Table of Contents
Fightin’ Against Time
Time marches on.
It’s one of the great truths of the world.
Unfortunately, it also makes us look older.
All that marching of time tends to leave a lotta footprints all over our poor faces.
And the rest of our bodies don’t end up lookin’ like a peach, either.
So in our oh-so-human ways, most of us try to desperately fight against time.
The very idea of getting older is a bitter pill to swallow, which explains why there are whole market segments of “anti-aging” products out there.
One of the most popular skin care companies in the past few years, and one that has continued to gain a lot of attention.
You may have heard of ‘em on shows like Good Morning America and The View, or in magazines like Cosmo and Glamour.
While the supply of skin care products never seems to end, neither does the demand.
So how has Nerium found its way into an impossibly overcrowded market?
Two words: Celebrity bribery.
In addition to their aggressive public relations campaign, they also run a serious MLM business.
But before you sign on as a “Brand Partner”, let’s take a few minutes to look closely at Nerium and see if it’s worth getting into.
Nerium International is based in Addison, Texas, and offers anti-aging skin care and wellness products.
Kinda like when I used to pump gas as a kid and called myself a “petroleum transfer engineer”.
But I digress.
At least “global” is the right word for this company.
In 2017, Nerium had general managers in half a dozen countries including the US, Australia, Columbia, Hong Kong, Mexico, and South Korea.
They also sell their products in Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Germany, Austria, Singapore, and by the time you read this, probably Mars.
In short, Nerium has operations both Near-ium and Far-ium.
(I couldn’t resist.)
So even if they haven’t discovered the fountain of youth just yet, they’ve definitely created a fountain of cash!
And a big key to their success is the company’s rapid growth.
In 2015, they placed 12th on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in America.
Nerium’s international MLM wing has also experienced exponential growth — sometimes doubling in size every month in certain countries.
To put things in perspective, if that rate of growth continues (which it won’t), literally every person on earth would be working for Nerium within 3 years.
Suffice it to say, they’re growing F-A-S-T.
So what’s fueling all this rapid expansion?
Well, there are two main categories of products that Nerium sells:
The primary one is anti-aging skin care products and they also have a number of wellness products for the parts of you beneath your skin.
What’s really interesting, though, is the fact that people are also buying into something called the Nerium happiness movement.
Which is a lot more than just their #LiveHappy hashtag.
Admittedly, being pro-happiness is a no-brainer.
I mean, is anyone really anti-happiness?
(Okay, besides Grumpy Cat?)
Nerium also has a happiness magazine, podcast, and apparently it’s their main underlying philosophy of the company.
The only problem with being this intense about happiness is that after a while, it does start to sound a lil’ cultish.
Kinda like when George Carlin used to talk about being “more than happy”:
Still, their pro-happiness agenda has led them to start a charitable wing called Nerium Ripple.
Along with their partner Big Brothers Big Sisters, Nerium Ripple has successfully raised over $3.5 million for charities around the world.
They’ve also partnered up with other charities like World Vision to help provide education for children and lift families out of poverty.
So if a company is doing this much for charity, they gotta be legit… right?
Well, it depends on who you talk to.
Other folks, not so much.
But I don’t wanna be a Negative Nancy here.
So let’s start the beginning and take a look at the origins of this popular MLM.
Nerium International was launched in August 2011 by founder and CEO Jeff Olson, with a corporate staff of 13 people.
Their mission statement was three simple words: Make People Better.
Olson admits that he always thought of network marketing as having the ideal business model, especially since:
“You work when you want, where you want, for the number of hours you want.”
Which is also why he thinks it’s the perfect business for people looking for part-time or flexible work.
But apparently, it was also the perfect business model for his bank account.
When he founded Nerium in 2011, there was only one product: Nerium Age-Defying Night Cream.
In 2013, Olson launched his Live Happy magazine, as well as their second product: Nerium Age-Defying Day Cream.
No, they weren’t exactly creative when it came to naming their products.
