Is Arbonne MLM a Pyramid Scheme?

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“Is Arbonne MLM a pyramid scheme?” This question was posed to me by a fellow reader. And this is a fair question. But you know what? The more I hear this kinda question, the more I’m convinced that the outcry against mlm companies isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

But the reality of this question is you do in fact have some fradulent companies in this space. So with that being said, here’s a little more information on Arbonne mlm so that you can make an informed decision for yourself.

I’ll also give you my two cents on if Arbonne is a pyramid scheme and hopefully put that notion to bed if you’re interested in the multi-level marketing opportunity.

What is Arbonne?

Arbonne is a multi-level marketing company that specializes in the production and distribution of personal care and health-related products. The company was founded in 1975 by Pierre Bottiglieri and Tyler Mills.

Its headquarters are in Irvine, California and the company operates in seven different countries including Poland, New Zealand, Taiwan, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and the US.

Company History

Arbonne is a company with Swiss roots that sells botanical and herbal based skincare and cosmetics. Back in 1975, when Petter Morck worked for a Norwegian skincare and makeup company he became the driving force in the company moving operations to the US.

He felt that many of the company’s products included ingredients that weren’t beneficial to the skin, and he decided to change that. He was inspired to launch his own company that tapped into the power of botanicals and herbs, long before being green and clean was popular.

Arbonne was launched with 19 products, and Morck used a network of consultants to sell the products.

Core Values

Today the company has more than 200,000 consultants around the world. Although the company has expanded and grown, generating around $600 million in sales in 2017, its core values have stayed the same. Arbonne says its committed to creating sustainable beauty products that are safe and effective.

Over the years the company has expanded globally. In 2009, it was in only four countries. Those included the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia. Since then, the company has expanded to serve the many countries that it does now with plans in the works for a further expansion into other parts of Asia.

What are Arbonne’s Products?

Arbonne’s products are available through or through an extensive network of Arbonne Independent Consultants.

Arbonne’s skincare products are based on botanical principles. Their product line became a reality in the United States in 1980 and are now shared throughout the world through the Arbonne network of Independent Consultants.

Building on these same founding principles, the product line has since grown to include both inner and outer health and beauty products that are unparalleled in quality, safety, value, and results.

Their products are formulated with no Parabens, PABA, Benzene, Mineral oils, petrolatum, Phthalates, and Formaldehyde preservatives.

Health Benefits

They sell skincare products that come with various benefits including:

  • anti-aging
  • skin brightening
  • hydration
  • sensitive skin products that support skin health
  • acne

The specific products include:

Re9 and Genus Ultra which are specially formulated for skin aging. RE9 Advanced Paperwork, RE9 Advanced Lifting, and Contouring, Arbonne Pure Vibrance help to prevent skin color fading.

Other skin care products include Perfecting Liquid Foundation, Rescue and Renew Detox Mask, Daily Self-Adjusting Shampoo, and Thermal Fusion Hair and Scalp-Revitalizer. Their nutritional supplements come with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, probiotics, and antioxidants. They are available in the form of pills, teas, shakes, fizz sticks, and snack bars.

Here’s a tweet of one of their newer product collections.

How to Join Arbonne

To join Arbonne and become a consultant, you have to buy a starter kit which costs $79.

It includes all the stuff you need to get started like:

  • RE9 line samples
  • welcome CD
  • success workbook
  • forms and flyers for recruiting
  • Order forms and product catalogs
  • a manual explanation of business opportunity and compensation

Arbonne gives you two options to join. You can become a consultant or a preferred client.


As a consultant, the registration fee is $49 and to upgrade to a preferred client, you pay $20. There is also a $29 renewal fee that you pay annually for you to remain as an active consultant.

Other costs include 150 QV in monthly sales or purchases. If you don’t make it to 150 qualifying points, then you have to buy an additional QV to receive your monthly compensation.

To sign up, you have to fill out the registration form, which asks for your country of residence and preferred language. You’ll then be directed to a page where you can buy your starter kit.

The Arbonne Compensation Plan

As a consultant, Arbonne gives you multiple ways to make money. These include:

1) Client commission

When you sell Arbonne products to customers, you earn 35% commissions. This is the easiest and most reliable way to make money with Arbonne. All products must be sold at the required retail prices.

