Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 21st 2018 Contents Sunday, January 21, 2018
Is the selling of products such
as Organo Gold, Avon, Herb-
alife and other similar prod-
ucts just another "Pyramid
Scheme" or is it a legitimate way
to earn money selling merchandise
of value in the marketplace?
This has been the debate world-
wide---and here in T&T---for many
Companies such as these oper-
ate what is known as a Multi-Level
Marketing (MLM) business model.
In this form of business, while
a person can make money by
selling the company's products,
monies are also made when others
become recruits under this per-
son and when they recruit others
under them and so it goes further
down the line.
It is possible to make money, but
like most MLMs, the success rate is
not very high.
Sunday Business spoke to some
of the people involved in the local
industry to get an idea of what
draws people to this type of busi-
ness, and whether they believed it
to be a worthwhile endeavor.
NO MONEY MADE
Maria* told Sunday Business that
she got into the selling of Organo
Gold products two years ago and
spent 6 months in the business.
Her experience was not a favour-
"I knew other people who were
involved in it and they encouraged
me. I made what is known as a
level one investment and bought
some of the products. But I didn't
start off with a big bang and didn't
become rich off of it."
When asked why she was not
successful, she replied she had
other ventures she was involved in
and could not devote all her time
to the product.
"I know other people who have
done well with this, but I guess it
wasn't for me. You also have to
have learn the products and give
the customers advice on the prod-
ucts, which I didn't have time for."
When asked if she would advise
other people to get involved in the
selling of such a product under
that business model, she said it all
depends on the individual.
"I didn't make much and my
experience wasn't good. It wasn't
enough to make a living. But
maybe if there are other people
who put in more time into the
product, maybe their success
would be better than mine."
Christine Ram, supervisor at
Herbalife told Sunday Business
that their type of business is a suc-
cessful one and it actually helps
"This is a business that you do on
your own. Your pro its will depend
on how much clients you have and
how you market to your clients.
We have one main warehouse in
Trinidad where distributors go in
and purchase the products."
She said they do wellness pro-
iles or "check ups" on persons
who want to lose weight or gain
"We also do a marketing part of
the business for people who want
to change their lives inancially, we
offer it as a business to them. What
they do is that they register with
the company, we have training
that we do around the country. We
have a big event every month and
then we have our weekly meetings
where we train people to go out
and do the same. They become
personal wellness coaches."
She said their personal coaches
examine people's health and life-
style in terms of what they eat,
how they exercise and other re-
She added that the products are
nutritional and are regulated by
the Food and Drug Administration
and there are doctors in the coun-
try who recommend the products.
She also said they do not treat
or diagnose illness but using the
products people see the results for
"We have great results for peo-
ple who gain weight and also lose
weight depending on their needs.
That is how we market product."
On the business side, she said
that people sell the products and
the company pays them.
"Every month the sales people
are paid a cheque and they also
get to purchase the products at 25
per cent off. They then go and look
for people as well who want to lose
weight and want a change in their
Ram said people come and go
every year, but estimates that
there are "a couple hundred" sales
people throughout the country.
She said that this is a legitimate
type of business although not a
"There are a lot of companies
that have done network marketing
but not in the right way. Our com-
pany has done network marketing
and we have people who are in the
company for 25 years."
She even said that Jason Cae-
sar, founder of the local branch of
Herbalife is a "rags to riches" story.
"There are people who have
turned their life around from noth-
ing and done well. The founder
here, who founded the company
over 12 years ago in T&T is a rags
to riches story. He was in inancial
dif iculty and his wife had a lot of
health issues. He needed things
and sacri iced to start building the
MONEY TO BE MADE
Jenna* who used to be involved
in the selling of Organo Gold prod-
ucts but is no longer in the busi-
ness, said that it was good while
she was in it and she has a full time
She started selling about three
years ago and stayed in the busi-
ness for one year.
"My reason for not doing it any
more is for lack of time. But when
I was promoting the product it was
very successful for me. I had no
real problems selling the product."
She said there are different pack-
ages and she started off by buying
the cheapest which was TT$ 3,000.
"It all depends on what you want
to invest in and how much prod-
ucts you get. This would have been
the coffee, soaps, tablets, and in-
formation package on how to do
the business. It is something that
you ordered from outside but you
could get it locally form people
who have it in stock. Then there is
the networking part of it as well."
Jenna confessed that the $3,000
was "well invested" as she sold out
the products in a very short space
"I did make a pro it. The invest-
ment determines the volumes of
products you received. I sold out
my products almost as I got it. It
She said selling the products
involve meetings on how to sell
the products and it could be time
consuming and she now has a full
time job so is no longer in that
business---at least for the moment.
AVON CARIBBEAN FAILURE
The closure of Avon's operations
in 2015 gives a glimpse into the
sustainability of businesses in the
In 2015, the direct-sales beauty
company closed all its of ices in
the Caribbean and ceased opera-
The company, which was the
ifth largest beauty company at
that time and second largest direct
selling corporation in the world,
decided to cease all of its opera-
tions in the Caribbean on January
Lindsay Fox, spokesperson for
Avon at that time told Associated
Press that the move was made to
"focus on improving the US busi-
Sales persons throughout the
region were affected by the abrupt
According to a 2015 news re-
port, Tricia Sinarine, an Avon in-
dependent sale representative in
T&T, listed the affected countries
as: Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba,
the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize,
Bermuda, Bonaire, Curacao, Dom-
inica, Grand Cayman Island, Gre-
nada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St
Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, Suriname
Unfortunately, not every multi-
level marketing opportunity is a
legitimate business opportunity.
Many pyramid schemes - frauds
designed to part the unwary from
their money - are disguised.
Like multilevel marketing, pyra-
mid schemes depend on recruiting
people to become distributors of a
product or service.
The big difference between mul-
tilevel marketing and a pyramid
scheme is in the way the business
The entire purpose of a pyramid
scheme is to get an individuals
money and then use them to re-
cruit other individuals.
* Names have been changed
A look inside the world of
--- Christine Ram, supervisor at Herbalife ---
There are people who have turned their
life around from nothing and done well. The
founder here, who founded the company over
12 years ago in T&T is a rags to riches story.
hot topic SB3
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