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Thursday, 28 January 2016

Forever You HerbalScents Plus: A Wonderful Opportunity (and definitely not a pyramid scheme)

Are MLMs like Forever Living, Juice Plus, Herbalife, Younique, Maelle, Arbonne all a big scam? The results may surprise you. But they won't. They're definitely scams.

As someone who practically lives on the Internet, I have joined online birth boards during both of my pregnancies.

They're useful when you're pregnant for asking all those stupid pregnancy related questions you don't want to bother your actual real life friends with (pro tip, never click on something that says 'Is this normal? Pics in comments'. One word for you - plug) and then for passing the time during night feeds, and checking that your child is developing fairly normally compared to the others as long as you account for the fact that what mums say about their little darlings isn't always 100% accurate. Birth boards are even good places for making new 'mummy friends', a phrase I absolutely cannot stand.

However, there is a dark side.

Sooner or later, it will happen.

If you're on Facebook, you might get friend requests from people you only vaguely know.

Be wary, dear reader. For as soon as you accept, you'll be added to groups against your will. There, before you've had time to get your bearings, you'll be flooded with crappy memes and positive life affirmations about seizing the day and being a 'girl boss', whatever the hell that is, from the catalogues of shit memes which is regurgitated over and over again by every 'downline' (get me, knowing the lingo...).
Meme: Just collecting my first Million: Forever Living, making millionaires since never
You'll be subjected to videos of badly made up women wearing clumpy spider-leg-esque mascara or pictures of them in their undercrackers showing you how well they have done on the recent fad diet which simply involves taking twelve aloe supplements a day (as well as working out religiously, cutting carbs and strict calorie counting... oh, and better fitting underwear, a more flattering angle and not breathing out in your 'after' photo).

Alternatively, you could be invited to an online party. A party! And one you don't even have to get dressed or leave your bed to attend. Sounds fun, no? Well yes, if your idea of fun is an evening of crappy product bombardment and even more of said shitty affirmations, spending £30 on some questionable make up which may give you a nasty rash or some ridiculously expensive but extremely cheap looking candles, surely a 'Must Have' item for every mum living off maternity pay (another tip - Primark do lovely smelly candles for a few quid. Stick some glitter on and ta da! Hand embellished).

It's not all about the selling though.

Oh no... That's a very small part of the whole shebang. If you show even the slightest glimmer of interest, or even if you don't, you may start getting strange messages with excessive use of exclamation marks and the word 'hun'. Probably a bit like this, but maybe with more grammatical errors;

'Hi hun! Hope you're ok and the kiddies are well!! I know a lot of us mummies are due back to work from maternity leave soon! I wondered whether you would be interested in a brilliant opportunity working from home which can be flexible around the kids! Let me know if you're interested hun and I can send you some information!'
Forever living: Bullshit
Wow. How does one say no to that? Tempting huh? You could earn money, in your pyjamas, whilst your toddler watches Bing and decorates the floor with toast crumbs. All you have to do to make the most of this wonderful opportunity is pay a few hundred quid for your starter kit and then sell the products (and your soul) to your friends and family who will hide your posts, block your profile or maybe disown you entirely. And obviously and even more importantly, recruit a team of your own to do the same.

'Sounds like a classic pyramid scheme!' I hear you say.

Nay, don't be so foolish. This is a Multi Level Marketing scheme. Completely and utterly different to the illegal and ridiculously unsustainable Pyramid, because there are PRODUCTS to sell (a more cynical person than I might call this a 'legal loophole'), the Multi Level Marketing scheme is making millionaires around the world out of ordinary women like you or I.
Mummy, why don't you have any Facebook friends anymore?
Sounds ridiculous and too good to be true? Well of course, it is exactly that. I am not sure how many overpriced handcreams you'd actually have to flog to buy a Range Rover, but I'm guessing it's probably more than your mum really wants to purchase from you. Of course the real incentives are for luring other unsuspecting mummies into your 'team', and just like that, once again we are back to the pyramid scheme comparison. I would go and find some statistics about the numbers of people needed to sustain such a scheme past the very top levels, but this isn't a maths blog and it's probably only me that finds that kind of stuff interesting. You can just take my word for it.

You won't? OK, here it is.
Pyramid schemes explained
Considering most of these schemes have been knocking about for a few years now, saturation point is not far away. You will not make your fortune this way, whatever the inspirational memes say.

Why do these things always crop up on birthboards?

Well mainly because there are a lot of women who really don't want to have to go back to working away from their babies full time and whose workplaces won't accommodate them. They desperately reach out for something that might mean they don't have to miss out on their child or children growing up.

It is a sad indictment of modern society that a mother (or indeed, father) who wants to be a stay at home parent cannot do so, that an average household can no longer exist on one wage, and we have somehow been persuaded that this is A Good Thing. If I had the answer to this conundrum it would make an excellent ending to this blog post.

But whatever the answer is, it isn't Forever bloody Living.

