Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Arbonne V Lush

Many years ago, I became involved in a money making scheme based on selling copy cat perfumes. Unlimited earning potential was promised in a business that could fit easily within the time constraints of a busy mum. Too good to be true? Frankly, yes it was. 

Selling the overpriced, mediocre products to friends and family could earn you a small amount of income but the serious earning potential could only be realised by recruiting your own network of sales people. These people are attracted by the idea of life changing wealth which of course will require them to begin their own recruitment plan. 

Pyramid selling schemes in all their guises can generate a huge amount of wealth for a few individuals, but that wealth is acquired by selling dreams to multitudes of people who will invest in the start up costs and product samples, then become disillusioned. For every one operative that makes a reasonable living, you have to ask yourself how many people have tried and failed. I have to question the morality of a system built on countless shattered dreams - not to mention the morality of selling overpriced, mediocre products to your family and friends and perpetuating the cycle of shattered dreams through them.

Since the veil of false hope was lifted from my eyes through my personal experience with the copy cat perfumes, I have seen several of my friends buy into schemes promising life changing earning potential. It is with such enthusiasm that they start out on their journey to an infinitely better future and they genuinely feel they are doing their friends a great service by offering them the chance to be a part of this amazing opportunity. Sadly, I have seen too many start up kits and sample products gathering dust on the shelf of shame and disappointment of the would-be millionaires.

These thoughts were very front of mind yesterday as a friend of mine is just starting out as a 'consultant' for Arbonne UK. She is brimming with enthusiasm, company loyalty, belief in the product and the absolute certainty that she will be driving a fully funded white mercedes within 2 years as part of their reward scheme offered as a motivational incentive. I knew nothing about the company prior to her involvement but the whole thing smelt strongly of just another 'too good to be true' ruthless ploy to profit from people who can ill afford it by dangling an unattainable carrot of success. The company web site was slick but did little to allay my fears for my friend.

I do tend to be a person that gives the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the Swiss scientists had discovered a miracle formula of natural plant extracts that would revolutionise skin care one bathroom at a time. My friend had given me a complementary sachet of Arbonne's Seasource Detox Spa Purifying Sea Soak. This retails at £40 for 8 sachets which, if my times table drilling serves me correctly, is a fiver a sachet. Last night, I tried it out to see if it really was as good as my friend, Arbonne and the Swiss scientists claimed.

I love Lush products. I love visiting the Lush shop and breathing in the intoxicating odours. I love how so many of the products look good enough to eat. I love the quirky names they give to their products and the seasonal specials. I love the packaging. I love the ethical morality of the company. I love the name 'Lush'! I suppose, most importantly, I love using the products. The next time I find myself in Lush (or if anybody wants to know what's on my Christmas list) I want to try the bath melt Ceridwyn's Cauldron. It looks gorgeous and retails for £3.95.

The reason I have digressed to talk about my Lush wishlist is not to drop a massively unsubtle hint to my lovely husband, who is my most loyal reader, but to have a point of comparison for the Arbonne bath product.

The scene was set - lots of lovely hot water and candles. On my friend's recommendation, I only used half the sachet which meant on a price comparison it was doing better than Lush. The smell of it was evocative of a spa and seemed quite authentic compared to the stronger 'in your face' scent of some of the lush products I've used. However, the smell quickly wore off or I got used to it and I didn't notice it any more. As I got into the bath, I had no sense of luxuriating into something special. In fact it was so non-descript I thought I probably ought to add the rest of the sachet, which I did, thereby relinquishing the cost advantage. This time, the smell of it actually caught in my throat making me cough (perhaps that was why the 'half sachet' advice was given) but again, it didn't last long.

It wasn't unpleasant relaxing in my Purifying Sea Soak but neither was it exciting, or invigorating or luxurious or anything really. I told myself that the effect was maybe more understated and the blend of botanical ingredients would be working their detoxifying magic on me right now in a way that would have those Swiss scientists saying "I told you so". 

Arbonne claims that ....

Detoxification supports the body’s natural
ability to cleanse and restore itself. Over time, toxins can build up and overwhelm the body, weakening the immune system and leading to:
• Fatigue
• Stress
• Poor digestion
• Skin disorders or breakouts
• Stiffness, aches and pains
• Weight gain
• Premature aging

How will I know if I have been detoxified? There is no obvious change in my skin and I don't feel any different. I'm sure the Arbonne answer would be that it is long term accummulative effect - keep using the product and supplement it with this product and that product and soon you have a whole armoury in place to defeat the toxic enemy.

In the end it all boils down to personal choice. I wish my friend well in her business venture and will be attending her launch party to show my support but I don't think that any of her arguments will persuade me that the Arbonne experience is one I should be buying into. The pleasure I get on many levels from using my Lush products is good for my mind, body and soul. I don't believe that the Arbonne marketing strategy supports that concept and I certainly don't think that the Swiss scientists could find it in a test tube.

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