Stem Vida International Review: Stem cell health & beauty
There is no information on the Stem Vida International website indicating who owns or runs the business.
The Stem Vida website domain (“stemvidainternational.com”), was registered on the 25th of May 2012, and lists a “Victor Chavez” as the domain owner.
Promotional material circulated by Stem Vida International affiliates on social media, indicates that Chavez (right) is the CEO of the company.
An address for Stem Vida International in the US state of California is also provided on the domain registration, matching the corporate address provided on their website.
It’s worth noting however, that the corporate address depicted on the Stem Vida website appears to be doctored:
As per Google Maps, which ironically is linked off the above page, here’s what Stem Vida International’s actual office looks like:
Why Stem Vida International don’t display a picture of the actual office on their website is a mystery.
Most of the Stem Vida International promotional material I found is presented in Spanish, indicating that, despite the name, Stem Vida International is primarily targeted at Spanish-speaking communities in the US.
Possibly due to a language barrier, I was unable to trace an MLM history for Chavez. Whether or not Stem Vida International is Chavez’s first MLM venture remains unclear.
Read on for a full review of the Stem Vida International MLM business opportunity.
The Stem Vida International Product Line
Stem Vida International’s flagship product is “Stem Alive”. There’s no mention of what Stem Alive actually does on the Stem Vida website, but if one zooms into the bottle on the product catalogue, the bottle reads “Promotes adult stem cell function and health”.
One bottle of Stem Alive contains 90 capsules and retails for $65.
Curiously, the Stem Vida retail storefront advises that bottles of Stem Alive ordered “will not be shipped until further notice”:
No explanation is provided, leaving a question mark as to the availability of the product.
Update June 5th 2014 – I was searching around after I finished this review trying to find out why Stem Alive was not shipping. Turns out it’s ‘because the StemAlive 90 Count Capsules contain undeclared milk‘.
The recall was initiated after it was discovered that the ingredient (bovine colostrum) is a known milk allergen and StemAlive contains this ingredient without including an allergen warning on the label.
This resulted in a voluntary recall earlier this year, with Stem Vida International apparently still unable to sort out their labeling six months or so later. It’d be nice if the company was upfront about this on their website, but I digress. /end update
Other products marketed by Stem Vida International include:
- a “nature beauty set” for $297
- StemCleanse (no information provided) for $57.90
- StemMask (a green face mask cream) for $113.90
- StemMoist (a red face cream) for $139.90
Whether intentional or not, it’s rather strange that no additional information is provided on any of Stem Vida’s products.
The Stem Vida International Compensation Plan
The Stem Vida International compensation plan offers a generous 50% commission on the sale of products to retail customers, but primarily revolves around recruiting new affiliates and getting them to sign up for monthly autoship.
In order to qualify for commissions, all Stem Vida International affiliates must either have a 100 commissionable volume (CV) a month autoship order, or generate at least 130 personal volume (PV) a month in sales.
Note that CV is calculated at a rate of 77% of PV generated by the purchase, meaning 100 CV is equal to 130 PV.
Stem Vida International pay affiliates a 50% retail commission on the sale of all products to retail customers.
Stem Vida state that their recruitment commissions ‘run independently from the rest of the compensation plan’ and revolve around the purchase of one of four “packages”:
- Silver – $130
- Silver Plus – $399
- Silver Elite – $409
- Gold – $520
Each of these packs also comes with an allocation of “points” as follows:
- Silver – 100
- Silver Plus – 300
- Silver Elite – 300
- Gold -400
Dubbed the “Fast Start Bonus”, commissions are paid out on the recruitment of new Stem Vida International affiliates who purchase a package. How much of a commission is paid out, depends on an the recruiting affiliate’s qualification level.
There are four qualification levels as follows:
- Silver Active – purchase Silver package and maintain at least 100 CV (autoship) each month thereafter
- Gold Active – purchase a Gold package or combination of packages that exceeds 400 points, and then maintain 100 CV (autoship) each month thereafter
- Executive Director Active – be Gold Active and recruit at least three new affiliates who purchase either a Gold package or any combination of packages that exceeds 400 points every month
- Presidential Elite Active – must be paid at the Gold Presidential affiliate rank (different to the recruitment bonus ranks), and recruit at least one new affiliate who purchases either a Gold package or any combination of packages that exceeds 400 points every month
Depending on what level a Stem Vida affiliate qualifies at, they are then paid the following recruitment commissions:
- Silver Active – $30 on a Silver package, $100 on a Silver Plus or Elite and $140 on a Gold package
- Gold Active – $30 on a Silver package ($10 on levels 2 and 3), $120 on a Silver Plus or Elite ($15 on levels 2 and 3) and $200 on a Gold package ($20 on levels 2 and 3)
- Executive Director and Presidential Elite Active – $40 on a Silver package ($10 to upline Executive Director Active (EDAs) or Presidential Elite Active (PEAs) affiliates), $135 on a Silver Plus or Elite ($15 to upline EDAs or PDAs) and $200 on a Gold package ($20 to upline EDAs and PDAs)
Note that at the Executive Director and Presidential Elite levels, the upline payments are paid out down a maximum of nine levels of recruitment, or until a total of 90% of the Silver Package commission ($40), 75% of Silver Plus or Elite commission ($135) or 70% of the Gold package commission ($200) is paid out.