Feck off with herbalife juice plus forever living grumpy cat meme
I love a meme
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  1. Omg I know exactly what you mean. I get these kinda things all the time on insta the moment I post a weightloss or exercise pic I'm suddenly bombarded with herbalife and It works body wrap crap and will get at least 10 of those ppl following me. Or if I post something about travelling with the kids I get a load of 'what if I told you you could get paid to travel the world with your kids' DMs or on facebook I get really vague ones giving absolutely nothing away basically the same kinda message you got with hun this and hun that!

    I don't get how people don't realise it's all a scam. Yes the ppl at the top are probably millionaires but that's cuz everyone is working for them there's then no one left for you to recruit and rip off.

    Ok think I'm done with my rant can you tell those people annoy me? Hahahaa great post btw 😁

    1. Thanks Jade.

      Oh I can smell them coming a mile off now. 'Hi hun. Nice to meet you. Gorgeous kiddies! Can I ask what it is you do?'.

      How about NOPE. I just send them here now.

      One thing that I didn't mention in the blog but is patently obvious to most people is that flooding the market with competitors is hardly good business sense, if of course success is anything to do with the selling of products which we all know is rubbish. If you have your own successful business you pick and choose who comes to work for you, not beg random people from mums' groups on Facebook.

      I'm astounded and saddened that people still get sucked in.

  2. SO SO true. I work for myself from home and don't flog anything. (I'm a freelance writer). I constantly get approached by these lemmings telling me I can earn a six figure salary while sitting on the sofa and doing practically nothing. I'm big enough and ugly enough to know it's not that easy.

    I just feel very sorry for the mums who are suckered into this rubbish, waste their £200 and then spend a fortune more on "training" and their minimum orders every month. I have lots of self-employed friends and none of them would touch this sort of scheme with a ten foot pole.

    1. Your friends are wise people. My friends are too - no one has ever been suckered into one of these schemes - however I've seen it happen so many times on birth boards it makes me wince!

  3. Oh dear god!! I can't turn any sort of social media without this crap. Just last week, I was invited to a candle "party", a Forever Living "party" and a damned Herbalife "party". Last time I checked, going to a party meant having a great time with friends, dancing round the kitchen to Michael Jackson songs in the kitchen and drinking too much. NOT being forced to sit and listen to some dead eyed robot sing the praise of crap products that cost 12 times more than something from Asda. "12 different fruits and vegetables!!!" They scream. "Christian Ronaldo endorses it", they bleat. Blah blah blah! It has become blatantly obvious that these friends of mine now see me as a future customer rather than their friend and I have taken to avoiding them so I don't have to hear about their "business". One of them sent me as screen shot of her balance that she'd earned this last two weeks. It was just over £400. Now I know how much time and effort she puts into it. She really does work really hard; every day of the week up to 9pm most nights. This £400 is much much less than minimum wage. Hardly the levels that she's been convinced she's going to reach! All in all, the whole thing is so shady and I hate it for taking advantage of my friends that only wanted some sort of identity and a change of lifestyle. They're going to lose money and the respect of their friends.

    1. £400! Goodness me. What riches.
      A candle party sounds truly awful.

      I hope they come around soon. With friends like that...

  4. I know! Just imagine, working in a job that actually pays a wage, gives holidays, isn't dodgy and doesn't alienate her friends wouldn't have paid nearly that amount for the 80+ hours she's worked in her "own business". Oh wait....

  5. Has anyone ever heard of Arbonne? I'm intrigued to know if it's the same premise. I don't actually know anyone who uses it but I know people who sell it. So how do they make their money? Is it all in the start up kit? Confused!!

    1. It's very similar but I think the people in it invest huge amounts. They're just as likely to lose it all though.

  6. Omg Fran this is so funny and true! I have had these things on Instagram (why do they always use the word hun? I'm nobody's hun and anyone who addresses me that way will get short shrift), but I hadn't realised it was so rife in the world of mumming. Birth boards sound like hideous places and I'm glad I stayed away.

    1. Ha Hun just reminds me of Attila et al. I am sick of people adding me on IG who want to transform my life and make me less fat and have a white rangerover. Sounds rubbish.

  7. Haha this sounds like a more articulate version of the rants I go on to my fiancé. I'd share this on my wall but 60% of the women on my Facebook are their own 'business owners' and as someone who occasionally sells handmade clothes to these people, I cannot risk the shunning! Tenner bet you'll make more as a Blogger (even if you stopped posting!)

    1. Ha I think I would probably make more as a blogger even if I never earned a penny, given that the majority of Forever Living bots have to fork out hundreds for samples and success days and don't forget having to pretend to buy their own stock so they are eligible for their 'bonuses'. It's quite possible for them to be losing thousands - and putting the entire 'lifestyle' on credit. Awful company!

  8. Hello! I just clicked through after reading your interview on What the Redhead Said... Yes, I completely see your point with these companies, and yes, I have several FB friends that have tried to sell to me. I also have business acquaintances that sell these products in far more practical ways. They are genuinely nice to have, if you can afford them, and I think that is where the issue lies. They are persuading poor people to try and sell to other poor people, and the only ones making a profit are the company owners. A very sad state of affairs, indeed! (I actually do like Forever Living, but can't afford them all the time)


Totally agree? Have irrational rage? Please leave me a comment! I love to read them.