2) Override Commissions

If you’re good at recruiting people, then Arbonne gives you the opportunity to earn money through override commissions. Whenever you recruit people who then buy products, you earn commission.

All the direct recruits that you introduce to the company are referred to as the first generation. If the people you recruit end up introducing other members, you get a second generation in your business. The money you make each month can vary depending on your rank and the volume of products sold by your team.

5 Levels

In the first level, you earn 6% override commission for all the products sold by the consultants you sponsored personally. In order to qualify for this, you need to make it to 500 QV points in that month.

For US residents, you earn one qualifying point for every dollar you spend on the company’s products.

The next level is the district manager. Here, you earn a retail commission of 35% plus:

  • 8% for the first-generation
  • 2% for the second generation
  • 1% for third-generation

Area manager earns 35% for retail commission plus:

  • 14% for 1st generation
  • 3% for 2nd generation
  • 2% for 3rd generation

The regional vice president makes 35% retail commission plus:

  • 17% for 1st generation
  • 5% for 2nd generation
  • 4% for 3rd generation

At the top is the national vice president who earns 35% retail commission plus:

  • 18% for 1st generation
  • 6% for 2nd generation
  • 5% for 3rd generation
  • At this level, you can make up to 50% override commissions.

3) Cash bonuses

Arbonne gives out cash bonuses to clients in different ranks. You can qualify for a cash bonus if you meet certain company criteria. Although the bonuses are not guaranteed, like anything you have to be in it to win it.

4) Mercedes Benz Bonus

When you reach the vice president ranks, Arbonne will reward you with an Arbonne Mercedes. The Mercedes comes with a white label and includes the company’s advertisement billboard. Instead of buying you the car, they give you the monthly payments to finance it.

Here’s a solid video on the compensation plan and how to get paid with Arbonne.

Pros and Cons of Arbonne MLM


  • It is an established company that has been around for quite some time.
  • The company has a broad selection of herbal and botanical products.
  • The startup cost is relatively low compared to other MLM companies.
  • Their compensation plan can be lucrative.
  • You don’t have to keep an inventory as a consultant
  • In 2017, the beauty company was named as one of the Direct Selling Association’s top 20 members. So they must be doing something right.


  • The yearly renewal fee.
  • Their products are somewhat overpriced.
  • For you to receive the monthly commission, you have to maintain a monthly quota of 150 qualifying points.
  • Some common complaints include: the company isn’t transparent about fees, refunds aren’t honored, and poor experience with products/shipping issues.

Is Arbonne a Pyramid Scheme?

Arbonne International is a legit company with a good BBB rating of A+. The company sells real botanically-based nutrition and personal care products that have been proven to work.

Depending on who you ask, on it’s face it is a pyramid scheme just because of the fact that it is an mlm company. Many people despise mlm opportunities.

But a true pyramid scheme in the sense of the word is any mechanism designed to separate you from your money through recruiting other people into the scheme, with no real product, investment or service to stand behind.

Arbonne is a legal and ethical company. With real products to stand behind. The company even made both of my lists for top mlm rankings by revenue and the fastest growing mlm companies for this year. So I guess they’re a double offender. 🙂


Speaking of revenue Arbonne reportedly generated $541 million in net revenues in 2016. For 2017 Arbonne did close to $600 million in sales. In 2018, Arbonne and its sister company Nature’s Gate was acquired by worldwide cosmetics and beauty brand Groupe Rocher. Jean-David Schwartz was appointed the new CEO.

My Take on Arbonne

In my opinion, Arbonne is a solid business opportunity and not a pyramid scheme. The problem that most network marketers run into is they fish in the wrong pond.

If you are looking to join and grow an mlm opportunity, do yourself a favor and only go after people who are looking for an mlm opportunity. Don’t waste your time trynna convert folks. It’s just not worth the energy. And the Internet is the place to get it done.


If you’re looking to sell a high quality product and you appreciate the idea of recruiting others to build passive income, you might want to check out Arbonne. Their prices may be high, but this is the case with most mlm companies.

To succeed, you have to understand that it requires selling your products and building a network of distributors. And this goes without saying, but go after the people who are looking for you. Then you won’t have people calling you shady and viewing the opportunity as a pyramid scheme.

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