Bellame Review: Hydrating personal care with retail potential
Bellame was founded in 2016 and operates in the personal care MLM niche.
Bellame appears to be based out of California, although the company provides a virtual mailbox address on its website.
Heading up Bellame are co-founders Melissa and Scott Thompson (right).
According to a March 2017 press-release, the Thompsons have ‘45 years of combined expertise in the beauty and digital marketing‘ industries.
According to her LinkedIn profile, started her MLM career with Avon in 1999.
In 2007 she switched over to Belcorp and was with them for ten months.
Thompson left the personal care MLM niche in 2000. She joined Shaklee, a nutritional supplement opportunity, and promoted them for almost three years.
In late 2010 Thompson returned to the personal care MLM niche and Avon.
She remained an Avon distributor until July 2014, wherein she joined Mana.
In 2015 Thompson signed up with Stella and Dot. In 2016 Thompson changed gears again and worked as Chief Marketing Officer for Astoria Company.
Scott Thompson founded Astoria Company in 2010. He runs the lead generation marketing company as CEO.
That brings us to the launch of Bellame in December, 2017.
Melissa Thompson serves as Bellame’s CEO. Scott Thompson is the company’s Chairman and President.
Read on for a full review of Bellame’s MLM opportunity.
Bellame describes its personal care range as ‘ultra luxurious products packed with powerhouse, clinical grade ingredients‘.
The company markets several personal care products, with an emphasis on hydration.
- Hydrating Cleanser – “powerful enough to remove makeup, but gentle enough to smooth and condition”, retails at $48.00 for a 5 oz (150 ml) bottle
- Hydrating Eye Cream – “stands up to the special demands of the orbital area, softening fine lines (aka ‘crows’ feet), deflating puffiness and diminishing dark circles”, retails at $68 for a 5 oz (150 ml) bottle
- Hydrating Serum – “delivers a highly concentrated dose of mineral anti-oxidants from the copper-enriched gemstone Malachite”, retails at $88 for a 1 oz (30 ml ) dropper bottle
- Hydrating Moisturizer – “a surprisingly lightweight moisturizer that delivers powerful hydration and luminosity”, retails at $78 for a 1.7 oz (50 ml) bottle
Bellame’s Hydration range is also available as a collection for $272.
The company’s website currently lists a “coming soon” moisturizing lip gloss. No specific details are provided.
Bellame’s Compensation Plan
Bellame’s compensation plan combines retail commissions with first level unilevel team commissions.
Residual commissions are paid out on up to four generations, with an Infinity Bonus available for top-ranked affiliates.
Bellame Affiliate Ranks
There are eight affiliate ranks withing Bellame’s compensation plan.
Along with their respective qualification criteria, they are as follows:
- Partner – sign up as a Bellame affiliate and maintain $300 in retail orders over a rolling three month period
- Senior Partner – generate 500 PV in accumulated sales volume and recruit and maintain at least one Partner
- Executive Partner – generate 1000 PV in accumulated sales volume and recruit and maintain at least three Partners
- Director – recruit and maintain at least four Partners and generate and maintain 500 PV and 3000 GV a month
- Senior Director – maintain at least three personally recruited Partners and one Director, and maintain 500 PV and generate 3000 GV a month
- Executive Director – maintain at least two personally recruited Partners and two Directors, and maintain 500 PV and and 3000 GV a month
- Diamond Director – recruit and maintain at least four Directors and maintain 500 PV and 3000 GV a month
- Platinum Executive Director – recruit and maintain at least six Directors, maintain 500 PV and 3000 GV a month and $125,000 in total monthly downline sales volume
PV stands for “Personal Volume” and is sales volume generated by sales to retail customers and an affiliate’s own orders.
GV stands for “Group Volume” and in Bellame is sales volume generated in a unilevel team leg, up until a Director ranked affiliate is found in that leg.
Total downline sales volume is the PV sum total of every directly and indirectly recruited Partner placed into a Bellame affiliate’s unilevel team.
