The direct sales company, Touchstone Crystal, promises you can earn $50 to $80 an hour. But, is Touchstone Crystal a good opportunity or just another multi-level marketing company delivering broken dreams?
Is Touchstone Crystal a good opportunity? Touchstone Crystal fails to provide the information needed to properly evaluate its opportunity. Without this information, we are left to assume the probability of earning a profit with Touchstone Crystal is no better than the industry average of .4%. Caution advised.
If someone is trying to sell you an opportunity, is it really an opportunity, or are they just trying to make a buck off you? Here’s what you need to know.
Is Touchstone Crystal a Good Opportunity?
The promise of making money hosting jewelry parties is seductive. Touchstone Crystal has employed the best marketing and legal professionals available to be sure their offer draws people in and motivates them to spend money.
Like most MLMs, Touchstone Crystal uses sophisticated marketing and psychological strategies to stir people’s emotions and make them fall in love with the company. Once they are emotionally hooked, it’s easy to make them believe that through spending money on Touchstone Crystal products, they can make money.
This notion defies logic and violates the fundamentals of business. It’s a sure way for you to lose money, but it’s very profitable for Touchstone Crystal, and that’s the point.
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Touchstone Crystal Unstated Goal.
The Touchstone Crystal website is impressive and upbeat. The jewelry is stunning, and there is much talk about making money by hosting Touchstone Crystal parties.
You might think that Touchstone Crystal was created to help you earn money and live a more successful life.
That would be a mistake.
Touchstone Crystal was not created to help you make money. Touchstone Crystal is a business, and, as a business, its primary objective is to maximize company profits.
There is nothing wrong with a business striving to maximize profits. It’s the American way and the purpose of capitalism.
The problem with Touchstone Crystal’s drive to maximize profits is that much of its revenue comes from the pockets of its Consultants.
If you join Touchstone Crystal as a Consultant, the odds are incredibly high that you will spend more money buying jewelry than you earn in commissions. That is the nature of MLM.
The promise of opportunity is really just a marketing trick to turn you into a customer.
You are the Customer.
Before you can earn your first dollar with Touchstone Crystal, you must first purchase a starter kit for $139. This is typical of the MLM industry.
No other industry demands that its salespeople pay the company for the privilege of selling its products and making the company money.
A Touchstone Crystal starter kit costs $139, plus $12 a month for a clone website. However, that is probably just the beginning.
Because Touchstone Crystal does not publish a complete compensation plan or career plan, the full cost of the opportunity cannot be determined.
However, it is typical of MLMs to require distributors to either sell or purchase a minimum quantity of products each month to remain “qualified” to earn commissions.
The requirement to qualify each month tricks many distributors into buying products, effectively turning them into customers.
This is the dirty secret of MLM. The promise of opportunity is merely a ruse to trick people into buying lots of over-priced products.
Also, a Touchstone Crystal Consultant will have additional operating expenses. In his thorough analysis of the MLM industry, Dr. Jon Taylor estimated it costs at least $2,500 a year to run an MLM distributorship.
Proper Due Diligence.
It’s understandable how someone can fall for the Touchstone Crystal sales pitch.
However, it is crucial to take a step back and look at the so-called opportunity without emotion. Calculate the risk and rewards, or potential profit and loss of the endeavor.
Before you invest your time and money into Touchstone Crystal or any business venture, you must step back and talk a cold, hard, and unemotional look at the so-called opportunity.
You must conduct proper due diligence.
This means finding out how much the opportunity costs and how much it earns. You need to know total operating expenses, not just the price of a starter kit.
Mainly, you must know the risks and the rewards BEFORE you commit your time and treasure to the business.
Touchstone Crystal purposely hides the FULL cost of its opportunity and how much the average distributor earns. Without this information, you have no way of knowing the risks you will be taking with the Touchstone Crystal opportunity or the potential rewards.
The only income information available for the Touchstone Crystal opportunity is vague statements, which according to the fine print, mean nothing.
We can only assume that the so-called Touchstone Crystal opportunity is no different than the so-called opportunity offered by the typical MLM. That is less than 1% earn a profit at the expense of everyone else in the salesforce.
