Well done for doing some research and looking for this Arbonne MLM Review. Before you get started with any type of business you should be checking it out from all angles. Being cautious before diving in to Arbonne's company as a consultant, or any MLM company for that matter, is a wise choice.
In this review of Arbonne MLM today we're going to look at this business opportunity and find out whether it's worth becoming one of their consultants or not. I will also direct your attention to another business opportunity which I think is a lot more profitable than MLM.
I've included a table of contents which you can use to skip to specific sections of the review. Be sure to read this review and take a looksy at the alternative to Arbonne, which I think you'll agree is much more profitable. So let's get started.
What is Arbonne MLM?
Arbonne is a company that sells holistic health and beauty products. In their range you'll find skin care, cosmetics, nutrition, bath & body and hair care products. The products from Arbonne are quite expensive. Being they're quite expensive, this may make it more difficult to sell if you become a consultant for Arbonne.
Multi-level marketing is similar to a pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes are illegal and if you're involved in one, you can find yourself in lots of trouble. However, most MLM companies get around the legalities by having a different approach. You still have to recruit people into a downline (meaning you make money when they make money).
Of course, if you're recruiting others into the same company you'll make more money when they sell the products in Arbonne's catalogue. And the more people you manage to recruit, then the more cold hard cash you'll earn as a result.
So if you become a consultant with Arbonne MLM you'll make money in two different ways.
- You sell the products to customers yourself and earn a commission.
- You recruit other people to be consultants working under you and you'll earn a commission from their sales.
And while we're on the topic of MLM in general, you'll find a list of all my MLM reviews here. This list will grow as I review more and more MLM companies and add to it.
Back to Arbonne and their business opportunity.
According to WikiPedia, Arbonne is an international multi-level marketing (MLM) company that was founded in 1980 in the US by Petter Morck, a Norwegian entrepreneur. Arbonne's products include vegan skincare, nutrition, and costmetics.
In 2017, Arbonne achieved sales revenues of $544 million. The current CEO of Arbonne is Jean-David Schwartz. According to WikiPedia, lawsuits concerning discrimination have been filed. Arbonne has its headquarters in Irvine, California.
Are Arbonne Products Worth The Money?
Arbonne sell a lot of products which are much more expensive than similar products from other companies. I went to Amazon's website and looked about for Arbonne by brand name and compared the pricing of other products from competitors.
I chose to compare a couple of products on the Arbonne website and looked for the same products on Amazon. Within a couple of minutes I found examples such as the one in the image below. This particular product is Arbonne branded chocolate protein shake mix. Same product, same amount of contents, different pricing. Hmmm.
The image above is from Arbonne's website. The cost for this chocolate protein shake mix is $77.00. Expensive, right? You can get it at a discounted price from Arbonne's website if you're a consultant for Arbonne. However, that will still be $61.60, which is still a lot more expensive than the Amazon pricing which you can see below.
And the same product in the image above is listed on Amazon for just $45.00. To be fair, I actually think both prices are whey too expensive (pun intended).
Despite it being against the rules to list Arbonne products on other sites such as Amazon, here's the problem I can see people running into...
Can you imagine trying to convince someone to buy Arbonne products through you rather than them saving money by going to Amazon or another source for the same stuff?
Arbonne branded products are among the most expensive of their types. Other brands I've seen are a lot cheaper than Arbonne. That's another issue on top of Arbonne's different prices depending on where you buy from.
You'd have to be one hell of a salesperson to convince me to pay an extra $32.00 more than what I could buy on Amazon for.
And this is just one example of one product I found in a couple of minutes. I challenge you to go and find more examples for yourself.
So, do you see what I'm getting at here? Why would you want to become a consultant for Arbonne when the products can be found elsewhere for a lot cheaper?
The Arbonne MLM Business Opportunity
Arbonne don't pay independent consultants as employees of the company, just like most if not all other MLM companies. When you become an independent consultant for Arbonne, you're setting up a business opportunity for yourself. You make money if you sell products. You also make money by recruiting people into your team, or more commonly reffered to as your "downline".
Those recruits can also go on to recruit people into their own downline. If in theory you get lots of recruits then you could see a lot of income when they sell products (and of course recruit others to sell).
You can sign up to be an independent consultant for Arbonne in a few countries outside the United States, such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Poland and the United Kingdom.
As an Arbonne consultant, your main purpose is to sell products from Arbonne and also recruit as many people as you can so that you can then go on to make money from their sales also.
How Much Does it Cost to Join Arbonne's MLM?
If you want to become an independent consultant and start making money you'll get access to your very own personal e-commerce website. This website has a shareable digital catalogue. According to the Arbonne website itself, you'll get access to free apps for "on the go business management".
You'll also get access to a social marketing library for sharing Arbonne. There is also a knowledge library for information on the products and the business. As you can see below, there is also a community that claims to help others.
