A couple weeks ago, I published a post about how MLMs prey on moms, particularly stay at home moms who have limited income earning options. You can read it here.
While I stand by that article and agree that most “consultants” do not earn their keep selling things like Jamberry Nails, I decided to write a feature about T. (name is withheld not because T. requested it, but because I have no interest in harming T.’s reputation or ability to provide for her family) , a Senior Lead Consultant with Jamberry.
Originally, her side of things sounded like a tremendous success story. I was also being bombarded by comments from other Jamberry consultants, telling me how “wrong” I was about Jamberry, so I thought a deeper look was in order. So, dive into the depths I did. And this Jamberry story is not what I thought it would be.
Statistically, “On average, 99.95% of network marketers lose money. However, only 97.14% of Las Vegas gamblers lose money by placing everything on a single number at roulette.” (Source) As a disclaimer, I am not, nor is BOTTLESOUP, benefiting from the sale of Jamberry nails. I am not receiving any payment or commission from this post – this is strictly for informative purposes, so my audience can get a better look at the Jamberry world and make their own decisions. I urge you to do your own research before becoming involved in any network marketing/MLM/at home consulting, and consider T.’s story as one of the 0.05%.
T. discovered Jamberry Nails through a friend in January 2015. Her friend put T. in contact with E., a Jamberry consultant who was quick to hand out free samples and get T. on board.
T. sent me some information on her Jamberry story, and it was a sales pitch at best. I felt hurt and manipulated by the third paragraph of her Jamberry essay, when she wrote, “At the end of February, my personal sales were $1,182, and I had 3 girls sign up under me!” You might be scratching your head, asking why I felt betrayed. Well, her words are deliberately misleading. Her “personal sales” are not the same as earnings. She shared her earnings with me, so I checked for accuracy. How much did T. actually make in February? $287.70. But, wait, that’s before the $99 she spent to sign up, so…she made $188.70 in February. Does that sound like all the bills are being paid to you?
Quite frankly, I don’t like when someone lies to me. In fact, I don’t know anyone who enjoys being lied to, so blatantly, in a way that says, “I think you’re so stupid you won’t connect the dots and see that I have clearly just provided you with a untruth.”
When I looked back on T.’s original comment left on my blog, I found more deception. She wrote, “I joined at the very beginning of February, and made $347 my first month, plus a $59.06 bonus check for my bonus commission”. Clearly, from the electronic pay stub she provided me, this is a lie.
She also wrote, “I’m a SAHM making over $1000 a month posting on FB for an hour or two every month and playing with my kids, and the checks just keep getting bigger and bigger every month – sorry, but I’m living THE DREAM.” Really? Last time I checked, “the dream” isn’t $11k/year – and, if you’re thinking, “Wait, over $1,000/month would be over $12,000/year”, you’d be right. But, according to T.’s income report, she’s not averaging over $1,000/month at all.
It’s not like this is an “extra income” for T., who told me in our email conversation that she signed up for Jamberry when “[T.’s] boyfriend and [herself] were more than broke – [they] weren’t even breaking even, [they] were sinking. [Her] son was unplanned, and [they] hadn’t paid rent on time in nearly a year, and [they] were stuck in the position of having to decide whether to pay this bill OR that bill because both just wasn’t happening”. She told me she signed up because “[she] was hoping to just make about $50 a month to spend on [herself] without having to feel guilty.” I don’t know about you, but if I was financially destitute, I wouldn’t be looking for ways to make money for myself, I would be looking to make money to pay the bills and provide for my family first.
T. told me she currently has 23 girls on her “downline”, a number that grew from 20 to 23 in the time she first commented on my blog (May 29th) to the last email she sent me (June 17th). When I Googled T.’s name and Jamberry nails, there was little information to be found. However, when I Googled her phone number, I found more deception. I found her public Facebook, some other public profiles, and the fact that she, publicly, has 3 jobs. Not just Jamberry. Not a “SAHM” as she said. No “financial freedom”.
It turns out T. is not surviving on her Jamberry Nails income alone, and, in fact, the amount of income she’s making from Jamberry takes a lot more money and effort than she let on. She posted that she spent “more on stamps than [she] did on [her] car insurance” in May. Stamps to send out product samples/promotional material for Jamberry sales. Let’s go with the national average cost of car insurance and do some math (something Jamberry consultants really hate), shall we?
$900/12 = $75/month. That’s the average monthly cost of car insurance. So, T. spent at least (if not more than) $75 on stamps alone in the month of May. This doesn’t include the cost of the free samples and “marketing materials” she had to buy to send out, or the hours she spend preparing these mailers. If she spent just $75 on stamps, that equals 153 postage stamps. 153 customers. 153 nail wrap samples. Which means she had to pay for 153 “marketing materials” to send away – Jamberry doesn’t just give you these for free.
This is T.’s Jamberry Income “commission payments”. I highlighted the months by color, and did the math for you, my lovely readers.