Bellame affiliates earn a 25% base commission on sales to retail customers.
Note there are no qualification requirements for base retail commission eligibility.
Upon meeting the following qualification criteria, retail commission rates can be increased to up to 40%:
- generate 1000 to 1999 PV a month or qualify as a Senior Partner = 5% bonus (30% retail commission rate)
- generate 2000 PV or more a month or qualify as an Executive Partner = 10% bonus (35% retail commission rate)
- qualify as a Director = 15% bonus (40% retail commission rate)
Bellame’s preferred customer program is referred to as a “Beauty Pass”.
Bellame preferred customers receive a 10% discount on orders and free shipping on all $50+ orders.
To qualify for the Beauty Pass discount, a Bellame retail customer must agree to a $50+ monthly autoship order or pay a $25 annual fee (note the Beauty Pass discount still only applies to $50+ orders).
Beauty Pass orders start at a 20% base commission.
This can be increased to 35% through the following qualification criteria:
- generate 1000 to 1999 PV a month or qualify as a Senior Partner = 5% bonus (25% Beauty Pass commission rate)
- generate 2000 PV or more a month or qualify as an Executive Partner = 10% bonus (30% Beauty Pass commission rate)
- qualify as a Director = 15% bonus (35% Beauty Pass commission rate)
MLM Commission Qualification
To qualify for MLM commissions, a Bellame affiliate must generate at least 100 PV each month.
Note that Partner rank qualification also requires a Bellame affiliate to generate and maintain $300 in retail orders over a rolling three month period.
Bellame pays residual commissions 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.
Bellame calculate residual commissions within the unilevel team via generations.
A generation is defined when a Director or higher ranked affiliate is found in a unilevel team.
This affiliate caps off the first generation for that leg, with the second beginning immediately after.
If a second Director or higher ranked affiliate exists deeper in the leg, they cap off the second generation and the third begins after them.
If no second Director or higher ranked affiliate exists, the second generation of the leg runs down the entire length of the leg.
Using this generational structure, Bellame affiliates are able to earn on up to four generations per unilevel leg.
- Directors earn 5% on one generation per leg
- Senior Directors earn 5% on the first generation and 6% on the second
- Executive Directors earn 5% on the first generation, 6% on the second and 3% on the third
- Diamond Directors and higher earn 5% on the first generation, 6% on the second, 3% on the third and 2% on the fourth
Line 1 Sales Bonus
Using the same unilevel team used to calculate residual commissions, the Line 1 Sales Bonus is a 4% commission paid on level 1 unilevel team volume (personally recruited affiliates).
Platinum Executive Director ranked Bellame affiliates qualify for the Infinity Bonus
The Infinity Bonus is a 0.25% bonus paid on each unilevel team leg, up until a Platinum Executive Director is found in that leg.
If no such ranked affiliate exists, the Infinity Bonus is paid on that leg’s entire volume.
Bellame basic affiliate membership is $99 for an Influencer Kit.
Two product packs can be added to the Influencer Kit for $45.50 and $197.60 respectively.
Bellame claims that adding a product pack to the Influencer Kit provides savings of up to 35% on bundled products.
The founding of Bellame is obviously, at least in part, rooted in Melissa Thompson’s time at Avon.
My first impression of Bellame is that it was a mini-Avon clone, but I believe they’ve gone niche specific enough to differentiate themselves.
The question is whether the hydration niche is too narrow for retail viability.
The good news is Bellame seem intent on expanding their product range.
In addition to the “coming soon” lip gloss, Bellame’s social media accounts reveal the launch of a “luxury sleep mask” is also on the horizon.
This not only demonstrates a commitment to the relatively competitive personal care niche, but also the ability to grow Bellame’s range as the business develops.
Which is what you want to see in your management as a Bellame affiliate.
One could see Melissa Thompson’s engagement with numerous MLM companies as a negative. Alternatively it’s also undoubtedly exposed her to different MLM management styles and compensation plans.
