How much can you really earn as a Younique Black Presenter?

We’ve investigated Younique a few times in our investigations into the MLM industry. Now we uncover how much you can really expect to earn as a Younique Black Presenter.

Many MLM companies like Younique make it difficult for you to see beyond the hype and work out how much you can realistically earn if you decide to join them.

Instead, you’re often left vulnerable to the lies that some MLM reps tell in order to recruit people into their downlines – and profit off them.

But with some detective work, you can often get an insight into the real income potential of an MLM. And Younique is no different.

The average Younique rep earns less than $14 a month

We’ve already discovered in previous investigations that the average Younique Presenter appears to earn as little as US$14 a month before expenses. And an independent auditors report into Younique in 2016 established that the company paid their Presenters an average of $9.09 a month.

Again, this is before business expenses (such as their initial $99 investment to join the business) are deducted.

Younique’s top GLOBAL new presenter earned less than a waitress

We also investigated the likelihood of earning a real income from Younique based on retail sales only (rather than recruitment, which would possibly make the business an illegal ‘pyramid scheme’).

The numbers made sober reading. In order to earn £1,500 a month as an entry level White Status Presenter, you’d need to sell £7,500 of products. That’s every month. And if you’re a Yellow Status Presenter you’d need to sell £6,000 a month to earn £1,500.

We also revealed that the top new Younique seller in the world (at the time of publishing) took home only $1,383.76 in commission in a month – less than the salary of a waitress.

How much can you earn as a Black Younique Presenter?

Of course, all these figures relate to new (even if they’re the top new earner in the world that month) or average Younique Presenters. What about the Presenters who climb up the business hierarchy and make it to the coveted Black Status? Surely they must be laughing all the way to their millionaire’s mansion?

Well, perhaps not.

We decided to explore how much Younique’s top Presenters really earn, to discover if it’s worth toiling away for very little (apparently) as you make your way up the Younique status levels.

The average Younique Presenter in this downline earns less than £7 a month

Recently, a UK Younique Black Status Presenter shared this post on Facebook:

Before we get into Black Presenter earnings, let’s just examine the numbers shared here about this woman’s downline.

As often happens with MLM reps, they believe that boasting about big numbers shows off the opportunity. But in reality they just reveal how little opportunity there is for the people who sign up.

In this case, the Black Presenter says her 8,000-strong team sold over £2million of makeup in 2018. Sounds like a lot, right?

Not when you do the sums.

£2million shared between 8,000 women equates to £250 of sales each. For the whole year. And that’s just sales. It’s not commission.

The lowest four Younique ranks each earn 25% on their retail sales. So this means their actual annual retail commission earnings were just £62.50 – or £5.20 a month.

Even if those women were in the top four ranks (including Black Status) with a 30% commission, they’d still only earn £75 a year – or £6.25 a month.

And, as always, this is before your own business expenses are taken into account. These include your startup costs, and the cost of buying makeup to demonstrate to get sales.

So it’s a fair guess that the vast, vast majority of those 8,000 women probably made a loss when they included their expenses. (We already know that an average of 99.6% of MLM reps will lose money when they factor in their business expenses.)

This Younique Black Status Presenter earned just £375 a month

But what about the Black Status Presenter who posted this status? She claims that her personal retail sales over the past five years are over £75,000. What does that mean in commission for her?

Over five years, presuming she earned the top level of commission on retail sales (30%) for the entire period, she earned £22,500 in commission. That’s just £4,500 a year – or £375 a month.

Coincidentally, this is the bare minimum a Black Presenter needs to sell to remain active each month. And, as we’ll learn later, there’s a chance that she herself made at least some of these purchases in order to retain her rank.

These numbers are hardly impressive considering she’s the top possible rank in the company, and was listed as second top leader at Younique’s UK convention in March 2019, only a few days before she posted this status.

Of course, her team’s commission would have been added to her overall earnings, but this does help to reinforce our case that the real money in MLMs like Younique is in recruiting, and that it’s not possible to earn a reasonable amount of money in retail sales alone.

But what about their team commissions? Surely these must push Younique’s Black Presenters earnings up considerably?

We investigated the accounts of Black Status Presenters

To find out, we turned to Companies House. Because if you work for yourself in the UK and you earn over £35,000 a year you’re better off becoming a Ltd company.

Given this, we’d expect to see pretty much every UK Younique Black Status Presenter on Companies House. But to our surprise, we could find very few.

Two of the top three Younique Presenters in the UK (levels one and two) are indeed registered with Companies House, though interestingly in both cases, their current assets in 2017 were around half the amount stated in 2016.

The third of the top three Younique Presenters in the UK is also registered with Companies House, though her 2017 accounts show net assets of just £1,001.

Of the 18 remaining Black Status Presenters listed on Younique’s site:

  • 14 are not registered with Companies House.
  • Four set up accounts with Companies House, only to dissolve them two years later.
  • Two of these didn’t even file a set of accounts.
  • The remaining two filed accounts showing no money passing through the business.
  • One of these appears to have stopped selling Younique.