Another huge thing that stood out from T.’s email was this:
“The biggest reason this is such a great opportunity for SAHMs NOW, this PARTICULAR direct sales company, is because it just in March reached 100,000 consultants, and it’s getting HUGE really quickly – that means that if you sign up now, chances are a few of the hundreds of women joining every single day across the country are going to sign up under YOU! Avon has over 5.8 MILLION consultants right now, and it’s still a multi-billion dollar business – think of where the first 100k consultants for Jamberry will be in 5 years.“
Really? Let’s not be that naive. Let’s take Mary Kay for example, a company very similar to Avon, which is also much newer than Avon. Avon was founded in 1886, whereas Mary Kay was founded in 1963. So, by T.’s logic, Mary Kay reps should be rolling in the Benjamin’s, right?
“According to the website, 3,836 members of the sales force, out of a total of 29,573 in Canada, both earned commissions in 2010 and were members for more than a year. Out of that group of 3,836, more than half earned less than $100 in commissions for the year.
The sales directors and national sales directors did better. The top half of the sales directors group made at least $17,649 in commissions for the year, while the top half of the much smaller national sales directors group — only 24 people
— made commissions over $100,000.” (Source: here
I feel bad for T. I really do. She thinks of Jamberry Nails as a future, as a place where she’ll find “financial freedom”, just like the Jamberry propaganda leads her to believe. Perhaps the worst thing is, T. buys into the “sisterhood” of Jamberry nails. It’s a company founded by three sisters, for women, by women, right?
Does this look like a sisterhood to you?
Only 6 out of the 18 top executives at Jamberry are women. The rest (you guessed it!) are men. Where’s the sisterhood in that?
Also, even Jamberry itself hires and pays marketing coordinators, managers, social media specialists, accountants, agents, etc. AN ACTUAL SALARY. Not weird, friend-sales-based commission pyramid drama. Please, call yourself a “consultant” again when you’re nothing but a customer.
On my blog, I always aim to be 100% honest and transparent with my readers. So, believe me when I tell you I am beyond upset with the way I was attacked by super unprofessional, unethical Jamberry consultants on my original post. Not only were their comments rude, they were completely out of line given the context of the original post. Their comments made it look like I was out to hurt women, while they used deliberately misleading numbers and phrases to try to convince me that I was wrong about the Jamberry company. The entire idea that in order to succeed as a Jamberry consultant, you must recruit other consultants should tell you something: consultants are the customers at Jamberry. That’s what Jamberry is selling – that whole “starter package”? That’s their bread and butter. It doesn’t matter if you sell nail wraps – Jamberry doesn’t care. That’s not how you make money at Jamberry – that’s not how the company itself makes money, either.
T. said it herself in her email, “I said it in the blog comment and I’ll say it again here – in ANY direct sales business, the big bucks are made by having motivated women sign up under you.” Yeah, more like manipulating women to hand over at least $99, which you earn a percentage of, then having those women sign up other women, and so on and so forth. Seriously, draw a diagram of what was just described. You’ll find it’s a pyramid. Before you get sucked into this Jamberry scam (which it absolutely is!) ask yourself why everyone you know with a degree in business isn’t signing up to become a consultant. Are they stupid? Do you think you really know more than they do about earning a livable income? Do they just “want” to go to work each day? Get real.
If you’ve been scammed into becoming a consultant, don’t feel bad. It happens to a lot of people. It doesn’t make you dumb. But if you don’t speak out about your experience, you’re letting other people fall prey to the scam. Don’t buy into the “you didn’t want it bad enough” or “you didn’t try hard enough” arguments. It’s simply not true; you were duped by some “fancy math” (see: misleading, overly simplistic math that does not consider the whole picture). And it’s really not your fault – the people behind these scams are marketing geniuses. They have fancy degrees. They specialize in making people buy a product – that product happens to be “becoming a consultant”. Perhaps the worst part of these scams is they prey on the financially destitute, because they know you do not have the time or financial resources to sue them when they charge your credit card $10/month for your Jamberry website and begin giving you penalty fees for failing to make your sales, or worse guilt you into making more purchases so you can avoid the penalties, thus making “sales” by buying the products yourself.
Want a genuine way to make money from home? Work for a company that values you, that educates you, and that does not take from you first. (And, PS, I’m not getting paid, sponsored, or endorsed to share any of this information with you.)
Did you know that Apple hires work at home customer support? They’ll train you and send you a Mac.
Did you know that being a “Virtual Assistant” is a real thing? All you need is the Internet, Microsoft Office skills, and the ability to answer emails. No start-up costs necessary.
Did you know that there are entire websites dedicated to work at home positions that are not direct sales, do not require you to spend money upfront, and that give you an actual paycheck, with taxes taken out and benefits?
Here are some great places to find legitimate work from home opportunities:
– WAHM stands for “work at home mom”
Before you waste time writing me a nasty comment about how I’m wrong and your Jamberry business is successful, do yourself a favor and walk away from the keyboard. I’m not indulging any more of this nonsense. Jamberry absolutely preys on and exploits women who are financially insecure. Nearly every Jamberry rep leads with “I was barely paying my bills before I became a consultant…” or a variation of that story. That is a disgusting practice. If you’re earning some extra income, good for you. But unless you are the sole breadwinner in your family, supporting everyone without government assistance and being able to buy anything and everything you want without budgeting or going into/accumulating debt, then you are NOT “financially free”, and that is the very core of my argument.
Take your Kool-Aid nail cult sermon elsewhere.