On the MLM opportunity side of things, this is potentially the best part of Bellame’s compensation plan:
To remain active a Partner must place at least $300 in retail value orders in every rolling three month period.
At first glance it might appear Bellame requires affiliates to generate and maintain $300 in retail sales over a rolling three month period.
That’s certainly what I initially thought (see review update below), but that’s not the case.
“place at least $300 in retail value orders” gives a Bellame affiliate the option of either selling $300 worth of products to retail customers, purchasing products worth $300 retail or a combination of the two.
Whereas the wholesale value of affiliate and retail orders is typically counted, for this particular qualification Bellame counts retail value.
From a practical standpoint using a retail value is no different than using the standard wholesale PV amount (it’s still a fixed value), but it can create confusion.
Just so we’re clear: A Bellame affiliate can just as easily purchase $300 retail worth of product to qualify as active, over actually selling $300 worth of product to retail customers.
For their part Bellame don’t provide any indication as to whether they monitor how their affiliates meet active qualification.
The good news is that for you as a prospective affiliate, active qualification provides a convenient benchmark for you to measure your potential upline against.
What you want to ask your potential Bellame upline is firstly whether or not they’re active.
If not, then why not?
If they are, then you want to find out how they’re meeting their “$300 in retail value order” over the past three months.
If they say retail sales, ask for receipts for proof. If they can’t provide any or are unwilling to, assume they’re self-funded active qualification.
The danger with this is maintaining $300 in retail value orders continuously soon adds up to a lot of unsold inventory.
This lends itself to inventory loading, wherein Bellame affiliates self-funding active qualification, likely to earn on downline affiliates doing the same, wind up sitting on large amounts of stored product.
Bellame could nip this possibility in the bud by changing “place $300 in retail value orders” to “sell $300 worth of products to retail customers”, and to be honest I don’t know why they haven’t.
Moving on, the retail commission bonuses fit in nicely with Bellame’s strong retail focus, although it’d be nice to see an equivalent retail volume 15% qualifier (currently the only way to qualify for the full 40% retail bonus rate is through rank promotion).
I’m also not too keen on the Beauty Passport preferred customer fee.
I get it’s offered as an option to an autoship order, but surely anyone committed to Bellame’s products as a retail customer is going to have a standing order anyway?
The only exception I can see is someone not using what’s ordered from month to month. In that case so long as they can justify $25 in savings annually, I suppose the $25 Beauty Passport option might be attractive to them.
Might just be simpler to offer the standing order option though, as a preferred customer fee seems designed for a very specific (and in my opinion unlikely) retail customer scenario.
Beyond that Bellame affiliates are paid on sales volume generated across up to four generations per unilevel team leg.
Ideally that volume should be a mix of retail and affiliate order volume, so a lot hinges on an affiliate’s ability to market and sell Bellame products to retail customers.
This is weighed against self-funded qualification. Which again I have to point out is a trap that, if fallen into, can very quickly add up financially.
Taking a step back from compensation, I’m not going to pretend like I’m an expert on hydration themed personal care products. But even I know that any niche within personal care is highly competitive.
By naming their basic affiliate membership an “Influencer Kit”, Bellame do seem aware of online marketing – but I didn’t see any overt commitment to social media style influencer reach.
That said Scott Thompson appears to have digital marketing experience through the Astoria Company, so I’d be surprised if this wasn’t woven into Bellame’s affiliate support channels.
That could be a positive or negative, depending on how see yourself building your Bellame business.
If you’re thinking of signing up, sampling Bellame’s products as a retail customer and comparing to what you’ll be competing against (locally and online) would be a good place to start.
Approach with caution.
Update 16th July 2019 – In our original review as published, I mistook Bellame’s “place $300 in retail value orders” as a retail requirement.
The best editor I can ask for are my readers. And so after considerable back and forth with Char in the comments below, I came to realize my mistake.
Subsequently on July 16th I rewrote a substantial part of the conclusion of this review, specifically the parts that incorrectly referenced Bellame’s retail requirements (there are in fact none).