So what does this mean? Of the 14 who aren’t registered with Companies House, they either don’t earn enough to warrant starting a Ltd company or prefer to pay more tax by remaining self-employed (or don’t earn enough to hire an accountant who would advise them to choose the Ltd option).

Either way, it doesn’t look likely these people are earning over £35,000 a year, if that. Nor are the four women who DID register a Ltd company.

Based on the evidence we can find, we don’t believe that Younique Black Presenters in the UK are earning a significant amount of money at all.

And if the people who have made it to the top of Younique’s rankings aren’t earning much, what chance to the people slaving away at the bottom, the ones who can only dream of Black Status, have?

“I was paid as a Black Presenter just four times”

To learn more about the truth behind the marketing, we spoke to a former Younique Black Presenter who kindly offered to share her experience with us to give us an honest, behind-the-scenes insight.

As with almost all women who escape MLMs, she’s requested to remain anonymous. So we’ll call her Emma.

Emma joined Younique at pre-launch, and was lucky enough to rise to build a big enough team to make the hallowed Black Presenter rank.

Her monthly earnings as a Black Presenter were a respectable £4,000. But she didn’t earn that every month. Because it turns out that to be paid as a Black Presenter rank, you have to hit your Black Presenter target every month.

And, despite working hard – often late at night, and at the expense of her children – Emma only qualified to be paid at Black Presenter rank four times.

Why is this? Emma revealed that it’s easier to hit your rank when they release new products or run Black Friday deals, thanks to the Presenters in your downline buying products. And your personal sales target isn’t hard to hit (even if you have to purchase the products yourself, as she sometimes did).

But making sure four people under you maintain their Green Presenter status is much more difficult. And sometimes this can pressurise Black Presenters into ‘buying’ their rank by placing “a random order from a ‘close friend’ via the potential Green’s website.” This was something Emma says she never did, and why she only hit the rank four times.

Emma also revealed that, as we guessed, many of the other Black Presenters weren’t as wealthy as most people imagine – even those right at the very top of the company.

And she confirmed that the vast majority of Black Presenters don’t have a Ltd company simply because they don’t earn enough.

“Younique used us to deliver bad news”

Think Black Presenters have all the fun? Not according to Emma. Not only did they have to prop up their entire downline to hit rank every month, but Younique used them to break any bad news to their teams.

Emma says: “We always had to do the crappy stuff, like tell our teams that stock was out, or when they reduced Y-CASH.”

This was isolating: “It makes a real divide between the Blacks and the other Presenters because we constantly had to positively spin bad news from corporate like we agreed with it.”

However when it was time to spread good news, Younique were happy to tell their Presenters themselves via Facebook lives or in the Presenters’ group.

And don’t forget that, like all Presenters, Black Presenters receive no salary from Younique. So the time and effort spent in trying to spin bad news to their team, and manage the inevitable questions and complaints, is done in their own time.

“Presenters are the real customers”

Emma also confirmed a suspicion we’ve long held about MLMs: the real customers are the Presenters.

As we’ve learned through investigating the company, Black Presenters don’t make their income through retail sales. And if they can’t make a living selling Younique products, how can a lowly White or Yellow Presenter?

So if the general public aren’t buying Younique in the quantities needed to give it a multi-million dollar global turnover, who is?

Their own presenters.

In order to keep your rank and maintain your ‘active’ status, Younique Presenters need to achieve a minimum number of personal retail sales (PRS) every month.

If you’re a White Presenter you need to sell $125 in each rolling three month period. To make Yellow Presenter you need to sell $1,000-worth of products. Pink and Blue Presenters need to sell $250 every month, and Green, Orange, Purple and Black Presenters need to sell $500 every month.

But selling even $250 of makeup every month isn’t easy. So, as we see with many MLMs, Presenters often boost their retail sales with personal purchases every month.

Emma herself told us that she would buy stock to remain active: “The most I ever spent was £350 to get my minimum $500 sales to get paid.” (Remember, this is the average monthly amount also ‘coincidentally’ sold by the Black Presenter earlier on?)

And then there’s the never-ending procession of new products you MUST have. As with most MLMs, Younique Presenters need to purchase products in order to demonstrate and show as samples.

So how much of the makeup sold to help Presenters keep their rank is actually bought by Presenters themselves, rather than genuine customers?

Spend £225 to get a ‘free’ blanket

As if that wasn’t enough, Younique runs Presenter promotions to encourage eye-watering amounts of sales.

One example was Younique’s 2018 nine-day Black Friday promotion. Each day during the promotion, Younique promoted a different bundle costing between £25-60 each.

Presenters who bought a bundle every day for the nine days were rewarded with a cheap-looking Younique branded blanket:

Even if each bundle was only £25, over nine days that would mean you’d need to spend £225 on products to get a blanket.

