Scentsy Review: Scented wax fragrances since 2004
Scentsy operates in the candles, essential oils, home care and personal care MLM niches.
The company was founded in 2003 in Utah by Kara Egan and Colette Gunnell.
After coming across it at a trade show in Utah, current owners Orville and Heidi Thompson purchased Scentsy in 2004.
The Thompson’s (right) moved Scentsy to their home state, Idaho.
Prior to purchasing Scentsy, the Thompsons claim they were “swimming in debt after a string of unprofitable business ventures.”
As per an interview with Idaho News 6 in 2018, at the time Orville Thompson was “selling car waxes and shammies”.
Heidi recalls, “[Orville] ended up coming to me and saying this is where we are, $700,000 plus in debt.”
Things were so dire, says Orville,”…that we’re now dumping the change out of our big water jug in the coinstar machine to buy groceries.”
Scentsy has since gone to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in annual sales.
The DSN have pegged Scentsy’s 2020 annual revenue at $893 million, up from $472 million the year prior.
Under regular circumstances Orville and Heidi Thompson run Scentsy as co-CEOs.
Earlier this year the Thompsons announced that, as of June, they are ‘taking a break to serve a three-year mission with their church.’
The Thompsons … will spend three years in London with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
While they’re gone Scenty President, Dan Orchard (right), is serving as interim CEO.
Scentsy has not had any regulatory run-ins across its seventeen years in business.
Read on for a full review of Scentsy’s MLM opportunity.
Although it started as a wickless candle company, today Scentsy offers a wider range of products.
- warmers + wax – wax bars, wax warmers, bulbs & accessories
- diffusers + oils
- fans, purifiers + pods – Scentsy Go (portable diffuser) air purifiers, wall fan diffusers, Scentsy pods (for use with the fan diffusers)
- unplugged (non-electric scents)
- laundry + clean – dryer disks, laundry liquid, fabric softener, fabric spray, washer whiffs (clothes fragrance), cleaner concentrate, bathroom cleaner, counter clean, dish soap
- body – body cream, body wash, fragrance mist, hand cream, hand soap, Scentsy Soak (bath soak) , sugar scrub
- kids (plush toys)
- pets – pet shampoo, detangling spray, deodorizing spray
That list is pretty extensive in and of itself, so it follows Scentsy has too many products to list here individually.
A full catalog with retail pricing of Scentsy’s current offering is provided on their website.
Note that Scentsy refreshed its catalog twice a year in March and September.
Scentsy’s Compensation Plan
Scentsy’s compensation plan revolves around monthly production of sales volume.
Commissions are paid out directly and residually through downline rank qualification and unilevel team generations.
Scentsy Affiliate Ranks
There are nine affiliate ranks within Scentsy’s compensation plan.
Along with their respective qualification criteria, they are as follows:
- Escential Consultant – sign up as a Scentsy affiliate, qualify as an Active Escential Consultant (see below) once over a twelve-month period to keep your account active
- Active Escential Consultant – generate 200 PRV a month
- Certified Consultant – generate 1000 PRV (accumulated, no time limit)
- Lead Consultant – generate and maintain 500 PRV and 1000 GV a month, and recruit and maintain one Active Escential Consultant or higher
- Star Consultant – maintain 500 PRV, generate and maintain 2500 GV a month and recruit and maintain two Active Escential Consultants or higher
- SuperStar Consultant – maintain 500 PRV, generate and maintain 6000 GV a month and recruit and maintain three Active Escential Consultants or higher
- Director – maintain 500 PRV, generate and maintain 10,000 GV and 2000 TWV a month, and maintain three personally recruited Active Escential Consultants or higher
- Star Director – maintain 500 PRV, generate and maintain 30,000 GV and 6000 TWV a month, and maintain one personally recruited Active Escential Consultant or higher and two Directors or higher
- Superstar Director – maintain 500 PRV, generate and maintain 80,000 GV and 10,000 TWV a month, and maintain one personally recruited Active Escential Consultant or higher and three Directors or higher
Note that to count towards rank qualification, recruited Escential Consultants must have generated a minimum 200 accumulated PRV.
PRV stands for “Personal Retail Volume”. PRV is calculated at a rate of $1 = 1 PRV.
Scentsy represent PRV counts only retail sales volume.
Given that Scentsy affiliates are able to purchase product for retailing, I believe affiliate purchases are also counted under PRV.