But who cares when you’re able to sell that much skin cream!
Nerium then expanded across North America, bringing their operations to both Canada and Mexico.
They also launched yet another new cream, and raised their first $1,000,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters.
By 2015, Nerium was adding multiple products a year and by 2016, the company was expanding into multiple countries per year.
In addition to the typical MLM pyramid scheme accusations, Nerium has also faced lawsuits from:
So much for the happiness movement.
With that amount of lawsuits piling up as the company gets older, it’s no wonder they wanna slow down the aging process.
If Nerium stands for one thing, it’s maintaining a youthful appearance for as long as possible.
All of their skin care products are referred to as “age-defying” or “age-fighting”, and their wellness products are marketed as “Youth Factor”.
It’s interesting to note that for a company who’s all about happiness, new studies have actually shown that people tend to get happier as they age.
Their skin care products all tout exclusive ingredients with lots of scientific names and numbers like “SAL-14” and “Sea3C”.
But the most important one is “NAE-8” — an extract of the Nerium oleander plant from which the company gets its name.
Basing your skin creams on natural plants instead of synthesized chemicals, seems like a good idea.
Unless it’s poisonous to humans and animals.
But Nerium oleander IS technically a poisonous plant, to the point that even eating a single raw leaf is enough to kill a child or pet.
According to the company, Nerium oleander has been used for more than 1500 years to treat various skin conditions ranging from dermatitis to eczema.
Nerium has also poured a lot of money into researching NAE-8 — the “patent-pending age-defying active ingredient” of their flagship product called NeriumAD formula.
The “AD” stands for “age-defying”.
Nerium claims that NeriumAD has been:
“Clinically and scientifically proven to smooth the appearance of wrinkles and discoloration, and improve tone and texture.”
To be fair, there is some scientific research backing that up.
However, it should be noted that “the study was sponsored by Nerium Biotechnology, Inc.” — the research and development wing of the company.
From what I can gather, Nerium basically has three company divisions:
This has made them an up-and-coming player in the skin care industry, since they can actually provide lab results and formulate their own products.
They can also sell a ton of ‘em to consumers, thanks to their large network of passionate distributors and slick marketing videos like the one below:
Few MLM companies can boast the same synergistic approach.
On the other hand:
Whenever a company funds their own laboratory research on the products they’re selling, it does raise a few questions.
And when a plant is so toxic that even inhaling its smoke is poisonous?
Maybe not so good.
Then again, I’m not a friggin’ botanist so it’s hard to know who to believe.
One thing’s for sure, though:
There are a crap-ton of folks out there who are definitely pro-Nerium, love the company, and their products.
You also have those who are less than impressed with the company, to say the least.
Like many MLMs, it really comes down to personal preference and what side of the debate you fall on.
Personally, I haven’t used Nerium products so I can’t really say if they work or not.
But any skin cream containing this plant just ain’t for me.
I have to admit their products seems to have a quality look and feel about them, including their two biggest sellers: Night and Day Cream.
If you wanna skip the controversial oleander extract but still want an effective anti-aging cream, there’s also Age IQ Night and Day Cream.
Other Nerium skin care products include Prolistic Lotion, Age-Defying Eye Serum, and a Firming Body Contour Cream that uses the oleander formula.
On the Wellness side, they have a Probiotic Powder and Youth Factor supplements to aid with digestion, speed up cellular recovery, and boost your immune system.
The company has also developed something called EHT Brain Formula — an extract from coffee with some other vitamins “to help support brain wellness.”
I always get a lil’ skeptical when it comes to supplements with lofty claims.
Especially ones that claim to “promote better cognitive function and overall brain health” and cost over $2 a tablet.
Listen, I’m all about supplementation for maximum health.
But why not just make yourself a cuppa coffee and use it to wash down a quality multivitamin to get the same effect?
I call it my “SmartAss Formula” and it only costs about ten cents a day.
That should also boost your brain power enough to realize that each of these supplements come with the same disclaimer at the bottom of the page:
“These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.”