In other words, the Touchstone Crystal opportunity is NOT an opportunity at all.
The Touchstone Crystal Opportunity.
Touchstone Crystal claims to offer a business opportunity selling costume jewelry in a party setting. The company promises the chance to earn more income “for all your needs, wants, and dreams.”
Touchstone Crystal claims explicitly it is possible to earn $50 to $80 an hour, based on hosting parties that average $750 in sales. However, this specific claim is hedged by fine print that says they don’t promise you anything.
Also, it’s worth noting that the promise of earning $50 to $80 an hour does not take into consideration the time spent finding places to host parties. Finding party hosts may take many hours a week.
It is doubtful that a Touchstone Crystal Consultant can earn $50 to $80 an hour when all the time spent on the opportunity is tallied.
From a psychological perspective, what better way to justify spending hundreds of dollars a month on costume jewelry than to claim you are operating a business?
A Typical MLM?
The Touchstone Crystal promises of making money are meaningless and typical of multi-level marketing companies.
Direct sales can be very lucrative for the company and a few people at the top of the sales organization. However, these profits mostly come from the pockets of the distributors, the people chasing the so-called opportunity.
Most direct sales companies use a multi-level compensation plan and require each salesperson to pay the company for the privilege of making the COMPANY money.
Usually, there are also incentives for the salespeople to continually purchase lots of products.
The result of these requirements and incentives is the company earns millions of dollars each year, while 99% of its salesforce loses money.
Touchstone Crystal withholds the information we need to determine if its opportunity is genuine or merely a trick to seduce people into buying products.
Is the Touchstone Crystal Opportunity Real?
Touchstone Crystal knows how much its distributors earn and how much they spend on products. The company must track and compile this information each year for tax purposes.
If Touchstone Crystal offered a genuine opportunity, they could easily prove it by publishing how much their distributors earn on average.
However, because Touchstone Crystal hides this information, we can only assume if it was published, it would prove the opportunity is not real.
Failing to publish how much the average Touchstone Crystal distributor earns is a violation of the Direct Selling Association Code of Ethics.
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Touchstone Crystal, a Failure of Ethics?
Touchstone Crystal is a member of the Direct Selling Association. As a member, it is expected to abide by the DSA Code of Ethics.
However, the DSA apparently lacks the will to enforce its own Code of Ethics as most direct sales companies ignore it. Such is the case with Touchstone Crystal.
In the bottom right corner of the Touchstone Crystal website, you’ll find a link to the Direct Selling Association Code of Ethics.
In Section A, in the “Earnings Representations” paragraph, it states that prospective salespeople must be provided sufficient information to enable a proper evaluation of the opportunity to earn income.
“Sufficient information” would be an Income Disclosure Statement or an Earning Disclosure Statement that shows a historical record of how much a Touchstone Crystal Consultant (aka distributor, salesperson) actually earns.
A compensation plan or career plan showing multiple levels and how much a Consultant MIGHT earn is NOT an income disclosure. More on compensation plans in a moment.
In addition to knowing how much the average Touchstone Crystal Consultant earned, we also need to know how much they spent on business expenses. What’s the point of making a million dollars if you spend two million to get it?
In other words, we need to know how much profit the average consultant earned. Touchstone Crystal won’t tell us.
Imagine You’re a Big Shot Investor.
Imagine you’re a big shot investor who routinely buys fast food franchises like McDonald's. You have a staff of analysts who evaluate every business you consider.
On your staff, you have an accountant who digs deep into the numbers. You count on this accountant to determine if your investment in a McDonalds will be profitable.
The McDonald’s home office doesn’t promise you can make money with their restaurants. That would be unethical and unprofessional.
Instead, the McDonald’s home office provides you and your accountant with the average income and expenses of all their restaurants and allows you to determine if you could earn a profit with their franchise.
I am confident if you let an accountant look at the Touchstone Crystal opportunity, they would say the company does not provide enough information to make an accurate determination.
Then they would caution you against getting involved.
Meet Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, CFF.
You do not need to hire an accountant to evaluate the Touchstone Crystal opportunity, Tracy L. Coenen has already assessed the industry and published her findings.
