PartyLite promises you a chance to earn a few hundred per month or a few hundred thousand per year. But, is PartyLite a good opportunity or just another Multi-level Marketing company pitching false hope?
Is PartyLite a good opportunity? PartyLite does not publish the information needed to properly evaluate its opportunity. For this reasons, we suspect most people who try the PartyLite opportunity will not earn a profit.
In this article, I reveal what you need to know before you risk your time and money on the PartyLite business opportunity.
Is PartyLite a Good Opportunity?
PartyLite is a Direct Selling Company that uses a multi-level compensation plan. Because it uses a multi-level compensation plan, we will refer to it as a multi-level marketing (MLM) company in this article.
Based on MLM industry averages, we can speculate that the average PartyLite Consultant does not earn a profit, but instead loses money.
While most of its Consultants lose money, the company earns about $273 Million a year. (Corporate revenue has been in decline for the past 10 years. The MLM industry appears to be collapsing).
When you become a PartyLite Consultant, you agree to play an expensive and time-consuming game where PartyLite makes all the rules.
These rules were created to ensure PartyLite earns a profit.
The one thing that is certain about the PartyLite opportunity is that it will cost you money. There is no guarantee you will make money or even earn back the cost of a starter kit.
PartyLite does not reveal how much their Consultants earn or how much they spend on their businesses. Without this information, it’s impossible to determine if the PartyLite opportunity is genuine.
PartyLite’s failure to disclose how much its Consultants earn and how much they spend on their business is a violation of the Direct Selling Association’s Code of Ethics.
PartyLite’s lack of transparency is also in direct opposition to FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez’s assertion that to be legitimate, an MLM must accurately represent its opportunity and what a participant can expect to earn.
FTC Chairwoman Ramirez requires that earning disclosures are “truthful, non-misleading, and substantiated.”
PartyLite offers none of this.
PartyLite’s lack of transparency leaves us to assume that the statistical probability of earning a profit with its business opportunity is no better than the MLM industry average.
That is, less than 1% earn a profit.
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You Are the Customer.
Although PartyLite promises an opportunity to earn hundreds of thousands (they do not say dollars), the chance to succeed is slight at best.
The promise of opportunity is really nothing more than a marketing trick.
It is the promise of opportunity that lures people in and seduces them into paying hundreds of dollars for over-priced products.
Would you pay $20 for a chunk of colored paraffin and a trace of fragrance if you knew you wouldn’t make money with the opportunity?
Take away the emotional appeal of making money, and all PartyLite offers are overpriced products.
MLM’s dirty secret is that its Consultants/Distributors are first and foremost captured customers. Throughout the MLM industry, most of a company’s revenue comes from the Consultants, not retail sales.
We do not know how true this is for PartyLite because it hides this information.
The process of losing money with the PartyLite “opportunity” begins with the purchase of a starter kit.
PartyLite starter kits cost $49 for the “Sign Me Up Kit,” $99 for the “Quick Start Kit,” and $350 for the Deluxe Starter Kit.
The more you invest upfront, the more you lose.
Most PartyLite Consultants will continue to lose money as they buy more products to “qualify” by generating a minimum of $500 in “personal compensatable sales.”
“Personal compensatable sales,” is not defined in the PartyLite Consultant Guide, but is assumed to mean a combination of personal purchases and retail sales.
If this is true, it would be possible for a PartyLite Consultant to qualify by purchasing products each month.
According to the PartyLite Consultant Guide, if a Consultant fails to qualify for 90 days, they will be considered inactive.
Like an unpaid employee, a PartyLite Consultant must perform, or they will be penalized. Once you start, you can’t stop, or you’ll lose all you’ve worked for.
The requirement to “qualify” may pressure Consultants to buy products each month.
PartyLite does not publish the number of Consultants who paid for a starter kit, bought products, and qualified for a time only to lose it all.
However, this could be the fate of most Consultants.
The Federal Trade Commission reminds us that not all MLMs are legitimate. According to the FTC warning, there are two things you must know before joining PartyLite.
- 1How much most people are making with the PartyLite opportunity?
