You've probably been invited to a "candle home party" or been told about this great "work from home" opportunity called Scentsy. But deep down you're still wondering... is Scentsy just a pyramid scheme or a scam?
I'm not going to drag this out for you. Scentsy is a legit company with a legit business model.
However, it may not be as great as the person who introduced it to you made it out to be.
This unbiased Scentsy review, with videos, will reveal the pros and cons of joining to let you make an informed decision if it's right for you or not.
The overview and rankings
Founders: Heidi & Orville Thompson in 2004
Website URL: scentsy.com
Type: Home-care and Personal care MLM
Products (Including Pricing): 20 out of 100
Success Stories: 5 out of 100
Price To Join MLM: $99 to start
$150 products every quarter
$10/ month website maintenance (70 out of 100)
What To Look For In An MLM:
Maketimeonline.com Rating: 32 out of 100
What is Scentsy?
Scentsy is a Multi-Level-Marketing company that sells fragrance products to make your home smell delicious.
Their main product is the Scentsy wax bars and warmers...
We'll dig into these a bit more later in this Scentsy review. But the part you are probably interested in is the opportunity to make money from home.
The 1-minute promotional video below explains a bit more about this opportunity from Scentsy consultants...
Now, you're smart enough to know that these are just a select few individuals who obviously love the company and were happy to be a part of this promotional video.
So the question you still want answered is...
Is Scentsy a pyramid scheme?
Scentsy is not a pyramid scheme.
It's possible for Scentsy consultants to sell Scentsy products and earn a commission for doing so.
However, is it possible to work full time from home by just selling the products?
For that reason Scentsy could easily be viewed as a "pyramid scheme in disguise".
What is a pyramid scheme?
A pyramid scheme promises to pay members an income for recruiting more people into the program. Technically, no products or services are sold in an outright pyramid scheme.
These are illegal in most countries because they are unsustainable and impossible for everyone to make money.
Just see the diagram below...
Not all MLM companies are pyramid schemes as they usually will offer some legit products or services.
However, some MLM companies "hide behind" their products to make themselves seem legit, but actually the only way consultants can make any good money is by recruiting more people.
Hence... a pyramid scheme in disguise.
Scentsy's true colours will be revealed later in this Scentsy review. For now, you can learn more about what to look out for in the 5-minute video below...
Success is rare with Scentsy
The other thing to be aware of before diving into any MLM program are the hard facts about consultants income.
It's been found in numerous studies that between 73% and 99% of all MLM representatives lose money (yeah, that means they don't even break even, let alone make money).
However, not every MLM company is the same.
But as you will shortly find out, from Scentsy's previous income disclosures, they fall into the average MLM stats that exist.
Before we get there let's understand more about the company.
Ready to make passive income online?
Hey, I'm Mike.
I created a passive income online within a year. I had no marketing skills or online experience when I started.
How does Scentsy Work?
Scentsy makes nice smelling home-care products.
But rather than spending loads of money on advertising and marketing, they promote these products in a different way.
They have thousands of "consultants" promoting the products for them.
In return, these consultants (everyday people) can make money from commissions and bonuses.
It's like a win-win...
Scentsy saves marketing costs and every day people can make money from home.
Before you jump into any MLM company it's important to really understand the products (and wise to try them yourself).
Most MLM companies will have a "unique selling point" as they often sell products that are pretty common and very similar to things you can find elsewhere easily enough.
Scentsy is no different.
They have very common nice smelling household products.
Their flagship wax and warmer supposedly stand out compared to candles because:
- They don't release carcinogens (can cause cancer)
- They're not a fire hazard
The warmers are safe and fill the room with a fragrance (there is a huge variety of smells including wood, bakery, floral, fruity etc.)
Here's Tristan (a Scentsy director) to explain the main product a bit more in 4 minutes...
But there are a whole range of other smelly products such as:
- Laundry - Laundry liquid, scented softener, dryer disk, washer whiff, etc...
- Cleaning - Kitchen soap, freshener, multipurpose kitchen cleaning spray, etc...
- Personal Care - Bath bomb, body cream, body wash, hand cream, hand soap, lotion, etc...
- Other accessories - Car bars, room spray, diffuser, essential oils
You can find the full range in the Scentsy shop.
But also note that there are many other MLMs that are very similar with Scentscy such as:
How to make money with Scentsy
Ah yes, the section you've probably been waiting for.
So let's get into it.