This would be your typical Personal Volume (PV) MLM comp plan setup.
GV stands for “Group Volume” and is an affiliate’s PRV and that of their downline.
Personal Wholesale Volume (PWV, used to calculate TWV), is 75% of an affiliate’s PRV.
TWV stands for “Team Wholesale Volume” and is an affiliate’s PWV and that of their downline (equivalent of 75% of generated GV).
Scentsy affiliates earn a retail commission on sales to retail customers.
- Escential Consultants earn a 20% retail commission
- Certified Consultants and higher earn a 25% retail commission
Personal Wholesale Volume (PWV) is 75% of an affiliate’s monthly generated PRV.
The PWV bonus is an additional percentage paid on a Scentsy affiliate’s monthly PWV.
- Lead Consultants earn a 2% PWV Bonus
- Star Consultants earn a 4% PWV Bonus
- SuperStar Consultants earn a 7% PWV Bonus
- Directors and higher earn a 9% PWV Bonus
Frontline Bonuses are paid on TWV generated by personally recruited affiliates.
- Lead Consultants earn 2% on TWV generated by personally recruited Escential Consultants
- Star Consultants earn 4% on TWV generated by personally recruited Escential Consultants and 2% on Lead Consultants
- Superstar Consultants earn 7% on TWV generated by personally recruited Escential Consultants, 5% on Lead Consultants and 3% on Star Consultants
- Directors and higher earn 9% on TWV generated by personally recruited Escential Consultants, 7% on Lead Consultants, 5% on Star Consultants, 2% on Superstar Consultants and 3% on Directors
A reminder that TWV is 75% of an affiliate’s generated GV (total downline PRV).
Scentsy’s Generational Bonus is tracked 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.
Within this unilevel structure, the Generational Bonus pays out on TWV generated by up to three generations of Directors in each leg.
- Directors earn 3% on TWV generated by the first Director in a leg
- Star Directors earn 3% on TWV generated by the first Director in a leg and 4% on a second
- Superstar Directors earn 3% on TWV generated by the first Director in a leg, 4% on a second and 5% on a third
A reminder that TWV is 75% of an affiliate’s generated GV (total downline PRV).
Scentsy affiliate membership is tied to a $99 Start Kit purchase.
Our traditional Starter Kit includes everything you need to start your Scentsy business: a best-selling warmer, scented wax testers, catalogs, order forms, three months of your own PWS (website), product samples and more.
A prospective affiliate can also host a product party and
apply your earned product credit toward a Host-Exclusive Starter Kit to become a Scentsy Consultant.
There is also an additional $15 a month fee to maintain a replicated Scentsy sales website:
Q. Is the company website free?
A. All Consultants receive a Scentsy website FREE, for the first 90 days.
To continue, you must enroll in the website subscription program, found in your Scentsy back office/work station.
The website fee is $15 per month.
Scentsy ticks a lot of boxes I look for when reviewing an MLM company.
They’ve been around for a while without a regulatory hiccup, the company isn’t run by complete assholes (sorry, I’m still coming off Amazon’s LulaRich doco), and they have a robust product line with an “on the surface” emphasis on retail sales.
Scentsy manufacture their fragrance products in house at Meridian, Idaho.
The company claims it “manufacture(s) 230,916 products per day”. In addition to Idaho, Scentsy also has a worldwide product distribution network spanning Texas, Kentucy, the Netherlands, Mexico and Australia.
The wax bars seem reasonably priced at $6 for a 2.6 oz (74 g) bar. I counted 105 current wax bar fragrances on offer (some were sold out).
Due to its sales potential and size, one thing Scentsy has going for it is corporate partnerships.
I’m not really convinced lime zest, blue tea (?) and lavender conveys Marvel superheroes (If I’m being honest, what fragrance would?) but hey – it’s there.
I think the brand deals are more enticing when it comes to hardware and the plush toys.
My point is if you’re into fragrances (be it waxes or oils), there’s a lot to choose from in Scentsy.
I do keep tabs on the wider MLM industry and I think, for the most part, Scentsy have avoided the “we have an oil for that” marketing that Young Living and doTerra are notorious for.
The rest of Scentsy’s product range seem to have been added over time as complimentary lines.
Personally I wouldn’t turn to a fragrance company for laundry detergent etc. but it’s there if you’re interested.
