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.