Crownless Princesses


Photo by María Victoria Heredia Reyes on Unsplash

Hello Anti-MLM world! For purposes of the blog, you can call me MaidenDisenchanted.

A little bit about myself. I am currently a SeneGence Distributor, disenchanted and maneuvering my way out. I signed up in early 2017 just before everything went out of stock. I tried LipSense in 2016, and immediately fell in love with it (I had used long-wear lipsticks for years and this was the best I had ever experienced). I still love LipSense! But over the course of the last year, I have come to realize that the business opportunity is just bad.

See, I had originally signed up just to get a discount on my own products. I honestly wanted almost every color, and thought signing up was the way to do it. Yet, I still had a “launch party” and invited some friends to try it. And I even sold product at cost to them, because I wasn't going to be doing this as a business (yes ... I know that's against the rules). Well I was honestly floored at how many people wanted LipSense! So, I decided to give the business thing a go (and sell at retail, or only discount up to 15%). And then everything went out of stock.

Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

I had been a demonstrator for another MLM (rubber stamping), about 10 years ago. Their commission was only 20%, so I was thinking I could run my LipSense business the same way (have parties and place orders). And with SeneGence, the commission would be a lot bigger, right? Well … not quite. First, there wasn't enough product to take orders, compile into a party, and order. And wait, if I actually did a party, I was stuck having to give away product for the hostess rewards! My old MLM had a smaller commission, but at least they provided the hostess benefits and everything was generally in stock!

But, I wasn't smart enough at the time I was realizing all of this. I thought that because so many people I knew loved LipSense that it would actually be profitable for me to just buy product and sell it. So I started buying colors, one at a time, as they came in stock. I spent HUNDREDS on shipping costs alone in 2017! But at the same time, I really was selling, and I was selling a LOT! And I ranked up just three months after signing up!

At times I had more Facebook parties than I could keep up with. (My husband came to dread times when I was doing a Facebook party because I would literally disappear. I would be “home” but not really “home.”) So I justified how many orders I was placing because I was genuinely selling at least enough to offset what I was ordering. But then I was also justifying a lot of expenses in materials, mirrors, shelves, brochures, etc. I thought this business would work in the long run. I did vendor events (but I barely broke even on them, and I spent hundreds of dollars in supplies to get ready), only to decide I didn't really like spending all day on a weekend away from my family. Vendor events were way outside my comfort zone.

I had an active Facebook group (and I spent WAY too much time on it!), and I was introduced to people I would have never met otherwise. Some of these women have become close friends, and I am grateful that I didn't run my business in a way that people felt “sold” every time they talked to me. I really kept my personal life and “SeneLife” separate for the most part.

Photo by on Unsplash

However, it was not until I started compiling my records to do my taxes that I realized what the real damage was. See, first I was getting things like my 1099 from SeneGence and my credit card processors. I realized that I had moved over $12K last year and I thought that was amazing! Until I saw that I had spent closer to $20K in product orders, supplies, and shipping etc. And SeneGence doesn't make it easy for you to track how much you ordered. Yes, it's all there, but if you want to total it out … you've got to do that yourself. I had about $3K in inventory left at the end of 2017. It was eye opening to realize I had given away so much product in giveaways and incentives. I had often done free shipping and no tax, so I was eating a lot of costs. There was literally NO PROFIT, even though I moved THOUSANDS of dollars in product.

Prior to seeing the exact numbers in my tax documents, I had already begun seeing large numbers of distributors going out of business. In many cases, these distributors had bought more than I had, and for the same reasons. When nothing was in stock, you bought what you could, when you could. And many of these distributors were realizing that inventory left over at the end of the year is taxed as an ASSET and isn't deducted from your income. So they were having to pay taxes on the product they overbought! I was seeing GOOB (going out of business) posts in groups on Facebook selling product cheaper than I could buy it directly from SeneGence. I was really concerned that so many had overextended themselves, and then I started feeling like a jerk keeping these deals from my own customers and expecting them to pay more from me.

And then I started seeing the posts in my team group pages that were encouraging FRONT LOADING* every month.

I ran across a two-part video of a leadership training by none other than Joni Rogers, the Founder and CEO of SeneGence:

Inventory Build Part 1

Inventory Build Part 2

It was EYE OPENING. For one, Joni mentions in the first part that not building inventory (front loading) is “Hold[ing] back [your] opportunity to sell.” Seriously!?? Taking on more inventory than you can sell is just putting yourself in debt, or spending money that could go ANYWHERE else. If product had been in stock, I want to say I would have not stocked up as I did. But then again, this is where the SeneGence compensation plan manipulates you to buy more. Remember, in order to get 50% off, you have to order $1,500 in retail product! To get 40% off you have to order $600. And pay sales tax on the retail value!

