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Response to Michelle Mallard-Gay

by Ottie on 2020-02-14 10:29:34

Michelle Mallard-Gay, the CEO of LimeLife (an MLM) recently wrote the following on Facebook.  I wonder sometimes if people like her are lying are stupid.  I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she isn’t stupid, so I think she’s just lying.  To demonstrate, I’ll put in my comments/facts (in red) within her post below.    

From Michelle:

Recently Anastasia Beverly Hills pulled their collaboration with Rodan + Fields because of "fan backlash." I want to first take a moment to congratulate Anastasia for exploring this collaboration and tip my hat to Rodan + Fields for partnering with such an incredible female businesswoman. But the purpose of this post is to add some perspective for those who spoke out against this collaboration. I am not here to tell you that you are wrong or bad, I just thought it would be helpful to hear another perspective because what we put out there has impact.  This post stretched the definition of “perspective”.  If I say the sky is blue, it’s not a “perspective” to say the sky is yellow.  It’s just stating a falsehood.  If she was honest, she would adjust this sentence to say, “I just thought it would help me to provide a series of intentionally misleading statements to conceal the huge negative impact I have.”

In scrolling through social media, I saw hundreds of women using the term "predatory" to describe Rodan + Fields, stating they use lower income woman to "do their dirty work." So let me just speak specifically to this one theme otherwise I will be here all day.

The word predatory was used very vaguely but I am assuming most feel that the company is using women to make money and in return promising them a false dream. But if you Google Rodan + Fields compensation plan, it's right there. All the ways to make money.  This isn’t a lie, but rather a misdirection.  The fact that you can find the compensation plan on google does not disprove its predatory-ness.  Most scams and pyramid schemes will have web sites with web pages that explain how the structure works.   There is also great training at R + F, better and more strategic for success than what would be offered at most MBA programs. Based on what?  I guess this isn’t a lie, just an uninformed opinion.  Now Google "how to move up the corporate ladder at Sephora". Anything clear cut there? Your promotion in the corporate world is based on someone else's opinion of you. Salary or no salary, wouldn't the more subjective model be more predatory?  This is misleading as it’s not a reasonable comparison.  At corporate Sephora, even if you aren’t promoted, you’re getting paid for your time (and you certainly don’t have to buy products or a “starter kit” to work there.)  If a salon sells a brand and receives a percentage, is the brand preying on the salon?  Again misleading.  People aren’t concerned about you preying on Salon owners.  They’re concerned about you preying on people without an extra $169 to afford things like the LImelife starter pack.  

When a company pays Amazon a percentage of a sale to promote their product, is the company preying on Amazon?  Again, no one is concerned about preying on a massive multinational corporation.  Now I know what you are thinking, "but the reps get paid to recruit other people into Rodan + Fields". Actually, that is head hunters. If Rodan + Fields is like LimeLife, you get nothing for someone joining your team. If the person on your team produces sales, you get a very small bonus for helping support them. That sounds a lot like a management compensation - kind of what would happen at a traditional business.  Kind of, but not really at all.  Again, everyone at a normal corporation gets paid for their day to day work.  You have goals, and you work hard to achieve those goals.  Sometimes, you have a headcount to fill, and you find great a great person to join your team to help you achieve the team’s goals.  And, to repeat, during this process, you and the people who join your team are paid daily for their work.  The differences between an MLM and a corporate hierarchy is so stark, you might as well compare an MLM to an ant colony.  

Directs sales, MLMs, Network Marketing Companies do attract women from lower income levels to them for a few reasons — there is no formal educational requirement, no formal interview, and you can work while watching your children (if you have ever had to work and pay for childcare, you know that after taxes you make almost nothing).  Sadly, this is often true, but I’d advise someone to “make almost nothing” than “pay upfront for the infinitesimal chance of maybe making something later.”  The direct selling model offers women from traditionally lower income households a means to a much bigger future than what is offered in a traditional employment role. It is also a way to add a revenue stream. Today, I did a training for our North American sales field on how to invest your money. I was teaching them that if they could increase their income an extra $1,000 a month for the next 4 years and invest it in a Roth IRA or Index Fund, they could acquire almost a half a million dollars in the next 30 years (assuming an 8% annual growth, which is what most professional financial advisors use for their estimates). That money could be used to fund a retirement, invest in 529 for grand kids, or for be used for medical bills.  Great investment advice!  I would also ask how much you could make in 30 years if you, instead of flushing $129 down the toilet (and the $10 monthly fee), invested that money in an index fund.  I bet the answer would be a lot more than negative $129 + (negative $120 * number of years.)  I also wonder if the “make almost nothing” from a corporate job referenced above would net at least $1000 (it probably would.)  Why not go that route and save money for retirement, grandkids, etc.?

Now let's imagine that instead of criticizing Anastasia for this collaboration, women went out onto social media and encouraged it. Tens of thousands of women in Rodan + Fields would have benefitted. Women across the country could have worked to get themselves and their families in a better financial place. Some could have started savings accounts or college accounts. Some LimeLife Beauty Guides might have gone over to Rodan + Fields to take in that potential and made more money. But that didn't happen. No women won. The corporations will continue to benefit from our revenue.  This is where the real lying is.  Rodan + Fields publishes an annual income disclosure statement.  You can read it here.  How many people made $10K per year (less than $1K per month) or more?  About 4%.  61% make an average of $325 for the year.  That’s better than nothing right?  Not when you incorporate the fact that most members pay over $500 for the business launch kit.  And that doesn’t even begin to include the cost of their time and the mental anguish of struggling to sell.  So the correct and factual way to state the above is: Women across the country saved themselves and their families from losing over a $100, saved countless hours, and were saved from enduring depression-inducing frustration.

Want to show incredible leadership and power? Start posting about why this collaboration helps women. You might even be surprised at how pouring love into the hopes and hustle of more women builds your dreams just a bit bigger.  Or look at the statistics and realize that you’re harming women by pulling them into a pyramid scheme.  Start posting about why this collaboration is a scam and hurts everyone.  Before you start thinking about making people’s dreams come true, first just stop harming them.  

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