There are 2 ways you can make money from Scentsy as a consultant:
- Sell their products and receive a commission
- Recruit more consultants into the company and get bonuses for their sales
This is pretty standard for most MLM's and Scentsy is no different. Before we break down the compensation plan you're probably wondering...
How much does it cost to join Scentsy?
It costs $99 to join Scentsy as a consultant.
Compared to most bricks and mortar businesses this is pretty amazing. Just to open a restaurant you'll be looking at overheads of tens of thousands of dollars, so you can certainly see the appeal to join a company like Scentsy for people looking to work from home.
But the costs do not end there...
Scentsy monthly costs
You also need to pay $10 a month to keep your "online duplicated website" up and running.
It's pretty common for MLM programs to make their consultants have to reach a "monthly sales quota". If you don't hit this quota then you won't be paid.
After doing some digging I found this...
So it seems like there used to be this requirement to sell $150 worth of products every 3 months.
If you don't sell this amount then you will be "suspended" and can't receive any commission.
This typically means consultants will need to buy these products themselves and end up with loads of additional products to store.
However, I have found the up to date compensation plan and found this...
It seems like the "essential consultant" (what you start as) doesn't have any sales quota any more.
Only when you get "promoted" will you need to get 1,000 or 500 PRV (1 PRV is around $1) per month.
Then I went onto the Scentsy main website and clicked the "join" tab just to check. And this is in the FAQ section...
So like so many MLM companies Scentsy makes it super confusing and complicated to know EXACTLY what you need to do to get started and what the monthly costs will be.
So here it is in simple terms from what I've found out from the research...
Total cost for 1st year:
- $10 x 12
- $150 x 4
Total 1 year cost = $819
Scentsy compensation plan
So the running costs and starting costs are not too bad. But now it's time to try and get your head around the overly complicated compensation plan.
For some reason they make these harder to understand than solving a rubiks cube blindfolded.
Let's try to make it semi-understandable...
There are 10 ways you could get paid (according to them)...
- Commission (20-25% for each sale)
- Bonus from wholesale volume
- Frontline bonus TWV
- Frontline consultant bonus TWV
- Frontline star consultant bonus TWV
- Frontline superstar consultant bonus TWV
- Frontline director bonus TWV
- First generation direction TWV bonus
- Second generation direction TWV bonus
- Third generation direction TWV bonus
In fact, I'm not even going to try to explain this all because it's silly but you can check out the chart below to see what this all means.
When you cut through the crap you get the truth. I've already told you it as well. You can get paid for doing 2 things:
- Sell products
- Recruit people
You may get told that you don't make money by recruiting people. This is technically true as you get paid "bonuses" for sales your "downline" make.
But here's the honest truth...
You can ONLY make good money from Scentsy by recruiting people into your downline.
Watch the 8 minute video below to see what I mean...
See the full Scentsy Compensation Plan here.
Is Scentsy a scam?
Scentsy is not a scam. They produce legit products and pay their consultants for selling products like they say they will.
However, just because it's legit (technically) it doesn't mean it's the best opportunity for you to make money from home.
The rest of this Scentsy review will help you to make an informed decision about if it's right for you or not.
Just to be fully transparent with you, I am not a distributor myself and I do not endorse it in any way.
I have researched the website, testimonials and information on the Internet to get to the bottom of what this program genuinely does. This is because I have been burnt from programs just like this in the past and I want to prevent others from making the same mistakes.
What I like about Scentsy
So here are some of the good parts about Scentsy that I think are genuine reasons that make the company good.
- Pyramid Scheme – recruits members via a promise for payment from referring others to the service rather than providing a product
- Affiliate Marketing- Connecting a customer to a product they are looking for and receiving a commission for doing so
- Red Flag - A warning sign
#1 Support for consultants
Many MLM's are pretty bad for this.
The idea behind MLM's is great. Help people start their "own business" from home and create a supportive group of people to help them.
But, in reality, they often get people to sign up and then leave them to their own devices.
Here is what Scentsy offers you as a consultant though...
To be totally honest, it may sound a bit better than it really is. You're still pretty dependant on who your "personal sponsor" is. If you get a good one that understands internet marketing then it could be great.
If not, you will probably fall into the typical example I just gave.
#2 Money-back guarantee
This is always a great sign.
Some MLMs just produce average products that people don't really like. They make a quick buck and then hide and use "poor customer service" as their excuse not to refund them.
Scentsy offers a 30 day money back guarantee. This shows they believe in their products and is a sign that scentsy is not a scam.
