Multi-Level Marketing Propaganda
There are a lot of reasons Lindsay and I (Kim) decided to create Harmony Naturals. One that really compelled us was combatting what we refer to as Multi-Level Marketing Propaganda. Before I dive too deep into this blog post, please understand that we know many of you participate in multi-leveling marketing ventures and we do not wish to offend anyone that is a distributor. Our intention is to provide facts, offer an honest comparison and expose what we believe to be misinformation frequently circulated by the companies that are the “big players” in the essential oil word. Multi-Level Marketing, or MLM for short, is a system of direct sales through a hierarchy of individual distributors, where sellers get a cut of the profits from sales by other distributors they have recruited (this increases product cost because, many layers of commissions are being paid on every item sold, in addition to the actual company making a profit on their goods). Young Living and doTERRA are the largest essential oil distributors in the world and both are multi-level marketing businesses. The direct sales model used by them (and most) MLM businesses typically involves in-person (or online) sales parties. And this is where the story begins…
If you have ever been to a home-party for essential oils, surely you have been sold on the exclusive superiority of the oils being sold. We need you to understand something… there is no such thing as a “therapeutic-grade” essential oil! This comes as a shock to many essential oil aficionados, but surprisingly in the world of essential oils, there is no accreditation process. There are some certifications which speak to some aspect of the business practices and/or essential oil quality, but essential oils are not evaluated by any governing or accrediting agency that regulates, grades or certifies essential oil quality. Therefore, there is not a standard by which the oils can be measured. Any claims of “Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade” or “100% pure therapeutic-grade” are merely marketing descriptors – there is NO real meaning behind them! A statement of “100% pure essential oil” is the only truthful claim a company can make! Harmony Naturals uses only 100% PURE essential oils in our products.
This misinformation platform then translates into justification for over-pricing. We suspect many distributors that participate with these two main offenders honestly have no idea this is happening. Young Living and doTERRA hook their customers by making them believe there are no other oils in the world that are of the same quality as theirs, and therefore the high cost is justified. The high cost is then spun into what we call “The Ingestability Argument.” Consumers may be misled that ALL Young Living and doTERRA essential oils are a higher grade (again, “grading” simply doesn’t exist) and a higher purity (an oil can’t be more than 100% pure) than all their competitors and because of this, their essential oils are “safe” for ingestion and all other oils are inferior because they are “not safe” for ingestion. This is a blatantly misleading and deceitful way to sell essential oils. The truth is, on almost all bottles of 100% pure essential oil, you will see one of the following warnings printed on it: “not for internal consumption”, “not for ingestion” or, “for external use only” – those labels exist because the company does not believe essential oil ingestion is safe and didn’t want to purchase the high-priced liability insurance required to remove the warning. Presumably, the high cost of liability insurance also becomes a part of the “cost” to produce the essential oil. On a side note, all Young Living essential oils are actually labeled “for external use only” unless they are part of their even pricier Vitality (dietary) line of oils. Regardless, it is very controversial and debatable whether essential oils should ever be ingested – this is not a quality issue, this is a SAFETY issue. One thing that is certain is that a sales rep absolutely is NOT qualified to help you use essential oils internally (even if they have been “trained” by their company). The take-away is this, do not confuse the alleged “ingestability” of an oil as a sign of superiority! Ingestion of essential oils IS NOT a wise idea and ALL essential oils (regardless of brand) can be dangerous if not used with caution and care; using essential oils safely should always be a top priority. For more information of ingestion and essential oil safety, please see our ‘Safety’ page.
Lindsay and I were positive that we could deliver high-quality, versatile, handmade essential oil products at a fraction of the cost charged by the multi-level marketing companies. We started this business so that we could provide practical, chemical-free natural products for the average consumer. Creating top-quality, versatile and affordable products is a driving principle of Harmony Naturals. We buy in bulk from trustworthy, transparent, top-quality wholesalers. We rebottle the single note (unblended) essential oils for resale exactly as they come to us and, we create our essential oil blends personally from the same oils and then bottle them ourselves. We hand-make all the natural products we sell! We determine the retail cost by our total cost to produce the item and the amount of time taken to produce the item. In addition to producing our own products, we also sell our products ourselves, via Kim’s massage therapy office in East Lansing, Michigan, and our Harmony Naturals’ online store (which we built and maintain ourselves). We literally do everything; there are no middlemen in our operation. This business model saves our customers a lot of money without sacrificing quality! We are so excited to begin sharing our passion for essential oils with you! Check our blog frequently for information on how to use essential oils, including recipes for diffuser blends, homemade body products, DIY cleaners and much, much more!