In the end of Part 2, she refers to a woman with a $100K budget of her husband's money as “Ms. Rocks-a-lot.” (I guess this was me.) It really showed me what SeneGence really thinks of its distributors. They are dollar signs, plain and simple. The entire premise of Joni's method of encouraging inventory and budgeting it is an assumption that EVERY booking will net $500 in sales. This has been proven to be false. (Yes, I had some parties get way over $500, but I had others that barely qualified at $150.) Plus, with market overflow as we currently are experiencing (and so many going out of business—understandably), I feel it is absolutely dishonest that Joni is encouraging Crown Princesses to use this dishonest method of accounting to their new recruits.

And then I saw these types of graphics flowing down from the Amethyst Queen (or Ruby Queen? I can't keep track) way above me.

I mean, really?! There is so much in this post that is misleading. The assumptions in the numbers here are that every person who signs up will spend 300PV every month ($600 retail at 40% off). This is simply not true, especially for those of us who got wise as to how much we were ordering.

Additionally, when I was doing two Facebook parties in a week, I was spending multiple hours every night in that week to prepare and engage in those parties! And I sponsored only ONE person EVER as a result of a party. Granted, I have never been a fan of MLM pyramid style compensation, so recruitment was never a priority for me. The only people who signed up with me were people who came to me asking about it and wanting to do it. And I have never encouraged any of my team to keep inventory or recruit. And, I was mistaken to believe an income could be had by selling LipSense alone.

What I have referenced above is only a drop in the big fat bucket of misleading information flowing down the ranks of SeneGence distributors. And there is absolutely no forum to question any of the Kool-Aid in team Facebook groups. I have been called out for being negative, just because I questioned the numbers in posts like the one above. I thought by openly questioning them, perhaps other distributors could avoid making the same mistakes as so many of us.

So, I am leaving SeneGence. I am lucky to be one of the few that didn't take on tons of debt, but I spent money that could have taken my entire family on a cruise! It makes me sick to think about that. I am trying to figure out how to get rid of my inventory. I love the products … guess I could have a 10 year supply … if it actually is any good after that long.

And if this post helps someone avoid making the same mistakes I did, then it has been worth it. Even if you want to stay with SeneGence, please read the above, get all the information, keep detailed and accurate records, and DON'T DRINK THE KOOL-AID!!

— MaidenDisenchanted

*Front loading or inventory loading is the practice of buying a large amount stock up front, generally more than you can sell easily.

#SeneGence #LipSense #frontloading #inventory #MLM #antiMLMmovement #antiMLM #pyramidscheme

Front loading or inventory loading is the practice of buying a lot of stock so that customers can buy from you right away. Basically, sure, it's a good idea to have stuff in stock, and customers do love being able to get what they want immediately.

However. Front loading sails very close to the “Pyramid Scheme” wind in Direct Marketing (DM) and Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) businesses, especially as distributor orders are usually linked to bonuses, rewards, progression to higher levels, and earning commissions. Distributors often place orders for stock just to qualify for something, not because there's a demand for their products, or that they've sold a lot.

This is what we're told to do, in the private Crown Princess and other royal groups for distributors ...



And this is what the official SeneGence Distributor Policies and Procedures Guide (2017) states (covering their legal butts by stating that progression within SeneGence doesn't depend on stockpiling, even though it does):


Front loading is, of course, of great benefit to the company, and uplines. It means THEY earn big commissions and get big sales. Not so great for the downlines, though. So it's a win-win-lose sort of deal, where the distributors lose out, purchasing too much stock, getting into debt, and often ending up selling stock at a heavy discount just to get it out of their house.

The Federal Trade Commission (USA) rules that front loading is inappropriate activity:

Front-loading or inventorying of product in which excessive product purchases are viewed as prohibited consideration for the requirement that individuals make an initial investment of product purchased to engage in the opportunity.

Kevin Thomson, an MLM attorney, writes:

The courts add another layer to this definition that muck it up a little: inventory loading can occur when distributors are purchasing a minimum amount of product in an effort to qualify for bonuses. FTC vs. Omnitrition

Here are just a few articles you can read about front loading in MLM:

• MLM Basics: What is Inventory Loading?

I particularly love this quote from the above article (my emphasis added):

Modern MLM sales people don't really stock products in their garage or storage, but instead, just take orders and the items are drop-shipped straight from the company's fulfillment center.

SeneGence, still stuck in the dark ages ...

• MLM Basics: Inventory Loading and Front Loading

• Where Have All the Products Gone?

• What is Front Loading or Inventory loading?

SeneGence founder, Joni Rogers, used to work for Mary Kay, and seems to have copied a great deal of the Mary Kay business model (their annual conventions are also called Seminar, just for starters!)