#3 Member of the DSA
This is also a great sign that Scentsy is not a scam or an outright pyramid scheme.
The Direct Selling Association is a company that checks up on different "direct selling" (aka MLM/ network marketing) companies and makes sure they are not breaking any laws.
If an MLM company is not registered with them, it could be a signal that it is a scam.
What I don't like about PRODUCT
OK, so here comes the real truth about Scentsy.
Some of these you'll probably have guessed by now but some are just hidden from people until they are caught up in the spider's web.
#1 Not all products are natural
So Scentsy makes a big fuss of their "natural products". This appears to be their unique selling point (USP) to make them stand out from the crowd.
However, they don't make it clear when something isn't natural. Such as the flagship Scentsy bars...
As you can see their essential oils are "natural". Always a good selling point as they won't have harmful substances in them.
But when you dig into the ingredients in other Scentsy products here's what you find...
Synthetic oils being used and "secret combination of ingredients". I'm not being funny, but how is anyone supposed to trust them or be able to sell them effectively when they don't even know what ingredients are in these "safe" products.
There really is no reason why candle wax ingredients needs to be secret other than having something to hide.
#2 Expensive products
This is always the first thing I check for any MLM.
It's a BIG RED FLAG for me that the products are massively overpriced compared to similar products.
- Scentsy wax = $2.08 per oz
- Amazon = $0.75- $0.85 per oz
Why would anyone choose to pay 150%+ for a very similar highly rated product?
Oh yeah, I'll tell you why...
They are a consultant and they have to hit a sales quote every 3 months or they get chucked out of the company.
The company thrives by recruiting as many consultants as possible because they HAVE to sell Scentsy stuff.
If they don't sell it, they will need to buy it.
This leads onto...
#3 Scentsy acts like a pyramid scheme in disguise
The previous point is the biggest reason why Scentsy acts like a pyramid scheme in disguise.
The focus is not on selling products but recruiting people.
Still don't believe me?
Guess how many ways you can get paid by selling products as a consultant?
How many ways can you get paid by recruiting people?
Seriously jump back to the compensation plan above and count for yourself.
The ONLY way you can make good money is by RECRUITING PEOPLE.
#4 Only 1 out of 200 people make more than $15k a year
Knowing what you know now the Income Disclosure Statement probably won't be a surprise.
But did you know that selling £100,000 worth of Scentsy products in a year would net you a massive...
Can you live off that amount of money? And take a guess at how easy it is to sell 6 figures of $5 products.
Yeah not easy, it's around 20,000 wax products you'd need to sell in one year!
You can see from the income disclosure above that only 1 out of 200 consultants makes over $15k a year from Scentsy!
#5 You don't OWN a business
If all of this wasn't enough did you know that you won't even own the business. Check out this complaint from the Better Business Bureau.
If you don't hit your sales quota, or don't abide by Scentsy's rules, you can have your whole "business" shut down overnight.
Your website is a replica that you don't control.
You don't really own anything by becoming a Scentsy consultant.
Ready to make passive income online?
I've created a growing passive income online with no previous marketing skills or online experience...
I've made a special video for you to explain exactly how I did this.
My opinion - Scentsy
I think you can probably guess what my opinion of Scentsy is.
But if you really like the products and you have some friends that like their home to smell nice you could earn a bit of pocket money each month.
Every person is different and it may well suit your situation perfectly.
However, it's simply not going to help you make anywhere near enough money to quit your full time job and work from home.
You are totally restricted to what you can sell and the ONLY way to make good money is by recruiting a lot of people into the company.
That's a true sign of a pyramid scheme in disguise.
How I make passive income online
Not all MLMs are terrible and I personally know some people that do very well from them.
However, I much preferred the business model of affiliate marketing because:
- You can promote anything you want and are in total control
- You don't need to sell anything to your friends and family
- You can start for free and the maintenance costs are very low
In 2018 I had no idea what affiliate marketing was.
But I went from a full time PE teacher to making a passive income online within one year...
If you want to discover how I did it then check out this special video I created which explains exactly how. You can also get your free 7-day bootcamp to get started.
This post on Scentsy’s business is really revealing and educative.
It is hard for lots of people, especially people who are new to online businesses, to distinguish between real productive business and scams, especially when the model is legit, but no as great as painted. This is why this article is one I couldn’t afford to ignore.
I am totally in agreement with you when you said that it isn’t so possible to work full-time from home selling products like these, considering the fact that the cost of the products are outrageous, and so is the cost of just joining.
