Ok friends, if you are into essential oils on any level, I’m sure that you have read a blog or two about MLM companies. MLM stands for Multi-Level Marketing companies such as Young Living (YL). One parent company sells their products through distributors. Distributors get to build their own smaller businesses selling/distributing that product. It’s actually pretty great if you can succeed at it. 92% of YL members are ranked as distributors (the lowest level). So that means only 8% of all distributors reach the next levels and are making any real sort of money. The success rate is not that high which signals that it takes a certain amount of work and dedication to make a MLM business work. Maybe this is a reason for the hostility? (Just a thought). And just a little disclaimer before I start the list of grievances towards MLMs, I have only ever reached the second level in Young Living and am by no means a business mogul.
All that being said, I am ready to shout ENOUGH is ENOUGH of the MLM vents, rampages, discrediting, fear mongering, panic inducing, and hate! When decisions are made they should be based off of personal experiences of trusted peers and/or fact (neither of which are ever presented in these posts/rants). The authors of these MLM vents are so grounded in their own convictions and write so passionately that it’s no wonder people are persuaded by them. I’ve read a lot of these rampages because I thought maybe I AM brain washed by Young Living or maybe I’m so stubborn I can’t see the oily light. No matter how many I read though, I CANNOT find one SHRED of a good reason to not use a MLM company. Why do people write these posts? I have my suspicions. But read on and let’s rationally address the points these posts try to argue, ok?
Misleading Marketing, specifically the claim of 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade – Correct, there is no governing body to give out this description. Not just Young Living uses it. All Essential Oils claim this distinction. It is common knowledge that there is no governing body over essential oils. This is not an argument against an MLM.
Distrust all claims that say “only” or end in “–est” like best, purest, etc. Any essential oil (EO) company will make this claim about something or other. If you don’t think that your product is the best, you probably shouldn’t be selling it. A wording choice is not a valid reason to distrust a MLM.
No training for distributors – This is true, in a formal sense. However, MLMs (specifically Young Living) do provide copious amounts of resources to learn from. When buying from a non-MLM company you must do your own research. So why wouldn’t you do your own research with an MLM? This argument is basically just a statement and is not any sort of argument against an MLM.
Prices are inflated from 600% – 1000% or more to pay the distributors – This is said, even though it is not true, and is an obvious gross exaggeration. You pay for quality oils. Period. Producing them is expensive. Get familiar with the process. If you don’t want to pay for them then maybe essential oils are not for you… but that choice is not a reflection of the company’s hard work, it’s a reflection of you and what you specifically are looking for. If you still choose to believe this argument, then that’s still cool. I’d rather my money support my sponsor’s business than to have my money solely support a new company trying to cash in on the essential oil craze.
MLMs encourage ingesting which should NEVER be done, unless prescribed by an Aromatherapist. Many many very scary reasons are cited as to why EOs should not be ingested. However, if they are prescribed by an Aromatherpist, it’s all safe and good. Here’s a scenario: Sally is an Aromatherapist who works for an MLM and writes all of their learning resources. Lauren is a customer who learned by reading Sally’s books and materials. Essential oils recommended by Sally are regarded as safe. The same essential oils recommended by Lauren are perceived as cyanide and Lauren is irresponsible. This argument has a stance that is neither FOR or AGAINST ingesting essential oils, yet somehow it qualifies as a glaring strike against MLM companies. Yea… I don’t get it either.
MLMs claiming their oils are safe to ingest – Any essential oil company that claims to have 100% pure therapeutic grade essential oils will tell you they are safe to ingest. All of them, not just MLMs. Nobody is making you do anything though, they are merely suggestions. Probably one of MANY ways the oils were suggested to you to be used. If you don’t want to ingest an EO, then simply don’t. If you don’t like your MLM’s product which puts EOs in capsules, then don’t buy that. All of the major adverse health incidents occurring after EO ingestion involve some form of misuse. If you are using essential oils, then you should know the very basic safety guidelines of EOs. If you don’t, then you have no business using them and that it not a reflection of your MLM. That is a reflection of your own failure to practice due diligence. And the distributor is not to blame either, your distributor is just that… an essential oil distributor who is doing the best she knows how to do… he is not your doctor. The responsibility is on you to read the resources provided to you. Another popularly cited grievance involves the unknown effects of long term essential oil ingestion on stomach and intestinal flora. All the evidence that we DO have completely contradicts a negative hypothesis here… and alternative therapies (prescriptions and OTC medications) are HIGHLY KNOWN to cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea , constipation, opportunistic infections, and so on. I’m STILL not suggesting/telling you to ingest because that’s a personal decision, but come on. PLEASE tell me that this argument now sounds like bologna to you.