• The Mary Kay New Year, New Recruit Frontloading Wipeout

• Front loading: How Mary Kay Predators Rope their Prey into Large Inventories and Bigger Debt

#frontloading #inventory #SeneGence #LipSense #MLM #debunked

I became a distributor because I liked the products. I'm a born saleswoman — I love sales, and have been a recruiter for 8 years. This business was perfect for me, I have never done an MLM before (I also own my own business), and I evaluated all the numbers my upline told me, as far as earning potential to sell the product alone (I did have girls sign up under me), I was repeatedly told there were two ways to make money — selling the product and building a team ... ok I'm good with that ... except that was not the case AT ALL.

There was zero stock available, so I had to fight to buy 10 of 3 different colors when colors came out to get to $750 PV. Crunching the numbers buying under $750 PV just didn't make any sense. Anyway now I'm $1,000 in the hole and I have learned sooooo much about SeneGence's business practices that I frankly feel disgusted.

The things that bother me the most ... the fact that the Fast Start program was taken away — why? This makes it SO difficult to get started, spending $750 (which comes out to be closer to $900 after shipping and handling and prepaying taxes) ... it's such a huge risk.

Putting girls I love (my downline) in this situation makes me feel very uncomfortable. I know their financial situation and they want to make an honest buck — but I do not feel SeneGence is honest at all.

The other thing that REALLY bothered me was on my upline pages they would promote posts on how to “make money on sales alone” they say — buy $750 and sell for $1,500 make $750 profit (which you re-invest right back into SeneGence of course). THERE IS NO WAY IT IS POSSIBLE AT ALL TO MAKE $750 PROFIT OFF OF A $750 INVESTMENT. Simply — the exorbitant shipping and handling charged FROM SeneGence negates that profit margin entirely — it's impossible even if you happen to have sold exactly everything you bought (like that's going to happen), and what about testers?

We forgot to mention that a large part of our inventory is dedicated to testers. I recognize it takes money to make money, but the way SeneGence promotes making money is TOTALLY DISHONEST. I absolutely can not compromise my integrity just to get someone to take the bait and become a distributor and front load a bunch of product. I would rather eat my $1,000 loss then to propel the lie posed by SeneGence and their successful distributors. There is no legit income opportunity to sell the products alone. I can ask on my upline's page “Who is making a profit on sales alone” and out of over 1,000 — it's crickets — maybe one person claims to make a profit months down the line ... My time is waaaay more valuable than that.

Let's talk about the Shipping and Handling and TAX from SeneGence. You are charging way too much — just skimming every which way you can to make money off your distributors. WHY ON EARTH DO YOU CHARGE TAX ON SHIPPING???? HOW IS THIS EVEN LEGAL???? Just further proves that you are skimming in anyway possible.

Let's talk returns, you are supposed to send us the colors that were returned — but now you just give a credit — you don't return the tax paid on it and we have to pay S&H AND TAX again on these returned products! Come on give us a break ... also why are there WAY more colors available — almost all of them — on the Australia's distributor site, when the colors are shippped from the USA? We all know you are trying to create a fake supply and demand to create this buying frenzy ....

Distributor 2

#SeneGence #LipSense #MLM #distributor #debunked #frontloading #inventory #truestory

I personally signed up for the LipSense. Having sold other MLM companies I wasn't new to this so I hopped on board.

Wow, was I wrong, I had never logged into a site to order products and there was nothing to order. My upline didn't tell me this little bit of important info. I just made a game out of it, called it the Hunger Games and went to trading sites where that is a whole new blog post.

I have a great team, meaning, myself and my recruit and her recruits I had a great team when I sold another MLM, so I felt that I could do this, with that being said with “front loading” that is pure bull shit!

I personally don't have credit cards and pay cash for everything, so I don't understand why a person can't just give me their credit card info and plug it into YOUR system and have the product shipped to me or THEM! Ohhhh, that may make sense ...

And let's talk about the personal website, can we get in the same century? If I logged into that I would get out and drive to Walmart to buy something. Geesh. Even the website needs updating. Maybe I don't know what I'm doing, but some of the product knowledge, why do we have to listen to it?! Can't we read it?? I'll get off my soapbox now.

Holly Harris

#SeneGence #LipSense #MLM #distributor #debunked #frontloading #inventory #truestory

Lip Sense 02

Dear Joni,

We are writing you in the hopes that you will take some time to understand what we are saying, and where we are coming from. We love and believe in your products. We are distributors because of that love and belief.

It saddens us to see the rapidly growing negativity all over the internet regarding the company. There are literally hundreds of groups on Facebook where distributors are going out of business and/or selling stock at crazy low prices. They are terrified, because during the OOS months, they hoarded colors and products because they didn’t know when those products would become available again. Now, everyone is panicking and trying to get out of the debt that this has caused.

