Young Living is a direct selling, or multi-level marketing, company in the essential oil industry that has taken advantage of the recent boom in that space. While the company has grown tremendously in recent years, it has been around since 1993. It has been subject to a few investigations and lawsuits, but it has remained relatively scandal free as compared to other MLM’s.
Young Living Company Overview
History of Young Living
Young Living was founded in 1993 by David Young and his wife Mary. David had become familiar with alternative medicine after suffering a back injury, and he became very interested in essential oils after visiting a lavender distillery in France. Mary Young has extensive experience in the direct-selling industry, so together they sought to establish a business that would deliver the highest quality essential oils to the world.
When David first began exploring essential oil options, he found that he was not happy with the quality of oils that were currently on the market. He and Mary purchased a 160-acre farm in Idaho, and that is where the journey began. After a couple of years, they purchased more farmland and began to expand operations. Today, Young Living has farms and operations all around the globe.
Young Living is currently the world leader in essential oils. They have the most technologically advanced essential oil distillery in North America, and their proprietary Seed to Seal process ensures the purity and integrity of their oils at every step of the process. They are considered by many to be the gold standard in essential oil quality.
One of the largest scandals involving Young Living revolves around the founding of their competitor company, doTERRA. It was founded in 2008 by several former executives from Young Living. In 2013, Young Living filed suit against doTERRA claiming that the company had stolen trade secrets and illegally recreated Young Living’s production process. Young Living ended up losing the lawsuit and was even forced to pay doTERRA’s legal fees.
In 2014, Young Living got into a bit of hot water with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over the marketing tactics used by some of its distributors. These distributors were making claims that the products were treatments or cures for a number of diseases including Ebola, diabetes, cancer, PTSD, autism, and heart disease among others. The FDA went on to warn that marketing the oils as drugs to treat these conditions without FDA approval was illegal, and Young Living agreed to address the FDA’s concerns.
Current Company Structure
Founder Gary Young served as CEO of the company up until 2015. At that time, his wife Mary took over as CEO and she still serves in that role today. Young Living has a strong executive team with a wealth of experience to continue taking the company forward. Young Living’s annual sales exceeded $1.5 billion in 2017. That marked the third consecutive year with sales over $1 billion, and an 800% increase in sales over the past 5 years.
The company now has offices in 12 countries around the world and over 3,000 full-time employees. They also operate at least 16 farms in various countries. In addition, they have a network of roughly 4 million distributors. This is very impressive and makes it one of the largest MLM networks in the world.
Young Living Products
Young Living was founded to provide essential oils, and those products are still at the heart of the company. They offer a multitude of therapeutic-grade single essential oils as well as proprietary blends. In addition, Young Living essential oils offers dietary and massage oils. Recently the company has expanded beyond basic oils and has begun to offer additional product lines.
One obvious expansion is into the oil accessory market. Young Living offers many diffusers and other accessories that people can use with their oils. They also have a line of cleaning products that are touted as a natural alternative to the harsh cleaning chemicals available today.
Young Living products don’t stop there. They have an entire line of nutrition supplements and products for healthy cooking. Their products also include personal care items such as lotion and body wash, including a line specifically for infants. Young Living has also entered the beauty market recently by developing and marketing their Savvy Minerals makeup collection.
Young Living Company Marketing Practices
The company relies heavily on their network of 4 million distributors to market and sell their products. These distributors most often turn to social media and other online platforms as their main source of customers. As with most MLM’s, the larger a persons’ network, the better chances of success they will have in selling these products.
Education is also a big part of the company’s marketing strategy. They attempt to educate people on the quality and benefits of their products, and thereby turn them into a customer who will buy. Among the general public, there are mixed feelings about the effectiveness of essential oils, and Young Living is attempting to change that perception.
Making Money with Young Living
With over 4 million distributors, something must be enticing these people to sign up and start selling the products. Are all of them making good money through this process? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Young Living’s Income Disclosure Statement for 2018 paints a very bleak picture for anyone trying to earn money through this MLM.
According to the 2018 statement, over 88% of their members were at the base “Distributor” rank. The average income for the year for those members was a mere $4. Yes, you read that correctly. Nearly 90% of the company’s distributors made an average of $4 for the entire year. Less than one tenth of one percent are able to earn a full-time income (Gold Level, average $47,253).
How to Enroll
Enrollment with Young Living is extremely easy. All you need to do is purchase one of their member start kits (these range in price from $49 to $200+) and you’re all set! There are no sign-up fees or ongoing annual renewals. However, in order to remain active as a member, there are certain purchase requirements. You must meet these minimum order requirements to continue receiving the wholesale discounts and to be eligible for commissions.
Young Living Compensation Plan
The most basic way to earn money with Young Living is by selling their products to retail customers. You earn the 24% difference between your wholesaling pricing and their retail price. In addition, you earn money for signing up premium customers and can earn bonuses based on the starter kits that they order. As your sales volume increases, you can move up the ranks of distributor levels. At the highest level, you can earn commissions and bonuses up to 8 levels deep in your downline.
Sales and Marketing Techniques
As previously discussed, a large online or social media following is a good way to be successful selling these products. Successful sellers also tend to get involved with groups who are likely to buy the products, such as holistic medicine or natural remedy groups. Some distributors also like to visit smaller arts and crafts shows or local festivals where they can demonstrate and sell their products.
Young Living Compared to Other MLMs
Overall, Young Living seems to be highly trusted, and that is not always the case in the MLM world. Their compensation plan is comparable to that of other MLM companies, although the average income for their distributors is near the bottom of the list. Customers rate most of their products very high, and they have recently expanded their product line to include things like cleaning products and makeup. If you are considering selling essential oils, Young Living is one of the leaders in that industry, so brand recognition is very high.
Conclusions For Young Living
Young Living is a reputable company that has been around for nearly 30 years. They are well trusted, and their customers have very few complaints about their products. They have a very large network of 4 million distributors, although most of them are not making any money selling the products. If you are looking to get a discount on essential oils, then signing up as a member is worthwhile. However, if you are looking to earn a decent income, you should look elsewhere for other opportunities.