Damsel In Defense Review: Women’s personal protection
Damsel In Defense was launched in 2011 and claim their ‘mission is to equip, empower & educate women to protect themselves with our safe and sassy personal protection products‘.
There is no corporate address provided on the Damsel In Defense website, however the company’s Terms and Conditions state:
Your use of this site shall be governed in all respects by the laws of the state of California, U.S.A.
You agree that jurisdiction over and venue in any legal proceeding directly or indirectly arising out of or relating to this site (including but not limited to the purchase of Damsel In Defense products) shall be in the state or federal courts located in Los Angeles County, California.
This conflicts with the Damsel In Defense website domain registration, which lists an address for DID INC. in Idaho.
Heading up Damsel In Defense are co-founders Mandy Lin (Chief Marketing Officer) and Bethany Hughes (Chief Services Officer). Bob Hipple serves as CEO.
Bob Hipple’s direct sales industry experience spans over 30+ years as a distributor, keynote speaker, company executive and business consultant.
He was the Vice President of Sales for two of the largest technology companies in the industry as well as VP of Sales for Scentsy during their early growth period.
Bob has served on the Education Committee for the Direct Selling Association and been a speaker at numerous DSA events.
After a two year consulting relationship, Damsel In Defense was honored to invite Bob on as their Chief Executive Officer in January of 2014.
Read on for a full review of the Damsel In Defense MLM business opportunity.
The Damsel in Defense Product Line
Damsel In Defense operate in the personal protection MLM niche, with a focus on products for women.
Personal protection products featured in the Damsel In Defense catalog include
- Hard ‘lil Hand – handheld striking tool ($25)
- Sock it to me – keychain-sized handheld striking tool ($10)
- 120 db door alarm ($15)
- Holla Hers – high-pitched alarm with LED flashlight ($15)
- Holla His – high-pitched alarm for men (same as Holla Hers but in black)
- Wristle bracelet – whistle bracelet ($10)
- Take it and Leave it – pepper spray twin-pack (one 5 ounce and one 2 ounce bottle for $25)
- Perfect Pepper – pepper spray with disable pin ($20)
- Hardcore Pepper Spray – keychain-sized pepper spray ($10)
- Gotcha stun gun – stun gun designed to look like a camera, USB rechargeable and comes with alarm and LED flashlight ($95)
- Get a Grip – handheld stun gun with LED flashlight ($65)
- Striking Distance – 12-inch striking baton ($60)
- Pack a Punch – stun gun with LED flashlight ($50)
- Digital Defense – a digital “protection plan” ($29.95 a month for individuals, $59.95 for a family plan)
Other Damsel In Defense products include car safety and breakdown kits, a personal safe disguised as a spraycan and safety signs.
The Damsel In Defense Compensation Plan
The Damsel In Defense compensation plan sees affiliates paid to sell Damsel In Defense products to retail customers.
Residual commissions are paid out via a unilevel compensation structure. A percentage bonus paid out on the entire team’s volume is also available as well as a four level deep generation bonus.
Damsel In Defense Affiliate Ranks
There are nine affiliate ranks within the Damsel In Distress compensation plan.
Along with their respective qualification criteria, they are as follows:
- Recruit – sign up as a Damsel In Defense affiliate
- Protegé – generate $1000 in accumulated PV
- Junior Mentor – generate $150 PV a month and recruit and maintain at least one active affiliate
- Mentor – generate $500 PV a month, recruit and maintain at least one qualified affiliate and have a total monthly downline volume of $2000 GV
- Senior Mentor – generate $500 PV a month, recruit and maintain at least two qualified affiliates and have a total monthly downline volume of $4000 GV
- Director – generate $500 PV a month, recruit and maintain at least four qualified affiliates and have a downline generating $7500 TV a month
- Crystal Director – generate $500 PV a month, recruit and maintain at least four qualified affiliates (one at the Director or higher rank), have a downline generating $7500 TV and $15,000 GV a month
- Pearl Director – generate $500 PV a month, recruit and maintain at least four qualified affiliates (two at the Director or higher rank), have a downline generating $7500 TV and $30,000 GV a month
- Diamond Director – generate $500 PV a month, recruit and maintain at least four qualified affiliates (four at the Director or higher rank), have a downline generating $7500 TV and $75,000 GV a month
PV stands for “Personal Volume” and is sales volume generated by an affiliate’s own purchases and retail customer orders.
Note that for the purpose of rank qualification, no more than 50% of qualifying PV can come from the sale of digital products.
TV stands for “Team Volume” and is sales volume generated by an affiliate’s own purchases and that of their personally recruited affiliates.
GV stands for “Group Volume” and is sales volume generated by an affiliate’s entire downline (excludes their own purchases).
Regarding Active and Qualified affiliates, an Active affiliate must generate at least $150 in commissions over a rolling three-month period.
Going inactive sees a Damsel In Defense affiliate’s downline transferred to the first active upline affiliate.
Finally, “qualified affiliates” in the rank criteria above refers to Active affiliates who are lower than Director.
For he purpose of Damsel In Defense rank qualification, Director or higher ranked affiliates do not count towards qualified affiliate recruitment quotas.
Residual commissions in Damsel In Defense are paid out via a unilevel compensation structure.
A unilevel compensation structure sees an affiliate placed 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.
