Tocara Review: Midrange imported Chinese jewelry
Tocara was founded in 2007 and operates in the jewelry MLM niche.
The company is based out of Canada but does also operate in the US, through a PO Box corporate address in Vermont.
There is a UK prelaunch video on Tocara’s official YouTube channel, dated July 16th, 2022:
Tocara’s UK prelaunch began August 7th. Not sure when the full launch is but that makes three countries Tocara operates in.
Heading up Tocara is founder Randall Markus (right).
Markus is referenced in the “about” section of Tocara’s website but, beyond co-designing Tocara’s jewelry, no information about him is provided.
Tocara is a member of the Canadian DSA, and there we learn a bit more about Markus’ background;
(Markus) has had a long career in the jewelry trade, which includes the manufacturing, marketing and design side of the business.
He founded Bijou Chateau Jewelry a wholesale, manufacturing business in 1979, supplying many of North America’s finest jewelry stores, department stores, television shopping channels, internet retailers and direct sales businesses.
In 2008 he founded Tocara after a long relationship with Avon Products Inc. where he developed his passion for the direct sales industry.
I’ve cited Tocara launching 2007, as per Markus’ LinkedIn profile. Markus cites himself as President of Bijoux Chateau since 1978.
Curiously Avon isn’t referenced on Markus’ LinkedIn profile. For more insight on that relationship, we turn to a 2019 article on Direct Selling News;
By the mid- to late 1980s, Markus had designed and manufactured proprietary pieces that caught the interest of a large direct seller: Avon.
“I built a sizable business with Avon Canada,” Markus says, “I designed jewelry, and I manufactured it for them.”
As far as I’m aware, Tocara is Markus’ first MLM venture as an executive.
Read on for a full review of Tocara’s MLM opportunity.
Tocara markets an ever-changing range of gold, silver and stainless steel jewelry.
Backed by our limited lifetime warranty, all of our jewelry is constructed with rhodium-finished sterling silver (.925), hypoallergenic surgical-grade stainless steel or 10K gold.
Jewelry is presented on Tocara’s website across four categories; Classique, Avant Garde, Pour Hommes and Z-Inspiration.
When I clicked on any of these categories, I got the message “no items found”:
In the navigation bar of Tocara’s website additional product categories (that actually work) are found: bracelets, earrings, necklaces, rings, accessories and men’s.
Products can be viewed on Tocara’s website directly, or through season catalogs. Both options provide full retail pricing.
With respect to manufacturing, Tocara states;
Each piece is created in our studio in Montreal, Canada and designed by our founder Randall Markus and our in-house jewelry designer Nathalie Bégin.
Our priority is to create pieces that are timeless, trendy, functional and of the highest quality.
The current Tocara catalog available is Spring/Summer 2022.
Tocara’s Compensation Plan
Tocara provides a two-page compensation summary on their website. Half of that details affiliate membership options.
There’s enough there to constitute a compensation introduction, but not enough for due-diligence.
I’ve supplemented the following breakdown with additional information I’ve sourced, mostly from Tocara affiliate marketing efforts. Information cited was published within the last one to two years.
Tocara Affiliate Ranks
There are ten known ranks within Tocara’s compensation plan.
Along with their respective qualification criteria, they are follows.
- Consultant – sign up as a Tocara affiliate
- Senior Consultant – recruit two affiliates and generate and maintain $1200 in PV and $2400 in GV a month
- Silver Director – recruit four affiliates and generate and maintain $1200 in PV and $4000 in GV a month
- Pearl Director – not provided
- Ruby Director – not provided
- Emerald Director – not provided
- Diamond Director – not provided
- Vice President – not provided
- Three Star Vice President – not provided
- Senior Vice President – not provided
PV stands for “Personal Volume”. PV is sales volume generated by retail orders and an affiliate’s own purchases.
GV stands for “Group Volume”. GV is PV generated by an affiliate and their downline.
Tocara affiliates earn a 25% to 40% commission on sales to retail customers. This can be online or in-person.
Variable retail commission rate qualification criteria is not provided.
Fast Start Bonus
Tocara rewards new affiliates for hitting sales targets within a set timeframe:
- sell $800 worth of Tocara product in your first 30 days and receive a $100 jewelry coupon
- sell $1200 worth of Tocara product in your first 70 days and receive a “Tocara watch”
- sell $1600 worth of Tocara product in your first 70 days and receive a $200 jewelry coupon
- sell $2400 worth of Tocara product in your first 70 days and receive a $300 jewelry coupon
- sell $4000 worth of Tocara product in your first 70 days and receive a $400 jewelry coupon
Whether the sell requirements include an affiliate’s own purchases is unclear.
Additional Fast Start Bonuses can also be earned based on recruitment:
- recruit one affiliate within your first 70 days and receive a $100 jewelry coupon
- recruit two affiliates within your first 70 days and receive a $200 jewelry coupon
- recruit three affiliates within your first 70 days and receive a $300 jewelry coupon
- recruit four affiliates within your first 70 days and receive a $400 jewelry coupon
Tocara 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.
Tocara caps payable unilevel team levels at six.
Residual commissions are paid as a percentage of sales volume generated across these six levels as follows:
- level 1 (personally recruited affiliates) – 5%
- level 2 – 6%
- level 3 – 4%
- level 4 – 3%
- level 5 – 2%
- level 6 – 1%
I suspect how many levels a Tocara affiliate can earn on is determined by rank. This however is not specified.
Tocara affiliates earn Recruitment Bonuses down two levels of recruitment.
Recruitment Bonuses are paid when recruited affiliates qualify at Director and Leadership ranks.