- 2Does PartyLite promote recruiting as a way to make money?
PartyLite does not reveal how much its Consultants earn. Furthermore, in the PartyLite Consultant Guide, it discourages Consultants from disclosing what they are making.
Why all the secrecy?
Beyond the first level, the entire PartyLite Compensation Plan is devoted to recruiting and team building.
PartyLite’s Unstated Objective.
If you fall for the PartyLite sales pitch, it’s easy to think the company was created to help you earn money.
PartyLite is owned by the Carlyle Group. As a company, PartyLite’s primary goal is to maximize profits. To that end, their first objective is to turn you into a source of revenue. See You Are the Customer above.
Nobody launches or buys an MLM to help others. MLMs are not charities. They are corporations that speak only one language, the bottom line.
In the past, MLMs have been extremely profitable for the owners of the company because it takes most of the profit while dumping the company’s expenses onto its salespeople.
That is the nature of MLM.
As mentioned earlier, MLM is the only business model that demands its salespeople to pay for the privilege of making the company money.
I want to be clear that maximizing profits is not evil. In a healthy business, maximizing profits is the result of exchanging value where everyone wins.
That doesn’t happen in MLM.
MLM is an all or nothing game. The multi-level marketing compensation plan funnels money to the top of the sales organization and the company.
Where does this money come from?
Much of it comes from the pockets of the rank and file Consultants.
Those at the top profit at the expense of everyone below them.
A PartyLite Overview.
PartyLite traces its history back to 1909 when Mabel Baker made candles in her New England kitchen.
However, PartyLite, the company was not born until 1973. Today, it claims to be the #1 “party-plan” company selling candles, candle accessories and home décor products.
While there may be a historical link between Mabel Baker’s small New England candle business, PartyLite is not that.
PartyLite is a massive corporation fueled by a highly sophisticated marketing machine. It draws people in with a promise of opportunity only to turn them into sources of corporate revenue.
The PartyLite Earning Disclosure.
The Direct Selling Association Ethics Code requires each member company to publish the information needed to properly evaluate its business opportunity.
See DSA Code of Ethics Section A, Paragraph 8 Earnings Representations, Subparagraph 5.b.3,
Research into the multi-level marketing industry shows that most so-called opportunities are not real. As mentioned above, the promise of “opportunity” is just a marketing gimmick.
The only way to tell if PartyLite is offering a real opportunity or just pushing hype is for the company to publish the actual income figures paid to its Consultants.
PartyLite has this information because it must compile it for tax purposes. It is withholding this data for a reason.
The DSA requires that it be made public. However, it apparently lacks the will or the ability to enforce this requirement.
At the bottom of the PartyLite website, you can find a link to the DSA Code of Ethics. Apparently, this is just for show.
If PartyLite wanted to comply with the DSA Code of Ethics, it would publish an Earning Disclosure or Income Statement.
ParyLite’s reluctance to publish the information needed to evaluate its business opportunity indicates it’s Not genuine.
Common sense suggests if the earning figures proved the opportunity was legitimate, PartyLite would make it known.
Do Most People Make Money with PartyLite?
Because PartyLite does not publish what its Consultants actually earn, we are left to assume that most people do NOT make money with the opportunity.
A Failure of Ethics?
Since PartyLite does not comply with the DSA Code of Ethics, is their behavior a failure of ethics?
At the very least, PartyLite is failing to be transparent.
Why would you invest your time and treasure with a company that manipulates the truth?
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The PartyLite Compensation Plan.
The foundation of the PartyLite marketing strategy is its Compensation Plan, which it calls the PartyLite Profit Program.
On the second page of the PartyLite Profit Program, it claims that Leadership in PartyLite means a proven path to success. However, it offers no evidence to support this claim and the industry average proves otherwise.
According to MLM attorney, Jeff Babaner, “It's important that a compensation plan is perceived to be fair. Its purpose is to maximize sales volume, production, and retention.”
Attorney Jeff Babanar hosts the website MLMLegal and works for the MLM industry. His firm creates compensation plans.
Notice, Mr. Babanar said, “perceived” to be fair. He did NOT say it’s important that a compensation plan IS fair.
