Hello, everyone! I know it’s been a hot minute since I updated the blog. My spring semester started about three weeks ago, and I more or less have settled into a routine with my new classes. Before I get too far into the new year, I wanted to address why I am no longer a SeneGence distributor. I did make LipSense a part of my blog back in December, and as you can tell I’ve erased most, if not all, of the evidence.
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Disclaimer: The following is going to get real. Fast. I am going to tell you about MY experience, and what I think of being a SeneGence distributor. If you don’t want to read about someone who’s had a negative experience, this is most certainly not the blog post for you. I have plenty of other articles you can turn to, that are more positive and light-hearted. I write every single one of my blog posts with the intention to serve others and provide information that can benefit my readers. So, take what I say with a grain of salt. Just because I had a negative experience, it does not mean you will if you decide to sign on as a distributor. If you’re easily offended, stop reading. It’s really as simple as that.
What is SeneGence?
SeneGence is a multi level marketing company that sells cosmetics and skin care products. LipSense, a liquid lipstick that stays on for up to 18 hours, is their most popular product. Purchases can only be made through an independent distributor. SeneGence’s business model is very similar to Avon or Mary Kay. On the flip side, an independent distributor is someone who paid a $55 entry fee in order to sell SeneGence product. An independent distributor can be anyone from a stay at home mom to a boutique owner.
You can make money two ways with SeneGence.
- Building your downline and receiving commission on their order.
- Purchasing their product at wholesale and selling it at retail prices
Selling through an MLM, or network marketing, is a very easy business to get into. Most require a start up fee to join, but once you join you can instantly start making money. Depending on how much effort you put into marketing and selling, your paychecks can range from $0 – unlimited. If you are interested in making a little bit of money or getting your favorite product on a discount, joining an MLM might be for you.
However, if your goal is to become your own boss and start your own business, you need to start looking elsewhere. You’ll never have any say in how your MLM company is run, therefore it is not your business. Each MLM has rules set in place for their distributors to follow; if you break any of them you run the risk of being “fired”.
All that’s required to join SeneGence is to pay their start-up fee. The start up fee also includes your Starter Kit, which contains your training material. I found my starter kit to be a helpful tool; in it came with my distributor handbook which listed all of SeneGence’s policies and rules for distributors. I was initially disappointed that the Starter Kit didn’t include any of their products to try out, but I figured since the starter fee wasn’t too bad (only $55) I could purchase product later on.
Signing Up As a SeneGence Distributor
I signed up after hearing about SeneGence on Youtube. I emailed a distributor asking for some more information on the company, and after receiving her response I put off joining for another week. I thought, Hey this seems really cool, but some of these success stories sound too good to be true.
At this point in the story is where I make my first mistake. I was sucked in by the idea that I could make thousands of dollars each month just by building my downline.
Instead of asking the right questions I assumed the distributor I was signing up under was giving me all the right information. I wanted badly to believe I, too, could make thousands of dollars each month just by building my downline and selling LipSense.
I failed to realize that the girls who make thousands of dollars each month already have huge social media followings or stores, like boutiques or spas. Heck, even I joined because someone I admired on Youtube was doing it! The opportunity to work with someone who was a celebrity in my eyes sold me faster than the actual product did.
UPDATE: I feel like some of the distributors commenting on my blog post are not getting this little section right above where I talk about social media. People who have a large following just make money A WHOLE LOT FASTER than someone with 150 Instagram followers. That’s the same for people who are celebrities and are endorsing products. This is not me complaining about how I didn’t make money with SeneGence, this is me talking about the rules and regulations that come with being a distributor, as well as the actual team environment.
This blog post isn’t about how much work I put into my SeneGence business because I mention a couple of times in this blog post, and in the comments that I was only a distributor for one month. That is certainly not enough time to make any money regardless of whatever you’re doing. I realized early on that I did not want to be a SeneGence distributor due to CP’s training advice (applying for a credit card), and the fact that I have to continuously keep investing my hard earned cash in inventory. And yes, a $200 minimum every six months sounds like investing in inventory to me. Ask yourself this: If you are just in it for the discount then why are you required to purchase $200 of product every six months? I probably spend $200 on beauty products in an entire year.
Now, I know what some of you are thinking…Diana gave up too fast. She’s a sore loser, a whiner, a complainer. She didn’t work hard enough.
All I’m saying is this: you have to be realistic when signing up as a SeneGence distributor. Only YOU know your limits and what you can achieve. You know how many people you can reach; whether it be in person or through social media.
I’m sure it’s possible to make money with this company, but you only get to the top by building your downline. No matter how much product you sell, you won’t ever go up in ranks if you don’t build your downline. You will miss out on the incentives this company offers if you never sign up anyone under you.
Be aware you will have to spend more than the $55 starter kit fee
A SeneGence distributor may use this line or something like it when trying to sign you up under them.
It’s only fifty-five dollars to start your own business. I honestly don’t know any other type of business that you can start, with such low costs!
Hm. I can think of a lot of different things that you can start doing with minimal start-up fees. Like babysitting, starting your own blog, cleaning houses, offering paid translation services, just to name a few.
If anything, joining SeneGence is an expensive way to make money.
You have to pay for and attend seminars located in Oklahoma (SeneGence’s headquarters), and purchase a certain amount of stock each month if you want to be eligible to get paid for vacations and a “free” car.
