Nu Skin – ageLOC – Review
Okay, this is sort of a different review from the usual easy-money MLM reviews I’ve covered up till now, but I include this one with Nu Skin as I had a brush with it a couple of years ago as a beauty salon owner.
Yeah, aside from from the whole online business, I’ve also done the on-world type too. I’d say on-world is far more stressful, but far more satisfying. Online businesses are difficult just in terms of patience and competition in SERPs, they don’t have nearly as much outlay or relative financial risk. Even if you take a top package membership out in something like MOBE or Digital Altitude. Not to say they ain’t hard business models to succeed with, but failure with them will ‘only’ entail losing your buy-in, it won’t generally entail losing everything.
Get an on-world business wrong and you can be looking at just that without overstatement.
I say that because with an online business you’re much more likely to face the reality of your bottom line balance sheet and pull back from the brink, way before you do that with a bricks&mortar physical business, stuffed with things you can touch and are personally attached to – as you bought it all.
That’s another story, though. In fact it’s a book; a book I have rolling about my head as the nubbin of another writing project.
So, yeah, it was in my capacity as salon owner that I got introduced to Nu Skin.
Nu Skin Introduction
I was doing a stand-in for reception one day when a woman walked in, introduced herself as a Nu Skin rep, and started pitching the company products to me.
This isn’t unusual, and I’d encountered plenty of walk-in reps for many reputable firms over the years: no appointment is no indication of quality.
Being a guy, I admit I didn’t know too much about beauty products or names, I relied on my business partner for that, and her being there, and it being a quiet weekday morning, I asked her to join us, so I could get her ‘expert’ opinion.
I put the word expert in quotes as she was frequently more inept than expert, but as I say, the tales of her shenanigans are a book in themselves.
So we went upstairs and the rep starts nervously doing her pitch. It wasn’t all that great, or that practised by the sound of it, and like Evangelical Christians knocking at your door, they’re more taken back by an invite in, than the door in their face.
And I think this little Nu SKin rep had experienced quite a few doors in her face on her journey to my salon.
The woman was pleasant enough, looked retirement age or thereabouts, and was obviously not too versed in salesmanship.
Then she produced the ageLoc galvanic spa device, and proceeded to make all sorts of claims re its rejuvenating powers, making it sound like the very fountain of youth itself.
Not the ageLOC system, just how it’s pitched
I eyed this cheap looking, battery powered, bit of plastic, and wasn’t convinced.
Especially as it was being pitched for several hundred quid, and that was without the products if I recall correctly.
The woman claimed it had done wonders for her skin, and offered to do a brief demo on a patch of my partner’s face… but I didn’t see any damn difference.
In fairness, my partner was a much younger woman to the rep, and her skin was in good condition anyway, so not exactly the best test model.
Which the rep said herself, so we were just going to have to take her word for it on its magical skin healing properties.
I wasn’t signing up for anything I hadn’t heard of before or researched, not on the spot like that, especially not for $$$, so we got an invite to some product demo evening that was upcoming at a local hotel.
The Nu Skin Product Demo
Not too surprisingly, I ended up attending this on my tod, sans business partner, even though she’d signed us both up for this.
Come the night she’d made other plans and I got lumbered with it as I don’t like to let people down or break my word if I say I’m going to do something.
My idiot of a business partner had no such compunction though, so after the rep called to confirm us both coming, and my partner saying yes, I felt compelled to appear.
I know, I’m too polite.
I should’ve dropped out and not covered her ass, as it was her idea, and yet here again, I was stepping up to cover her.
Don’t get me started…
Anyway, mightily bugged, I attended the evening pitch, and it was held at an okay-ish, slightly frayed around the edges, central-ish hotel.
In a little upstairs room.
There was maybe – maybe – a dozen other invitees there, and three Nu Skin reps doing the show.
I can’t say “hard sell” as they weren’t sales people and seemed to be very self-consciously bumbling their way through this presentation, obviously reciting memorised lines where appropriate.
There was the rep who’d visited us, a younger rep (I assumed one of her existing down lines) and a regional rep who was slightly more polished than the other two, and I think was there to observe and train them as much as sell.
They were quite upfront that Nu Skin is a Multi Level Marketing business (MLM) and went onto give the pitch about potential earnings and sales commissions etc.
I admit I paid attention, as at that point in my life, I wasn’t as savvy to MLMs, and it seemed to me I had the perfect vehicle to sell such a product: a beauty salon.
I mean, I wouldn’t need to pay to advertise it, or go knocking on doors, I could just put it on the shelf or display stand, and let the business and footfall in the salon do the rest.
Except I couldn’t advertise it in the window.
That was the first alarm bell for me.
Everything else we sold we could do whatever we wanted with it – what was so precious about Nu Skin that meant it couldn’t be displayed to the public that we sold it in store? And we had big windows in a prime city centre location with three big hanging poster displays that we changed out with various product ads and offers.
The next alarm bell came with the claim that Nu Skin’s products acted at the genetic level to rejuvenate skin cells.
I mean… come on. Gimme a break.
I’m not saying this claim is Nu Skin policy, I think maybe someone got carried away here in the pitch or a bit discombobulated at the very least.
Rejuvenate skin cells at the genetic level? Who are you, Dr. Frankenstein?!
In need of ageLOC galvanic treatment
I understand there might be a little stretching of the truth in these things, but that was just stupidity in my opinion.
Plus… an actual, scientifically proven, ‘elixir’ of youth cream or treatment, I didn’t think would be getting pitched in a small room with worn carpets.
I kinda thought that sort of break through I’d have heard of on the evening news and every current affairs magazine and online news sites.