Damsel In Defense cap payable unilevel levels at four, with commissions paid out as a percentage of sales volume generated on each level of the unilevel team.
How many levels a Damsel In Defense affiliate can earn on is determined by their rank:
- Junior Mentor – 4% on level 1
- Mentor – 4% on level 1 and 3% on level 2
- Senior Mentor – 4% on level 1, 3% on level 2 and 2% on level 3
- Director or higher – 4% on level 1, 3% on level 2, 2% on level 3 and 1% on level 4
The Team Bonus is a bonus percentage payout on an affiliate’s entire unilevel team. It also includes an affiliate’s own purchase of product.
How much of a Team Bonus percentage is paid out is determined by an affiliate’s rank:
- Director – 2%
- Crystal Director – 3%
- Pearl Director – 4%
- Diamond Director – 5%
The Generation Bonus uses the same unilevel compensation structure as residual commissions, with a generation defined when a Director or higher ranked affiliate is found in a unilevel leg.
This first Director caps off the first generation in that leg, with the second generation starting after them.
If another Director exists in that leg then the second generation stops with them, and the third then starts after them.
If no second Director ranked affiliate exists, the second generation extends down the entire depth of the leg.
How many generations a Damsel In Defense affiliate is paid out on is determined by their affiliate rank:
- Crystal Director – 3% on the first generation
- Pearl Director 3% on the first and second generations
- Diamond Director 3% on the first, second and third generations
Note that generations in one unilevel have no bearing on any other unilevel legs, with generations in each unilevel leg calculated independently.
Joining Damsel In Defense
Affiliate membership with Damsel In Defense is $149.
This includes a “Knight in Shining Armor kit, which includes a selection of Damsel In Defense products.
I’m not too sure how I feel about weapons being sold via MLM, but I guess here we’re talking about defense so it’s a little less risky.
Nonetheless the fact that Damsel In Defense affiliates are marketing potentially dangerous hand weapons should not be underestimated.
This in turn places a greater level of responsibility on Damsel In Defense affiliates then they might otherwise have in another MLM opportunity.
Reflecting this is acknowledgement that several Damsel In Defense products are restricted in MD; New Castle County, DE; Wilmington, DE; Newark, DE; Philadelphia, PA; IL; CT; HI; MA; MI; NJ; NY; RI; WI; DC and all U.S. Virgin Islands.
Affiliates who sign up in these areas are provided with a “no stun, no spray” kit. I believe Damsel In Defense do not ship outside of the US.
With that out of the way, Damsel In Defense it’s certainly an interesting product line. And I suppose it makes some sense too, what with the majority of MLM affiliates purportedly being female.
Percentages of females in network marketing are regularly cited at 80%+, however I was unable to independently put a source to this figure.
Broad inspection of any MLM affiliate conference or event though does appear to support the figure.
On the compensation plan side of things Damsel In Defense is pretty straight forward. You sell products to customers and you get paid a commission. Your recruited affiliates do the same and you also get paid.
The $149 sign up fee isn’t commissionable, nor does it make any sense for Damsel In Defense affiliates to stockpile product each month for commission qualification (how many jabbing tools do you need?).
Thus there’s a high probability that qualification PV is going to be generated via sales of product to retail customers.
One problem with the product line is perhaps a lack of repeat business, which will see affiliate’s constantly marketing Damsel In Defense’s products to new customers.
I suppose that gives them plenty of practice, but it might lead to accelerated burnout among the field in the long-term.
The digital protection product does have an ongoing subscription, but qualifying PV can only count for half of the total required. The rest has to come from non-digital product sales.
A nice touch is that Director or higher ranked affiliates don’t count towards rank qualification, which will see even the top Damsel In Defense affiliates always focusing on growing their downlines.
One last thing that struck me as a bit harsh was an affiliate losing their entire downline if they go inactive for three months. I’d feel a little more confident if this was extended to six months, with three months borderline covering a slump in business or worse, squashing the efforts of a new Damsel In Defense affiliate.
A thought I’ll leave you with is potential marketing hurdles with Damsel In Defense’s product line.
As I mentioned before there’s a much greater level of responsibility with marketing personal protection weapons over say a juice or nutritional supplement.
Fear is a powerful marketing tool, with Damsel In Defense fully exploiting it in their own marketing material:
National statistics suggest that at a twelve person home party, two of those women will have wished that they would have had something to defend themselves at some time in their lives.
The above refers to home party marketing, but the same applies to alternative marketing strategies:
Get into Real Estate offices where agents are showing homes to complete strangers. Or hair salons where stylists are in store fronts late at night.
Waitresses and bartenders are walking to their cars with cash on them feeling vulnerable every night. College aged girls are four times more likely to be attacked, join us and get to your local campuses!
Crime is an epidemic that is not going away and the women in your community need your help!
The above suggests that Damsel In Defense affiliates should embrace the notion that they’re helping to prevent crime.
This is acceptable, on the caveat that Damsel In Defense affiliates are trained to use the products they’re selling. Ditto the customers they sell their personal protection products to.
I have no formal combat or defense training. I can swing a baton as good as anyone but I’m going to be steamrolled by someone who knows what they’re doing.
I’m not suggesting Damsel In Defense need to deploy a mandatory military-grade training program or some such, but I do hope there’s at least some training beyond printed instructions available to their affiliates.
Otherwise things could get out of hand.