The products simply cannot sell fast enough. We are each, only one person. We cannot spend 23 hours a day promoting, selling, packaging, marketing, shipping, invoicing, taking orders, and so on, to try to earn a profit. We have families and children, careers and lives. We signed on because we believed we could have fun, sell a product we loved, and earn some extra income on the side.

We have all been distributors for several months, if not longer, and even with steady sales that have kept many of us busier than both our day jobs and our families do, we can say that most of us still have not made any profit. Most of us are in debt, some of it running into thousands of dollars.

There are a few reasons why it’s not profitable to sell your product, and we believe that with a few changes, it could be the amazing and life-changing company you claim it to be. Not just for a select few Crown Princesses, but for all of us.

The key to a company’s success is to hold on to integrity, and not get swallowed up in the greed. We see the women pushing their downlines to order 300pv and “front load”, so they can earn their commissions. That is pure greed. Many of us have downlines, but we refuse to climb to the top on their backs. There has to be a better, more humane way.

If things continue with no changes, SeneGence will end up like LuLaRoe. A passing fad that is in its death throes now, with their $25 leggings going for $5 all over the internet. We don’t want to see this happen to SeneGence, and if you think it can’t happen, you’re wrong. As fast as it exploded is how fast it can implode. Life on the web moves fast.

Here are a few ideas we have collectively put together, with the hopes of saving the company, and our business investment in it.

  1. Lower shipping costs or provide free shipping for orders of 300PV and higher.

  2. 50% discount for distributors who purchase 300pv. 750 pv is really high and it's partly to blame for causing the OOS issues and the overstock issue that current distributors have. This is causing tons of going out of business sales all over the internet, where the product is being sold to customers for up to 50% off. We've seen LipSense as low as $11!

  3. Low cost personal website — we need modern, well-designed and user friendly sites, where our customers can place their own orders, and we receive commission on the orders.

  4. $40K a month is just greed. At 150 Crown Princesses, if they each earn $40K a month, that is costing the company $72 million a year. That is insane. How about capping that monthly commission income for the Princesses, and using some of that to make real changes to help the majority of your distributors, who are the majority of your workers, and making pennies.

  5. Training — ones we don't have to pay $2,500 for. $500 for a weekly call? Why?

  6. Branding. Please do something current and attractive ASAP. To be selling your products for the amount they’re priced at, they need to look like luxury items. They don’t at the moment, because of the amateurish logo, packaging and marketing materials.

  7. End the monthly PV for commission earnings, stop “pay to play” (which is sailing very close to the wind with illegal pyramid scheme definitions) and give us credit where credit is due, we shouldn't have to purchase to earn commissions!

  8. Bring back incentives for new distributors to sign up. Right now, there is ZERO reason for anyone new to sign up.

  9. Release the new colors and products at the same time, so everyone has equal chance to get it if they need it.

  10. STOP NEW DISTRIBUTOR SIGN UPS when there is no inventory to sell them!

  11. Retroactive “Fast track” for those who were ineligible when they signed up.

  12. Employ a UX / information design specialist to redesign Back Office so we can find things, and documents are arranged in a logical, systematic way.

  13. Cap the “hoarding” of stock during times of OOS, putting limits on how many of each item a distributor can order at any one time. This is the reason for the going out of business sales all over the place. All that does is hurt those of us who are trying to sell the product at full retail.

  14. Don’t use Crown Princesses and Queens as your communication channels. It becomes one big game of Chinese Whispers, with rumors running rife. One way of making sure distributors get clear information directly from you is to send out emails of updates and action plans.

We truly appreciate you taking the time to read this, and hope that you and your team will sit down and carefully consider the points we have made.

Sincerely, Your Distributors

#SeneGence #LipSense #MLM #distributor #debunked #frontloading #inventory #truestory #openletter

I started SeneGence with high hopes, believing in all the talk of “momentum phase” and getting in early. I am a business woman, have been for a decade and do very well with my full time business. With that said, I am always looking for an opportunity!

I read once that every millionaire has 7 streams of income coming in. Once I signed up however, I quickly realized that in order to be successful and earn the real money, I'd have to trick ladies a little in order to get them to sign under me and push them to spend $460 (give or take depending on your shipping costs) in products monthly.

The OOS issues, as you all know, caused me to panic-buy. I have customers, waiting for colors, and had no idea when the color was going to come back. Early on, I asked the uplines if this was “the game”. Creating urgency to buy. They assured me NO, it was not, it was the company exploding in popularity and blah blah blah.

Now, after several months, I have 45 color tubes and 15 glosses that have not sold. That is over $1,000 in product. It happened so fast.

Groups are popping up all over Facebook where girls are selling at half price, making selling at full retail close to impossible.

I'm really disappointed in this company and the way they are treating their distributors, and that is why I hope they will hear us and make some changes.

Distributor 1

#SeneGence #LipSense #MLM #distributor #debunked #frontloading #inventory #truestory