Like the compensation plan of most MLMs, the PartyLite Profit Program creates the illusion it is possible to succeed with the PartyLite opportunity.
However, there is no reasonable evidence to prove this assumption.
As we’ll see in a moment, exhausting research into the MLM industry shows that only a tiny fraction of Consultants ever makes a profit.
On the first page of the PartyLite Profit Program, we can read about the core values of the PartyLite Culture, which it calls Pillars.
Notable is the final Pillar, “Fairness to All.”
Which makes one wonder if PartyLite must tell us its fair, is it really. Likewise, if we must be sold an opportunity, is it really an opportunity?According to Tracy L. Coenen, a corporate fraud investigator, MLM is not fair. She would know
The PartyLite Profit Program.
The PartyLite Profit Program has 9 levels. That's a lot of levels!
Generally speaking, a direct selling company only needs 4 levels;
A direct selling company can conquer the world with 4 levels.
When a company has only 4 levels, the income at each level is higher. The salesperson who made the sale earns more and the people at the top, who had nothing to do with the transaction, earn less.
With a short, non-mlm, sales structure, a salesperson can earn a full-time income with only retail sales.
However, the more levels there are, the less income is made at each level per sale because the revenue generated by each transaction must be shared with the upline.
Because so many people get a piece of the action when there are more than four levels, the price of a product must be dramatically inflated.
Quality usually suffers too, as cheaper ingredients are used.
When there are more than 4 levels in a compensation plan, it is not possible to earn a full-time income with retails sales. Instead, a salesperson must build an organization.
And that’s the point.
PartyLite wants you to recruit new Consultants. Consultants who think they are building a business, but who are actually spending more on PartyLite products than they are earning.
Also, when there are more than 4 levels in a sales organization, the people at the top make a lot more money.
PartyLite has 9 levels:
- Team Builder
- Unit Leader
- Senior Unit Leader
- Group Leader
- District Leader
- Regional Leader
- Regional Vice President
- Senior Regional Vice President
Having 9 levels like PartyLite has creates a very wide base at the bottom of the sale organization. Tens of thousands of Consultants are making sales.
The few people at the top of the sales organization make money off each of the tens of thousands of sales made below them, although they did not contribute to the transaction.
MLMs have multiple levels because it is very profitable for the company and the few salespeople at the top.
MLM is Nearly Impossible.
Selling on commission is difficult. Most people can’t do it.
Recruiting people into a sales organization is even harder. Few people can pull it off. Even professional marketers struggle with it, and very few have sponsored more than 100 people in their entire career.
Because selling is such a challenge and recruiting nearly impossible, most people will quit an MLM within months of joining.
If you join PartyLite, you will spend a lot of money to get started. Then, like most people, your business efforts will stall.
You’ll discover you’re spending more money than you’re making and that no one wants to join your team, or they signup and soon drop out.
The business is taking all your free time and producing very little in return.
You feel awkward going into people’s homes trying to sell over-priced candles. Or, you’re spending hours upon hours on social media which is now saturated with MLM virtual parties.
Not to mention all the energy and planning it takes. You begin to ask yourself if it’s worth it.
The truth is few people stay with MLM for more than a year.
Most people never get higher than the first two levels.
The PartyLite Hamster Wheel of Death.
The moment you join PartyLite you step on a spinning hamster wheel. Although you are legally an independent contractor, you are NOT truly independent.
When you signed the PartyLite Consultant agreement, you agreed to let PartyLite control you and your business. In effect, you are an unpaid employee.
If you fail to perform to PartyLite’s standards as outlined in the Agreement, you will be penalized. You may lose all you invested in the “opportunity,” and all you built.
As a minimum, a PartyLite Consultant must “qualify” each month. If a Consultant fails to qualify by meeting minimum sales volume, they will be deemed inactive.
PartyLite Makes the Rules.
If you are thinking about joining PartyLite as a Consultant, you owe it to yourself and the people you may later recruit to thoroughly read the PartyLite Profit Plan.
The one thing you must also understand is that if you build a business with PartyLite, you do NOT own your business. It belongs to PartyLite.