It’s another way of saying that none of these products have been proven to do what they claim they can do.
So buyer beware.
✓ As a company, Nerium has an admirable mission statement.
Look, it’s easy to be cynical about an MLM company whose motto is Making People Better.
But you could do a lot worse than an outfit who emphasizes happiness, making a difference in the world, and backing it up with philanthropy.
✓ Nerium has a biotechnology division that does actual research and development.
One of the problems with many MLMs is they sell a product that’s complete BS and they know it.
Which is why they don’t even bother funding studies to verify that their products actually work.
(Cause they don’t.)
Regardless of what you think about Nerium’s controversial ingredients, the fact that they dump a lot of money into research at their biotechnology wing gives them a lot more credibility in my eyes.
But if you’re willing to put your money where your mouth is, and have REAL scientists doing actual scientific research on your products…
That’s a lot more than many MLM companies can say these days.
✓ Their training materials are fairly comprehensive.
When it comes Nerium’s Success Packs, they do give you some useful stuff to get started on your business.
Your training pack includes a success planner, some personal development materials from Nerium’s CEO Jeff Olson, and a ton of sales training help.
You also get marketing materials such as product brochures, a few magazines to show potential customers, and the company also provides a helpful online resource center with instructional videos and communication tools.
I used to think it was complete BS myself.
Until I got to know some super-successful entrepreneurs and noticed that they ALL think differently than most people.
That’s when I realized that like it or not, mindset is everything.
So cheer up, cranky pants.
✗ There’s considerable debate about the quality of Nerium’s products.
When thousands of Nerium Brand Partners are told to write tons of positive comments about their company to drown out any criticism online, it makes it very difficult to know who to trust and believe.
Including this blog, by the way.
You should always look at both positive AND negative reviews, use some common sense, and make up your own mind.
The fact is, Nerium oleander IS a toxic plant.
And while it’s only in a skin cream and unlikely to kill you (unless you drink a gallon of it), it may still cause problems for some people.
There was even a lawsuit from a woman who claimed that she received “chemical burns and permanent skin damage” from NeriumAD.
(It was eventually settled out of court.)
Now obviously that doesn’t mean Nerium’s products are toxic to everyone.
We all have different skin types and the results from any skin care product — good or bad — will vary.
✗ The real money is made by recruiting more Brand Partners, not just selling the products.
MLMs are defined by the fact that its participants not only get paid for their own product sales, but also are compensated for their team’s product sales who have been recruited below them.
It’s this “sponsoring” or recruiting aspect (getting paid off other people’s efforts) that makes network marketing a truly unique business model.
Unfortunately, it also turns a lotta folks off since it often involves having to pester your friends and family to join your business.
Easier said than done.
✗ The advanced online resources are only accessible through a $30 monthly subscription fee.
For a company that encourages you to “Go For The Dream”, the least they could do is give you free access to all of the resources that can turn that dream into reality.
After all, it would only help you grow your Nerium business and make them more money, right?
But in addition to charging you hundreds of dollars for your Starter Pack, they’re also gonna charge you $30 for the “Nerium Edge” subscription.
Seems like a great resource but they don’t mention you gotta pay for it.
I know it’s only thirty bucks but still think it’s a pretty lame money grab since you’re the one doing all the work and selling the company’s products for them.
That’s like asking you to mow my lawn for free, and then when you actually do it, I charge you a “usage fee” for my lawnmower.
It’s a slight kick in the grass.
Okay, there’s a lot to cover here but first let’s hear the company’s explanation of how to earn with Nerium:
Clear as mud?
Check out the official compensation scoop here.
Simply put: The more customers you have buying Nerium products and the more Brand Partners you recruit underneath you, the more money you make.
You can earn up to 10-25% commissions whenever you sell a bottle of Nerium yourself.
And you can earn commissions and bonuses from your recruited Brand Partner’s product sales as well.
