Young Living Review: “Seed to seal” essential oils
Young Living launched way back in 1993 and are based out of the US state of Utah.
Young Living operate in the essential oils MLM niche and are headed up by Founder and CEO, Donald Gary Young.
So the story goes (from Young’s Young Living corporate bio),
Over two decades ago, Gary discovered the profound power of essential oils to transform mental and physical wellness.
Through Young Living, he is able to share his matchless knowledge with millions around the world, transforming their health and their lives.
Gary’s unrivaled expertise on the therapeutic power of plants has led to the creation of the world’s largest line of essential oils and blends.
Other accounts of the formation of Young Living and Donald Young’s past however are not so flattering:
Gary Young, founder and president of YLEO, has a mercurial history. As he tells it, it all began with an almost fatal logging accident at 24, which left him in a coma for three weeks, paralyzed, depressed, and confined to a wheelchair.
Three years after the accident he claims to have regained feeling in his legs as a result of using essential oils. No medical records exist of his early paralysis and miraculous healing.
In 1983 he was arrested in Spokane, WA for practicing medicine without a license, and again arrested in 1988 in California for deceptive advertising.
I worked for the Young Life Research Clinic Institute of Natural Medicine, in Springville, Utah. One summer day, Young visited his clinic. As Gary takes the stage, his presence evokes squeals of excitement from his adoring staff.
The charismatic Young teaches during the clinic’s lunch hour. After completing a half day of massage, chiropractic, and colonic treatments patients are then offered cleansing drinks consisting of ground lemons and agave nectar, while they sit in a cozy room listening to Gary.
In 2005, Young closed the clinic due to pending lawsuits, however his prescription for health paired with a connection to the abundance of positive thinking successfully continues to bring in millions of dollars per year from both domestic and international distributors.
Gary Young refuses to speak to the media regarding his past and has not returned Utah Stories’ phone calls yet for comment.
Why Young doesn’t discuss his past is not clear.
Update 19th April 2019 – In researching another article, I came to find out Gary Young passed away in early 2018.
Gary Young’s wife, Mary Young, succeeded him as CEO of Young Living in 2015. /end update
Read on for a full review of the Young Living MLM business opportunity.
The Young Living Product Line
Young Living market essential oils. A lot of them.
The company claims it bottles its oils via an exclusive “seed to seal” to process:
Young Living is proud to set the standard for essential oil purity and authenticity by carefully monitoring the production of our oils through our unique Seed to Seal process.
From the time the seed is sourced until the oil is sealed in the bottle, we apply the most rigorous quality controls possible to ensure that you are receiving essential oils exactly the way nature intended.
“Proprietary techniques are cited as part of their distillation process.
DoTERRA was formed in 2008 by a fired chief operating officer of Young Living, David N. Sterling, and other former executives, top employees and distributors.
The product rivalry spilled into state court last year when Young Living Essential Oils alleged in a lawsuit that doTERRA and former executives “built doTERRA by stealing Young Living’s trade secrets, violating their duties to Young Living and improperly recruiting Young Living’s employees and distributors to leave Young Living,” one of its attorneys, Justin Toth of Ray Quinney & Nebeker, said in an email.
DoTerra and its parent company, Thrive Holdings, shot back last month with a federal court lawsuit. It alleges employees and officers of Young Living created a false sample of a DoTerra product spiked with a chemical additive and then posted the result of a lab test showing the contamination on a website right before its distributor convention in Salt Lake City.
The altered lab report in essence “accused doTerra of adding a substances to its peppermint oil that causes death,” the lawsuit says.
The cases are still ongoing, with a recent deposition taken last month revealing that
Young Living Essential Oils passed off synthetic oils as authentic for jasmine and birch oils, which were conclusively found to be synthetic oils.
Despite this, on their “seed to seal website Young Living maintain:
To guarantee consistent, verifiable quality, our oils are tested in Young Living’s own internal labs, as well as in third-party facilities.
Our testing methods ensure our oils meet stringent specifications, exceed international standards, and contain the optimal levels of natural bioactive compounds.
Make of that what you will.
Update 3rd November 2015 – In late 2014 a Judge dismissed Young Living’s lawsuit against doTerra;
A judge has dismissed much of a lawsuit in which one Utah therapeutic oils company is suing another for allegedly poaching from its network of independent distributors by using confidential information.
