Growing up, my mom used Amway. I’m not sure if she sold it or just purchased it. Either way, it was around. I grew up in a small town so when a ‘new product’ would come into town, the pop-up parties started to happen. I know there was pressure to purchase something and that didn’t always feel good. My mom would say, “we’re supporting her party.” –What does that even mean? I’m assuming she meant something a little different than those words, but we could speculate on that all day.
Here’s what I’ve learned: The products sold are usually pretty good.
I’ve been to a party for and hosted a few as well: Lia sophia, Lularoe, PureRomance, Doterra, Young Living, Pampered Chef, Simply Fun, Mary Kay, Arbonne, Norwex, Cruncy…and probably a few others. The products are usually solid. I like them and I would buy them again. They are usually really expensive for what you actually get but they come with an experience and beautiful designs.
I love that they started doing online parties.
This allows me to check out the product in my pajamas and in my level of engagement.
No one likes to be hounded.
Duh. No one likes to hear from someone from your high school that you didn’t like then, that they want you to spend money with them. I think this is where most people are turned away from MLMs to start with.
Then there are the shifty companies
I’m still in the middle of watching the Lularoe documentary. Oof. That sucks. All around. I hope people find their healing from that situation. And the LLR trend was one that I loved–because leggings! But I also had a feeling something was going on in the background that didn’t feel right.
And–I’ll be honest, I don’t really know a whole lot about the world of network marketing to be able to speak on it. I’m sure you can educate me through an email, if you have a specific opinion.
There is something about these parties bringing people together.
Together, people are feeling connected (by a product they are excited about) and the exileration of sharing in that with others (that’s in any business, right?) . The product is something to get excited about, And who doesn’t love a party with snacks? I do. But is that really creating authentic community? I’m not sure but the potential is there.
Maybe my experiences with MLMs as a young person watching other women ‘create their home based business’ was a model for myself to be excited and share my current business and much of why I’ve been successful, I lend to my excitement. Seriously.
Sometimes I wonder…
is the reason we love to hate on MLMs, pyramid schemes, and network marketing is because they had to be part of the reason so many women found their financial independence when it was challenging to create that independence without a husband? I hope not…
When companies tote health advice, that’s when I have a major problem.
When Doterra hit the scene…circa 2014. I had just had my first son and the natural mom community was hungry for an option for health and well being that broke the dependence on pharmaceuticals. I had already been studying herbs and essential oils for around 10 years. It was wild to see my extended family literally call me a witch because I was a massage therapist and here they were having oil parties. Like—whaaat?! I remember sending an email to so many of my cousins saying, listen, if you want real advice..read this book or that. And they weren’t interested in that. They wanted the party. The excitement. The community.
I realize many of these companies have been predatory.
And that’s awful. But if we’ve learned anything from the pandemic, various income streams may be a wise idea… maybe we shouldn’t shun these options? I don’t think it’s wise to put all of our effort into companies like this but maybe a passive option to create more ways to make money?
Recently, I joined an network marketing company.
For several reasons. It’s my first experience on the distributor side. I don’t have any interest in “growing my team” or quitting my day job. But I find it’s a fun way to connect with other people who love to paint their nails. I’m watching with a careful eye how the company operates and communicates with their team. So far, I’m really pleased but I won’t be ranking up over night and I won’t be hounding anyone from my past. But I will ask you to go to coffee with me and paint your nails and see how awesome this product is. And if you don’t like it–ok! That’s fine. No problem!
And, if I’m getting really deep into it, it’s a way that I’m still contributing to the internalization of capitalism. I could spend more time getting coffee with friends, but if I have that little nudge that they want to paint nails with me, I’m more likely to show up and seek it out. I’m not saying that’s a good thing–quite the opposite actually. I’m just being honest with you.
I’m just here to say that I’m not sure how I feel about all of it but I don’t think we should automatically dismiss a product/company like this because it is set up in this way. If you were someone with a product to sell, I can see why someone would want to organize a company like this.
Tell me–what do you think?