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Is Melaleuca MLM?

The Truth Behind Melaleuca, The Wellness Company


Unique Business Model


Melaleuca’s unorthodox business opportunity model for getting its items into kitchens and bathrooms around the world has fostered some misunderstanding. Not conforming to the CPG industry’s traditions, it’s caused a few outside observers to scratch their heads and wonder, “What exactly is Melaleuca?” 

If you were to ask a dozen Idahoans about Melaleuca, you might hear that it’s a wellness company, a vitamin supplier, an online retailer, a catalog company or a health products manufacturer. They would all be right. One common misconception, however, is that Melaleuca is a multi-level marketing (MLM) company.

Any search on the Internet consistently pigeonholes Melaleuca as an MLM company. Why? Because it is the closest thing people can come up with to label the company as. Although there are few similarities, Melaleuca is very, very different from MLM companies, or anything related to what many describe as a Pyramid Scheme. 

Is Melaleuca Multi-Level Marketing?

To answer that question, one needs to understand what characterizes multi-level marketing – the industry made famous by companies like Amway, Herbalife, NuSkin and even Avon and Mary Kay Cosmetics. 

In an article on CNN Money, author Melanie Hicken writes, “Multilevel marketing companies employ a network of independent salespeople who sell products directly to people in their community. These salespeople earn income based on their personal sales, as well as the sales of people they recruit to work for the company.”  

That definition echoes the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, which defines MLM as follows: “In multilevel or network marketing, individuals sell products to the public — often by word of mouth and direct sales. Typically, distributors earn commissions, not only for their own sales, but also for sales made by the people they recruit.”  

And one final definition from Investopedia defines it as “a strategy that some direct sales companies use to encourage their existing distributors to recruit new distributors by paying the existing distributors a percentage of their recruits’ sales.”

So according to the experts, MLM has to do with how products are moved and not how the reps are paid. 

Melaleuca’s business opportunity model does not fit any of these descriptions about multi-level marketing.

How is Melaleuca Different? 

When differentiating Melaleuca from MLM definitions and companies, Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot says Melaleuca simply does not have multiple levels of distribution. Melaleuca does not have “distributors” and its marketing executives are not salespeople. The role of the marketing executive is to refer customers to shop at Melaleuca, help them set up shopping accounts, and then train others to do so, if they are interested. 

VanderSloot backs up this point by showing Melaleuca’s policies actually prohibit marketing executives from selling products directly to others. Because all customers order directly from Melaleuca, the point of sale happens directly between the customer and Melaleuca, The Wellness Company (and not from a salesperson or distribution network). 

This point is a fundamental element in demonstrating how Melaleuca does not meet MLM definitions. 

Is Melaleuca MLM according to the experts?

Additionally, VanderSloot says that “typical MLM companies are designed to attract people to ‘invest’ in inventories of product with the promise of getting rich quickly by getting others to invest. In Melaleuca’s case, there is no investment and no getting others to invest.”

Instead of hoping for a quick win by getting customers to make large upfront investments, Melaleuca has sought to develop long-term customers. So far, that legitimate work from home income opportunity concept strategy is working: Melaleuca has an over 96 percent month-to-month reorder rate. And since there is no investment, no one has ever claimed they lost their investment.

So while there may be similarities with MLM companies about how there are multiple ways income is generated, how products move from company to customer completely differs from the MLM business opportunity model. This very important difference is why a person can never lose money working with Melaleuca, namely, no financial investment is ever made on products to be sold.

In order to make an informed decision about whether or not to open a shopping account, start an at home business, or both, arrangements for a free official Overview can be requested directly from Melaleuca Head Office at The Overview includes details about the company, products, price comparisons, and compensation plan for those interested in the referral income business model.

Alternatively, the easiest way to make contact is by completing the form at the bottom of this page.

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