And it didn’t matter if you didn’t have a customer who wanted to buy the package each day. Emma says that Presenters were encouraged to invest anyway because “You’ll be able to sell them one day.”

You, like us, may not think this is the greatest deal in the world: spending £225 on makeup to get a ‘free’ branded fleece blanket, but Emma says that every presenter was desperate for one:

“Younique lied to me about my business”

MLM reps are fond of calling themselves business owners and #BossBabes. But the reality is that they’re just unsalaried sales reps. And this was made clear to Emma when she left.

Like many MLMs, Younique says that you’re building a business for your family – one you can will to your children, or sell. The residual income is supposed to set you up for life.

But when Emma decided to leave Younique, she found it wasn’t that simple. Despite saying that she’d complied with all the rules for selling her ‘business’, she was told it wasn’t allowed. When she asked for an explanation, she was simply told the decision was final.

So when Emma left, she simply had to walk away from the team she’d worked so hard to build. She says she’d never have invested so much time in the company had she known it would all be for nothing.

“It’s not a family friendly business”

Many mums are sold the opportunity of working in an MLM as a family-friendly way to make money, but Emma says this too is a lie.

She says that in the months she qualified to be paid as a Black Presenter, she was up working until half past one in the morning. And, while she did earn good money in those months, she says she dreads to think what her hourly rate really was.

The pressure on you to maintain your status and downline are enormous. As Emma says: “Even if you had have 4 million people in your downline, you still need to do your personal sales, and you need to make sure your team are qualifying.”

This pressure really became apparent when Emma went on holiday for three weeks, and the place she was staying had no WiFi. This was a big problem as Emma needed to still check in with her team and get the sales in.

So, rather than enjoy a well-earned break from work, Emma had to drive to a bowling centre and use their WiFi every other day to work.

“You have to pay for personal development”

As the recent BBC documentary on Younique, Secret Lives of the Multi-level Millionaires: Ellie Undercover, revealed, MLMs are very fond of encouraging their reps to invest in personal development.

In reality, it appears that reps are simply paying to be brainwashed. And the cost of this ‘training’? According to Emma, the cost of attending a Younique training event when she was with the company was £75 plus hotel and travel.

And you were expected to go; Emma says that if you didn’t go then it was assumed you weren’t taking the business seriously.

Younique have made it even easier for presenters to get into debt

We already know from the BBC documentary that women get into debt trying to sell Younique.

And now Younique have made it even easier than ever before to spend money you don’t have purchasing their products and joining the business, thanks to the introduction of PayPal credit:

Current Younique Presenters have been using this new credit option to encourage more cash-strapped women to join their downlines, or to purchase makeup:

In our opinion this is irresponsible. If you cannot afford to buy makeup from your monthly salary, then don’t buy it. Or buy cheaper makeup from the high street.

Why would someone take out a loan to buy £99 worth of makeup? And what happens if they’re unable to pay back that 0% interest loan within the four months? What interest will they pay then?

“Younique makeup is utter garbage”

Speaking of the makeup, is it worth the high price Younique charges for it? Or is it, like pretty much every other MLM product, significantly overpriced?

According to Emma (and this is confirmed in the BBC documentary), the markup on Younique’s products is shockingly high.

Here’s what a Younique Whistleblower who worked for the company’s head office in Utah revealed about their pricing: 

Their starter kit is also apparently poor value for money:

“Most Younique Presenters only last about six months”

Given ALL this – the allegedly overpriced makeup, the pressure on you to sell (which can lead to personal purchases you can’t sell on), the expectation to pay for training that’s hard to distinguish from brainwashing, and the disappointing incomes of Black Presenters at the top of business – it’s surprising that anyone stays with Younique that long.

And indeed they apparently don’t.

Emma guesses that most Younique Presenters only last about six months before they realise the opportunity doesn’t work. And the ones who last longer “don’t want to admit it wasn’t what they thought or they are so sucked in they refuse to see it”.

This ties in with what we’ve learned about other MLMs, like Herbalife who admit they have a 90% turnover each year of their bottom-level distributors. (It’s estimated that one distributor drops out of Herbalife every 16.7 seconds.)

So those 8,000 women the Black Presenter claimed to have earned money, grown in confidence and travelled thanks to joining Younique at the start of this article?

Many will have dropped out during the year and aren’t even currently active. (This explains why their average personal sales were so far below the amount they needed to sell – or personally buy – to stay active.)

Just imagine the pressure this places on the Black Presenters, who need to find a continual new stream of new Presenters buying from Younique to make their monthly quotas…

No wonder some Younique Presenters are irresponsibly (in our opinion) flogging credit options to recruit and sell.

Thinking about joining Younique?

If you’ve read this and you’re STILL thinking about joining Younique, here’s some more information about the company we recommend reading:

Read more about MLMs

If you’d like to learn more about the MLM industry you’ll find a wealth of content on our own site too.

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Photo by Annie Spratt