Younique sells cosmetics via the direct selling method with special attention given to social media techniques.
The business opportunity caters to women who connect with the visionary message of the company, which promises to “Uplift, Empower, and Validate women”.
It’s no secret, people love the products and their compensation plan looks interesting too. So have I been involved?
This video explains:
All good? Let’s continue…
As of 2013, Younique was doing fantastic. Founded in September of 2012, revenue hit the $347,471 mark in just nine months after launch (1). That represented roughly $100,000 more than the previous month, so growth was fast and furious at that time.
2013 ended with a bang: $2.06 million in sales and 2,138 new presenters in December, according to the company newsletter (2).
All this launch excitement was occuring during a particularly bad time for Avon, who was about to report a $50 million loss for the first quarter of 2013 (3). Avon would also cut 1,500 jobs and leave certain markets in Asia. Their previous quarterly loss was $162.2 million. On top of all that, Avon was dealing with allegations of bribery of overseas officials.
So Younique looked like the rising star: complete with a progressive selling model catering to younger generations, trending products (3D lashes!), and an explosive start.
Fast forward two years later and it’s pretty tough to find any financial info on Younique, which is a privately held company so they’re not required to disclose their financials to the public.
The company was, however, named among the Emerging Elite for 2015 by the MountainWest Capital Network (MWCN) (4). Each year the MWCN ranks Utah companies based on their rate of growth.
And in October of 2014, they’d reached the level of 100,000 Presenters (5).
But to compete with the likes of Mary Kay, direct seller of cosmetics for over 40 years? Here’s what Younique is up against: Mary Kay has over 200 products, 2.5 million independent sales consultants, and exposure in around 35 countries(6).
But Younique does have the advantage of targeting a social media crowd and possessing a fresh new name. Besides, nothing conjures up your grandmother’s cosmetics more than the Mary Kay lady driving around in a pink Cadillac.
So, they’re not Mary Kay Cosmetics…but who is Younique?
Younique was founded by a brother and sister team Derek Maxfield and Melanie Huscroft. Mr.Maxfield was already a “name” in MLM, having run Netsteps for seven years prior to founding Younique. Netsteps was on the Inc 500 list in 2010, having reported over $5 million in revenue the preceding year (7).
Hate home parties but love cosmetics?
The Younique business opportunity was made for social media mavens who love cosmetics. The whole plan was devised around the concept that Younique products would be sold via social media. Home parties are not required. Instead, Presenters (that’s what the independent business owners are called) hold “Facebook Parties”.
In exchange, they get hostess rewards amounting to free and discounted product.
Younique has a fully developed marketing plan designed to fully and easily integrate with Facebook (and other platforms). Presenters receive a constant supply of graphics and promotions with which to fill up their Facebook timelines.
They are also given access to hundreds of images created by other presenters, which they can use on their Facebook pages. Images are also contributed by customers who’ve used Younique products.
Of course Presenter marketing efforts are not limited to Facebook. There’s also Pinterest, Instagram, and whatever else they can come up with.
It costs a one-time fee of $99 to become a Younique presenter. That covers a beauty kit which contains the following:
- 30 eye pigments (made in the USA)
- 3D Fiber Lash mascara
- 3 eye brushes
- a Younique charm
- 6 concealers
- 5 blushers
- black kit for holding it all
- your own Younique website
These are demo products, which the Presenter uses on herself, then snaps pictures to post on Facebook to entice sales. Customer sales are shipped directly to the customers.
Staying active means selling at least $125 worth of product every 3 months.
Presenters must sell at least $200 at a “Party” (Facebook event) to earn 1 half-price product plus 10% in Younique cash. This can be used to acquire free product. There is also the chance to earn actual cash.
Presenters have access to weekly free training and $25 in Younique Cash every year on their birthday.
Younique products cannot be sold on Amazon, on eBay, or in retail locations (like salons, for example). The products are backed by Younique’s Love It Guarantee. Customers may return product within 14 days for full refund or exchange. Within 15-30 days, it’s 80% back and 31-90 days it’s product credit or exchange (all minus shipping and handling).
Younique is a member of the Direct Selling Assocition and is fully accredited with the Better Business Bureau where they maintain an A- rating (8).
Compensation Plan Beyond the Facebook Party Hostess Rewards
Recruiting brings rewards, too. There’s a Fast Start Bonus available to Presenters who enroll 3 new Presenters and sell $2,000 in product within your first 90 days. That nets $250 in Younique Cash and a Fast Start charm.
There’s 20% commission on retail sales, and that figure goes up as you advance in the ranks. Commissions are paid “instantly”, or within 3 hours of sales. The commission amount gets transferred into the Presenter’s PayQuicker Younique debit card for her use any time. Transferring that to a bank account will cost $.50.
Advance to Pink status to earn real cash: 3% of team sales. Advance to higher ranks and that percentage goes up.
Cosmetic sales are a tough business. Pair that with what’s happened to Facebook since Younique launched and you might get the sense this is a hopeless battle. Monetizing Facebook has become increasingly difficult as a result in a change in FB policies.
But Younique forges ahead, empowering women and seemingly oblivious to the challenges they face. With energy and optimism like that, they’re not done yet.
Just like with any MLM, peddling products to your family members and friends at church might work for a couple months…maybe over a year if you’re lucky.
In the end, it’s still the sad story of selling hype and chasing the hot opportunity.
There is a better way.
Check this out. It will help wreck your money-chasing habits.
All references retrieved 9/26/2015
- Utah Direct-Sales Cosmetics Company Experiences Impressive Exponential Growth. Retrieved from http://www.onlineprnews.com/news/417405-1378759405-utah-directsales-cosmetics-company-experiences-impressive-exponential-growth.html
- Younique Products News: $2.06 Million in Sales in December. Retrieved from http://fabfitbeauty.com/younique-products-news-2-06-million-in-sales-in-december/
- Prior, Anna. Avon loss widens as Silpada business slips. Retrieved from http://www.marketwatch.com/story/avon-loss-widens-as-silpada-business-slips-2013-02-12
- Neely, Karissa. MountainWest Capital Network Releases Utah 100 Fastest Growing. Retrieved from http://www.heraldextra.com/business/mwcn-names-fastet-growing-utah-companies-jonathan-johnson-campaigns-dsw/article_94dcb503-ff35-51b5-8282-33689ce3d0a2.html
- Williams, Tina. Younique Reaches 100K Presenter Milestone, Exceeds Fouders’ Projections. Retrieved from http://www.businessforhome.org/2014/10/younique-reaches-100k-presenter-milestone-exceeds-founders-projections/
- Mary Kay Inc.Company Profile. Hoovers. Retrieved from http://www.hoovers.com/company-information/cs/company-profile.Mary_Kay_Inc.c847de3ea605f137.html
- Allred, Cathy. NetSteps wins INc.500 honor. Retrieved from http://www.heraldextra.com/business/local/netsteps-wins-inc-honor/article_66dbdbff-04e4-5cfb-bafd-d4bcf5d137e9.html
- BBB Business Review: Younique. Retrieved from http://www.bbb.org/utah/business-reviews/cosmetic-sales-by-internet/younique-llc-in-lehi-ut-22338963