Stem Vida International Affiliate Membership Ranks
There are seven affiliate membership ranks within the Stem Vida International compensation plan. Along with their respective qualification criteria, they are as follows:
- Associate – generate at least $130 PV a month in sales (or sign up for 100 CV autoship)
- Qualified Associate – as above
- Emerald Manager – generate at least $130 PV a month in sales (or sign up for 100 CV autoship), have a downline generating at least $3900 in monthly sales (max $1950 PV from any one recruitment leg) and have at least $1950 in monthly downline autoship sales volume
- Ruby Executive – generate at least $130 PV a month in sales (or sign up for 100 CV autoship), have a downline generating at least $3900 in monthly sales (max $1950 PV from any one recruitment leg), have at least $6000 in monthly downline autoship sales volume (max $5000 CV from any one recruitment leg) and have personally recruited at least three Emerald Manager ranked affiliates
- Diamond Director – generate at least $130 PV a month in sales (or sign up for 100 CV autoship), have a downline generating at least $60,000 in monthly sales (max $30,000 PV from any one recruitment leg), have at least $30,000 in monthly downline autoship sales volume (max $23,100 CV from any one recruitment leg) and have personally recruited at least six Emerald Manager ranked affiliates
- Star Diamond Director – generate at least $130 PV a month in sales (or sign up for 100 CV autoship), have a downline generating at least $125,000 in monthly sales (max $62,500 PV from any one recruitment leg), have at least $62,500 in monthly downline autoship sales volume (max $48,125 CV from any one recruitment leg) and have personally recruited at least twelve Emerald Manager affiliates and one Diamond Director ranked affiliate
- Gold Presidential – generate at least $130 PV a month in sales (or sign up for 100 CV autoship), have a downline generating at least $500,000 in monthly sales (max $250,000 PV from any one recruitment leg), have at least $300,000 in monthly downline autoship sales volume (max $231,500 CV from any one recruitment leg) and have personally recruited at least eighteen Emerald Manager and two Diamond Director ranked affiliates
An autoship order is a monthly standing order of at least 100 CV. Stem Vida International affiliates are paid a commission for each affiliate they recruit who signs up for an autoship order (or spend more than $130 on products a month):
- Qualified Associate – 5% on level 1 and 10% on level 2
- Emerald Manager – 5% on level 1, 10% on level 2 and 15% on level 3
- Ruby Executive – 5% on level 1, 10% on level 2 and 20% on level 3
- Diamond Director – 5% on level 1, 10% on level 2 and 25% on level 3
- Star Diamond Director – 5% on level 1, 10% on level 2 and 30% on level 3
- Gold Presidential – 5% on level 1, 10% on level 2 and 32% on level 3
Note that from the Emerald Manager affiliate rank, level 4 and beyond commissions are available, paying out the differential between the affilitae who would otherwise qualify for the autoship commission, and the affiliate rank of the affiliate earning the differential.
Eg. if a downline Emerald Manager affiliate earned and their upline four levels up was a Gold Presidential, they’d earn whatever was left of 32% after whatever percentages had been paid out on levels 1 to 3 of the upline.
If level 1 to 3 were Associates for example (which means no autoship commission is paid), the level 4 Gold Presidential upline would earn the full 32% payout.
Surplus Affiliate Purchase Commissions
If an affiliate has a larger than 100 CV autoship order, or purchase more than $130 in PV a month, the excess volume is paid to their upline via a 30% “surplus” commission.
Note that Emerald Managers or higher are paid this commission on their own orders (uplines of Emerald Manager or higher ranked affiliates are not paid this commission).
A differential of up to 32% is also paid out on this commission, paid out at the same rate as the regular autoship commission (a maximum of 32% at the Gold Presidential level).
