Apriori Beauty Review: Personal care with affiliate autoship recruitment

Apriori Beauty launched in late 2009 and operate in the personal care MLM niche.

The company is based out of California in the US and headed up by co-founders Susan Twellman, Elizabeth Vervynck and Candace Keefe.

As per her corporate bio, prior to founding Apriori Beauty Twellman (right) worked for UPS and Quest Software.

I was very fortunate to also help take Quest public before leaving to start my own wealth management company that I still manage today, along with a wine procurement and storage facility.

Elizabeth Vervynck (right) ran a design and marketing business with her sister.

One of their clients was Arbonne, another personal care MLM company.

After my sister moved to Denmark and two years of focusing more and more time on this one client (not to mention repeated offers of employment), I decided to sideline my business and accept a full-time position.

Over the next 12+ years, I helped this once-small company grow from less than 100,000 independent Consultants in two countries to over a million in four.

I am also very proud of the fact that I was one of four named inventors on the patent for the original anti-aging skincare line that continues today as Arbonne’s best-selling brand.

Apriori Beauty became my next destined step. I love that I can do so much with it … the ability to positively affect people’s lives with products that not only help them to look and feel better, but can also open the door to personal success, should they choose to open it.

I see Apriori Beauty as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, not only for me, but for so many that love all things beautiful too.

Candace Keefe had served as Arbonne’s Vice President of Product Development, before leaving with Vervynch to found Apriori Beauty.

Keefe (right) left Apriori Beauty in 2012 amid an ongoing dispute about her position within the company.

As reported by Ty Tribble’s MLM Blog, Keefe at the time stated on Facebook;

I chose not to work with the continued illusion that I held a title I simply did not.

My partners voted me out of my title and the authority that the title held.

The “CEO” title in itself was of no importance to me, but the lack of ability to move forward in a positive and healthy direction was.

It was simply not what I signed up for, and something I was not going to keep fighting for the rest of my life.

About a month after leaving, Keefe filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Apriori Beauty on July 17th, 2012.

Susan Twellman and Elizabeth Vervynck were named defendants in the suit, with Keefe detailing how and why she was outed.

The Company’s Operating Agreement provides the CEO with broad managerial powers and the right to access Company information.

However, Keefe was repeatedly denied access to the Company’s financial information by the other Principal Members and Principal Managers.

In 2011, Keefe discovered vague references in Company documents that appeared to refer to insider transactions of which she had no prior knowledge.

When Keefe requested the back-up documentation from Twellman, she was met with repeated delay in producing documents, and when documents eventually were produced they did not substantiate the insider transactions.

Keefe attempted to fulfill her fiduciary duties to the Company and her obligations to the Company’s investors by making a formal, written demand for documents directed to Tweilman.

Keefe alleges this prompted Twellman and Vervynck to hire outside counsel without consulting her.

For the next nine 6 months, the “Company’s” counsel took direction solely from Twellman and Vervynck, and never once either met with or spoke to Keefe (the Company’s Chairman and CEO).

The “Company’s” counsel repeatedly responded to Keefe’s information requests by sending letters parroting the self-serving positions of the insiders whose transactions were being questioned (without even asking Keefe for input), and by representing to Keefe that the requested documents had previously been produced (when they had not).

Over the next several months, the relationship between the Company’s Principal Members and Principal Managers continued to deteriorate.

In November, 2011, at a Manager’s meeting held (again without Keefe present), Tweliman and Vervynck voted to remove Keefe’s title as CEO.

Keefe learned of the decision several weeks later when the Company’s attorneys sent a letter to Keefe’s personal attorney, informing her counsel that Keefe was no longer authorized to use the title CEO, but that Keefe should not disclose that fact to the Company’s employees or consultants.

Keefe claims she ‘became increasingly alarmed at the direction of the Company and attempted to schedule a Manager’s meeting by notice dated May 23, 2012‘.

In the notice Keefe stated that if an agreement couldn’t be reached, Apriori Beauty was to immediately cease using her name, likeness and brand for marketing purposes.

After initially agreeing to attend, Twellman and Vervynck backed out.

On May 29th, 2012 Keefe resigned. Nonetheless Apriori Beauty continued to use her name, likeness and brand.