In all, I believe that affiliate marketing is one of the best ways out there to make money online. No one likes to fall into scam traps, so I really appreciate this article.
Thanks again, Mike, for this post. I really enjoyed reading it and I’m sharing this with my friends.
I couldn’t agree more John! Affiliate marketing just beats the MLM business model all day in my opinion. I’m
Glad it was helpful
Very insightful and well written article – this will potentially save a lot of people a lot of money.
The only edit I’d make is that you mention ‘Scentsy offers a 30 day money back guarantee…’, whereas the small print you show to support this actually states, ‘Scentsy does not offer cash refunds.’
They actually promote a ‘Satisfaction guarantee’ whereby they’ll exchange any unsatisfactory products for other items. If you’re still unsatisfied they’ll exchange again… and again… and again. Once a customer has given their money to Scentsy there’s no mechanism to ever get it back no matter how unsatisfied they are.
Thanks Brendan, I hope so!
It’s a bit comical really that they have that in the fine print and thanks for pointing this out 🙂
I’m glad I found your website to read the Scentsy review today.
As I was talking with my sister about finding a way to start making some extra money, she told me about one of her friends who sells Scentsy products and looks like she is doing well.
But before I jump into it, I wanted to read about if this business will work for me or not, and I’m so glad I found your honest review.
You did a great job sharing the good side and the challenges of this company, and I should say, what I don’t like about this company is the fact I will be working hard to meet the sales for each month, and if I don’t reach one month they can end my account.
I also don’t like that I don’t own my own business, I’m currently looking for a way to start my own business and start working from home, so I will take a look to the affiliate marketing business model you share on your post.
Hey Alejandra, I’m glad it helped.
Yeah you will have to keep hitting that sales quota every month and this is why so many people lose money in MLMs… they end up paying for the products themselves hoping that next month they will make loads of sales!
If you want to learn more about affiliate marketing then check out the video I made here.
You could try Pink Zebra which has a 35% commission and the shipping fees are cheaper.
I actually keep my Scentsy Consultant active so I can buy the products as gifts for real estate closings and I have a couple of scents I just LOVE and get it in almost all the products of that scent. I also get products cheaper buying for myself and getting a 25% discount and I have a few friends who buy through me twice a month. I don't charge them shipping as I usually buy enough to qualify for free shipping (over $200). Also, I also host a "party" and the host can then get free and 1undefined2 price on items depending on the amount of sales. Soooo really I am getting a better deal than that.
Will I make a profit? Nope. But I went into this knowing I wasn't going to push for others to become a rep. I literally did it for cute products for closing gifts and my favorite scents in laundry detergent, wax scents, and body products. If someone wants to buy more from me, then a bonus. If not, all good.
Great approach Michelle!!
Have you read Russel Brunson’s free book “Network Marketing Secrets“? If I was going down the MLM route this is 100% the approach I’d take today.
I earned a good living from MLM in 1988undefined1990. However, like nearly all MLM schemes, this one will crumble from the bottom upwards. There will eventually be a saturation point when people run out of people to recruit and they in turn run out of people to sell product to. MLM products are grossly overpriced because it is the only way that enough profit can be generated to [ay all the various levels of commission per the compensation plan.
That pretty much sums up what most people find out the hard way from MLMs. Thanks for sharing!
The only issue is since the consultants are paid commission they don't make anything if they don't sell anything. Regardless of how hard a consultant tries, they can't force someone's to make a purchase. The issue is that if you don't make enough money for them they let you go. If your being paid a base for this I would understand but since they are not out any funds if you don't make a quota this leads me to believe they are just money hungry and greedy. Yes they give seminars, you have to pay for them, yes they have other opportunities that once again you have pay for. During this time of the pandemic, people don't have the money they had once before and it doesn't matter to them. Either you make them money or your out, they don't pay you base, they just expect you make the greedy company money.
Thanks for sharing Floyd
I’m from the UK.
Here Scentsy actually don’t pay 20% of sales to new consultants, they pay 20% of the PRV.
For example if a warmer is £91, they calculate that to be £65 PRV, so the new consultant would get £13 in commission.
If Scentsy paid 20% commission on actual sales the consultant would have earned £18.20.
This is not made clear in any way shape or form to the consultant who tends to find out once they receive their first payment.
This does not change once you get promoted, your sales are always paid on PRV vs actual sales.
All a bit wishy-washy then really?
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