Cabi is a popular MLM that sells clothes, and they sell a lot.
While they company has had its ups and downs, people still claim to be making decent money with them.
So have I been involved?
This video explains:
All good? Let’s continue…
According to them, Cabi is the largest “social selling” company in the US, armed with over 3000 consultants (or “Stylists”) and over 30 years of success, founded by Carol Anderson.
In late 2012, Cabi was catapulted into something resembling momentum, with the investment firms J. H. Whitney and Irving Place Capital backing them. They market themselves as succeeding through “serving rather than selling, collaboration not competition, and transformation over transaction.”
Sounds pretty, but there’s a slight whiff of big, desperate smiles and a thin veneer of happiness stretched over a writhing body of MLMness.
It looks for all intents and purposes like ASOS, with decent graphics, scrolling menus that don’t glue your browser speed to no buffering per decade, no errors, sentences that make sense and a blog that doesn’t just cover their own clothing.
So do their products live up to their own hype?
Wow. They’re expensive. Double-take it-must-be-a-typo expensive.
A Walmart cami will cost you just over five dollars. Fine, no problem.
A Cabi cami? Try $76.00 for size.
Knocking on the door of a hundred dollars for the sort of top you wear under everything else.
It’s far from the most expensive clothing ever made, but good luck selling this to your family and neighbors. MLMs like this are meant for the everyday woman, women for women, and no right-minded woman will spend just shy of $100 for a simple strappy top.
And you can forget about sneaking in past the stylist horde and buying something online. Try and pick up anything and you get redirected to a page where you can “find a Cabi stylist.” So like it or not, you’re going to go to one of their “fashion experiences”, kicking and screaming if need be.
You sure you need the ninety dollar belt? You sure you don’t want to go to Walmart?
They’re pulling up their bootstraps here with a compensation plan page that’s informative and not hideous. There’s talk of a website, free training, fashion shows (called The Scoop), personalized support, the works. (2) That’s pretty good juju for an MLM like this. Normally you’re left to your own Facebook page and that’s it.
You get hostess incentives, discounts, leadership development, free training, first season bonuses…
…and PQVs that look alright on paper.
You’re not left to your own devices at your fashion meets either. You’ll get all kinds of slightly weird gizmos and gadgets, including a “cabi curtain” to let your coworkers get changed into their new clothes at the fashion party. With everyone watching.
Sounds like the parties are weird as hell.
The payment plan is relatively straightforward though.
If you sell a certain amount of your inventory by the end of every season, you’ll earn more bonuses.
But your initial investment is a whopping $2750.00, and all the taxes to go with it.
And that’s before you get anywhere near the testimonials page, with the biggest cringe-fest of a real life story coming in at top billing.
Apparently a banker had a new best friend, and one day “plucked up the courage” to ask where her white jeans came from. Instead of just, you know, asking. She ended up hosting a fashion party with all her friends, all her co-workers, and all her husband’s friends and coworkers.
The phrase “it seemed too good to be true” is even thrown in, and a paragraph about the importance of fashion in a doctor’s career. Then she’s earning top dollar and all for showing some fashion around to her friends.
It makes you want to throw up a bit. Most MLMs really drive the happiness, unicorns and wonder side of doing direct sales, that you can spend all day with your family and travel the world after a week of work, but thousand word testimonials like that push the boundary of plausibility.
Refreshingly, there’s not a nutraceutical in sight, which makes the weirdness easier to swallow. There’s lots of products to view and more numbers than most MLMs would hand over at gunpoint, and there’s even this bizarre sense that Cabi wants you to sell products more than recruit people.
I know. It’s almost like a real business.
But it’s still an odd way to generate income. Who wants to invite over their supervisor and get them to try on clothes, separated only by a branded curtain?
It’s also a bit grating that brands like these market themselves as the only way for women to earn extra money and work from home. The vomit-worthy testimonials add a weird, unnerving level of cuddliness to the whole enterprise that doesn’t feel as genuine as the rest of the website. The banker story tracks at about 1325 words. That’s insane for an employee story. She even recruited her mother. Selling your produce to your parents is one thing, but to recruit? That must’ve made for awkward Thanksgiving conversations.
We may not know the in’s and out’s of her story, but that runs so badly against the grain. Recruiting your mother? Not a good look.
Don’t sell yourselves short, folks. There are other ways of making money online, and joining an MLM and recruiting the woman that brought you into this world to sell jeans isn’t one of them.
In other words, you might like our training because it teaches the “good life” without selling shady products to your family and friends.