This prompted Keefe’s lawsuit, which was confidentially settled eight months later in March, 2013.

A few months after she resigned from Apriori Beauty, Keefe was appointed CEO of Bioceutica – a position she still holds.

Today there is no mention or acknowledgment of Candace Keefe on the Apriori Beauty website.

Read on for a full review of the Apriori Beauty MLM opportunity.

Apriori Beauty Products

Apriori Beauty market a range of personal care products spanning skincare, body care, color, health & wellness and hair care.

  • Celloxylin Step 1. Creme Cleanse – “deep pore cleanser, evens skin tone (and) removes even the heaviest makeup”, retails at $33 for a 100 ml tube
  • Celloxylin Step 2. Activating Tonic – “opens pores to receive the benefits of subsequent products (and) helps skin retain moisture”, retails at $36 for a 120 ml bottle
  • Celloxylin Step 3. Firming Complex – “skin is immediately firmer and more radiant!”, retails at $48 for a 30 ml bottle
  • Celloxylin Step 4. Eye+Lip Age Eraser – “targets wrinkles where they appear first “, retails at $45 for a 15 g tub
  • Celloxylin Step 5. Day Defense Plus, Broad Spectrum SPF 25 – “protects against both UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays”, retails at $48 for a 40 ml bottle
  • Celloxylin Step 5. Night Repair 3Deep – “works 3 layers deep to nourish skin”, retails at $75 for a 50g bottle
  • Celloxylin Hydro-Burst Moisture Intense Lotion – “dry skin is a thing of the past with this nutrient and moisture intense body lotion”, retails at $34 for a 220 ml tube
  • Celloxylin Hydro-Burst Moisture Intense Cleanse with puff – “an intense burst of moisture in this lightweight, foaming body cleanse that also protects your body from aging and oxidative stress”, retails at $32 for a 220 ml tube
  • Lifeoxylin Cellular Defense Elixir – “6 servings of fruits and vegetables, plus the anti-aging Nutrient Reservoir ingredients”, retails at $64 for a 887 ml bottle (30 day supply)
  • Lean This Way – “supports balanced weight loss, cleansing and internal health and beauty”, retails at $89.60 (only available on autoship)
  • Pure Perfecting Veil (Dark, Medium and Light) – “evens out skin tone to perfect”, retails at $38 for a 50 ml tube
  • ViViD Hair Therapy Shampoo – “melts into a cleansing lather while delivering nourishing benefits to hair and scalp without stripping natural oils”, retails at $22 for a 296 bottle
  • ViViD Hair Therapy Conditioner – “highly concentrated, antioxidant-rich formula designed to soften, moisturize, detangle, and protect color”, retails at $24 for a 296 bottle
  • ViViD Hair Therapy Treatment Oil – “provid(es) intense shine, strengthening properties, and increased manageability”, retails at $18 for a 30 ml bottle

Apriori Beauty products are also available in various value pack bundles and sets.

The Apriori Beauty Compensation Plan

The APriori Beauty compensation plan pays affiliates to sell products to retail customers.

Residual commissions are paid through an initial three-level deep unilevel team, extended based on rank via a generational bonus.

MLM Commission Qualification

To qualify for MLM commissions an Apriori Beauty affiliate must be “active” and at the Senior Consultant rank.

Active qualification requires an affiliate to generate $150 a month in retail volume (includes self-purchases).

Retail volume is otherwise known as “Personal Volume” (PV).

Senior Consultant rank qualification requires an affiliate to be active and recruit at least one other affiliate who is also active.

“Autoship Qualified” is a third qualification criteria required for some bonuses (mentioned as required below).

To be Autoship Qualified an Apriori Beauty affiliate must have a standing monthly $150 or more autoship order.

Apriori Beauty Affiliate Ranks

There are nine affiliate ranks within the Apriori Beauty compensation plan.

