Thirty-One Gifts Review: Women’s fashion with great retail
Thirty-One Gifts operate in the women’s fashion MLM niche and are based out of the US state of Ohio.
So the story goes,
Founder, President & CEO Cindy Monroe started Thirty-One in her basement in 2003.
From those humble beginnings we’ve grown into one of the most successful direct-selling businesses in the world, with more than 90,000 independent Sales Consultants across the U.S. and Canada.
I wasn’t able to find any information on whether Monroe (above right) had been involved in other MLM opportunities prior to founding Thirty-One Gifts.
Of note is that Thirty-One Gifts recently underwent restructuring, with the company expected to close an Ohio production facility this year.
The closing, announced Thursday afternoon, will affect 74 employees at the company as well as an undisclosed number of workers at Exel Logistics, a local subcontractor.
The company initially pledged to create as many as 500 jobs when it first opened the distribution center at 1000 Titus Rd. in Springfield in 2011, but most of those jobs never materialized.
Along with the Springfield operations, the decision will also affect 220 workers in Johnstown in Licking County, Ohio.
“We will consolidate our distribution and personalization activities to our home office in Easton in Columbus, closing our Johnstown and Springfield facilities in 2016,” Thirty-One Gifts said in a press release.
“We are making these changes to align our operating capacity with business needs. Operations at Easton will continue without interruption.”
The impact, if any, this has had on Thirty-One Gifts’ MLM business operations is unclear.
Read on for a full review of the Thirty-One Gifts MLM business opportunity.
The Thirty-One Gifts Product Line
As mentioned in the introduction of this review, Thirty-One Gifts operate in the women’s fashion niche.
This sees the company market a range of personal accessories, jewelry, purses, thermals, totes, utility (organizer bags), wallets and homeware.
There are far too many Thirty-One Gifts products to list here individually, however a full catalog with retail pricing is readily available from the Thirty-One Gifts website.
Of note is that in 2010 Thirty-One Gifts found itself the subject of a lawsuit brought on by Miche Bag.
Miche Bag took issue with Thirty-One Gifts selling bags that had interchangeable outer covers.
Miche Bag sought a TRO against Thirty-One Gifts which was initially granted. At a subsequent preliminary injunction hearing, Thirty-One Gifts ‘brought forth sufficient evidence to call into question the validity of plaintiff’s patent‘.
This saw both the TRO dissolved and Miche Bag’s request for a preliminary injunction denied. Three days later Miche Bag voluntarily dismissed their case.
The dismissal saw Miche Bag surrender a $10,000 bond to Thirty-One Gifts to cover legal costs.
The Thirty-One Gifts Compensation Plan
The Thirty0One Gifts compensation plan pays affiliates to sell Thirty-One Gifts products to retail customers.
Residual commissions are paid out via a unilevel compensation plan, down a maximum three generations per unilevel leg.
Thirty-One Gifts Affiliate Ranks
There are six affiliate ranks within the Thirty-One Gifts compensation plan.
Along with their respective qualification criteria, they are as follows:
- Consultant – accumulate $1000 in PV and maintain $200 PV over a rolling three-month period
- Senior Consultant – recruit and maintain at least two Consultant ranked affiliates and maintain $200 PV over a rolling three-month period
- Director – recruit and maintain at least four Consultant ranked affiliates, generate $1000 PV a month and $4000 GV in monthly downline volume
- Senior Director – maintain at least two recruited Consultant and Director ranked affiliates (four recruits in total), maintain $1000 PV a month and at least $4000 GV, with the sum total of your PV and GV across unilevel generations 1 and 2 equaling $12,000 or more
- Executive Director – maintain at least four Director ranked affiliates, maintain $1000 PV a month and at least $4000 GV, with the sum total of your PV and GV across unilevel generations 1 to 3 equaling $20,000 or more
- Senior Executive Director – recruit and maintain at least eight Director ranked affiliates, maintain $1000 PV a month and at least $4000 GV, with the sum total of your PV and GV across unilevel generations 1 to 3 equaling $36,000 or more
PV stands for “Personal Volume” and is sales volume generated by an affiliate’s retail customer orders and own purchase of product(s).