So if you can convince 10 of your friends and family to drop $80 each for skin cream (10 x $80 = $800), you get 10-25% of that or $80-$200.
If your customer agrees to automatically pay $80 a month for a recurring delivery of Nerium, you’ll get an additional Customer Acquisition Bonus.
And if you get 3 customers to buy into Auto-Delivery, you’ll get your own products for free.
But there’s a catch to all of this:
The only way to earn ANY income from the company whatsoever, is by maintaining an “Active” status every single month.
Which basically means that you must do one of the following:
- Sell at least $200 of Nerium products to personal customers.
- Sell at least $80 of Auto-Delivery products.
So you gotta maintain your Active status to get an $8 commission here, $16 bonus there, and maybe a free bottle of skin cream or two.
For example, you can earn a 10-30% bonus (up to $300) if you recruit a Brand Partner who buys a Success Pack within their first 30 days.
And once you start to move up the Nerium ranks, you can receive a 10% “Coaching Commission” on product sales made by your recruits.
You can even qualify to receive sales incentives such as iPads, if you reach the rank of Director within your first 60 days.
Starting at the level of Senior Director, you can qualify for the “Lexus Car Bonus” which is basically one month’s payment of a leased Lexus.
However, any month in which you fail to make sales benchmarks, you’ll be responsible for your own car payments.
Like any sales-based company, it always comes down to the age-old question:
“What have you done for me lately?”
And let’s face it, we all have tough months.
So if you know that you’re gonna have to pony up the payments during a dry spell, you might wanna lease a Chevy instead.
Nerium: Bottom Line
|Nerium has been featured as one of the fastest-growing direct marketing companies, with tremendously fast Brand Partner growth internationally.||Their rapid growth and popularity has also come with a number of high-profile lawsuits and accusations of fraud and operating as a pyramid scheme.|
|Nerium's #LiveHappy program is backed by charitable and philanthropic contributions, resulting in a very positive company culture.||Mega-positive company cultures focused on “happiness” tend to feel slightly cultish and can turn some people off, especially if you're not a fan of giving high-fives.|
|Actual scientists do research in Nerium's biotechnology wing, giving a lot more credibility to the company's impressive line of products.||Company-paid lab results are unreliable, and many unbiased doctors do not recommend using the oleander extract found in Nerium’s main product.|
|Success Packs include personal development material, product brochures, and an online resource center.||Their online resource center "Nerium Edge" and mobile app come with a $30 monthly fee to access.|
|Nerium's comp plan offers incentives like iPads and Lexuses, to higher sales percentages and performance bonuses if you build a large team.||Direct sales bonuses are fairly weak, requiring you to recruit many other Brand Partners in order for you to make any serious money.|
So is Nerium a Scam or what?
I wouldn’t use their products myself, but that’s only because I’m pretty enough already.
But I wouldn’t say they’re a scam.
Obviously some people love Nerium and some people hate ‘em.
But the earning potential from a high-producing downline is awesome.
And in theory, it actually makes a ton of sense.
Why NOT build a team of like-minded entrepreneurs who are passionate about a particular company, its products, and everyone gets a piece of the action?
(Especially most of your friends and family members.)
In fact, Nerium’s own documents will even tell you that — take a quick look at their Income Declaration report from a few years back.
It basically says that out of 75,000 reps, almost 40 percent of them made no commissions whatsoever.
Zip. Nothing. Nada.
The average overall commission for a Brand Partner was around $1200 per year or $100 a month.
That’s three bucks a day.
Ain’t exactly 6 figures but enough to buy a Grande dark roast.
Again, this isn’t out of the ordinary for most MLMs but it illustrates why recruiting is so important to these companies.
Since they all know their numbers, they also know that you need to recruit a LOT of people to find the small percentage of winners.
Now to be fair, studies show that anywhere from 50-80% of small businesses fail within their first 5 years.
So no matter how you look at it, entrepreneurship is HARD and the odds are stacked against you.
But it’s still the best job in the world.
(If you have the right vehicle.)