Fourth District Court Judge Christine Johnson has dismissed all of the claims made by Young Living Essential Oils LC of Lehi against competitor doTERRA Inc.
Arthur Berger, attorney for Young Living, said the judge ruled that the company waited too long to sue and not on the allegations of wrongdoing by doTERRA founders who remain as defendants.
At the time of publication, there are some 85 essential oils listed as products on the Young Living website. A further 63 oils exist in the “blended oils” category.
Being essential oils the amount of oil in a bottle is tiny (5 – 15ml or so), with prices varying depending on the ingredient of the oil.
I clicked around randomly and the cheapest oil I saw was about $15. The most expensive was the GLF essential oil blend, coming in at $172.10 for a 15ml bottle.
GLF is a blend of powerful oils including helichrysum, spearmint, and celery.
Again, I was just randomly clicking around – I didn’t conclusively verify that $15 is the cheapest or if GLF is the most expensive oil listed.
Other products listed on the Young Living website include
- animal scents – “supports the proper growth and normal lifecycles of a wide-variety of animals” ($249 – $368)
- AromaLux diffuser – “functions as an aroma diffuser, air purifier, and atomizer” ($169.74)
- USB Orb diffuser – “provides intermittent (blue LED light) or continuous (green LED light) diffusion for up to 4.5 hours” ($45.72)
- pancake and waffle mix ($16.45 for a 2lb box)
- spaghetti ($8.55 for an 8oz pack)
- MindWise – “an advanced brain health serum” ($78.62 for a 16oz bottle)
- Bon Voyage Travel Pack – “10 Young Living personal-care products inside an attractive, custom-designed, Young Living bag” ($72.37)
- KidScents Oil Collection – “a comprehensive kit that addresses the most common concerns of childhood” ($157.57)
- L Brianté Lip Gloss – “an essential oil roll-on and a perfect shade of lip gloss” ($52.30)
- Sheerlume – “illuminate your complexion with an advanced formula powered by a proprietary blend of Young Living’s pure essential oils” ($98.36 for a 30ml tub)
- Shutran – “essential oil blend that is specially designed for men to boost feelings of masculinity and confidence” ($98.68 for a 15ml bottle)
- Freedom and Release Collection Bundle – “re-establish a positive energy flow throughout the body, and bring a sense of balance and harmony that attracts love and joy” ($393.42)
- Reconnect Collection – “collection of essential oil blends created to help maintain mental acuity and focus and support mood by uplifting and encouraging positive energy in times of restlessness and unease” ($262.83)
The Young Living Compensation Plan
The Young Living compensation plan offers retail commissions with residuals backed by a unilevel compensation structure.
Additionally, shares in various bonus pools are also available.
Young Living Affiliate Membership Ranks
There are ten affiliate membership ranks within the Young Living compensation plan.
Along with their respective qualification criteria, they are as follows:
- Distributor – maintain at least 100 PV each month
- Star – maintain 100 PV and have a downline generating at least 500 GV every month
- Senior Star – maintain 100 PV and have a downline generating at least 2000 GV every month
- Executive – maintain 100 PV and have a downline generating at least 4000 GV every month (2 individual unilevel legs must be generating at least 1000 GV each)
- Silver – maintain 100 PV, have a team generating at least 1000 PGV a month and have a total downline volume of 10,000 GV (2 individual unilevel legs must be generating at least 4000 GV each)
- Gold – maintain 100 PV, have a team generating at least 1000 PGV a month and have a total downline volume of 35,000 GV (3 individual unilevel legs must be generating at least 6000 GV each)
- Platinum – maintain 100 PV, have a team generating at least 1000 PGV a month and have a total downline volume of 100,000 GV (4 individual unilevel legs must be generating at least 8000 GV each)
- Diamond – maintain 100 PV, have a team generating at least 1000 PGV a month and have a total downline volume of 250,000 GV (5 individual unilevel legs must be generating at least 15,000 GV each)
- Crown Diamond – maintain 100 PV, have a team generating at least 1000 PGV a month and have a total downline volume of 750,000 GV (6 individual unilevel legs must be generating at least 20,000 GV each)
- Royal Crown Diamond – maintain 100 PV, have a team generating at least 1000 PGV a month and have a total downline volume of 1,500,000 GV (6 individual unilevel legs must be generating at least 35,000 GV each)
Note that PV stands for “Personal Volume”, and is the sales volume an affiliate generates themselves.
