Great young influencer alive has jumped off the ship and followers are stunned
This is an excerpt from Please love me, the BuzzFeed News newsletter on how influencers fight for your attention. You can register here.
Over the past few years, many people have written about how multilevel marketing, or MLM, companies have been able to grow exponentially by recruiting underemployed millennial women through social media. (I wrote about how Facebook supercharged LuLaRoe, an MLM apparel company.) However, one aspect of this phenomenon isn’t covered as much: the rise of the MLM influencer.
I reflected on this as I watched a juicy drama unfold this week in Young Living’s online community. Young Living, a company founded in 1993 by a rather “interesting” guy, has been one of the main benefactors of a recent boom in the popularity of essential oils.
Over the weekend, Madison Vining, who ran one of the company’s best-selling teams with her husband, Tyler, made a shocking social media announcement. The couple said they decided to leave Young Living for Modere, another MLM that has found success selling a line of collagen products, a hot trend in wellness.
In an IGTV video posted to more than 237,000 Madison subscribers, the couple said after about eight years with the company, they quit Young Living. Days later, Madison announced on her Instagram Stories that they were moving to Modere.
In comments for the video and elsewhere online, Madison’s followers and downlines (the people below her in her Young Living business) have expressed utter shock. To understand their feelings, you need to know how enjoyable Vinings’ Young Living concert was.
Madison and Tyler had “Royal Crown Diamond” status at Young Living, which meant they were among the most successful consultants in the business. According to the company’s 2019 statistics, Royal Crown Diamond sellers were making an average of $ 1,645,692 per year, or about $ 137,000 per month. That income, of course, was mostly made up of sales generated by Vinings’ team, the Happy Oilers, which formed the basis of the pyramid-shaped structure the couple sat on.
Leaving Young Living, Madison and Tyler get away from it all and they will have to rebuild their team from the ground up. For many, this decision made no sense. âMy head hurts trying to understand. Are you moving over a million dollars in residual income per year and your team to another business? Wrote a commentator. Another person claimed the Vinings had not even informed their teammates before making the announcement. âI’m happy for you and looking forward to see what comes next, I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t see this directly in the Happy Oilers,â she wrote.
Madison later said on Instagram that due to the conditions of her outing, she was unable to contact any of her team members directly before leaving.
Soon rumors began to circulate that something fishy was going on. People speculated that Modere seduced the Vinings with the promise of a salaried position, which would be a shocking move for an MLM. Madison denied the rumors in a response to a comment on her Instagram video, saying, “I promise you have no idea what you’re talking about.” She added that they had not received any paychecks to leave and that they had left “$ 200,000 on the table.” (I’m assuming per month, since the lowest earner in their bracket earns about $ 600,000 per year, according to Young Living.) Madison also claimed that she did not “sell” her team to Young Living for a any profit.
âThe rumor mill / theater factory is usually not the place to get ethical and factual information,â she said.
I reached out to Madison, Modere and Young Living to ask questions about these rumors, but got no response. This whole saga, however, got me thinking of the MLM influencer and the influence someone like Madison has in the MLM structure.
Of course, the entire MLM business model has always benefited only a few select superstars, but the internet has made this divide even more apparent. Of course, before the internet, an MLM could showcase their best players and flaunt their lavish lifestyle to motivate their salespeople at conferences or whatever, but, like everything on social media, the comparison trap is now bigger than never.
Madison has been so successful in Young Living, I believe, not only because of her direct selling skills, but also because of her ability to influence social media. She embarked on a career as a blogger and influencer alongside her company Young Living, and her two professions worked in tandem to enrich each other.
Her business Young Living has helped her gain notoriety on the internet, which I think has probably played a role in the growth of her Instagram account from around 56,000 followers in September 2018 to over 200,000 now. . This led her to open up additional sources of income, like LTK and sponcon. But her Instagram has also helped her Young Living business; it’s the best advertisement imaginable to join your team.
Madison said on her blog that “every brick, every plank” of her huge custom-built home in Oklahoma “was made possible by our YL trip.” She has accompanied her subscribers throughout her career by creating “the Happy house [her team] built. âFollowers see how enviable Madison’s life is every day on her Instagram Stories, full of videos of her beautiful home, broods of animals, happy adorable children, and all the luxuries her enormous Salary offers him. It doesn’t take a lot of conviction to sign up; here’s someone living their best life every day who reminds you that you could have that too, if you just gave it a go.
So, Madison’s exit actually makes sense. Sure, the Vining’s leave an easy paycheck on the table, but they don’t necessarily need Young Living anymore. An MLM salesperson in the Age of Influence can not only reach the top of the pyramid * cough * * cough *; they can create a whole new career at the same time. Sure, the Vinings are going to Modere now, but their possibilities are endless. They could start their own MLM if they wanted, they could build a bigger team with a better deal for themselves at Modere due to their star power online, or they could just be influencers. Or they could do all three.
MLMs have long repeated the oft-mocked expression that their salespeople “start their own business.” But in this case, the Vinings actually have. Of course, very few of their downline can hope to replicate their success.