The registration fee is $49 for 12 months. You'll have to pay $20 for an upgrade to the preferred client membership (I believe this is how you would get a discount on products).
There is a $29 renewal fee which will be due after each complete year you're a consultant. All in all, the cost to become an Arbonne independent consultant isn't too high. It's one of the positives about this MLM.
Can You Make Money with Arbonne MLM?
As with any MLM company, you're going to have to convince people into buying your products if you're a consultant with Arbonne. Remember the price difference we talked about above? Yes, you're going to have to come up with some pretty nifty ideas to sell something which can be found cheaper elsewhere.
In addition to selling the products yourself, you're going to have to recruit other people into your downline (meaning you're kind of their boss) and those people in your "downline" will go out and also sell Arbonne's products to others. You'll earn a commission from each product they sell.
This makes Arbonne too similar to a pyramid scheme for my liking. To me, it doesn't matter how good a product is when the business model is too much like a pyramid scheme.
What happens when the people you recruited aren't selling enough? You'll have to contact them and crack the whip.
How good are you at recruiting people? How can you convince them that becoming an Arbonne consultant and selling something at a higher price than other places is a good idea?
If you came to me asking me to be one of your independent consultants I'd be rather against the idea once I found out that the products are cheaper if you shop around on places like Amazon.
Unless you're a sales wiz and you're excellent at persuading people that paying more for something is a good idea, then I wouldn't expect to make a lot of money at all with Arbonne MLM.
If you manage to sell a lot of Arbonne's products and recruit a lot of people into your team, you can qualify as District Manager, Area Manager, Regional Vice President and even National Vice President. Every position has a certain amount in sales volumes that increase with each position.
You can take a look at Arbonne's compensation plan PDF here.
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There are some complaints about Arbonne listed at the Better Business Bureau, but they don't seem to be too serious. They're mostly about not receiving refunds in a timely manner, not successfully cancelling independent consultant memberships, and not having emails replied to when consultants encounter any issues (such as when they want to quit being a consultant).
I've included a screenshot below of 2 complaints that I found at BBB. If you'd like to see at least another 10 different complaints, you can visit Better Business Bureau and have a read for yourself.
In the video below, Emily Anne talks about the issues she sees that are wrong with Arbonne MLM, in particular their consultants and the claims they make. In one particularly disturbing section, at about 7 minutes in, she calls out a woman for claiming that Arbonne's products can improve fertility in those struggling to get pregnant.
Emily Anne quite rightly points out that this is not true, and anyway, you are NOT allowed to make medical claims such as the ones she allows us to listen to in the video.
At around 13 minutes into the video, Emily talks about the "lies Arbonne consultants tell." Listen to what she tells us about the "free" Mercedes Benz."
Video - The Truth About Arbonne - from Emily Anne's YouTube Channel
In this next video from the Blonde Tea Party YouTube channel, you'll hear about all the things they don't tell you about Arbonne MLM before you join.
Video - What They Don't Tell You About Arbonne MLM
You can find more complaints about Arbonne MLM on YouTube here.
The Pros of Arbonne MLM
Comparatively Low Startup Cost
You can get started with Arbonne for just $49 when you sign up on their website as an independent consultant. That's quite reasonable, in my opinion, because I've seen a lot of other MLM companies charging and arm and a leg for their starter kits.
Reasonable Commission Rates
You can earn commissions of 35%. Please note: that's probably why Arbonne's products are so expensive. They have to recoup that money somehow!
Not Too Many BBB Complaints
At the time of writing this Arbonne MLM review I found only 12 complaints at the Better Business Bureau, which is quite a low number. Arbonne seem to be quite good at dealing with complaints in a timely manner to clear up the issues at BBB. Most of the complaints I saw were related to billing, membership cancellation and such.
45 Day Money Back Guarantee
Arbonne includes a 45 days money back guarantee on all of their products. You can expect to be refunded if you're not satisfied but you will have to cover shipping fees. Hmmm.
The Cons of Arbonne MLM
Complaints About The Products
While there aren't too many complaints about Arbonne's MLM at the Better Business Bureau, there are some complaints about some of Arbonne's products causing skin problems like rashes and red bumps.
Here's a screenshot of one such complaint about allergic reactions to Arbonne's hand lotion product. You can find more complaints by searching on Google and YouTube.
There have been lawsuits against Arbonne. One such lawsuit was for discrimination against a woman who was not allowed to join Arbonne MLM because she was deaf.
There has also been a lawsuit claiming that Arbonne is a pyramid scheme, although according to WikiPedia, that lawsuit was later dismissed.
Some Product Recalls
Arbonne recalled some products in 2009 because of contamination with Salmonella. One such contamination was in their peanut butter cups produced in one of their Georgia processing factories. Other Arbonne recalls include liquid eye liner, a day cream, body wash and a men’s facial moisturizer.