Monthly Generational Bonus
Diamond Director or higher ranked affiliates are able to earn a percentage commission on the sales volume generated by their immediate downlines (down a maximum of three levels):
- Diamond Director – 2% on level 1
- Star Diamond Director – 2% on levels 1 and 2
- Gold Presidential – 2% on levels 1 and 2 and 3% on level 3
Rank Achievement Bonus
Stem Vida International pay affiliates a monthly Rank Achievement Bonus when they qualify at a new affiliate rank and maintain that qualification each month:
- Emerald Manager – $200
- Ruby Executive – $500
- Diamond Director – $750
- Star Diamond Director – $1000
- Gold Presidential – $2500
Note that the Stem Vida International compensation plan also mentions an additional “Monthly Legacy Bonus” for the Diamond Director and above ranks. The description for the Monthly Legacy Bonus and Rank Achievement Bonus is the same, indicating that the two bonuses stack on eachother:
- Diamond Director – $1500
- Star Diamond Director – $3000
- Gold Presidential – $5000
Finally, note that Gold Presidential affiliates also receive a one-time $100,000 bonus when they first qualify as a Gold Presidential, paid out at a rate of $5000 a month for 10 months.
A Gold Presidential affiliate must maintain their rank for at least ten months out of twenty four (counted from when they first qualify as a Gold Presidential), in order to collect the full $100,000.
Monthly Executive Bonus Pools
Starting at the Emerald Manager rank, Stem Vida International put aside a percentage of the company-wide commissionable volume and share it out amongst their affiliates each month:
- Emerald Manager – 1%
- Ruby Executive – 2%
- Diamond Director pool – 2%
- Star Diamond Director pool -3%
- Gold Presidential pool – 4%
Note that shares are allocated equally amongst qualifying affiliates, with qualification requiring only that an affiliate be qualified at the required affiliate rank for any particular bonus pool.
Joining Stem Vida International
Basic Stem Vida affiliate membership is $32.50 a year.
Due to the requirements of the Fast Start (recruitment) Bonus, it’s likely that actual affiliate costs will include the purchase of a package. This pegs Stem Vida International affiliate membership at between $162.50 (Silver Package) and $520 (Gold Package). Note that an affiliate’s first year membership is included in the Gold Package.
A $24.50 backoffice fee is also charged every three-months, after an affiliate’s first three months with the company.
Whereas normally I champion retail commissions, Stem Vida International’s 50% payouts are perhaps indicative of inflated prices.
Additionally, when you couple this with a lack of product information on their website and the general affiliate autoship-orientated theme of their compensation plan, it becomes evident that, despite the 50% commission offered, retail is not a major focus of the business.
100 CV or $130 PV is the magic commission qualification number, and it’s also the minimum monthly autoship for affiliates. Co-incidence? Hardly.
Nowhere is this better spelled out than in Stem Vida International’s “autoship level based commissions” which, as the name suggests, are ‘created from the monthly Volume of all Distributors Autoship product orders‘.
In addition to the main residual commission component of the Stem Vida’s compensation plan revolving around affiliate autoship volume, the company also requires affiliates to maintain minimum monthly downline autoship quotas in order to advance in rank.
Not helping is Stem Vida’s Fast Start (recruitment) commissions, which introduces a pay-to-play element to the business. Affiliates sign up, buy in at one of four package levels and then, provided they keep up their monthly autoship order, earn commissions on new affiliates recruited.
The more spent on a package when an affiliates signs up, the more they are paid. Ditto on how much they convince newly recruited affiliates to pay for a package.
Recruiting new affiliates and getting them to sign up for monthly autoship (what products they order doesn’t matter, hence the lack of descriptions), is the primary thrust behind the compensation plan.
An affiliate can qualify for commissions by generating $130 a month in sales, but given the $100 autoship alternative and aforementioned lack of retail orientation within the business (nobody is dropped hundreds of dollars on Stem Vida’s products without even the most basic of individual product descriptions), this is an unlikely scenario.
Even more worrying is the seemingly lack of availability of Stem Vida’s flagship product, Stem Alive. Six months after the product was recalled, either it should be removed as the company’s flagship product or replaced with something else.
And stating why the product is currently not available wouldn’t hurt either.
Finally, clawbacks are something a Stem Vida International affiliate is probably also going to want to consider:
All Commissions and Bonuses, except for Monthly Recurring Commissions/Bonuses, are subject to a “charge back” also known as a “claw back”, of up to 100% of the commission paid, if an enrolled customer cancels their service agreement within six (6) calendar months following the date of the customer enrollment.
When you’re trying to run an MLM business, six months sounds like an awfully long time to have potential clawbacks hanging over your head.