Along with their respective qualification criteria, they are as follows:

  • Independent Consultant – sign up as an Apriori Beauty affiliate
  • Senior Consultant – be “active” and recruit at least one affiliate who is also active (see “MLM Commission Qualification” above)
  • Team Leader – generate 200 PV a month, be Autoship Qualified and recruit at least two affiliates who are also Autoship Qualified (see “MLM Commission Qualification” above)
  • Manager – generate 4000 GV a month (2500 GV if a personally recruited affiliate qualifies as a Manager in the same month), be Autoship Qualified and recruit at least four affiliates (two must also be Autoship Qualified)
  • Executive Director – recruit and maintain at least one active Manager or higher ranked affiliate
  • Silver Director – recruit and maintain at least two active Manager or higher ranked affiliates
  • Gold Director – recruit and maintain at least three active Manager or higher ranked affiliates (one must be Silver Director or higher)
  • Platinum Director – recruit and maintain at least four active Manager or higher ranked affiliates (one must be Gold Director or higher)
  • Executive Platinum – recruit and maintain at least five active Manager or higher ranked affiliates (one must be Platinum Director or higher)

GV stands for “Group Volume” and is PV generated by an affiliate and their downline.

Note that monthly maintenance requirements for the Manager rank differs from initial qualification criteria.

An Apriori Beauty affiliate can maintain the Manager rank via generating 1000 GV or 1500 GV or more a month.

Also note that once qualified, rank titles are kept (Active and Manager monthly qualification criteria must be maintained)

Retail Commissions

Apriori Beauty affiliates are paid a retail commission when products are sold to retail customers.

Apriori bundle retail volume with affiliate purchases, paying a retail commission/personal rebate discount as follows:

  • 20% commission paid on the first $150 spent/generated via retail orders in a month
  • 30% commission paid on $151 spent/generated via retail orders onward for the month

First Order Bonus

Apriori Beauty pay a First Order Bonus down three levels of recruitment (unilevel).

The First Order Bonus is paid on the first order placed by newly recruited affiliates as follows:

  • level 1 (personally recruited affiliates) – 15%
  • levels 2 and 3 – 5%

Affiliates who generate $200 GV a month, are Autoship Qualified and have recruited at least two affiliates who are also Autoship Qualified, receive a bonus 5% First Order Bonus rate:

  • level 1 (personally recruited affiliates) – 20%
  • levels 2 and 3 – 10%

Downline Production Bonus

The Downline Production Bonus uses the same three-level deep compensation structure as the First Order Bonus.

The Downline Production Bonus is a flat 8% paid on subsequent three-level deep downline orders after their first.

Residual Commissions

Apriori Beauty pay residual commissions to Manager and higher ranked affiliates via a unilevel compensation structure.

A unilevel compensation structure places an affiliate at the top of a unilevel team, with every personally recruited affiliate placed directly under them (level 1):

If any level 1 affiliates recruit new affiliates, they are placed on level 2 of the original affiliate’s unilevel team.

If any level 2 affiliates recruit new affiliates, they are placed on level 3 and so on and so forth down a theoretical infinite number of levels.

Apriori Beauty pay a 4% or 5% commission on GV generated in each unilevel leg, up until another Manager or higher ranked affiliate is found.

  • Manager ranked affiliates who rank-qualify with 1000 GV a month are paid a 4% residual commission rate
  • Manager ranked affiliates who rank-qualify with 1500 GV a month are paid a 5% residual commission rate

Director Bonus

The Director Bonus is a generational bonus that utilizes the unilevel team compensation structure.

A generation in Apriori Beauty is defined when a Manager or higher ranked affiliate is found in a unilevel team.

This caps off residual commissions for that leg and starts a Manager generation.

If another Manager or higher ranked affiliate is found deeper in the leg, the first generation is capped off and a second begins.

Through this generational structure, an Apriori Beauty affiliate can earn on up to five generations per unilevel leg.

How much an affiliate earns per generation is determined by affiliate rank and monthly qualifying GV.

Rank-qualify with 1000 to 1499 GV a month

  • Executive Directors earn 4% on one generation
  • Silver Directors earn 4% on the first generation and 3% on the second
  • Gold Directors earn 4% on the first generation and 3% on the second and third
  • Platinum Directors earn 4% on the first generation and 3% on the second to fourth
  • Executive Platinums earn 4% on the first generation and 3% on the second to fifth

Rank-qualify with 1500 or more GV a month

  • Executive Directors earn 6% on one generation
  • Silver Directors earn 6% on the first generation and 5% on the second
  • Gold Directors earn 6% on the first generation and 5% on the second and 4% on the third
  • Platinum Directors earn 6% on the first generation, 5% on the second and 4% on the third and fourth
  • Executive Platinums earn 6% on the first generation, 5% on the second and 4% on the third to fifth

Luxury Cash Bonus

The Luxury Cash Bonus is a $5 bonus paid to Manager and higher ranked affiliates.