Overall there’s nothing overtly of concern in Bellame’s compensation plan, but it is disappointing to see a missed retail incentive opportunity.
Do you know how/if they are tracking those “retail” sales? Here’s why,
In Mary Kay, the consultants get a 50% retail commission rate on products. (I say that loosely) When they PLACE AN ORDER, say $150, the affiliate is counted as having done $300 retail. That’s it. She sold $300 retail as far as MK Corporate is concerned.
An article on PinkTruth.com addressing this very issue was just published a few days ago, where the consultant celebrates a million in “sales”. It was, in fact, roughly 500k downline orders! I say roughly because sometimes MKC will give double retail credit as a promotion to order. Yep.
Mary Kay has no idea how many of the consultants’ orders are re-sold. And as many Pinktruthers will attest, those orders are not re-sold. They sit on shelves, are dumped at a heavy discount, or end up in Goodwill etc..
The quote from the review above sounds suspiciously similar.
Not being active stops MLM commissions.
I saw nothing in Bellame’s compensation plan to suggest affiliate purchases are counted as retail sales. They made a distinction between PV and required retail sales.
Apologies if I’m confused, but how does the quote suggest affiliate orders, VALUED at the retail amount, guarantee retail sales? Is this not set up like the Mary Kay pyramid scheme?
You cited Mary Kay as an example, in which affiliate orders were counted as retail sales?
I stated I didn’t see anything suggesting Bellame’s compensation plan was the same.
According to this video (first minute), retail sales is an option.
Also, I tried to call to clarify what this statement means, “To remain active a Partner must place at least $300 in retail value orders in every rolling three month period.”
Does it mean a partner must simply PLACE an order of $300 “in retail value” (or even wholesale value for that matter) with no tracking of retail customer sales?
Btw, my call was answered by a generic customer call center. It wasn’t a time difference issue as she said they always answer for them.
I took retail value to mean orders placed by retail customers.
There’s a separate PV requirements so they seem to be making a distinction between retail orders and affiliate orders.
Understandable, but if that’s the case, then “entire team” and “personal purchases” are also retail customers:
‘Downline Team Sales (DTS)- : This is the retail value of items sold to your entire team, including your personal purchases’
I’m going by a Nov 2018 twenty-six page version of Bellame’s compensation plan.
Team Sales Volume = GV (downline PV).
PV = retail sales and personal purchases.
Why explicitly specify the additional retail qualifier if it’s just 300 PV over the rolling three-month period?
I took this as Bellame making a clear distinction between self-purchase PV and actual retail sales.
Pretty sure retail “value” doesn’t translate to retail “sales”. I’m not convinced retail value (MSRP price) isn’t just the MLM math used for calculating PV.
Orders placed by downline and self.
How do they know which is which?
Honest question. What retail qualifier?
Respectfully, you wrote: Partner – sign up as a Bellame affiliate and maintain $300 in retail orders over a rolling three month period
Compare that to their description: To remain active a Partner must place at least $300 in retail value orders in every rolling three month period.
The verbiage in their quote is similar to this one:
“The month you place a minimum $225 wholesale order ($450 retail) and the two following calendar months you are considered “Active.” — MK math compensates using the $450 “value” on orders regardless of anything actually sold. They make assumptions on purpose.
Your thoughts on the first minute of the [retail is optional] video I linked? (Published August 2018) In September, Kaylee King hit director. She doesn’t come across as a dingbat newbie.
Moisturizers, hydrating lotions, and other similar products promoted by Bellame are well-known as really expensive junk science. These types of products are up there with homeopathy and snake-oil.
I recently read a book on medical scams and rip-offs and it had a whole chapter on explaining the real science behind this particular noxiously expensive brand of wellness products.
Namely, it is physically impossible for your skin to absorb liquid as it has the function of excreting (sweat) and all the claims they make about you absorbing nutrients into your skin through expensive products that perform miracle effects like making your look younger are unfounded.
