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I have recently seen an opinion piece circulating my social media feeds titled “How MLMs are Hurting Female Friendships.” This is something I would have been all over and probably in total agreement with when I first heard of the multi-level marketing business model.

Suddenly my facebook messages were filled with ladies reaching out wanting to reconnect. But the conversations quickly turned to “incredible opportunities” and “an easy way to make money” so I could “afford to stay home with my baby once she’s born.” Didn’t these ‘friends’ already know I was planning to stay home with my baby, regardless of whether or not I worked? (This is a tremendous blessing that I am so thankful for!) Why would these women begin the conversation with what felt like was a facade of actually caring about how I was? This is the lack of transparency that has given MLMs a bad rap and inspired articles like the one I’m addressing now.

I think a large part of why some feel that MLMs have hurt female friendships is because of a lack of transparency in the way these entrepreneurs approach conversations. Starting off a conversation with small talk only to jump into trying to sell or recruit is dishonest and slimy. Women aren’t stupid and they can see through the fluff to the real intentions. I believe that being direct and honest from the start is key to being successful and not hurting a relationship. My advice to breaking this stigma is to be transparent in the initial contact; don’t be weird.

I think that being a part of Beautycounter has actually strengthened my female friendships and given me a whole bunch of new ones. Why did I join an MLM? There are actually many reasons:

  1. Female FriendshipDid you laugh out loud? I know it’s ironic. But, once I had my baby, I felt like a part of my old self was missing. I longed for conversation with someone who could speak English back to me. So I joined breastfeeding support groups. These helped somewhat, but I wanted more. Beautycounter has given me a community of women who aren’t afraid to cut past the small talk and dive right into topics like how our body washes are linked to the drop in male fertility or how plastics are delaying children’s speech. Forming bonds around these common beliefs that something is devastatingly wrong and it needs to be changed has given me genuine, meaningful friendships.
  2. A Sense of PurposeBeing a mother is SO fulfilling. Knowing that I am shaping the next generation just by loving and teaching my children gives me an incredible sense of purpose. However, I was used to academic stimulation and being very task-oriented. The monotonous work of maintaining a household is challenging for sure, but not in an intellectual way. I missed that. Working with Beautycounter has given me this back. As an education-first company, it’s important that I know about current research on the ingredients in our personal care products. Keeping my clients informed is a large part of my job and I find it all so fascinating.
  3. Advocacy WorkI have had an itch for advocacy work for a long time. Being a voice for those who need it really fills my cup. In college, I was extensively involved in advocating for people who are homeless. I spent hours serving my community and educating others on the realities of homelessness. My senior thesis was even centered on homelessness. After graduation and having a baby, again I felt like that piece of my old self was missing. Beautycounter fills that hole (along with advocating for the unborn). With Beautycounter, I am able to advocate for better health protective laws and help my loved ones make safer choices for themselves and their families. This aspect of my work is so fulfilling.
  4. Income Potential, Flexibility, & Beautycounter’s Business ModelThe income potential with network marketing is astronomical. Part of the reason I joined Beautycounter was because of the appeal of making money on my own schedule. I can work during nap time, while cooking dinner, and while breastfeeding. Network marketing not only compensates you for your personal sales, but you also get rewarded for the investment you make in coaching and mentoring others. You have the potential (with enough grit and hustle) to build a business that can support your family for generations. I was especially drawn to Beautycounter because of their business model. They are direct to retail, meaning that they sell product via consultants, their website, strategic partnerships (Goop for example), and brick and mortar stores. This multichannel approach is innovative and helped validate the products for me. It seems much more honest and practical than expecting consultants to purchase a large inventory to then sell out of their garages. Building a team has been so fun. I get to choose who I work with and they are strong, intelligent women whose friendships I am so thankful for.

While I acknowledge that there are (many) MLMs that are doing it wrong out there, I don’t think it’s fair to say that all MLMs are hurting female friendships. Beautycounter has brought many new friends into my life and taught me how to be honest, professional, and respectful when forming new business relationships from current friendships.

“Be honest, be nice, be a flower not a weed.” Aaron Neville

XOXO, Sam

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