Not FDA Approved
Since Arbonne's products do not contain any ingredients banned by the Food and Drug Administration, they don't actually need to be approved by the FDA.
Is Arbonne MLM a Pyramid Scheme?
According to WikiPedia, Arbonne MLM has been accused in lawsuits of being a pyramid scheme. It's understandable that some people will see almost any MLM company as a pyramid scheme because of the continual focus on recruiting others into the company who then have to go on and recruit people themselves.
Update: The WikiPedia page about Arbonne MLM has been updated and now says the case against it being a pyramid scheme has now been dismissed. So there you have it.
However, like I mentioned before, I believe all MLM companies are too similar to pyramid schemes and that's because there's too much focus on recruiting people into your team and profiting from a percentage of their sales. Hence the term "Multi-Level."
How to Spot a Pyramid Scheme?
Pyramid schemes are notoriously difficult to spot. In the video I've included below you'll learn how you can tell what's a pyramid scheme and how to tell what's legit.
Ted Ed Video Courtesy of YouTube - How to Spot a Pyramid Scheme
My Final Verdict of Arbonne MLM
Now, I'm not going to call Arbonne MLM an outright scam, but I will say that I'm not keen on any type of MLM company. This is because of the structure of the business, not because of the quality of their products.
I really don't like the fact that if I join Arbonne MLM I would have to arrange parties, try to recruit people under me in my "downline" and sell products which, quite frankly, are way too expensive. There are similar products for less than half the cost of Arbonne when you shop around.
Their prices are obviously inflated to cover the 35% commission rates that Arbonne must pay to the independent consultants.
But back to what most puts me off MLM as a business. The constant pressure to recruit people into your team so that you can make money off of whatever they sell. You'll have to be constantly in contact with your team of consultants to crack the whip and tell them to sell more and do more to grow the business.
With Arbonne in particular, I don't know if I would be a good enough salesman to convince people to pay up to twice the price for something that can be found cheaper elsewhere. How do you do that?
MLM sucks, to be quite honest. And there are statistics to prove my point. I've got a few things to back me up on this (click them and they'll open up in a new tab).
I really think these statistics will put you off MLM completely. But worry not, I'm going to give you a fantastic alternative to MLM a couple of inches further down this page.
1 AARP Foundation Research About MLM PDF -
2 FTC PDF on the abysmal statistics of multi-level marketing
Is There a Better Alternative to Arbonne MLM?
Multi-level marketing isn't a great business model in that it is too close to being a pyramid scheme. I say this because to be successful with most MLM companies you have to recruit other people into your downline as well as actually sell the products the company produces.
Arbonne products are prohibitively expensive and as such they are going to be a hard-to-sell option. You can buy similar products with natural ingredients online for a better price if you shop around.
Here's what I would suggest you do if Arbonne is the type of product line you love and you want to build a business around health and fitness and makeup and skincare...
Start a niche website!
There are billions of dollars of revenue being generated in many niches online. The health & beauty niche is HUGE.
People are creating real passive income businesses on the internet and they don't even have to deal with stock, deliveries, refunds, or any of that recruiting nonsense to make a living these days.
When you start a niche website you can pick and choose what products you recommend and talk about them on your site. People are always turning to the internet to research products and if you position yourself between a product vendor (like Arbonne) and someone who is interested in buying, you can make money.
The name of this better business model is affiliate marketing. It's basically creating content around things you recommend, or don't recommend. As long as you're honest and you don't promote/sell scammy products you can make a very, very nice income just sitting at home working on your computer.
An example of "creating content" around things you recommend or don't recommend is the very Arbonne MLM review you're reading right now. I did the research online all about Arbonne's business opportunity and put together this review to inform my readers.
And that's it. It's not too hard. This review took me about 4 hours to complete. Nobody was looking over my shoulder while I wrote it, there was no deadline, no commute, and it's certainly a lot easier than arranging meetings/parties and recruiting people in person.
There are no meetings, parties, uplines, downlines, bosses or employees to worry about. With affiliate marketing you truly are your own boss. There is NOBODY to tell you what you must do today.
And with affiliate marketing, it's typically a lot more affordable to get started. You only need a website, hosting and the training so you know what to do. And all of that stuff is done on the internet.
So, if you want a superior method to make money and you're tired of struggling with scammy MLM companies, go for the affiliate marketing type of home business. You'll thank me later.
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If you have any questions about MLM companies, Arbonne, affiliate marketing in general, let me know below in the comments section. I'll get right back to you with an answer.
My name's Jim, thanks for reading my Arbonne MLM review today.
- Low Complaint Rate
- Reasonable Commissions
- 45 Day Money Back Guarantee
- Products Contain Natural Ingredients
- Arbonne Has Been in Business for Several Decades
- Not FDA Approved
- Product Recalls
- Some Lawsuits
- Most Arbonne Consultants Don't Make Money
- Very Expensive Products