See this Vice News article for a bit of elucidation on this particular subject: “Nearly everything you know about moisturisers is bullshit”
The book you want to read about the total rip-off junk science of hydrating products like this, is Dr Ben Goldacre’s “Bad Science”, in particular chapter 3: The Progenium XY Complex.
It’s a scream and an absolute joy to read.
I think that language is reflective of the party marketing approach. You place orders for retail customers at your events.
I get the MK verbiage but it’s obvious affiliate purchases count. Similar != same.
If any Bellame affiliates or someone from the company wants to confirm “placing retail orders” counts an affiliate’s own purchases, that’d be appreciated.
We might as well be married! You mean placing “retail VALUE orders”. LOL
Affiliates place generic orders every three months for customers they HOPE to have – whether they do, or don’t. To stay active, they must place this order nonetheless.
I’m genuinely confused about this statement. Please clarify.
My understanding: An order is an order by the affiliate. They get qualified (active) based on the retail value (MSRP) number.
How do you know what items in that order is for affiliate use, or used to re-sell to a retail customer? Where’s the guarantee of retail sales?
Sorry I’m not letting this go Oz. This is a very important detail that needs clarification, as it extends beyond this company for other reviews.
If I’m misinterpreting, I’ll gladly admit it. Since I was uncertain myself but had my suspicions, I offered at least ‘some’ supporting real world evidence with the [retail sales is optional] video I linked – which you still haven’t commented on.
(And there will be no make up sex just in case someone was going to suggest it.)
Switching gears, Zachar made some valid points regarding effectiveness. Also, I hope affiliates aren’t being misled about product development.
Yes, there are apparently ‘some’ patented ingredients in the product, but Bellame didn’t get the patent. I’m not sure that’s obvious to promoters.
Their website states:
“INFLACIN® This patented, proprietary molecule blocks the myriad bad effects of inflammation, a leading cause of aging.”
In the video below, the founder Melissa and the “director of research and development” are both standing in lab coats:
Chris Westphal, that director of research and development, works for BioZone labs. I’m presuming the guy in the video is not an actor! zoominfo.com/pic/biozone-laboratories-inc/6423876
The Inflacin TM was filed by BioZone labs way back in 2000…..just so there is no confusion.
And back to Zachar’s point, is this junk science anyway?
@Char – both of Ben Goldacre’s books on junk science, namely “bad science” and “bad pharma” are really accessible and easy to understand explanations about why these and other products (like detoxes or alternatively ear candles) that escape the regulation applied to drugs and medical devices but are still sold on the open market.
They can basically say anything they want about them. I copied one of my favourite paragraphs in his scathing criticism of companies which spend a lot of money promoting products with extremely dubious scientific credentials:
[GOLDACRE, Ben (2009) – Harper Perennial, pg, 55]
INFLACIN (peroxicam) is an anti-inflammatory drug like indocid or ibuprofen.
It is highly unlikely that it would be absorbed into your bloodstream by spreading it on your skin; you’d be far better swallowing it if you wanted to enjoy its anti-inflammatory effects.
…and it seems even less likely that spreading it on your skin will somehow make you look younger.
This seems like an unverified jump against all logic.
For clarity. They can place several orders, or one big one, as long as the total cumulative amount of those orders equal the sum of $300 MSRP every three months.
I didn’t mean to imply they only placed one order every three months.
Sorry yes, placing retail value orders.
If that’s not referring to retail customer orders, why explicitly state it in addition to the 100 PV requirement?
That’s what I’m not getting. If an affiliate self-funds commission (100 PV for rank), they’ll be meeting the “retail but not really” additional requirement.
That makes clarifying it redundant, so why would they bother?
My common-sense approach is that Bellame clarified it because it’s actual retail in addition to the 100 PV a month requirement.
It also makes no sense when rank PV increases to 500 PV. Generate 300 PV every three months but also 500 PV a month?
Regarding Mary Kay, I was referring to your quoting of their comp plan – which explicitly clarifies that affiliate purchases are counted as retail orders.
