I’ve had a lot – and I mean a lot – of contact via email, the BBB contact form and Twitter from a brand called Younique, so decided to do some investigation into the brand.
First up, it’s a direct sales and party plan company (like Mary Kay or Avon) with the point of difference that it uses social media almost exclusively to make sales. Actually, in the US it seems to have been very successful so far.
Sales people are called ‘presenters’, which is kind of confusing to my ear – it implies that there is some kind of media associated with it when there isn’t. When I look at the presenters’ starter pack (in the US it’s $99 and you have to buy it) there’s really not much in it (mostly testers to show at parties – mineral pigment testers, concealer testers, blush testers and 3D Fibre lashes – their best seller; the rest is things like a Younique bank account and instant access to their Virtual Party System). Younique is adamant that it is not a pyramid selling scheme, but it does operate by presenters taking on other presenters to their team and then the money filtering through, as far as I can work out.
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To be fair, so far, I haven’t found one single negative review regarding either the quality of the products or the sales tactics. The brand targets women to sell to women and despite being email bombed by presenters, the one that I did reply to saying that I didn’t want to test, was very gracious and very polite. However, there is a big emphasis on the brand’s aim to ‘empower women’. I’m not sure how empowering it is. The whole presenter tiering bothers me.. you can go from Presenter to Exemplary Presenter to Elite Presenter and finish on Exclusive Presenter, but I imagine with such a huge slew of new entry level presenters (judging from my inbox) dilutes the chances of ever finding your way up the chain. Oh, and you get ‘deactivated’ if you don’t sell a certain amount over a 3 month period. It’s not a lot, but I’m just not sure how empowering that can possibly be. Far be it from me to want anyone who feels entrepreurial enough to take this on not to succeed, but so far it’s clear that the right hand doesn’t talk to the left – I have the feeling that no one presenter knows what the others are doing, so it’s really not their fault that cumulatively, it’s too much, and its working against them in terms of being received well.
So, bottom line is – for anyone who is also getting a lot of Younique contacts via social media – in order for presenters to get anywhere up the chain they need to be very active in social media; a blog review is certainly very helpful to promote their individual businesses so they will definitely be chasing for it. I’m interested to see how high pressure their sales techniques will be to get blog reviews.
I will repeat, I haven’t had any kind of bad experience (other than just far, far too many contacts – 15 at the last count within the past fortnight, not including Twitter) with Younique, but I have a wary eye out to see how this pans out in the UK market. We’re not that good at being ‘sold’ to and I’m starting to feel uncomfortably bombarded by Younique Direct Selling.
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