Before reading Jennifer’s story, please remind yourself that all views presented in this blog are as told to us by the authors, and simply reflect their own opinions. Your own personal experiences with MLM companies may differ, negatively or positively.
Do you know who Ashley Gardner is? She is a “D-List” celebrity (and I use that term loosely) here in the United States. She became “famous” for being infertile for so many years, then because pregnant with quadruplets. She has two sets of identical twin little girls and has been featured on TLC.
This is how I first learned of Lipsense. On Facebook, I would follow her “A Miracle Unfolding” page (about raising her girls). Not too long after that, she began inviting her fans to her new page “Quadruple the Kisses.” Enter LipSense.
From a business point of view, this was a genius move on Ashley’s part. She already had a huge fan base. Everyone loved her. Everyone wanted to be her. It took Ashley no time at all to create her downline.
Daily, she would post application videos (three very thin layers!) in perfect lighting with perfect music playing in the background. Even I got suckered in. I am a “young” middle-age wife to one, mom to four. This is not my first rodeo. I consider myself a smart individual, yet, I would look forward to those damn application videos daily.
This all happened back when there was a huge out-of-stock issue going on. At one point, there were only three colors on hand at any given time. I told myself I was not going to do anything until the out-of-stock issue was resolved, but in the meantime, I would buy a color, just to test the waters. I messaged Ashley and her “helper” Amanda. I put in an order for a starter kit. A starter kit comes with one color, a glossy gloss, and an Oops remover. All for the low price of fifty-five US-dollars (plus tax and shipping.)
Now I will say this. Personally, I love the LipSense line. ‘Beige Champagne’ was my chosen color, and it was wonderful. Because I loved the damn color so much, this is what got me even more excited to become a distributor….only when the out-of-stock issue was resolved.
As I am enjoying my new color, I realized something – I did not really need the Oops remover. The Oops remover is billed as “the only thing that will take the color off!” Not true. The color does stay on for a good twelve hours, however in my case, at the end of the day, all I had to do was wash my face/lips and the color came right off. In fact, I never even used my Oops remover. There was no need to and had I known, or had someone been honest with me, I could have saved myself some money. Right?!
Time moves forward. The out-of-stock issue is still an issue. During this time, I found out that a friend of mine just signed up to be a distributor. I like this girl. Melissa. Melissa was somewhat of a new friend, but I had a good “vibe” from her. She was nervous and uncertain about becoming a distributor. She was always forthcoming with me about her concerns. I like that – I do well with honesty.
More time passes. During so, I am still following Ashley’s LipSense page, but I am getting annoyed. Every single picture that she or her “helper” Amanda posts, is filtered….filtered to the extreme. Filtered to the point where the LipSense “pops” but you cannot tell where their forehead end and their hairline begins. I feel that the filtered pictures are not honest.
Give me candid, give me real, do not give me a filtered picture because that is fake….and not honest…..especially when you are selling Lipsense!
Geez, do I have to explain everything to these people?
Well, because there is always some sort of “method to my madness” I signed up as a distributor. I signed up under Melissa, not Ashley. I felt Ashley was not being honest, whereas Melissa put all her concerns out there. Melissa and I were on the same playing field, learning as we go. Ashley, again, already had a huge fan base. I did not want to contribute to that.
Just like that, I was now a distributor, and Melissa was my upline. Immediately after I entered my debit card info, I was added to all these new Facebook groups. It was a lot. All I wanted to do was look at cute cat videos and make the occasional Facebook post about my kids, husband, cats, vodka, you know the deal.
My newsfeed was now flooded with more filtered LipSense pictures, videos, and memes about being a “Girl Boss.” Seriously, what the hell? All I want is the discount.
Here is where things took an even greater turn. At this time, one of my daughters started to have seizures. Out of nowhere, without any rhyme or reason. Within weeks she was diagnosed with epilepsy. Epilepsy, along with her already-autism diagnosis of three years. I knew I did not have it in me, nor did I care to have it in me, to take this LipSense seriously. I had more important issues at hand.