Ms. Coenen is a forensic accountant specializing in investigating corporate fraud, Ponzi schemes, and complex financial issues. Tracy Coenen is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts, and a member of the American Bar Association.
To learn more about Ms. Coenen’s extensive experience and impeccable credentials, visit her website SequenceInc.com.
Here’s what Ms. Coenen has to say about the MLM industry.
MLM is Unfair and Deceptive.
Below are 7 damaging insights Ms. Coenen discovered about the MLM industry. Because Touchstone Crystal fails to provide the information that it is different than the typical MLM, it is safe to assume the following industry observations are relevant to Touchstone Crystal as well.
Read Ms. Coenen’s blog post, How Does MLM Affect People?
Meet Dr. Jon Taylor, Ph.D.
Although Touchstone Crystal does not publish any information that would offer a realistic evaluation of its opportunity, we can use the research of Dr. Jon Taylor, Ph.D., to get a pretty good idea of what to expect from Touchstone Crystal.
Dr. Taylor analyzed the top 300 MLMs in 2011. His work is the most extensive analysis of the industry ever conducted. The results of his study are published on the Federal Trade Commission’s website.
Dr. Taylor found that it costs about $2,500 a year to operate an MLM business and that 99.6% of the people who tried an MLM opportunity LOST MONEY!
Please let that sink in. Only .4% of the people who tried MLM earned a profit.
Touchstone Crystal has not published any information that would suggest your chances of success are any better with its opportunity.
is Touchstone Crystal an MLM?
In this article, I’ve referred to Touchstone Crystal as a multi-level marketing company, or MLM.
Think of the term MLM as slang to describe a direct sales company that uses a multi-level compensation plan.
Touchstone Crystal does not describe itself as an MLM. Most multi-level companies avoid the term because the MLM industry has a reputation for selling false hope and delivering heartache.
Without looking at the Touchstone Crystal compensation plan, we cannot determine conclusively if the company is indeed an MLM. However, the assumption of this article is that Touchstone Crystal is an MLM.
Touchstone Crystal is a member of the Direct Selling Association.
According to Wikipedia, the DSA is the trade association for multi-level marketing companies and serves as a public relations and lobbying group for the industry.
Also, Touchstone Crystal has a profile on MLMlegal.com, a website devoted to MLM law.
Because of Touchstone Crystal’s association with the DSA and MLMlegal.com, it is safe to assume it is indeed an MLM.
The Touchstone Crystal Compensation Plan.
The Touchstone Crystal compensation plan is not publicly available. However, if a Consultant is trying to recruit you into Touchstone Crystal, they may present the compensation plan or career plan as evidence you can make money with the opportunity.
Just remember, the compensation plan is part of the Touchstone Crystal marketing strategy. It is a hypothetical representation of why you MIGHT earn, not what people are actually making.
The closest thing I found to a compensation plan was the Touchstone Crystal Consultant Brochure.
In typical MLM fashion, the Consultant Brochure presents a series of hypothetical earning scenarios and claims there is no risk in the Touchstone Crystal opportunity.
The wording of the Brochure is suspicious.
It’s written in sentence fragments, suggesting that Touchstone Crystal is trying to present the illusion of an opportunity without legally committing to anything.
It smacks of CYA legalese.
Apparently, they leave it to the recruiter to explain the details, which is a sleazy way of avoiding responsibility when the consultant ultimately fails.
According to the Consultant Brochure, it may be possible to earn $900 a month if you host one party a week that sells an average of $750 worth of products.
The Brochure also has testimonials of women who appear to have succeeded with the Touchstone Crystal opportunity. However, no one talks specifically about profit or loss.
It’s all feel-good hype.
Touchstone Crystal Products.
Touchstone Crystal markets what it calls "chic jewelry." While its jewelry is often stunning, it is NOT fine jewelry.
Touchstone Crystal jewelry is costume jewelry made of manufactured stones and plated base metals.
The “crystals” are leaded glass, and the zirconia stones are synthetic.
Unlike fine jewelry that is made of diamonds, gems, and precious metals, Touchstone Crystal pieces have no inherent value. They are purely cosmetic and, once worn, will probably lose value.
