate sales?

IF they are, they’ve picked a great, worthy charity to do it with. All donations, even through an MLM, are pretty awesome.

Opportunity

The products all look pretty good and they’re not priced by a lunatic, so the plan’s got to be reasonable too, yeah?

Don’t get overexcited.

A $150.00 starting fee isn’t the most heartbreaking fee I’ve ever seen, but it comes with a slightly under par average yearly payout.

Consultants receive 20% commission for retail sales, which again isn’t stellar or disgusting. However, long term earnings aren’t great – $1000.00 sold will equal roughly $50.00 profit after starting payments, which is pretty weak. (2)

Your startup kit, which hops up to $187.50 for Canadians, includes a scrapbook, stamping products, shipping and handling, booking incentive stamps, and qualifying hostesses can get Hostess Rewards Plus!

The exclamation mark is part of the product name, not my enthusiasm.

You’ll also grab 50% savings on Hostess collections and 50% off normal items in the current Idea Book.

There’s training through emails and newsletters from team managers and online conferences. At least you’re not dumped with all the materials and left to go it alone. New marketers with no experience will benefits from those features and stand a better chance against their ex-salesperson competitors.

Recap

This is far from the worst MLM ever seen. The products are unique enough that, should you be lucky to live in an area with a bunch of born-again DIY-ers (not uncommon) you might find yourself a nice supplement to your income.

You can also get a fuzzy glow from your charitable efforts, which focus on a real, true charity which actually does some worldly good. But don’t forget it’s still an MLM, so proper success here is truly unlikely. You’re looking at pocket money, really.

But it’s pocket money with a big smile, and that’s much nicer and feel-good than selling witch doctor anti-cancer-and-any-cause-of-death-ever pills that glow in the dark and come in packets made of unicorn skin, made in Narnia.

Not a hater and not saying it would be impossible to make money, but there are better options out there if money is what you are after.

Check this out. It will help you trash your money-chasing addictions.

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