Once you get over the non-standard terminology, Scentsy’s compensation plan is relatively straight-forward.
The weak point is affiliate purchases counting towards PRV.
When I went looking for clarification on this I came across Scentsy’s Independent Consultant Agreement, which states;
For monthly purchases totaling more than $1,500, you must be able to certify to Scentsy that you have pending Customer orders in excess of $1,500 or provide Scentsy with other business reasons why such a purchase is necessary.
You must be able to demonstrate that at least 70 percent of your total monthly Personal Retail Volume (PRV) is devised from product sold to Customers outside your Immediate Household or that at least five (5) different Customers outside your Immediate Household have placed orders each month.
You are prohibited from carrying excessive inventory and from encouraging your Downline to purchase and carry large amounts of inventory.
How strictly is that enforced? And what about orders below $1500? Specifically ongoing monthly orders that qualify a Scentsy affiliate for commissions?
To remove any doubt Scentsy could enforce an explicit ~350 retail PRV ratio from Lead Consultant.
That is Lead Consultants and higher would be required to generate at least 350 PRV in retail sales each month (no counting affiliate purchases). A 300 PRV would also work.
Something Scentsy could definable improve on is providing detailed compensation documentation on their website.
At present there’s a one page summary. It was nice to work from but I had to go looking elsewhere for terminology definitions.
Nobody is making heads or tails of that document on its own.
Worse still, the footer of the provided compensation summary states:
For a detailed look at Scentsy’s compensation plan, including what the average Consultant earns, visit scentsy.com, click Join, then click About Compensation.
As at the time of publication, that “about compensation” link doesn’t exist.
It seems like at one point Scentsy were providing detailed compensation information but then stopped.
Not sure what the story is there.
During my research I also came across this from Scentsy co-owner Orville Thompson;
When one promotes to Director, they are paid a different bonus on the directors in their downlines than they are paid on the consultants in their downlines.
We believe that a personal retailing bonus is best to encourage high product sales to customers which is the strength of any
A differential bonus is best to encourage recruiting, business building, and leadership skills, and a generation bonus is best to reward business builders and dream builders.
Scentsy incorporates these types of bonuses in sequence relative to a Consultant and her recruits individually, and in concert relative to a Consultant and her downline as a group.
This allows consultants to seamlessly transition from self-employed salesperson, to a team-building business person, to an accomplished dream builder who has brought others through the process and has the legacy and residual income of an empire builder (one who earns from previous effort).
Written by Orville Thompson, Scentsy President and Owner
It kinda sounds like Thompson is acknowledging new Scentsy affiliates should retail, but that the ultimate goal is to drop that and focus on recruiting others to sell for you (and they then do the same).
This presumably would mean those who stop retailing are then buying 500 PRV of product each month to qualify.
That last paragraph in particular leaves me with lingering doubts as to how much of a focus retail is for Scenty’s higher ranked affiliates.
The good news is establishing whether retail is a priority in your potential upline’s business is simple:
If they’re working towards Certified Consultant, ask them how much they’ve spent on product so far versus what they’ve sold to retail customers.
Remember that $1 spent/purchased = 1 PRV so this calculation is easy.
If your potential upline is Lead Consultant or higher, you want to find out how much of their 500 PRV monthly requirement is retail volume (actual retail, not “I bought this to sell it at some point”).
A Scentsy affiliate should be upfront about these numbers. A lack of retail volume or any hesitation to provide this data is a problem.
As we saw in the Vemma, Herbalife and AdvoCare cases brought by the FTC, an MLM company needs to have significant retail volume company-wide. And affiliate purchases, even if on paper are intended for retail resale, doesn’t count towards this volume.
One last thing, Scentsy… c’mon, you’re an MLM company – no need to beat about the bush.
Is Scentsy a multilevel marketing (MLM) company?
Scentsy is a party plan company, which is characterized by a social event — typically in a home, in person or online — where independent Consultants promote the products of their choosing within Scentsy’s product lineup.
The party plan model gives Consultants the advantage of being able to help multiple customers experience the products at one time.
Keep in mind that by being a “party plan” company, the current environment might make traditional retailing of Scentsy difficult. Depending of course where you are in the world.
With those points in mind and if your potential upline checks out, if fragrances are your thing Scentsy is easily the least controversial fragrance MLM company I’ve reviewed to date.