The Luxury Cash Bonus pays $5 per active affiliate placed in the first three unilevel team levels.

Joining Apriori Beauty

Apriori Beauty affiliate membership requires the purchase of a Starter Kit ($49) and then $30 payment annually.

A Starter Kit includes a tube of Celloxylin EPIC Instant Wrinkle Reducer and Celloxylin Creme Cleanse.

A new Apriori Beauty affiliate can choose to purchase “product sets” with their Starter Kit, ranging in price from $249 (Skin & Body Essentials) to $659 (The Ultimate Skin & Body Experience).

Conclusion

Apriori Beauty represent their MLM opportunity as one with a strong retail focus.

Named “The Retailistic Plan”, Apriori Beauty claim it’s ‘built on retail sales to Clients‘ (retail customers).

While retail sales certainly are possible, if you scratch the surface it isn’t long before a huge drive toward affiliate autoship recruitment emerges.

This drive starts with “Autoship Qualification”.

Basically Apriori Beauty affiliates have to sign up for autoship if they wish to have any hope of maximizing their earnings through the compensation plan.

Two key areas this is evident in are the First Order Bonus (bonus 5% with autoship) and the Team Leader rank requiring $150 autoship.

This isn’t a random figure, with $150 the precise dollar amount required to qualify for retail sales.

Initially I didn’t understand why Apriori Beauty were including an affiliate’s own product purchases in retail volume, however once you realize affiliates are required to sign up for $150 autoship – it clicks.

This is not only blatant “pay to play”, it also all but guarantees Apriori Beauty affiliates are going to be focused on signing up for $150 or more of autoship and recruiting others who do the same.

And why wouldn’t they? Recruiting at least two affiliates on $150 or more monthly autoship is a qualification requirement for the Team Leader rank.

One can also look at the variable retail commission rate, which at first glance might look like a strong incentive to drive retail sales… until you realize it doubles as a rebate on affiliate orders too.

In Apriori Beauty’s marketing material the rebate is used to market the optional product sets as “Consultant Rebate” discounts.

What makes little sense is Apriori Beauty utilizes a party plan marketing model, which the company refers to as affiliates hosting “Beauty Bars”.

There’s nothing wrong with this model, except that it’s usually pitched at retail customers.

The affiliate hosting the party invites prospective customers to a “party”, demonstrates a selection of samples with the hope this generates retail orders.

This is an extremely simplistic breakdown of the model, with successful hosts adding utilizing their own flair and personality to drive sales.

If Apriori Beauty were serious about these parties generating ongoing retail sales orders, they’d do away with mandatory autoship and limit the $150 monthly quota to retail orders only.

By not doing this affiliates are likely misrepresenting what the hosted parties are supposed to be about, instead turning them into business opportunity presentations lead with products.

That’s not to say all Apriori Beauty affiliates might be doing this, but with the way the compensation plan is structured it’s obvious $150 autoship recruitment is a big part of the company culture.

All of this is extremely important for compliance, as an MLM company that primarily generates revenue from affiliates (via autoship or manual monthly purchases) is operating as a pyramid scheme.

Last year Vemma and Herbalife both settled lawsuits brought by the FTC due to a lack of retail activity. This was followed up by an article in December, clarifying that MLM companies with little to no retail sales activity are illegal in the US.

When there’s doubt about an MLM company’s retail sales activity, typically I’d recommend a prospect quizzing their upline.

Most MLM companies have monthly PV requirements, so finding out whether qualification is met via retail PV or self-purchase PV is a good indicator of retail activity.

In Apriori Beauty a $150 monthly autoship order satisfies monthly PV requirements and at higher ranks is mandatory.

What you can still do is ask if the $150 monthly autoship order is consistently matched with $150 or more of retail sales every month.

If not, then you’re probably looking at a strong candidate for affiliate autoship recruitment.

Approach with caution.

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