GV stands for “Group Volume”, and is the sales volume generated by an affiliate’s downline.
PGV stands for “Personal Group Volume”, and is the sales volume generated by an affiliate’s downline but excluding volume generated by Silver or higher ranked affiliates.
Retail commissions in Young Living are paid out on the sale of products to retail customers (non-affiliates).
This commission is paid out at a rate of 24%, which is the difference between the wholesale and retail price of Young Living products.
When a Young Living affiliate recruits a new affiliate who purchases a Premium Starter Kit ($150-$160), they are paid a $25 commission.
Fast Start Bonus
Young Living’s Fast Start Bonus pays out a 20% commission on a newly recruited affiliate’s products orders, over the first three months of their affiliateship (capped at $200 per order).
The Fast Start Bonus pays out over a second level, with an affiliate’s upline receiving 10% on orders made during this time (capped at $80 per order).
Residual commissions in Young Living are paid out using 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 go on to recruit new affiliates of their own, they are placed on level 2 of the original affiliate’s unilevel team. If any level 2 affiliates go on to recruit new affiliates of their own, they are placed on level 3 and so on and so forth down a theoretical infinite number of levels.
Young Living cap payable unilevels at five, with commissions paid out as a percentage of the sales volume generated by affiliates on any given level.
How many unilevel levels a Young Living affiliate is paid out on is determined by their affiliate membership rank:
- Distributor – 8% on level 1 and 5% on level 2
- Star – 8% on level 1, 5% on level 2 and 4% on level 3
- Senior Star – 8% on level 1, 5% on level 2 and 4% on levels 3 and 4
- Executive or higher – 8% on level 1, 5% on level 2 and 4% on levels 3 to 5
Unilevel Generational Bonus
The Unilevel Generational Bonus extends payable unilevel level commissions beyond the five standard levels offered to Young Living affiliates.
As the name suggests, the Unilevel Generational Bonus pays out according to generations.
A unilevel generation in the Young Living compensation plan is defined by the presence of Silver or higher ranked affiliates in any given unilevel leg.
For example, one unilevel leg has a Silver ranked affiliate on levels 5 and 11.
In this particular unilevel leg, the first generation is defined as all affiliates on levels 1 to 4. A second generation begins on level 5 and runs down to level 10. Due to the presence of a second Silver ranked affiliate on level 11, the third generation begins from level 11 onwards.
If no further Silver ranked affiliates exist down this particular unilevel leg, the third generation runs the full depth of the leg.
In this manner, generations are defined uniquely among each individual unilevel leg. Commissions are paid out as a percentage of the sales volume generated by qualified for generations.
How many generations a Young Living affiliate is paid out on is determined by their affiliate membership rank:
- Silver – 2.5% on the first generation and 3% on the second and third
- Gold – 2.5% on the first generation and 3% on the second to fourth
- Platinum – 2.5% on the first generation and 3% on the second to fifth
- Diamond – 2.5% on the first generation and 3% on the second to sixth
- Crown Diamond – 2.5% on the first generation and 3% on the second to seventh
- Royal Crown Diamond – 2.5% on the first generation, 3% on the second to seventh and 1% on the eighth
Rising Star Team Bonus Pool
The Rising Star Team Bonus Pool is a bonus pool made up of 1% of Young Living’s company-wide commissionable sales volume.
Only Star, Senior Star and Executive ranked affiliates can qualify for shares in the pool, with shares allocated as follows:
- 100 PV monthly autoship and three unilevel legs generating at least 300 GV a month each = 1 share
- 100 PV monthly autoship and two unilevel legs generating at least 500 GV a month each = 2 shares
- 100 PV monthly autoship and two unilevel legs generating at least 1000 GV a month each = 3 shares
Note that shares are accumulative (assuming all qualification criteria is met and maintained), with the maximum share allocation per affiliate being six.
Generation Leadership Bonus
The Generation Leadership Bonus is made up of 6.25% of Young Living’s company-wide commissionable sales volume.
