As you may know, I started out in a small store in a small town, and in that environment EVERYONE KNOWS EVERYONE. And this is a good thing. Except when the local "telephone-game-style" gossip mill is running, but that is another story(s).
In business, as in life, Honesty is always the best policy and this is never more true than when you are in a small town!
This is my retail store in Fairfield, IA. If you aren't in Iowa, then you can visit us on the web at The Organic Company.com
Everyone who came in was a friend, or a friend of my parents, a teacher I had in high school, or the person I bought my groceries from each week. As my business expanded over the years, through my website I had customers from all 50 states, and I was amazed to find how many of them actually knew me somehow, or at least had some connection to me. I guess it is the 6 degrees of separation - the Kevin Bacon thing. And when you know someone, you care about them. And pretty soon you find yourself caring about everyone, even the people you haven't met yet. So it is this spirit that I write this.
If you are a mother at home with young children and you are looking for a home based business, for the love of God, do some research. There are a some out there that you can make money with - but NOT all of them. And very few actually have products that are made out of quality ingredients.
Most of them suck you into spending between $40-$250 a month on auto-ship orders of their products every month for years, before you realize it isn't working. Trust me, I have tried out a few. (And a note to my past customers - those 3 companies I carried I did do thorough research on and I carried them until I felt that their ingredients had changed too much to be reputable, or their prices had risen so much as to render them unsellable, or both.) As you can imagine, because of my job, I still get invited to "join" many different multilevel companies, all of which, upon further investigation, I found to be not worth it for me as a person.
This is from my store during a promotional night for one company I carried. Mostly I remember the organic chocolate that everyone loved. Oh, and my sister's platinum blonde hair. UPDATE: She is a designer for an organic yogawear line which you can see by clicking on this picture!
Without naming names and dragging all multi-levels into this one post, let me say this:
1) If the company primarily sells nutritional supplements or shakes you can usually get better nutrition CHEAPER by using your blender and some fruits and veggies from the store.
This was when I made grape juice out of actual grapes in my blender (Vitaprep). Delicious!
2) If the company primarily sells cleaning products, you can do the same with white vinegar, baking soda, and lavender essential oil and water. (Seriously, a spray bottle is all you need to work magic!)
3) If the company primarily sells kitchenware, you can do better buy purchasing stainless steel or ceramic items at your local kitchen store, or even Target for a fraction of the cost. (And don't even think about storing your food in plastic, regardless of how famous it's name is.)
4) If the company primarily sells body-care or makeup, all you have to do is READ THE INGREDIENTS - if you cannot pronounce it- there is a problem - usually it is a chemical linked to cancer. (I am not going to suggest you make your own cosmetics as it is simply too frustrating for most people, including myself.) But don't be swayed by the slick claims on multi-level brands, you can do far better by purchasing products from 100% Pure (we carry many in our store), or products from other small companies - where there are no chemicals, no parabens, no sodium laurel or laureth sulfates, no alcohol, no fillers.
5) If the company has a broad spectrum of products, possibly covering many of the above categories, please be even more cautious, because specialization brings more validity to the products. Trying to be the best at everything - it is simply very unlikely that any one company will achieve this.
All this being said, I would ask:
How can a company so blatantly lie?
How can a company so obviously mislead its customers?
Ask Aloette, one of the worst green-washing companies to come around in a long time. Our conversation with them tonight:
Us: "Are Aloette products organic?"
Aloette Reps: "Oh yes, all organic."
Us: "It doesn't say that on the label. It should say that."
Aloette Reps: "Oh we have been organic for 23 years."
Us: "Why doesn't it say so on the label?"
Aloette Reps: "Oh this is old packaging."
That is my favorite part-- that they use the same packaging that they have had for 23 years!?!
I really wish I could see the IQ score on the person who answered these questions!
Look at the ingredients, most of which are listed as cancer causing by the Cosmetics Safety database. Not only are Aloette's products NOT organic, they are NOT EVEN NATURAL.
If you don't believe me, go to the Cosmetics Safety Database and type in any of the ingredients you cannot pronounce, http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com and you will see.
At a time when many companies are striving to use MORE healthy natural ingredients INSTEAD of chemicals, this company is choosing the worst:
pick a "natural sounding" name, create some flashy marketing on a website, throw together some products using the cheapest chemicals around, then rely on the duping of the public to sell it for them.
See, they know that if they can convince YOU, then it is YOU that convince your friends and family, because your friends and family trust you. But Aloette can't sell easily directly to them, because they would not be trusted.
THIS is the reason the few legitimate multi-level home-based businesses have a bad rap- because of companies like Aloette. I feel sorry for those companies, but mostly I feel sorry for the already strapped women who get involved trying to peg their hopes and dreams on a company that is usually a big fat liar.
If you enjoy doing research, as I do, and you enjoy watching documentary films (thank you Netflix!) than you may find out some very, very shocking statistics. Like how easy it is for ANYONE to go to Utah and make an herbal supplement with little to no regulations. (Don't get me wrong, I am all for herbs and supplements - but PLEASE buy them from reputable sources - this is the only way you can hope to get what you pay for.)
As I finish writing this, I realize that probably those of you who were thinking about approaching me to try to have me sell the same multi-level line you are into, probably are changing your mind. If you are enjoying the products, then that is fine. But please, before you sell your trusting family and friends on something, take a good look at the ingredients or materials and also where and how the products are made. Is it America? Is it fair wage labor? And if you STILL feel good about it, come talk to me. (Just make sure they aren't using labels that are 23 years old.)