False Claims – Every user of any brand of essential oil will make a claim. Or at least a suggestion. It’s up to the user to be educated. Personally, I’ve never recommended anything that I haven’t tried without prefacing my recommendation with the fact that I haven’t tried it! Never have I ever come across someone deliberately making false claims to get a sale. A sale based on a false claim wouldn’t be a returning customer anyways which makes lying a pretty stupid strategy.
Upline Problems – Just recently in a mommy and me group on Facebook, someone said that they didn’t like/agree with their Upline… so they stopped distributing and promoting their MLM. Are all distributors of an MLM company created equal? Heck no, all people are different. BUT, you learned about essential oils from your sponsor right? You liked what they were doing enough to enroll under them. You made that decision, not your MLM. And why does upline matter anyways? Mine is great, but without my sponsor I’d most definitely still love my essential oils. This is one of the weirder digs I’ve heard towards an MLM.
Suggesting Neat (Undiluted) Application– The same argument that was made earlier about ingesting goes for this too. If you don’t want to do this, then don’t. There are safe oils that can be applied neat. Is it necessary? Maybe or maybe not, and most of the time it would be in your best interest to dilute your oils. Sensitization is a real thing and it would be a tragedy (TRAGEDY!!!) if you could never be around Lavender again. But anyways, neat application is just another way that some oils can be used. Presenting every option is the job of the MLM company, not a strike against it.
Using Essential Oils in All the Things – This is a newer, more passive, complaint that I just read in a blog yesterday. The complaint is that MLMs suggest using essential oils in EVERYTHING just for the sake of using them. A MLM will of course present how essential oils can be used for everything (and they pretty much can do just about anything… it’s why they’re so interesting and useful). This doesn’t mean that the MLM wants you to implement EVERY suggestion; they’re just putting it all out there. Some users do use their oils in All The Things… and that’s ok, users are excited and are trying out lots of new things! It’s kind of the point. Usage will even out with experience and as the newness wears off. Point is… we should be thankful that MLMs tell us all the ways we can use essential oils, especially ways we may not have thought of. This definitely is not a reason to hate a MLM.
Unsafe recommendations specifically for babies/children – The major culprit here is Peppermint if you didn’t already find yourself in the midst of a debate on this, but there are many others too. The experts cannot even agree on an age where peppermint is safe. I’ve read several recommendations ranging between 6 months to 6 years! That’s an extreme difference. So who is to say what’s safe? If I’ve been using diluted peppermint on my baby for 6 months and he has not showed any signs of respiratory depression… then why are you making me feel like the worst mother in the world for using this and who are you to tell me what is safe if the experts cannot even agree. Bottom line here is… know the risks, read the recommendations, dilute appropriately, start slow, have respect for the oil NOT fear. MLMs don’t make unsafe recommendations. MLM venters like to make heated debate where-ever possible. Don’t fall into that drama… do what you know is based on fact and proven personal experiences by your trusted peers. It’s not the MLM you need to hate in this argument.
My MLM, Young Living, has been the global essential oil leader for over 20 years and that is NOT because they are dangerous, lying, cheating, stealing, stupid, or unfair. At their new Canadian farm, there was some trouble with the water pH for steam distilling. Dr. Young built a new water treatment system because he refuses to use chemicals to remedy the pH problem. THIS is what Young Living is up to. An unwavering commitment to their products… and THAT is what we believe in. Facts that we can see. Not unfounded rant-like blog posts written for reasons we may never understand. In reality, my MLM offers dedication to customers, the greatest oily minds in the business, attention to every detail, commitment to their promises, 100% transparency and ownership in EVERYTHING as well as literally limitless opportunity. I’m not trying to sell you anything by writing this. But like the company I represent, I have the courage to take action when action needs to be taken and to do the right thing.