But anyway, the young rep gave us another demo, for why the older women didn’t demo on themselves I can’t remember but it seemed a cop-out, and again no discernible difference could be noted on the young woman’s face.
The young rep did give a speech, though, about why she joined and being financially independent and all the usual BS you see attached to MLM marketing.
Good luck to her but I doubt all her dreams came true in that regard.
One thing that really stood out to me about this magical ageLOC galvanic spa tool, and that is, if it was passing a tiny, rejuvenating electric current over its silver coloured tip as claimed… how could it do that with a plastic coating on it?
It was just a plastic mini facial vibrator in my opinion.
Come the end we were asked to give feedback, and it wasn’t voluntary, as we all were invited to say a piece. I voiced some platitudes and handed over to the next attendee. There were so few of us, it didn’t really take long.
Then each of the reps joined us in twos to try and get a signup, but being inexperienced sales people, they weren’t good at the hard sell and it was every bit as amateur as the presentation. The older rep sat opposite me silent just glaring/staring at me too, which was a bit weird.
I excused myself as soon as I could, wondering which department of Nu Skin I applied to, in order to get that hour of my life back.
Taking a Closer Look at Nu Skin
It was a day or so later that I started checking up on Nu Skin reviews online and seeing the mass of negatives.
I also came across a comment of someone who’d found a copy of the ageLOC galvanic tool online at Alibaba being sold for around five bucks – not several hundred.
Also a salon owner saying it wouldn’t do your business image any good to stock it, along with similar products like younique and other overpriced beauty treatments hawked door to door by these MLM peddlers.
That was pretty much all I needed to read, along with my own reservations – this wasn’t happening.
But away from the salon, if you take a closer look at Nu Skin’s own stats on success for its reps, you can see it’s a similar story to all these MLMs – very few are making any money.
Take a look at this report produced by pyramidschemealert.org.
It gives an estimate of annual costs for a typical Nu Skin rep as over $18,500.
According to Nu Skin’s own 2013 stats, they report that on average 14.19% of active US reps earned a regular monthly commission payment. Note, that’s “active,” which Nu Skins defines as a “Distributor who placed an order for products, promotional materials or services during the most recent three-month period.”
Which means that over 85% of reps working at this business earned nothing.
That’s right: zero dollars or pounds sterling or even Japanese yen.
And what was the average commission payment for those few receiving one? $176.
That’s up from 2011, which Nu Skin reported as $118.05
An annual income of $2,112 for 2013, $1,416.54 for 2011.
So, what do you think? Maybe up to $200 a month now for 2016? But then this breakdown makes even more depressing reading for 2015, so who knows till Nu Skin reports it.
Remember, too, the average annual costs are estimated at $18,500. Even if that’s overestimated, and we cut by half, you can see that’s still a huge loss – of both money and time.
Why so low? Because for one, in my opinion, the products are overpriced, and two, the commission structure itself is pitted against you.
Here’s what Fortune said in a report of Nu Skin’s commission structure: “To qualify for multilevel commissions, they must purchase or sell at least $100 of its merchandise every month; they and their recruits must collectively generate at least $2,000 in monthly sales.”
And you have to sell 80% of your previous order before you can order more.
So little wonder then that as per pyramidschemealert’s report above, that over 52% of payments go to the people at the top of the pyramid, what’s left over is shared between tens of thousands of others – which is the group you’ll be in – right at the bottom.
The issue of overpriced products is typical of all MLMs, and as in all MLMs you have to buy them first before you can play pass-the-parcel. The beauty industry isn’t short on overpriced products granted, but most come with a certain built-in cache and recognisable name and luxury branding to go with it. It’s also generally sold in the sort of upmarket department stores in a setting that all go to ease the purchase.
Buying similarly priced items in the setting of a friend’s home without enough chairs, or cheese and wine to go around, is something quite different.
Buying from a salesperson you kinda suspect wouldn’t be buying it themselves if they weren’t hoping to hawk it for more money.
This is an on-world MLM to rival even the worst of the online MLM competition.
It’s big in the UK just now, and many a female friend’s social media is to be seen spewing out the same Nu Skin stock advertising literature. Some reps make even wilder claims for the products than I witnessed myself at the event pitch I attended: it’s not uncommon to see faked pics of ‘before and after’ skin treatments that Jesus himself would’ve been pleased to produce.
Nu Skin’s been in trouble with the FTC too, fined $1.5 million dollars in 1997, and more recently in 2014 taken to task by the Chinese authorities. Its directors are no stranger to personal brushes with the legal system, either: co-founder Nedra Roney plead guilty to prescription drug fraud in 1996 and has been involved in several subsequent law suits, leading Nu Skin to remove all references to her from their website in an attempt to hide her association with the company.
Nu Skin actually succeeds in making Empower look good.
I’d say steer well clear of this one. MLMs are hard to make a buck from at the best of times, and this one is really stacked against you.
If making some side money is something you’re interested in, then check out Wealthy Affiliate.
It’s not a MLM, it’s (as the name suggests) affiliate marketing; training and the complete platform to do it from.
You don’t need to purchase products or spend $$$$ to make some money, you can do so for very little outlay. Like $49 a month. With no upsells or “credit card required for verification purposes” BS.
You get a week’s worth of full membership to check the place out, then your membership simply reverts to the free level. Nothing spent, nothing lost if it’s not for you.
It suited me, I’ve the temperament for it, and I don’t believe in get-rich-quick schemes, which this is not. You can read my review here.
Might be something that you’re suited to as well.
Recommended further reading:
If you want some hard, practical advice to making some money, and don’t mind working for what you want.
Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime!
by M. J. DeMarco