PartyLite makes the rules.
If you play their game, you are at a terrible disadvantage. You can’t win unless PartyLite lets you.
At every level of the Profit Plan, PartyLite makes money. Sadly, when you factor in all business expenses, a PartyLite Consultant loses money at every level except at the top.
The game is rigged. That’s MLM.
There is an abundance of favorable PartyLite reviews online. This isn’t surprising, but it might be the result of sponsors love-bombing new Consultants.
The more revealing reviews are PartyLite complaints. Most people who lose with MLM quietly disappear. Like a humiliated victim, they just want to forget about it and pretend it never happened.
Many of the complaints are about not getting what was ordered. This failure may reflect more on the Consultant than the company.
Some complaints were about Consultants not showing up for a party or PartyLite not honoring its refund policy.
One complaint on ConsumerAffairs.com was from Sue, a PartyLite Consultant in Norridge, IL. She wrote that the company was charging her $4.95 a month for nothing.
ReviewCentre.com has an abundance of PartyLite complaints. Most of these complaints are about PartyLite’s high prices and poor quality. The average rating is 2 Stars.
One complaint said, “Overpriced. Very expensive.” Others said, “Don’t Bother. Cheap and tacky. Complete rip-off. Very disappointed. Waste of money. Overpriced shoddy goods.”
One complaint from someone claiming to be a former PartyLite Consultant said, “PartyLite is floundering in the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain. The prices have risen drastically, and the wicks are now plastic.”
The Last Word on the PartyLite Opportunity.
The truth about the exploitive nature of the MLM is now becoming common knowledge, thanks to the internet and the work of MLM critics like Dr. Jon Taylor, Tracy L. Coenen, and Robert L. Fitzpatrick.
Celebrity talk show hosts, such as John Oliver, openly make jokes about MLM.
The wildly popular television series On Becoming a God in Central Florida, skewers MLM and exposes its insanity. The show has a following of over 400 million worldwide.
Exhaustive research proves that most people lose money when they try MLM. There is nothing to suggest this is any different for the PartyLite opportunity.
Multilevel marketing is in steep decline. Before the internet, the damage MLMs cause was mostly unknown. Victims quietly slipped away, as victims tend to do.
Now the truth is out and the MLM industry is showing signs of collapse.
It is shrinking by about 10% each year. This means it will become increasingly difficult for a PartyLite Consultant to book parties, recruit people, and keep them.
The decline of MLM can be seen in the revenue numbers of the PartyLite company.
According to Direct Selling News, in 2009, PartyLite reported annual revenue of $621 Million and a sales-force of 64,000 Consultants worldwide.
In 2015, just six years later, and the last year PartyLite reported its revenue, the company earned $273 Million, a decrease of 56%!
PartyLite’s salesforce plummeted to 45,000 worldwide during this same period, a decline of 30%.
In 2016, PartyLite closed its candle factory near Chicago.
Many direct sales companies are combating this trend, and the industry’s dismal reputation, by claiming they are not MLMs.
Regardless of how they self-identify, if they have a multi-level compensation plan, they are indeed an MLM.
In spite of the odds, somehow, a few people do manage to succeed with MLM and PartyLite.
Some may climb through the ranks. Others may be professional marketers who were hired by the company and placed at the top to build the sales-force.
If you plan to join PartyLite and climb through the ranks, be prepared to work for years without earning a profit.
Also, be prepared to book 10 or more parties a month, schlep your party display and inventory out 3 or 4 times a week, and spend hours on social media each day.
Until a PartyLite Consultant reaches the top ranks, she is trading her time for money and probably earning less than minimum wage.
MLMs, particularly those dependent on party-plans, require a lot of energy. It’s a highly inefficient method for making money. MLM is an outdated and pre-digital age strategy that has never worked very well for the rank and file.
As a Consultant with PartyLite, the most you can hope for is to build a business inside a business. Regardless of how successful you manage to become with PartyLite, you will always be controlled by the company.
It’s not your business, it’s theirs. If PartyLite goes out of business, so will you. It doesn’t have to be that way.
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