Mumifesto on motherhood and multi-level marketing
Herbalife, Utility Warehouse, Forever Living, Juice Plus, Younique. Be honest, we’ve all muted a friend whose sales pitch posts were clogging up our social media feeds. Multi-level marketing, aka MLM’s are a big business, but it bothers me that many are targeting vulnerable mothers.
Post-baby many mums lose their financial independence due to the double whammy of expensive childcare and inflexible work. These companies sell the idea that a mother can work from home whilst taking care of the children. I don’t think MLM’s provide the dream combo of ‘being your own boss’ and ‘working at a time that suits you’ despite the image being sold.
How do they work? You pay a joining fee or buy a kit that can be hundreds of pounds and use your personal network to drive sales. Yet the data shows that MLM’s make their money from subscriptions not product sales, so the big pressure is in signing up other people as ‘representatives’.
There are claims that you can earn hundreds of pounds a month for just a few hours work, yet the reality is that the average earner makes just £10 a week. (Data from Guardian Money on Utility Warehouse)
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen the true benefit of organisations like Avon when I visited the Philippines; MLM companies can provide work for women who would otherwise be destitute. It can be a lifeline for mothers, enabling them to earn an income to feed their families.
Yet, here in the UK, women are being duped into what many believe are similar to pyramid schemes, because decently paid flexible work that would enable them to manage the care of their families alongside being financially independent simply doesn’t exist.
We’ve all seen the ads, moaned at the sales pitches infiltrating our precious mum’s groups on Facebook and silently prayed that friends don’t notice us muting them whilst they continue to flog us overpriced aloe vera gel. But how do we get these women on board to change the system instead?
I’m a campaigner, aspiring politician, and since September a student mum – trying to ensure my career isn’t back to square one when full-time school cuts the childcare bill to something less than £2k a month.
I can’t promise free cars, holidays, photo-ops with huge cheques that will get someone to become your next ‘rep’ but I can tell you that joining my campaign, and spending a little time telling a patriarchal system of work that “we want flex” will open up your options for getting a decent pay cheque at the end of the month.