And if you’re thinking of using social media to attract potential customers, get ready to shell out cash to buy testers. People want to see you using the product. If you can’t afford to shell out cash to take photos of you using the product, how will people begin to trust you, especially over the internet? How will people know what you’re offering is real and not a scam? People want to hear YOUR testimonial, they want to see YOU using the product.
So be prepared to spend quite a bit more than $55 to build your stock.
You have to purchase their $300 website in order to sell product online
If you want to sell your product online you need a SeneGence approved website in order to do that. That will cost you $300 every year. You are not allowed to sell product on Ebay, Amazon, Mercari, PoshMark, your personal website, etc. SeneGence distributors get around this by accepting payment through PayPal or Venmo, and then personally shipping the product out to customers. This requires you to have product in your home so you can ship it out right away.
Also, many of their popular products are always out of stock. And when they do come in stock you have to get them ASAP because it will sell out the very same day. I really do love their LipSense collection, but I have a life that requires me to be away from my computer at times, as do many of us.
One of the benefits to having a SeneGence website is you are easily searchable to other people in your area who are interested in joining. When you do pay the $300 for the website, SeneGence will take an extra percentage out of your earnings.
Upline’s Advice is Questionable
I was very shocked when I watched one of the training videos available to the Dominion I was in. For those of you don’t know SeneGence terminology, a Crown Princess rules over her Dominion, meaning there is one person in charge for the training of an entire group (her downline and her downline’s downline essentially).
My Crown Princess recommended distributors sign up for a credit card if we didn’t have cash to upfront the costs of building our stock. Her reasoning was that credit cards nowadays have great rewards systems where consumers can earn points towards free airplane tickets.
Do I even have to explain why that is so wrong? If you’ve read my blog for a while you know that I’m a penny pincher, but my husband and I still got into debt during our first year of marriage. Granted it’s not a lot, but it was enough to make us realize we’re not as frugal as we like to think! Why? Because our mindset was “If we don’t have the cash to pay for it right now, we can use a credit card to pay for it later.”
If you ever hear advice similar to what my Crown Princess said, run.
Run far and run fast.
That person is not looking out for you and might be taking advantage of you.
Buy more to get more of a discount?
Purchasing SeneGence product at a higher discount means that you have to spend more in order to qualify. So the less you pay for each product, the more you can make when you sell it at retail. Sounds great, but what happens if you can’t sell all of that product? Will you just accumulate all of it at home?
Like I mentioned previously, you have to purchase a certain amount of product each month in order to qualify for different incentives and rank. You may even lose your rank status and return to distributor status if you do not continue to purchase and sign people up under you. You can easily spend thousands of dollars before you realize that you can’t sell all that product. In addition to purchasing in bulk, you also have to have sold 70% of your previous order in order to place another one.
Confusing Compensation Plan
I’ve been a member of different MLMs in the past, but SeneGence’s compensation plan really takes the cake for being one of the most confusing. It is incredibly difficult to understand, but there were some points there were very clear to me instantly.
First of all, in order to receive the commission from my downline, you have to place an order of a 100 PV value, which ends up being a couple hundred dollars out of your pocket. That means you still have to spend money to receive money. I kicked myself for days after learning this tidbit. From my point of view, it is ridiculous to do all the footwork of recruiting others, only to have strings attached when it comes to receiving your rightfully earned paycheck.
I thought being a SeneGence distributor might be a great way to build a passive form of income, but it’s really not. You only make money up to your fifth line, and you have to continue investing your money into stock or else you risk missing out on commission.
There are quotas to fill
You must spend $200 within a six month period in order to remain an active distributor. I was told there weren’t any monthly quotas to fill, but once I read my distributor handbook I realized that wasn’t true.
There is an annual fee in order to remain an active distributor
Again, this is something that was never mentioned to me. I was told $55 was the only fee I’d have to pay, but it turns out you have to pay that fee every year, in order to remain as active within the company.
A 10% Stocking Fee for All Returns
If you ever want to return your product you’ll only get a partial refund because SeneGence charges a 10% stocking fee for all returns.
There are plenty of things I don’t like about this company, but I have to say I really like their LipSense products. Trying out their lipsticks was by far the most positive aspect of my SeneGence experience. Do I believe all the claims that are made about LipSense? No, but it is a product worth trying out. I do think there are comparable products out there like ColorPop or Kat Von D, but that’s not what this blog post is about.
The point I’m trying to make is this: please know what you’re getting into. I feel deceived because I wasn’t provided the information above to help me make an informed decision. On the other hand, I feel partially responsible because I should have asked my sponsor more questions. I had the chance to do my research beforehand, and I went into this blind. However, I feel that it is my responsibility to tell hardworking people the truth about this business.
If you have the disposable income to make this your thing, then I say go for it. SeneGence was kind enough to refund me the $55 I spent on my starter kit, but I did get stuck with a bunch of product I purchased. I didn’t want to return it because I didn’t think it was worth it just to receive a partial refund.
I can now say with certainty that my dabbling in MLMs is over, and I’ll be focusing on other money making ventures from now on. I wanted so badly to like this company, but…no. I just couldn’t get past some of this crap, not even for the long lasting lipstick I love.
Let me know what you guys want to see me write about. Danny has been doing great in his training, and after two months he is getting his truck this weekend. I, on the other hand, have been keeping busy with my college classes and work. Until next time, guys!
Want to read more? Check out Kati Powell’s blog post on The Fall of a SeneGence Crown Princess