Tag: Pyramid Scheme

Safety and Dangers of Essential Oils

Safety and Dangers of Essential Oils

Essential Oils can be dangerous. People selling the essential oils for companies create articles and guides in order to sell more oils. This can make it difficult to find good truthful information about safe ways to use oils. Additionally, members selling dōTERRA and Young Living […]

LuLaRoe Lawsuits – News Roundup

LuLaRoe Lawsuits – News Roundup

Pyramid Scheme Allegations CBS News story with detailed information around the $1 billion lawsuit filed in October alleging LuLaRoe is a pyramid scheme. Also references LuLaRoe’s own legal action against critics. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/lularoe-is-accused-of-being-pyramid-scheme/ Fortune.com article explaining LuLaRoe and referencing the lawsuit filed in October alleging LuLaRoe […]

Is Du North Designs a pyramid scheme?

Is Du North Designs a pyramid scheme?

It’s hard to tell if Du North is a pyramid scheme… and that’s not a great sign.

Du North Designs sells leggings directly and through distributors. Most of their business and their stated business model is “Multi Level Marketing.” MLMs share many qualities with Pyramid Schemes but are a bit different. Because MLMs and pyramid schemes are so similar it can be hard to tell them apart.

The US Government’s Federal Trade Commision has more information about pyramid schemes to help us track this down.

How to spot a Pyramid Scheme:

  • Large profits are based primarily on recruiting others not on the real sale of goods.
  • Recruites are forced to buy more products than they could sell often at inflated prices.
  • People at the bottom (new recruits) make excessive payments for inventory that accumulates in their basements.
  • Many schemes will claim product sells like crazy — but actually sales are only occuring between people inside the structure or to new recruits. Check for inflated prices.
  • Commissions for recruiting new distributors, no legitimate product or service, OR separate up-front membership fee (having a product/service doesn’t remove all danger).pyramids (not a scheme)

How does Du North stack up?

  • If you look carefully at the policies for Du North distributors get bonuses, from recruiting others to purchase inventory.
  • Recruits are encouraged to buy thousands upon thousands of dollars of merchandise to join Du North and stay active.
  • It’s not possible to directly sell the merchandise without first purchasing an expensive ($99+) “starter pack.”
  • Du North says the clothes are worth more than they are. Check out ebay.com for Du North for current market pricing by checking sold listings.
  • There are direct commissions for new distributors. The amount of inventory purchased by recruited distributors determines the bonus. You can get more money if the new recruits buy more. None of the compensation bonuses listed depend on any sales only inventory purchases.
  • There are costs to join. Du North packages and sells initial inventory, website access, and materials for selling in a “starter kit.” You cannot become a distributor (get a website, do direct sales, etc) without purchasing one of the starter kits.
  • You cannot remain active to continue online sales or recruit without purchasing at least $300 in inventory each quarter (no matter how much is actually sold).
  • Du North does have policies to avoid too many distributors in one area, but there are many exceptions (previous direct sales/MLM experience, request waiver, etc).
Ebay versus Du North leggings pricing
Ebay (Left), Du North (Right)
Products on Ebay are selling for more than 30% less than the prices on the DuNorth pages

Yes, Du North probably is a Pyramid Scheme

Pyramid schemes will disguise themselves as MLM or direct sales companies. It appears that Du North Designs is doing that because of the red flags above. Whether it’s a pyramid scheme, a scam, or just an unhealthy business, Du North shares many bad qualities with Pyramid Schemes.

To recap, these qualities make it a dangerous opportunity and everyone should probably avoid Du North Designs.

What do you think?

More Resources

Investopedia: What Is A Pyramid Scheme

How Pyramid Schemes Work

Du North Designs Policies

Is “It Works!” A Pyramid Scheme?

Is “It Works!” A Pyramid Scheme?

It Works! sells the weight loss and cosmetic wrap products (“crazy wrap thing”). It Works! claims to be a ‘Multi Level Marketing’ company. MLMs share many qualities with Pyramid Schemes. Because they share so many qualities it can be incredibly difficult to tell if the company is a […]

Last Week Tonight: Multi Level Marketing

Last Week Tonight: Multi Level Marketing

Check out this great video from John Oliver about Multi Level Marketing

Who’s Making Money With LuLaRoe?

Who’s Making Money With LuLaRoe?

Who is getting paid and how? Details!

Consultants (bottom level) pay up front costs to sell products and get initial inventory. They then try to sell that inventory (and more) to get back the initial money they spent, and make more. They make less money if the products sell for less money.

Sponsors (next level) are eligible to make up to 5% of the orders by the consultants they sponsor (the consultants they recruited to sell Lularoe), BUT in order to receive the bonus sponsors must purchase 175 pieces during the month for which that bonus is calculated.

Most people are at these two levels

LuLaRoe provides an income disclosure statement[1] which shows the percentage of consultants at the different levels in the company (see pie chart). Using this we can start to get a handle on the number of people rising to higher ranks. Reportedly LuLaRoe added around 33,000 consultants in a year[2]. This would mean we could estimate around 6 would be mentors, and less than 200 would be trainers.

And many more complicated levels At each level higher the compensation gets more complicated. Each higher level is even more difficult to reach, requires even more inventory purchase by consultants in the downlines, and as we know from the disclosures very few consultants reach those levels. However, it’s at these highest levels where the biggest bonuses are paid.

trainer pyramid

Digging into the Income Disclosure Statement

The income disclosure statement from LuLaRoe’s website tells us a bit more about bonuses. However it only tells part of the story. This statement does not include any information about earnings or losses based on selling the products. It also doesn’t account for any expenses. Therefore, while these are called bonuses, really consultants could earn a bonus but still end up losing money in the end because of expenses or unsold inventory.

Most people earn no bonuses

This means they most rely on the sale of the product to earn back the money they have spent to purchase inventory, cover expenses, etc. This can be difficult because of a variety of factors and can result in consultants ultimately losing money.

Bonus structure encourages buying and stockpiling

In order for everyone involved at the various levels to make more money, everyone — consultants, trainers, and coaches need to buy more wholesale inventory and encourage others to buy more inventory even when the inventory they already have is not selling

Consultants (bottom level) are required to purchase a substantial amount of inventory to get started. Sponsors (next level) must purchase additional inventory to get their bonuses. In order for trainers (higher levels) to earn bonuses on their downline — both trainers AND their downline must buy more wholesale inventory. 

This can lead to people feeling like they should buy more one month in order to get their bonus, thinking they will be able to sell it later. This can lead to a really bad cycle. Too much inventory and a lack of sales leads to debt, a feeling that you must buy to get bonuses and maintain status with the company to get out of debt, only to have it start again next month.

LuLaRoe doesn’t publish it’s compensation plan on it’s website, but it is available from LuLaRoe consultants who will share it as part of recruitment. Here are two examples:

See Also: Is LuLaRoe a Pyramid Scheme? 

Is LuLaRoe a Pyramid Scheme?

Is LuLaRoe a Pyramid Scheme?

Probably, it’s hard to tell. LuLaRoe claims to be a ‘Multi Level Marketing’ company. MLMs share many qualities with Pyramid Schemes but are a bit different. Because they share so many qualities it can be incredibly difficult to tell if the company is a legitimate […]