While the “retail value” wording might be the same, there’s no accompanying clarification in Bellame’s compensation plan.
Likewise if I’ve misinterpreted it I’ll redraft the conclusion.
I went back and watched that video (sorry I missed it, had a busy afternoon diagnosing a server bugs after the upgrade that day), she mentions “personal sales”.
The alt qualification she’s talking about is for the retail bonus (it’s at the top of the summary she’s using). I’ve covered the alt qualification for retail bonuses under “retail commissions”.
If you look at the first two I’ve got “or” there.
As to the finer points of moisturizers, I’d be waaaaay out of my depth if I got into that.
I don’t use them so I literally have no idea. This is an ongoing issue for makeup orientated reviews.
I never explicitly get into the quality of personal care products but do recommend people try before signing up.
I went to see if Bellame are on Twitter and they haven’t touched their account since 2018. Was going to see if we could get a corporate response here.
Melissa Thompson doesn’t appear to be on there either.
Bellame are active on Facebook but I don’t have a BMLM related account. Halp?
“Bellame affiliates [Partner] earn a 25% base commission on sales to retail customers. Note there are no qualification requirements for base retail commission eligibility.” ……But they must stay active.
A “Partner” orders at the 25% discount level. To stay active and hence keep receiving that discount, she must place at least $300 MSRP worth of orders over three months. She can resell if she wants to – or not. This is just like a MK personal use consultant. They don’t build.
IMO, your statements below don’t jive:
A mere “partner” doesn’t participate in the comp plan. Their only requirement to stay active and get a discount is $300 MSRP over three months. No 100PV every month. No 4% bonus.
Can you confirm how they calculate PV? Is it the retail value number like MK, wholesale number, or some other figure assigned to each product?
Slight correction. MK does calculate PV on wholesale. They give affiliates retail sales recognition based on the MSRP number regardless of what actually sold.
Ah, now I’ve got a headache.
I’ve gone back and looked at the comp plan and you’ve got a point on the qualification. I think I went with level 1 access = access to the comp plan but technically one level of comp isn’t MLM, even if it’s required to advance to more than one level.
I think I can probably get rid of the “MLM commission” qualification section. I might have written it early on when going through the comp plan before I fully understood it (complete overview). Happens sometimes but I usually catch it.
The 4% I’m correct on though;
This is the “Line 1 Bonus” which Partners can earn (100 PV a month). So I’ve gone and put the Line 1 bonus qual under MLM commissions. I can probably just add that to rank requirements but I think I wanted to emphasize it was the first downline volume commission qualification criteria.
Your level 1 retail volume is technically coming from the second level of your unilevel team. Your retail customers and recruited affiliates go on your level 1, your personally recruited affiliate’s retail customers goes on your level 2 (even though you don’t see them in your unilevel team).
If that makes sense I’m inclined to leave things as they are. Even in this comment I’ve had to sit down and work backwards to work out why I grouped things the way I did.
Bellame’s full comp plan is non-standard, a level 1 unilevel team bonus leading into a generation residual isn’t usually a thing.
The comp summary is easier to read than the full version but is missing some qualification criteria. I relied on both in putting the review together.
There’s PSV (PV):
Ohhhh shit. I think you might be right. “Retail value”.
So we have:
The difference is typically it’s wholesale PV on affiliate orders. Bellame are counting the retail value (non-standard), which then applies to the $300 rolling criteria.
Whyyyyyyyyyy. I was so impressed with requiring affiliates to generate $300 retail over three months!
I guess I’ll be flagging this review conclusion for an update later today.
I’ve gone over the conclusion and rewritten with the “$300 in retail value” consideration in mind.
Hopefully that more accurately reflects Bellame’s compensation plan and how I feel about the business model as a whole.
If this common enough in make-up orientated MLM companies I’ll have to keep an eye out for it. Thanks again Char.
Casablanca lilies. You remember dear, the big white ones. 🙂