Affiliates at the rank of Silver or higher are able to qualify for shares in the bonus pool, with shares allocated as follows:
- Silver – 1 share
- Gold – 2 shares
- Platinum – 3 shares
- Diamond -4 shares
- Crown Diamond – 5 shares
- Royal Crown Diamond – 6 shares
Shares are not accumulative, meaning affiliates are only allocated the amount of shares that corresponds with their current rank.
Diamond Express Profit Sharing Pool
The Diamond Express Profit Sharing Pool is a top-tier bonus pool made up of 0.5% of Young Living’s company-wide commissionable sales volume.
Shares in the pool are allocated according to an affiliate’s rank as follows:
- Diamond – 1 share
- Crown Diamond – 2 shares
- Royal Crown Diamond – 3 shares
Diamond Elite Program
The Diamond Elite Program is mentioned in Young Living’s compensation plan, however no specifics as to the nature of the program are provided.
Our new Diamond Elite program will help our most effective distributors teach and share the Young Living opportunity throughout the world.
This innovative, by-invitation program will incentivize and give our leaders rewards and world recognition for their participation.
It appears to be some sort of incentive program to rewards top-tier Young Living affiliates for expanding the opportunity globally.
Joining Young Living
Affiliate membership to Young Living is tied to the purchase of a “Starter Kit”, which range in price from $40 to $160.
The primary difference between the various Starter Kits offered is the range of products bundled in each kit, along with the $20 recruitment commission payable when a Premium Starter Kit is purchased.
I’m no expert on essential oils but I can tell you this is definitely a niche market to operate in.
If you’re considering affiliate membership with Young Living you’ve obviously go to know a thing or two about essential oils, otherwise you’re going to find yourself overwhelmed with the size of the company’s oil product offerings.
As for product quality (use of non-organics in what are supposed to be organic oils for example), that again is going to come down to how well you know your essential oils.
I personally don’t care if the essential oil I’d be purchasing had some inorganic ingredients, however if it’s labelled exclusively organic then I can see where problems might arise.
The range is exhaustive and a credit to Young Living looking to dominate the essential oil space. And from a marketing perspective that’s only going to benefit their affiliates.
But again, if you’ve got no interest in essential oils or finding a demographic to market them to, then this probably isn’t the opportunity for you. The compensation plan alone isn’t going to compel you to join.
And on that note, Young Living’s compensation plan is refreshingly straight forward and simple. I particularly liked the focus on sales volume over raw affiliate recruitment.
In general, I found the Young Living website to be well-presented, with information on every aspect of the business opportunity readily available for prospective affiliates and the general public.
Mandatory autoship only rears its head for the starter-level bonus pools, after which an affiliate can qualify on sales volume alone if they choose. The 100 PV a month shouldn’t that hard at all to maintain if an affiliate seeks out a retail market in earnest.
I believe it’s even possible to entice customers to sign up as an affiliate and only maintain 50 PV a month (can be self-purchase), as this essentially denotes them as a preferred customer (wholesale pricing but no access to the MLM side of the business).
Do note that in this instance their order volume will be paid out via the MLM compensation plan however, with retail commissions only applying to non-affiliate orders.
One red-flag was the $20 commission paid on Premium packs. These packs are only going to be purchased by affiliates when they join, so in effect it is a recruitment commission.
That said, at $20 a pop there’s hardly a chance of anyone treating Young Living like a straight up recruitment scheme, but the mechanism for doing so is there and worth pointing out. I feel the compensation plan would be better served by eliminating this commission, and instead just paying out the 90 day commission on orders by new affiliates.
One last point I’ll finish up with is the use of PGV, which effectively requires an affiliate to constantly focus on lower ranked affiliates in their downlines.
Only counting affiliates below the Silver rank is a great idea, as it maintains an upline’s focus on the sales efforts of their newer affiliates (assuming an affiliate progresses up the compensation plan over time).
All Silver and higher ranked Young Living affiliate’s need to maintain 1000 PGV, with the requirement going hand in hand with ensuring lower-ranked affiliates are generating sales.
In summary, if you’re into essential oils and figure you’ve got a crack at carving out a market for them – then Young Living might be the MLM opportunity for you.
Affiliate membership is quite affordable, although it might be worth ordering a few oils first to gauge the grade of the oils on offer personally.