- level 1 recruited affiliate qualifies for Director = $500 bonus
- level 1 recruited affiliate qualifies at Leadership Rank (any Leadership rank) = $500 bonus
- level 2 recruited affiliate qualifies for Director = $250 bonus
- level 2 recruited affiliate qualifies at Leadership Rank (any Leadership rank) = $250 bonus
Director ranks start at Silver Director, however it’s unclear whether this is the rank Recruitment Bonuses trigger on.
I’m assuming Leadership ranks start at Vice President but this isn’t specified.
Leadership Bonus Pool
Tocara’s compensation plan has a Leadership Bonus Pool.
Details are not provided.
Rank Achievement Bonuses
Tocara rewards affiliates for qualifying at Silver Director and higher with the following one-time Rank Achievement Bonuses:
- qualify at Silver Director and receive $500, a “$1000 retail value sample pack” and an “exclusive sterling silver charm bracelet”
- qualify at Pearl Director and receive $1000, a “$1000 retail value sample pack” and a “genuine pearl charm”
- qualify at Ruby Director and receive $1500, a “$1000 retail value sample pack” and a “genuine ruby charm”
- qualify at Emerald Director and receive $2500, a “$1000 retail value sample pack” and a “genuine emerald charm”
- qualify at Diamond Director and receive $5000, a “1000 retail value sample pack” and a “genuine diamond charm”
- qualify at Vice President and receive $10,000, and a “genuine diamond and black diamond charm”
- qualify at Three Star Vice President and receive a “custom piece”
- qualify at Senior Vice President and receive a “$600 monthly car allowance for 2 years” and a “custom piece”
Residual Rank Achievement Bonuses kick in at Vice President and higher:
- Vice Presidents receive “$500 in free products each flyer and $1500 in free products each catalog”
- Three Star Vice Presidents receive “$1000 in free products each flyer and $2500 in free products each catalog”
- Senior Vice Presidents receive “all new products free”
I believe this pertains to products being sent out with each new Tocara promotion, including seasonal catalogs.
Senior Vice Presidents appear to receive each new jewelry piece Tocara brings out at a no cost.
Tocara affiliate membership is
- $17 for a Petite Kit, comes with a bracelet and $45 jewelry voucher
- $99 for an Elite Kit, comes with a bracelet and $450 jewelry voucher
For the most part Tocara do a great job of providing information on their website.
Missing executive information for Randall Markus is a minor oversight, but failing to provide complete compensation details is a major compliance issue.
By failing to provide complete compensation documentation, Tocara makes it impossible for consumers to perform complete due-diligence on their MLM opportunity.
In the US, this is a potential violation of the FTC Act.
From what I gather Tocara is basically an MLM company built around Markus’ jewelry business.
This starts with Bijoux Chateau Inc., which also goes by Chateau D’argent. Bijoux Chateau is a “branch” of Chateau Jewelry.
All these companies are owned and operated by Randall Markus.
Chateau Jewelry is registered as an importer of jewellery and imitation jewelry from China.
While Tocara’s jewelry might be created in Canada, the raw materials appear to be sourced from China.
This isn’t necessarily a negative, I’m just pointing it out here because none of this is disclosed on Tocara’s website.
Be it Tocara or Markus’ other jewelry businesses, there doesn’t appear to be any quality control issues. This is worth noting because, outside of Tocara, Markus has been in the jewelry import business for decades.
Tocara’s primary marketing method is the party plan.
We pride ourselves on having the most generous everyday Host Program out there!
The crème de la crème of our Host program are the everyday offers that will earn you free jewelry and mega discounts! And if that’s not enough, occasionally we top it off with a Host Bonus!
Now why wouldn’t you want to be a Host?
On average, our Hosts earn $245 in free jewelry of their choice!
Hosts are rewarded with jewelry based on customer purchases during a hosted party. Part of this is a 75% discount, if the following additional criteria is met:
-Schedule a Party
-Submit your Guest List
-Have 10+ buying Guests at your Party
-Have 1+ friend(s) schedule their own Party
-Have 3+ friend(s) schedule their own Party
The last two clauses seem redundant but that’s what’s on Tocara’s website.
Unfortunately I can’t give you a 100% complete assessment of Tocara’s compensation plan, because the company doesn’t provide that information to consumers.
From what I’ve seen the joining costs are reasonable, there didn’t appear to be any monthly commitment, and available rank criteria didn’t raise any red flags.
There aren’t any retail volume requirements, which could lend itself to inventory loading depending on how high monthly rank volume requirements get.
Senior Consultant requiring $1200 in PV and $2400 in GV a month is already a pretty high bar to clear.
Again while it’s not mention on Tocara’s website, I also came across affiliates being given “advanced purchase of retired liquidation jewelry”.
Sounds like they get first dibs on discontinued lines. Not sure how that fits into the compensation plan but hopefully there are some internal volume limits.
I ordered Tocara’s catalog by price and only three pieces come in at over $100 (a watch, a “laurette bracelet” and a “denise necklace”). This changed when I specifically selected necklaces, revealing several pieces running into $150+.
Between this and the “no items found” error, it seems Tocara’s online catalog could do with some work.
Everything else in necklaces was $87 and under. Other jewelry categories tended to hover between $70 and $150. This seems reasonably priced at the upper low range or lower midrange.
Expensive enough that you’ll hang on to it but not too much so that if you misplace a piece you’ll tear your hair out.
Presently 95% of traffic to Tocara’s website originates from Canada. The lack of Tocara catching on in the US could reflect challenges with establishing the brand in the UK.
Assuming there are no hidden strings attached, $17 for a $45 jewelry voucher and $99 for a $450 voucher seems like pretty decent value to get you started.
Have a look at Tocara’s the catalog, don’t fall into the trap of spending more than you’re earning on inventory and see how you go.
I’d reassess at three months (run a full accounting, factoring in time spent on the business), and proceed from there.
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