As the new Facebook groups were promoting “Front Loading” and the ever-popular “You will make your money back!” and all I had to do was spend five hundred dollars, I was trying to figure out how I was going to pay for the MRI. I was done. I left all the groups and put my everything into helping my daughter.
My inbox would be filled (important to note, Melissa was never one of them) with messages from my upline:
“You need to place an order. Just think how fast you can make money for your daughter’s health.”
I seriously wanted to punch someone. How dare you use my daughter’s health to try to make a sale on an overpriced lipstick? That’s not going to happen.
Two weeks later, I still had no idea where or how the seizures started. My daughter had gone on to have three more seizures, in a two week period. Something was wrong. Another message in my inbox:
“Be a team player, everyone has something going on, you got this!”
Now, remember in the beginning of this post where I said I consider myself a smart individual? Well, I decided to play the game:
“So here’s the thing, if you believe the product will sell itself, and I will make money back in no time, I am sure you will have no problem fronting me the money, right? Then you can just take your cut out of my commission. Sounds good to me, I am a genius!”
I was immediately blocked.
Just as I thought.
My husband and I went through a rough patch, not knowing what would happen with our daughter. I am happy to say, at the date of this post, it has been six months “seizure free.” I was still a distributor, although circumstances being that they were, I had not even put in an order for myself.
Shelly, another friend of Melissa and I, now signed on to be a distributor. She went in full force. As soon as Shelly’s on-hand stock came in, she offered a ‘special and exciting’ sale. Once you become a distributor, you are encouraged to make your own personalized Facebook ‘business’ page – you just cannot use LipSense or SenGence in the name.
I checked out Shelly’s page, looking at what colors she had to offer. Her sale was 15% off (the most any distributor can offer) and free shipping. I found two colors that I was interested in. Cocoa and Nutmeg. As she was quoting me a price over text message, I was logged in to my “Back Office” distributor ID. I wanted to see who it would be cheaper to buy from.
Shelly or SeneGence. Any guesses on which?
Shelly. Ordering from Shelly saved me eight dollars. Mission accomplished. Remember what I said earlier – no matter how much I love the products, I refuse to pay full price.
Life goes on. At this point, I decide I am not going to do anything with my SeneGence Distributor ID. It is cheaper for me to buy from Shelly. I will wait it out, chalk up the sixty-two dollars I lost to sign on to Senegence as a “lesson learned.” Then….then the magic happened.
Through scrolling on Facebook, I found out there are many secret SeneGence groups. These groups consist of distributors who cannot sell off their stock. So, what do they do? They sell it at a discount.
For example. A twenty-five dollar of Lipsense will go for twelve dollars in these groups. Even with shipping, you are saving so much money. These distributors use these groups as their last resort. They “front-loaded” and can not make their money back. In most cases, they paid twelve dollars for their stock. At the bare minimum, they can break even while stating they are “Going out of Business” on these groups.
[Elle:] You can expect to see a lot more information about LipSense these distributor groups cropping up, from our #TeamLipSense crew: Red Corvette and the Crownless Princesses. They have a very similar tale to tell as yours, Jennifer.
[Jennifer:] It’s sad, it’s unfortunate. Had SeneGence been honest, had they lowered their prices, had the uplines had any integrity, maybe things would be different. Maybe for once, there would be a true company who cares about their employees, but SeneGence is not it.
I will close with this:
LipSense is amazing, sorry-not-sorry. However, it is not worth paying ‘full price’. Search out the ex-distributor Facebook groups. Buy from someone who got screwed over by the company. Do not buy from someone who already has a large fan base (important to note: Ashley and her husband just built their own house).
Follow your gut, do not allow yourself to be blindsided by filtered pictures and cute videos with cool music. Most importantly, remember the saying:
“If it is too good to be true, then it most likely is.”
[Elle:] Thank you, Jennifer, for kindly sharing your LipSense experience. For more information on this MLM, keep a close eye on the work of our coalition members Red Corvette and the Crownless Princesses.