Touchstone Crystal Competition.
Typical of MLM, Touchstone Crystal does not protect the territory of its salespeople. Competition in the costume jewelry market space is massive and absolute.
More than twenty MLMs promote jewelry. Plus, Touchstone Crystal jewelry is available on Amazon and eBay. Handcrafted, one-of-a-kind jewelry can be found on Etsy and on the websites of individual jewelry makers.
And, Touchstone Crystal Consultants create competition for themselves.
Every time a Consultant recruits someone into their sales organization, they create additional competition for themselves. This is most notable in small towns and close groups of friends.
Imagine you have a group of 15 close friends, and you recruit one into your Touchstone Crystals team. Now, that person will be recruiting from the same group of friends, and your number of prospects is cut in half.
Competing MLMs that Offer Jewelry.
Party Plans are Outdated.
Hosting parties to sell jewelry or other MLM products is outdated and now produces diminishing returns. Fewer people want to be bothered with hosting a party where they expect their friends and family to spend money.
While it may be possible to host a few parties, over time, it will become increasingly difficult to find new party opportunities.
We have the internet now. People don’t want to be sold to. They want to buy what they want when they want it.
Anyone can buy jewelry online with a few clicks without bothering to host a “party,” or annoying friends and family.
If you want to sell jewelry, learn affiliate marketing. A single skillful affiliate marketer can leverage the internet to sell more products than an entire multi-level sales force.
Affiliate Marketing gives one person the marketing power and income potential of a whole company. To discover why Affiliate Marketing is better than MLM, read Why Affiliate Marketing is Better than MLM.
Protect Your Relationships.
Like a typical MLM, Touchstone Crystal expects you to exploit your friends and family for profit. This can be very damaging to your most important relationships.
No one wants to be used to make a buck.
What often happens when someone joins an MLM is they are encouraged to make a list of all the people they know, starting with their closest friends and family members.
Your closest friends and family are the people who will be there for you when you need them unless you damage the relationship with a selfish attempt to make money off them.
The stories of multi-level marketers alienating friends and family are universal. No sparkly piece of glass and plated metal is worth alienating the people you love and who love you.
Your attempt to make money with Touchstone Crystal is temporary. Most people quit MLM within the first few months when they discover it doesn’t make money. It costs money!
Protect your relationships. Cherish them and keep them safe throughout your life.
Be there for them, and they will be there for you.
MLM is Dying.
Before the internet, most victims of MLM blamed themselves for their failure and seldom mentioned the money they lost. They were humiliated and did not realize the game had been rigged against them from the beginning.
The promise of opportunity was nothing more than marketing designed to seduce them into buying lots of overpriced products.
There never was a real opportunity.
Unless an MLM can PROVE otherwise with an Income Disclosure that can be independently verified, assume that there is a 99% chance you will fail.
Now, thanks to the internet, the victims of MLM are speaking up and telling their stories. Every day more people learn that the so-called MLM opportunity is an illusion that can be very damaging to their finances and relationships.
The Last Word on Touchstone Crystal.
Touchstone Crystal offers no evidence that its opportunity is real.
It is Touchstone Crystal’s responsibility to prove it is different than a typical MLM. It must demonstrate that its opportunity is genuine and that most people can succeed with it.
Touchstone Crystal doesn’t even try.
Instead, it hides information.
A Real Opportunity with Unlimited Potential.
I understand how you might get caught up with a company like Touchstone Crystal. Unfortunately, the more desperate you are, the harder you will fall for the Touchstone Crystal sales pitch.
I hope that by reading this far, you have come to the conclusion that the Touchstone Crystal opportunity is not real.
Fortunately, there is a genuine opportunity available to you. It’s based on skills you can quickly learn. And it’s affordable.
It’s called affiliate marketing, and it is the best chance most people will ever have to be financially independent.
A single skillful affiliate marketing can sell more products than an entire MLM sales organization.
When you know how to leverage the internet to your advantage, you’ll never again worry about money. It’s not complicated. However, it does require patience and commitment.
And it begins with investing in yourself.
Your hobbies and life experiences are priceless. When you combined what you know already with the immense power of the internet, there is no limit to your earning potential.
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