GV stands for “Group Volume” and is sales volume generated by an affiliate’s downline combined with their own purchase of product(s).
Thirty-One Gift affiliates are paid an initial 25% commission on retail customer orders.
Starting at the Director rank, this 25% is increased up to 34% as follows:
- Director – 28%
- Senior Director – 30%
- Executive Director – 32%
- Senior Executive Director – 34%
Residual commissions in Thirty-One Gifts are paid out 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 of their own, 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.
Commissions are paid out through generations, with a generation in a unilevel team defined when another Director ranked affiliate is found in any given unilevel leg.
Generations in unilevel legs are calculated independently from each other.
Using the above generation criteria, residual commissions in Thirty-One Gifts are paid out as follows:
- Consultant – no MLM commissions
- Senior Consultant – 2% on the first generation
- Director – 3% on the first generation and 2% on the second
- Senior Director – 5% on the first generation, 3% on the second and 2% on the third
- Executive Director – 7% on the first generation, 3% on the second and 2% on the third
- Senior Executive Director – 9% on the first generation, 3% on the second generation and 2% on the third
Director Rank Achievement Bonus
Upon qualifying at the Director rank, Thirty-One Gifts affiliates are paid a one-time $1000 bonus.
Developing Director Bonus
The Developing Director Bonus pays affiliates a $1000 to $7500 when personally recruited affiliates qualify at the Director or higher rank.
- Director – $1000 Developing Director Bonus
- Senior Director – $1000 Developing Director Bonus
- Executive Director – “up to $3000 Developing Director Bonus”
- Senior Executive Director – “up to $7500 Developing Director Bonus”
There appears to be a three-month qualification period for the Developing Director Bonus, however the compensation plan material fails to provide explicit details.
Joining Thirty-One Gifts
Affiliate membership with Thirty-One Gifts is $99 (shipping and handling extra).
Thirty-One Gifts appear to offer a pretty robust women’s fashion offering, but beyond the general observation I can’t offer more.
I’d definitely take the 2010 voluntary dismissal of the Miche Bag case as corporate confidence in their product lines.
On the compensation side of things Thirty-One Gifts offers strong retail incentives, by way of increasing retail commissions with affiliate rank.
Retail commission incentives are often absent in MLM compensation plans, so this is great to see.
The use of generations in the unilevel promotes team growth rather than flat recruitment, as affiliates are paid more as their downline’s business grows.
There is a potential pitfall for affiliates to initially self-fund their monthly PV requirements, however at the higher ranks this becomes unfeasible.
Home parties appears to be the preferred marketing platform of choice for Thirty-One Gifts affiliates, which brings with it the issue of inventory loading.
Be careful not to purchase too large an inventory to showcase to customers, as a lack of initial sales might weigh down your fledging business with a heavy liability.
Also note that being a fashion-centric MLM opportunity, Thirty-One Gift’s product range is subject to seasonal change. This can impact an affiliate two-fold, first by making existing inventory redundant and secondly by seeing affiliates purchase new inventory from season to season.
This is something that will have to be carefully balanced within each Thirty-One Gift affiliate’s business.
At the end of the day strong retail sales will offset any particular concerns, but that’s not necessarily a guarantee they are present.
It probably also wouldn’t hurt to check out your local competition, as women’s fashion is of course notoriously competitive.
Fashion MLM can work, as margins are high enough to subsist it.
Actual cost of such, esp. if outsourced to Asia, should be minimal, with some customization work done in the US (much like the large volume Etsy sellers). And with the rapid rotation of inventory being seasonal, hopefully the company has a proper refund policy in case the product met resistance in local markets (they probably already do have refund policy).
In that case, the risk by participants is vastly reduced.
From their website:
Wow, $400 ‘worth’ of products for $99. Sign me up. Duh, right?
during college monroe was a rep for the pampered chef and learnt the ropes of MLM from that experience.
later she sold insurance before starting thirtyone gifts at the age of 29.
in 2009 thirtyone gifts had a turnover of 38 million, which grew to
760 million in 2013.
2014 brought a decrease in annual revenue at 643 million, which may explain the layoffs and restructuring.
there are some complaints about the products being overpriced and of poor quality, but the company has a 90 day return policy which sufficiently addresses unsatisfied customers.